Catholic Dictionary

Term

SERVILE FEAR

Definition

Selfish fear based on dread of pain to oneself that would follow if another were offended. It is the fear of punishment for wrongdoing, without being motivated by honor or a sense of duty, and least of all by love. Theologically, however, servile fear may co-exist with filial fear. There is nothing incompatible in both loving and fearing God. The object of loving him is the divine goodness, of fearing him the divine justice. However, purely servile fear, with no love of God but only self-love that fears the divine punishments, is at least in theory, inconsistent with the true love of God.

See Also: FILIAL FEAR