The Pope Changes The Lord’s Prayer: Will God Be Pleased?

Over 2,000 years ago Jesus taught us a prayer. It is set out in both in Matthew 6 and Luke 11. Here are the pertinent passages from the Catholic Bible.

Matthew 6:  “But thou when thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret, and thy father who seeth in secret will repay thee. . . . Thus therefore shall you pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our supersubstantial bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. Amen. “

Luke 11: ” . . . one of his disciples said to him: Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said to them: When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation. . . .”

The Pope said the words: “lead us not into temptation” are not a good translation. He suggests we now use the words: “do not let us fall into temptation.” He went on to explain: “I am the one who falls. It’s not him pushing me into temptation to then see how I have fallen. A father doesn’t do that, a father helps you to get up immediately. It’s Satan who leads us into temptation, that’s his department.”

So, as I understand it, we have been telling God not to lead us into temptation while all the time it has been the Devil who has been doing it. That seems a pretty fundamental error to have been making all these years in saying the Our Father.

Catholic scholars support the Pope’s change.  Thomas Stegman, S.J., a Biblical scholar at Boston College reminded us the original was in Greek and the Greek  original Greek word for testing or temptation is “peirasmos. He said, “However, if one understands peirasmos as enticement to sin, then the pope’s recommendation, in my opinion, is not only theologically sound but also exegetically defensible.” 

Catholic magazines and papers oppose and support the change.

I look at in light of Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 3, where Hamlet sees Claudius praying. Claudius says: “My words fly up toward heaven, but my thoughts stay down here on earth. Words without thoughts behind them will never make it to heaven.” This is pretty much in line what Jesus said in Matthew 6 before giving his disciples the words to the prayer: “Be not you therefore like to [Heathen] for your Father knoweth what is needful for you, before you ask him”

The pope and the church scholars seem to forget that we are praying to God. The Church teaches he is omniscient. He knows all things even those deep secrets hidden in the darkest recesses of your heart. He knows what we are going to do before we do it. As Claudius noted he knows when your prayers are blather.

The pope suggesting that the Devil leads us into temptation diminishes the power of God. For Catholics were taught God is omnipotent. Nothing can be done if God is all-powerful without his consent. The Devil could not lead us into temptation unless God first let the Evil One do it. So the present words “lead us not into temptation” are more correct.

The bottom line though is that we don’t know what language the original gospels, who wrote them, or when they were written.  Aside from that doesn’t this trivialize God by suggesting that He would prefer certain words in a prayer over others? Sometimes it is fine to leave good enough alone.

16 thoughts on “The Pope Changes The Lord’s Prayer: Will God Be Pleased?

  1. Anyway, that great Irish Playwright said it best about temptation and the human spirit when he wrote the following around the turn of the last century (circa 1890-) …….and he recognized God made us human beings, Adam and Eve, Man and Woman, Homo Sapiens, not Angels . . . .he wrote, “I can resist anything but temptation.”

    Scripture says the GOOD person “falls seven times a day.”

    I’m not so good. I fall about twenty times a day. But I keep on getting up. Like Jim Morrison of the Doors sang. “Don’t wallow in the mire.” Just keep on getting up. Forgive yourself, too, seventy times seven times.

    And always remember, through thick and thin, to have FUN!

  2. The Our Father is classic, literary, and should stay as it is. We get its drift without clumsy re-writing by modernists. Plus that great novel, The Power and the Glory, by Graham Greene.
    Plus the King James version of the Psalms was much more lyrical, artistic, than any clumsy re-phrasings by modernists.
    The Lord is My Shepherd. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside still waters; he restoreth my soul.
    Majestic and Lyrical.
    Leave well enough alone.

    Moreover, throughout scripture are references to God “testing” . . .testing people makes them smarter, stronger, as scientists test materials in labs to improve them.

    lead us, not into temptation, but deliver us from evil

    Put a comma into the phrase, if it puzzles you . .

    Or leave it as is: Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil . . .BEAUTIFUL

        1. Abe, nice post. Visit Ireland. I did so with my brothers. We hit about 20 of the southern 26 counties. True Beauty. History back to the pre-history, stone-age temples which “caught the sun in flight”, older than Egypt’s pyramids.

          I also met Ronan Tynan, personally, and shook his hand, at Boston College . . .I met him first coming through the Gate on Linden Lane off Comm Ave, then chatted briefly with him after he had given a two hour teaching lesson to a series of 20 Boston College students, opera singers, chorale singers, theater-arts singers, and he was a disciplinarian with a sense of humor. The students and small audience loved him . . .a good man imparting his knowledge freely. I recall he was teaching full time at a university in Tennessee or Kentucky, and said he’d be back to visit BC again.
          So, visit Ireland, the land and its people.

          1. I must go, Bill, and I will. I had a trip planned years ago that fell through. My wife has been there. My sister married a Walsh from Dorchester and they went to Ireland on their honeymoon.

            Ronan Tynan has the kind of voice that raises goosebumps. Many people that see him don’t realize that he is a double amputee with gold medals won at the Paralympic Games.

  3. It occurred to me that while I uttered the Lord’s Prayer hundreds (thousands?) of times as a youth, I have never given any real thought to its meaning! I just recited it by rote, zombie-like I suppose. I think the Pope has a point. But I’m past caring. The “old” version is fine and dandy too.

    1. I see Catherine Greig is being transferred to a halfway house on Cape Cod. Happy to see that this standup lady is finally tasting freedom. All of the gangsters in this long, sad saga turned into rats. The only folks who didn’t talk weren’t gangsters at all, the gal pal and the FBI agent (John Connolly). It’s certainly ending weirdly for me. I never dreamed that I’d wind up wanting justice for Jimmy Bulger, but I hope the nitwits at the Bureau of Prisons charge his killers and ship them off to that supermax in Colorado. I also never dreamed I’d be backing freedom for John Connolly, but I am. Here’s hoping he gets to spend a few years with his family ….

  4. to bad translations….I managed to get the better of the old “dona ferentes”…Beware of Greeks bearing gifts….. when I came up with………………………. “Beware of gifts bearing Greeks!”
    I only graduated because of a clerical error when Fr. Keane entered B rather than F…..but I am far too long in the tooth to alter my Lord’s Prayer now….if angels finish our prayers when we are too tired, then I have faith that the good Lord will understand my wobbly ones!

      1. The one and same….I escaped in 1965 and, along with 3 others dared apostasy by heading to BU rather than BC. Holy Cross ( Batman) or Georgetown…the Dean of Disciple, Father Ochs (? of SP) invited me to his office and told me B C High did not recognize BU and I, in my first squelch aloud to an adult, replied, ‘Father, it’s all those brown buildings on the right when you come out of Kenmore!” Father Keane was okay but you might recall the dreaded “Reading of the Grades” Still find it hard to believe they did THAT! AMDG

  5. I suppose we could be thankful he didn’t bring back “Holy Ghost” for the third person-hood.

  6. I didn’t think God needed an editor.

    “God’s work on Earth must truly be our own.” Now, who the heck said that?

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