The Vatican under Pope Francis will soon be implementing a change to the Lord’s Prayer, also known as the Pater Noster, switching out the line “lead us not into temptation” for the Francis-approved “abandon us not into temptation.”
According to the U.K.’s Express, the change to the Lord’s Prayer comes after 16 years of research by experts who found a mistake in the current translation “from a theological, pastoral and stylistic viewpoint.” It has been translated into literally hundreds of languages from the original texts in ancient Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic.
Last year around Christmas, Pope Francis spoke of his desire to update the “lead us not into temptation” part of the Lord’s Prayer, arguing that it portrays God in a false light. “A father does not lead into temptation, a father helps you to get up immediately,” the Pope said at the time.
“It is not a good translation because it speaks of a God who induces temptation,” he added.
Pope Francis also asserted that other translations had already been changed to correct mistakes and to modernize the language. “The French have modified the prayer to ‘do not let me fall into temptation’, because it is me who falls, not the Lord who tempts me to then see how I fall,” he said.
The Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles explored why the original translation may actually be the correct one by adhering to the ancient Greek word peirasmos:
While peirasmos, the word for “temptation” in Ancient Greek, may be open to alternate interpretations, who precisely does the leading is not. Peirasmos connotes not only “temptation” but also “trial” and “testing,” as in “to test one’s mettle.” It is in all of these senses, two paragraphs before St. Matthew relates the prayer, that Jesus is “led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be [tempted/tested] by the Devil.” In both cases, while the Devil does the tempting, God leads the way to the trial.
Just why God might lead his faithful into temptation or testing poses a difficult theology question if not an outright mystery.
Defenders of the apparent change say that the new language simply switches out the literal translations so that modern ears may not get the wrong impression. Jimmy Akin argued at National Catholic Register that the current translation already has a change from the original Greek text, so Pope Francis is actually doing nothing radical, as others have asserted:
The previous petition in the standard Catholic version reads “and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
That’s not what the Greek literally says.
It says, ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors’ (Matt. 6:12).
Debts are a Semitic metaphor for sins, and the English translators have rendered this non-literally as ‘trespasses’ to make the concept clearer to English-speakers.
Luke did the same thing for Greek-speakers in his version of the Lord’s Prayer, where this petition reads, ‘and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us’ (Luke 11:4).
Spanish-speaking Catholics have already seen a change to the Lord’s Prayer; the line ‘forgive us our trespasses’ to ‘forgive us our mistakes.’
A representative from the Episcopal Conference said that new publication of the Pater Noster will “renew the ecclesiastic community.”
“The Bishops intend for the publication of the new edition to be an opportunity to help renew the ecclesiastic community,” said the rep, reports Express. “Liturgical reforms are just a starting point. The renewal shall include ordained ministers, as well as the believers.”
“Developments like these are becoming increasingly crucial in the process of Christian initiation, in workshops and in proposals for the permanent training of the clergy,” the rep added.