Is Pope Francis trying to change the Lord’s Prayer?

A news headline reads: “Pope Francis wants to change the Lord’s Prayer” [i] among other misleading headlines which give the impression that the Pope wants to “correct” the prayer that Jesus taught us. We Christians believe that Jesus is God. So, does the Pope wants to “change” or “correct” a prayer that God taught us? Of course not. That is ridiculous and only the ignorant would fall into that foolish trap.

Sacred Scripture is infallible, and that is a dogma of the Catholic Church. So no, the Pope does not want to change the prayer that Jesus taught us. The Pope does not pretend to be over God in the least.

Sacred Scripture is infallible, but the copies, edits, and translations of Sacred Scripture are not infallible.  Particular editions are subject to error [ii]. The earliest copies of Sacred Scripture available were handwritten by non-inspired persons so those copies were subject to some typographical errors (slight differences between one codex [iii] and another can be found). For some reason, God did not permit the original manuscripts of Sacred Scripture to be preserved up to this point. The earliest manuscripts that we have are copies of copies. But our pillars of Faith are not only Sacred Scripture, they are Sacred Tradition (capital “T”), Sacred Scripture, Sacred Magisterium of the Church. Sacred Scripture itself teaches that the Pillar and Foundation of truth is the Church (1 Timothy 3:15).  Therefore, we rely on God’s protection of Sacred Scripture through His Church.

Translations are subject to the personal interpretation of the person who translates one language into another language, and that interpretation is not infallible. Also, there can be a word or a phrase that can have multiple meanings in the original language but the translator has to choose, according to his knowledge and interpretation of the narrative, what would be the best way to translate it into a different language. The same contextual or literal word for word language in the source text, may not be used by the editors, translators (or interpreters) for another language because those words in the original text may mean something different in a different dialect. Therefore, the translator has to use his judgment in order to adequately translate it into a different language using different translated words but giving the same meaning of what the original writer intended to express. Example: “Gracias. De nada” (in the Spanish language) can be translated accurately as “Thank you. You’re welcome”. But a literal translation of the words would give a different meaning such as “Graces. Of nothing”.  Therefore, some degree of the editor’s interpretation  is needed in order to be in context with the source narrative.

A word may not even exist in another language with the exact same meaning. One word with one sole meaning in one language, may have a translated word in another language, but that translated word can have multiple of other definitions in such other language. Furthermore, as we have seen through time, a particular edition of the Bible is later revised many times and new revisions of the same edition will continue to appear for the work of scholars is to interpret the Word of God ever better. It is a continuous work. Our current languages are “living” languages, they keep changing and expanding their meaning and dialect. Many words have changed their meanings over time. Archaic English is very different than our current English. In some cases, a language changes so much, it becomes a new language. Therefore, translations are a continuous work.

Consequently, we cannot idolize one sole translation of the Bible, but we may use different translations always guided by our Teaching Authority of the Church. Since particular editions are subject to error, Sacred Scripture, as a whole set, is protected by God through Sacred Tradition, also the Sacred Magisterium of the Church. “Everything that God has brought into being he protects and governs by his providence” (Vatican 1).

See how God protects His Word (1 Kings 19:14 &18) (Rom 11:1-5) (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Many have tried to bring forth one sole definitive version of the Bible, but all have failed – for such is not the will of God. God has not permitted it.

For more information see this article:
http://www.catholicplanet.com/TSM/evolution-Bible.htm

The summary is as follows:

The truths of Sacred Scripture are not completely contained within any one version or edition of the Bible. Any individual version will contain the vast majority of these truths. But, in their entirety, these truths are located across all the versions and editions of the Bible that exist in their various languages under the guidance of God through His Church’s teaching authority.

This protection of the Holy Spirit grants to Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture is an essential part of the indefectibility of the Church. For the Church guides us by means of Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. And the Magisterium of the Church teaches only the truths that are either explicit or implicit in Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture (the Sacred Deposit of Faith). Total inspiration and total inerrancy are not limited solely to the original manuscripts, but extends even to the body of the Sacred Texts which are extant in any generation, and are in use and being lived by any generation.

That being said, let’s analyze Pope Francis’ preference regarding the possibility of revising the common English translation of one of the seven petitions [iv] of the Lord’s Prayer.

The translation that Pope Francis prefers on the sixth petition is “do not let us fall into temptation”. Now, this informal proposal has caused controversy among many English speaking Catholics and non-Catholic Christians. But this should not be of any controversy and here are some of the reasons why:

Keep in mind that the Holy Pontiff is NOT changing the Word of God, but has a preference for a particular translation of the Word of God.

If we are lovers of truth, we have to find out ever more what Jesus really wanted to express when He taught us.

Though the Gospels of Matthew and Luke were most likely not written in Aramaic, it’s important to also understand what language Jesus Himself spoke.

Jesus’ Language:

Jesus generally spoke Jewish Palestinian Aramaic, the common language of Judea in the first century A.D.
https://www.britannica.com/topic/Aramaic-language

The Bible itself has references that Jesus’ primary and common language was Aramaic and such references are even written in the Greek translated version of the Sacred text.

“Talitha koumi”:
“And taking the girl by the hand, he said to her, “Talitha koumi,” which means, “Little girl, (I say to you) arise.” (Mark 5:41).

“Ephphatha”:
“And gazing up to heaven, He groaned and said to him: “Ephphatha,” which is, “Be opened.” (Mark 7:34).

“Abba”:
“And he said: “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you….” (Mark 14:36).

Some Romans and perhaps non Hebraic descent Jews (not Aramaic speaking Jews) thought that Jesus was calling upon prophet Elijah when He said “Eli, Eli, (or Eloi) lama sabachthani…” on the Cross (Matthew 27:46-47) (Mark 15:34-35) [v].

This is an indication that Jesus’ common language was Aramaic. Now, He can also have spoken Hebrew especially when reading the Scriptures in the synagogues because the Jewish Scriptures were written in Hebrew, their faith language, though they (the Hebraic Jews) spoke mainly in Aramaic at that time. Jesus may have also spoken in Latin (the Roman’s language) in cases such as when He talked with Pontius Pilate or any Roman. He may have also spoken some Greek but to a lesser extent, or sporadically, because His ministry was aimed mainly at the Hebraic Jews (Matthew 15:26); and they, by the way, did not get along with the Greek speaking Jews (non Hebraic descent Jews) (Acts 21:27-28), they even rejected the Greek version of the Bible (known as the Septuagint) decades after Jesus’ death and resurrection. But when Jesus spoke to the crowds, He would not be speaking in a language foreign to them, or with a language that the majority of them might not understand, something other than Aramaic with perhaps some Hebrew included, which by the way, are similar languages.

Out the twelve Apostles, the most learned during Jesus’ three year ministry might have been Matthew who was a tax collector working for the Romans and Jews; therefore, he was literate, fluent and able to write in Latin as well. But the rest of the Apostles were most likely just working class, such as the fishermen Jews were at the time. In Acts 4:13 we read that Peter and John were not learned men. Jesus did not choose “high class” among His Apostles. Simon (later Rock [Peter]), his brother Andrew, among other Apostles were fishermen.

Having said that, though Matthew might have written his Gospel in Hebrew [vi] (the Torah language of Scriptures) for his fellow Jews converts to Christianity, when Jesus gathered the working class Jewish crowds in order to teach, He spoke in Aramaic to them, the language that all (or most of them) could clearly understand, especially regarding important teachings.

Why is that Jesus most likely spoke Aramaic when He taught the Lord’s Prayer? Jesus was speaking to the crowds, His message included the afflicted, the poor, not just the learned. As explained above, Aramaic was the common language of Judea in the first century A.D.

Also, Jesus did not teach this prayer only once, He did so various times. In the Gospel of Matthew, we learn that He taught it during His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:9 ff). In Luke, He taught it when He was at a certain place praying and He taught this prayer at the request of one of His disciples after He ceased praying (Luke 11:1 ff).

Why are there differences between the Lord’s Prayer found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke? – Luke’s version is shorter. It is Because the Gospel narratives are not intended to be a verbatim of Jesus’ words and actions. Ancient literature does not tell word for word whatever people said or did [vii]. Back then, they did not have the resource, culture, and technology we have now in order to write every word or deed of people, but they did express the substance of what people said and did [viii] (see also John 21:25). Furthermore, Matthew was one of His Apostles who closely accompanied Jesus for about three years; whereas Luke wasn’t (Luke 1:1-4).  So, Mathew had direct personal information; but even so, he was not walking around with a notepad writing down every word and deed of Jesus.  The preaching of the Gospels came first, then, years later, came the writing of the Gospels.

It is important to have explained this because we can have a perspective not only from languages such as Hebrew, Greek, or Latin, but also from the Aramaic language that Jesus spoke. The Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic is translated into English as follows:

(Aramaic is to be read right to left).

ܘܠܐ ܬܥܠܢ ܠܢܣܝܘܢܐ ܐܠܐ ܦܨܢ ܡܢ ܒܝܫܐ ܡܛܠ ܕܕܝܠܟ ܗܝ ܡܠܟܘܬܐ ܘܚܝܠܐ ܘܬܫܒܘܚܬܐ

ܠܥܠܡ ܥܠܡܝܢ

“And don’t let us enter into nesyuna {testing}”

https://theholyaramaicscriptures.weebly.com/mat-6.html

It can also be translated as:

“Not bring us into trial”

https://theeffect.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Lordpryr.pdf

These particular translations, “do not let us enter into testing” or “not bring us into trial” fit both English translations as “do not let us fall into temptation” AND “lead us not into temptation”. It can be interpreted both ways.

Now, the way to express the same message in different ways happened even with the holy writers of Sacred Scripture as well!  We are able to see this as we read the fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer.

Matthew wrote his Gospel most likely in Hebrew. Luke wrote it in Greek (For more information see The Writing of the Gospels and Biblical Inerrancy).

In the fifth petition, Matthew refers to our debts. It is translated as “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors (Mathew 6:12). Whereas, Luke refers to our sins. It is translated as “And forgive us our sins, since we also forgive all who are indebted to us” (Luke 11:4).

The Gospel of Matthew was written first and he was an eye-witness of Jesus. Luke wrote later and he was not an eye-witness but he consulted the early Christians (Luke 1:1-4). Did one of the holy writers mistranslate the fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer from the Aramaic, or from the words spoken by Jesus? Of course not! As explained above, different translations can express the same meaning. So, in this case, it can be written or translated in both ways and both ways express the same message that Jesus intended. We know that both, Matthew and Luke wrote infallibly; therefore, there is nothing wrong with God using different words to express the same message.

Jesus relates sins with debts as we learn when a sinful woman was forgiven by Him and He told ‘the parable of a moneylender (or creditor) and two people who owed him’ to the Pharisee Simon (Luke 7:36-48).  Therefore, the two ways of transmitting such fifth petition (in Matthew and Luke) are correct for they express the same message.

Yet when we pray The Our Father we don’t generally say “sins” or “debts”, we say “trespasses”: “and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” which, nevertheless, expresses the same meaning that Jesus taught us.

Now, the Didache (also known as “The Lord’s Teaching Through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations”) which is the most ancient catechism we have since it is from the first century and was highly regarded to be part of Sacred Scripture, also teaches the Lord’s Prayer. In its 8th Chapter, the fifth petition can be translated as “debts” and the sixth petition can also be translated as:

“bring us not into temptation (or trial)”
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/didache.html

In the late fourth century, by the commission of Pope St. Damasus I, St. Jerome translated the Bible into Latin. His work is known as the Latin Vulgate version (there were other Latin versions prior to his). Centuries later, the Council of Trent, in its Fourth Session, approved the Vulgate as the Church’s official Latin Bible.

The Vulgate translation states as follows:

“Et ne nos inducas in tentationem” which can be translated as “lead us not into temptation” or “do not induce us into temptation”.

Therefore, after analyzing various translations, both, “lead us not into temptation” or “do not let us fall into temptation” are acceptable translations.

As seen in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke, it is acceptable to God to express the same intended meaning in different words.

Nevertheless, our Holy Father Pope Francis considers that “do not let us fall into temptation” is a more accurate translation of what Jesus meant to say. [ix]

Now, there should not be any controversy regarding the Pope’s preference, for both, the Catholic and the Protestant world have different translations of this very same passage in their Bibles and there have not been any alarm, jumping around or loudly saying that one version has “changed” the Lord’s Prayer.

In Protestantism:

There are some Protestant scholars who have translated a Bible edition that basically agree with Pope Francis’ preferred translation of this particular petition. Their translation is basically the same.  The New Living Translation, which in 2014 was ranked as the second most popular English version of the Bible based on unit sales by the ChristianBooksellers Association [x], reads:

“And don’t let us yield to temptation”

This translation is very close to the Pope’s preference. And no, this version has not “changed” the Word of God in this passage.

Furthermore, other translations have been worded differently:

“And do not bring us into temptation” – Christian Standard Bible

“Keep us from being tempted” – Contemporary English Version

“Do not bring us to hard testing” – Good News Translation

“And never bring us into temptation” – International Standard Version

Among others.

In Catholicism:

Scholars who translated the Spanish version of the New Jerusalem Bible state the following regarding Matthew 6:13 in one of their footnotes:

“Lit: “do not subdue”. The proposed translation is mistaken. God -does- subdue us to the test, but He does not tempt anyone (James. 1:12; 1 Cor 10:13). Neither the Greek nor the Vulgata translate the permissive sense of the Aramaic verb employed by Jesus “let fall” and not “make fall”. Since the first centuries, many latin manuscripts replaced “ne nos inducas” (“do not subdue us”) by “ne nos patiaris induci” (“do not let that we be subdued”). What we ask God is that He free us from the Tempter and what we pray is that we do not fall into temptation (see Matthew 26:41), into apostasy, that is.” [xi]

So we see that there is not only one way to translate this petition.

The numeral 2846 of the Catechism reads:

“This petition goes to the root of the preceding one, for our sins result from our consenting to temptation; we therefore ask our Father not to “lead” us into temptation. It is difficult to translate the Greek verb used by a single English word: the Greek means both “do not allow us to enter into temptation” and “do not let us yield to temptation.”150 “God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one”;151 on the contrary, he wants to set us free from evil. We ask him not to allow us to take the way that leads to sin. We are engaged in the battle “between flesh and spirit”; this petition implores the Spirit of discernment and strength.”

Notice that the Catechism teaches that this particular passage is difficult to translate and can be translated into different ways. No Catholic should be “annoyed” “upset” or “alarmed” by Pope Francis’ preference unless such Catholic has been missing what the Catechism teaches on this subject.

The Compendium of the Catechism teaches:

“596. What does “Lead us not into temptation” mean?

 We ask God our Father not to leave us alone and in the power of temptation. We ask the Holy Spirit to help us know how to discern, on the one hand, between a trial that makes us grow in goodness and a temptation that leads to sin and death and, on the other hand, between being tempted and consenting to temptation. This petition unites us to Jesus who overcame temptation by his prayer. It requests the grace of vigilance and of final perseverance.

It is interesting that this very same numeral is translated to the equivalent of “do not let us fall into temptation” in the Spanish version of the Compendium. But in any case, the answer given to this question fits perfectly well to Pope Francis’ preferred translation as well.

No, but the tradition of saying the Lord’s Prayer the way we have been saying for centuries is fine, let’s not confuse us with more changes.

First, let’s not idolize traditions for they are subject to change (small “t” traditions) no matter how lengthy they are. Jesus ended Jewish traditions that lasted for much more than a thousand years such as not eating pork, not touching something unclean, circumcision, among other rules and regulations concerning purity and holiness.  Some Jewish heroes even died accomplishing these disciplinary Mosaic laws (1 Maccabees 1:48-51) (1 Maccabees 1:62 ff) (2 Maccabees 2:21-22).  The Church, however, is guided by God.

The Catechism teaches: “The Father’s self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church: “God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. and the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church – and through her in the world – leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness.” – (CCC # 79).

Jesus teaches that the “Spirit inspires where He wills. You hear His voice, but you do not know where He comes from, or where He is going. So it is with all who are born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).  Therefore, we can trust in being led by God wherever He wants to lead us through His Church and let’s not be stuck into one place for there is the danger of the temptation of not getting out of our comfort zone when God calls us to move out.

Small t official Church’s traditions are good in themselves but they are subject to change. God gave a ‘good’ to Abraham, his son Isaac.  But then God ordered him to kill his son. This was a test for Abraham, but it is also a lesson for all of us, not to idolize the goods that God gives us. Abraham actually went to the point of killing Isaac in his fatherly heart, for if it was not for the Angel who stopped him, Abraham would have killed Isaac physically too. We too, must “kill” any tradition, memory, nostalgia or attachment, even religious attachments, that are in the way of God’s will for us in our times.  We must not idolize our understanding either for they are not infallible.

Second, there should not be any confusion for anyone who has Faith. Only the arrogant who thinks that his understanding is infallible will get confused, but the humble who goes along with God’s will in his life, will not get confused, even if he does not fully understand everything.

In defense of Pope Francis’ preferred translation against the attacks of those who say that he is wrong:

In Matthew 4:1, we read that “Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert, in order to be tempted by the devil.”

“The Spirit” is no other than the Spirit of God who is God Himself. Therefore, though God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone (James 1:13 – CCC # 2846), He can lead us to be tempted in order to be tested (See also Exodus 16:4, Deuteronomy 8:2). God permits temptation but He does not tempt.  Now, this “lead us” does not mean “throwing us” into temptation. No.  Rather, He is “accompanying us”.  For God is with us every time, even at the moment of trial, God does not want us to fall.

Despite being nothing inherently wrong with “lead us not into temptation”, saying it with our current English dialect, can give the impression that we are asking God not to do what He sometimes wills (as seen in Matthew 4:1). But when we say “do not let us fall into temptation”, seems more evident that we are asking God to give us more actual graces in order for us to be strengthened at the moment of trial and thus not to fall into temptation.

Analogy: A man is at the edge of a deep cliff and behind him is coming an immense torrent of water going towards him which will push him hard into that cliff so that he falls if he stays there. He asks God for help. God helps him by means of sending him men in a helicopter and those men throw a rope ladder towards him in order for him to grab it and be saved. The man has free will. If he grabs the rope ladder, he will not fall into that cliff. But if he does not, the torrent will push him into that cliff and he will fall.

Similarly, when we ask God not to let us fall into temptation, we are asking God to send us more actual graces (and other Providential helping means) in order for us to “grab” those graces and avoid occasions of sin and do not fall into those traps (a deep cliff is analogous of mortal sin). IF despite receiving more actual graces, we do not “grab” those graces, we’ll end up falling into those traps.

As read above, the Compendium teaches us “This petition unites us to Jesus who overcame temptation by his prayer” (# 596). The point is to overcome temptation. Jesus was led by God (“the Spirit”) to the desert to be tempted (Matthew 4:1), but He overcame temptation by praying.

[1 Corinthians]
{10:13} Temptation should not take hold of you, except what is human. For God is faithful, and he will not permit you to be tempted beyond your ability. Instead, he will effect his Providence, even during temptation, so that you may be able to bear it.

Notice that St. Paul teaching implies that God that does permit temptation – but not beyond our ability.  Temptations are evident in this life, they come.  We are not going to avoid all temptations but we are to overcome them.  God permits temptation so that we realize that we are not gods, that we depend on Him, that we depend on His help every day in order to conquer temptation. That’s why we ought to pray the Lord’s Prayer every day “Give us this day our daily bread”.

At the Garden of Gethsemane, after Jesus found His Apostles sleeping, He told them:

[Matthew]
{26:41} Be vigilant and pray, so that you may not enter into temptation. Indeed, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

So we see that it is God’s will that we pray that we may not enter (or “fall”) into temptation for though the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak.

Since it is Jesus’ will that we pray that we do not enter into temptation, there is nothing wrong by saying on the sixth petition “do not let us fall into temptation”, for it expresses the same thing of what God wills for us to ask.

Conclusion:

Either translation is good, “lead us not into temptation” or “do not let us fall into temptation”, but as Catholics, we are bound under the authority that God has given to Peter. The Pope has not ordered to make the change in the English language thus far, but IF he ever does so, though we may not agree to a limited extent with some of the Pope’s prudential order decisions (basing such limited faithful dissent on Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium); nonetheless, it is not our role to judge the Pope [xii] but to be subject to his authority.

The Catechism of Saint Pius X teaches:

53 Q. Why is the Roman Pontiff the Visible Head of the Church?
A. The Roman Pontiff is the Visible Head of the Church because he visibly governs her with the authority of Jesus Christ Himself, who is her invisible Head.

54 Q. What, then, is the dignity of the Pope?
A. The dignity of the Pope is the greatest of all dignities on earth, and gives him supreme and immediate power over all and each of the Pastors and of the faithful.

62 Q.How should every Catholic act towards the Pope?
A.Every Catholic must acknowledge the Pope as Father, Pastor, and Universal Teacher, and be united with him in mind and heart.

Any Catholic who does not abide to these teachings regarding the Pope has become a Protestant in mind and heart. And I don’t mean like our current separated brothers and sisters from different Christian denominations because they were simply born into their different denomination beliefs and are not really “protesting” as the originators of Protestantism did back in the sixteen century.  I mean like the originators of Protestantism who sinned gravely for detaching themselves from the Vine. But a good catechized Catholic, someone who has already professed his or her Faith (which includes to be faithful to the Pope), rejects the teaching authority of the Pope, does not treat him with reverence (for the dignity of the Pope is the greatest on earth), is really protesting and separating himself or herself from the Head of the Church who works through His main representative, the visible head of the Church, the Pope.

-Francisco Figueroa.

[i] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqvP1q5JXV8

[ii] 27 Q. Can there be any error in Holy Scripture? – Catechism of Saint Pius X

[iii] “Codex” refers to an ancient manuscript.

[iv] Our Church teaches that the Lord’s prayer has seven petitions (CCC # 2803 2865, Compendium of the CCC # 587).

[v] Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani (Ἠλί, Ἠλί, λιμὰ σαβαχθανί) – Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34 – “Overall, both versions appear to be Aramaic rather than Hebrew because of the verb שבק (šbq) “abandon”, which is originally Aramaic.” – (Source).

[vi] St. Jerome states that Matthew was originally written in Hebrew and that the Hebrew version of Matthew was still in use during his time, and that there were copies in various places, including the library gathered at Caesarea by Pamphilius. Bishop Eusebius, who wrote a famous book of Church history, studied at Caesarea under Pamphilius, also states that Matthew was originally written in Hebrew.  Saint Epiphanius of Salamis also states in his work “Panarion”, when speaking about the Nazoreans (Nazarenes sect), that Matthew was originally written in Hebrew in its entirety (Panarion Source – Pg. 130; 9,4).

[vii] The Case for Jesus – Are the Gospels Biographies? – by Dr. Brant Pitre, pg. 81.

[viii] “For example, the ancient Greek historian Thucydides makes clear that when he is recording the speeches that were given during the Peloponnesian War, he is not necessarily giving a verbatim account:” – The Case for Jesus – Are the Gospels Biographies? – by Dr. Brant Pitre, pg. 81. See also Jesus of Nazareth – by Pope Benedict XVI, 1229.

 [ix] It has been reported: “The current wording that says “lead us not into temptation” is not a good translation because God does not lead humans to sin, he says.”… “The pontiff said France’s Roman Catholic Church was now using the new wording “do not let us fall into temptation” as an alternative, and something similar should be used worldwide. Do not let me fall into temptation because it is I who fall, it is not God who throws me into temptation and then sees how I fell, “A father does not do that, a father helps you to get up immediately.”– (Source).

[x] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Living_Translation

[xi] Nueva Biblia de Jerusalén Revisada y Aumentada, Desclée De Brouwer; footnote 6 13 (a) pg. 1431, translated by Francisco Figueroa from the Spanish.

[xii] Unam Sanctam; Fifth Lateran Council; Canon Law 1404 “The First See is judged by no one”.

 

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5 Responses to Is Pope Francis trying to change the Lord’s Prayer?

  1. Alessandro Arsuffi says:

    Dear Ron, thanks for this wonderful post. I’m here to add something to this subject because I guess we need to see it from another perspective. I’m an Italian, and the change to the Our Father has become an important issue because our Episcopal Conference recently decided to embed into the Roman Missal a new translation of the Lord’s Prayer, taking it directly from the new Lectionary, which reads: “E non abbandonarci alla tentazione”. Literally, that means “And do not abandon us in to temptation”. Many people rebelled at this decision, but I understand the policy of the Italian Episcopal Conference to align the two translations: it was quite odd to listen to a very different translation when hearing the Gospel! Also, Italian verb “indurre” mostly has a negative meaning. Probably under the influence of a misunderstanding of the Lord’s Prayer, presently “indurre” stands for “instigate”, and it would be sinful to accuse God of instigating us to be tempted!

    It must be also repeated that the change preceded the govern of Pope Francis: the Lectionary has been into use since 2008, when “conservative” (so they say!) Pope Benedict XVI was in charge. Also, the translation was chosen to express a double meaning that is lost in every Western language. Latin verb “induco” stands for the Greek word eisphero, which in the Lord’s Prayer is in the form “eisenenkes”. Interestingly, this is an aorist tense, meaning that the action is taken as it is, without a specific aspectual connotation attached to it. If the Biblical author meant “do not lead us into temptation” (asking God to prevent us from falling into temptation), he would have used the perfect aspect that means a complete action; if he meant to help us get out of our sins after we fall into temptation, he would have used a imperfect aspect, meaning an action in progress. On the contrary, God inspired the Biblical author to translate Christ’s words with an aorist, which preserves both meanings, as if he said “Do not let us fall into temptation but, if we fall, just help us get up again”.

    No doubt that the new Italian version is less literal, but it’s got the great catechetical merit to give us this complete meaning. Italian verb “abbandonare” comes from French and stands for “à ban donner”, so its literal meaning would be “Don’t leave us at the mercy of temptation”. I believe that this translation, which was agreed upon by both conservative & progessivist Biblical scholars, is the right choice for the Italian language.

  2. Mark Ayerle says:

    Hi Ron, you said…”Many have tried to bring forth one sole definitive version of the Bible, but all have failed – for such is not the will of God. God has not permitted it”

    Wasn’t the Latin Vulgate declared inspired and infallible at the Council of Trent? Would that not be considered a sole definitive version of the Bible? Also, does the encyclical by Pius XII contradict Trent in any way?

    We live in very confusing times right now. I own many bibles, from a Douay Rheims to a New Living Translation and everything in between. I think I need to settle down and commit to one. What bible translation would you recommend?

    • Ron Conte says:

      I don’t recommend using only one translation. Better insight is found in comparing different wordings.. There was no single Latin edition of the Bible at Trent. The Clementine Vulgate came many years later. So Trent was referring to the Latin scriptural tradition, rather than to any particular edition.

    • The Council of Trent did not decree that the Vulgate is the ‘only’ official Catholic Bible. At that time there were many versions circulating that were not approved by the Church which were harming the faithful with erroneous translations. Trent approved the Vulgate because it was faithful to Catholic teaching. The Church regarded this version to be, in public lectures, disputations, sermons, expositions, to be held as authentic Catholic Bible and no one to reject it as could be done with other non-approved versions. If the Vulgate were the only -sole- version, the Church would not be approving other versions even in Latin.

      One of the reasons that there is not only one sole and definitive version of the Bible is because the Word of God can be expressed in many ways, it has different levels of meaning so they cannot be contained in one sole version with our limited languages, though one Catholic version can contain the majority of the truths. As Ron said, it is better to compare different wordings among the Catholic Bibles.

    • Mark Ayerle says:

      My apologies, I thought Ron had written this article but thanks for answering. I hadn’t thought of it like that. I always thought the Church declared it “THE” official bible. I won’t feel as guilty reading the NABRE now!

      Thanks also for this blog. It’s one of my “go to” sites each day to balance out the so called “traditionalist” sites I visit, as I try to find my way during these confusing times. This blog has pulled me back from the brink many times!

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