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Pope Francis on Fear of the Lord versus
the Lord on Fear of the Lord

by Christopher A. Ferrara
November 29, 2017

In his Angelus address of November 19, Pope Francis yet again (for numerous examples, click here) placed his own peculiar spin on Sacred Scripture, producing an interpretation very nearly the opposite of what Scripture actually teaches.

In discussing the parable of the unprofitable servant who, in fear of his master, buries the talent (gold piece) his master gave him instead of making it fruitful by investment (Matt. 25), Pope Francis declared that this servant “did not have a true idea of God.  We must not think of Him as a bad master, harsh and severe, who wants to punish us… And Jesus has always shown that God is not a harsh and intolerant master, but a Father full of love, of tenderness, a father full of goodness.”

Here we see an example of a technique oft employed in Modernist theology: hiding one truth by emphasizing another.  In this case, the mercy and blessings of God are emphasized to the exclusion of His justice and punishments, as if the former negated the latter.  But the whole point of Matthew 25 is precisely to warn of the divine punishment of eternal damnation that awaits the unprofitable servant who fails to do good to others with the gifts that God has given him.  Hence Our Lord here describes the Last Day with the further parable of the separation of the sheep from the goats, with the former rewarded eternally but the latter eternally consigned to what Our Lord Himself describes as the “everlasting fire” of hell.

To quote the Haydock Commentary on this Chapter: “Thus not only the rapacious, the unjust, the evil doers, but also all those who neglect to do good, are punished with the greatest severity.... Jesus therefore naturally includes with these parables a description of that awful day which is to succeed the final reckoning, and which will unalterably fix our abode either in eternal happiness, or in eternal misery.”

Indeed, as Father Haydock notes, the unprofitable servant calumniates God by accusing him of being “too severe and unbending,” which is the excuse of the unrighteous for their lack of charity, for which excuse they are punished with the divine punishment.

Yet, for all this, Pope Francis somehow fails to note that the 25th Chapter of Matthew is all about the divine punishment and the Day of Judgment for those who fail to do good according to the talents with which God has endowed them.  It is as if one were to talk about the voyage of the Titanic without ever mentioning that it sank in a disastrous wreck and carried many souls with it to the bottom.

The God without wrath, judgment or punishment is not the true God, but the God of Modernist fiction.  On the contrary, as the Lord Himself has revealed: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Ps. 111:10) The opinion that the Lord must never be feared is the beginning, not of wisdom, but of the worst folly imaginable: the folly that leads directly onto the path that ends in hell.