Pope says 'fear of God' is not about terror

Pope Benedict XVI told yesterday's General Audience at the Vatican that the phrase "fear of the Lord" should be understood in terms of awe rather than dread, and that it signifies "the beginning of true wisdom".

Catholic World News reports that he was speaking to 35,000 people in a wind-swept St. Peter's Square, offering a short meditation on Psalm 110, noting how this hymn of praise includes many different words and phrases extolling the greatness of God.

This psalm, he observed, opens with a prayer of thanksgiving and closes with a prayer of praise, promising that the gratitude of the believer "endures forever."

In contemplation of the Almighty, the Pontiff said, the Christian does not experience "servile fear," but a "sincere and serious respect" that prompts "genuine and active adherence."

Battered by the wind as he delivered his talk, the Pope broke from his text to joke that "the symbol of the Holy Spirit is among us."

After his prepared remarks, he offered his greetings to several groups of pilgrims attending the audience, including groups from Australia. He welcomed a large Polish contingent, saying that he hoped they would be strengthened by the memory of Pope John Paul II in their "desire to give spiritual support to his successor." He offered a special welcome to Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, the Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, and the Byzantine Catholic bishops who accompanied him.

"Fear of God" is Pope's audience topic (Catholic World News 8/6/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Benedict XVI General Audience - text (8/6/05)

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The Rise of the New Pope (National Public Radio Fresh Air 7/6/05)
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9 Jun 2005