Sunday, December 10, 2017

Lead Us Not Into Tempation

Pope Francis Asking For A Change to the Our Father?

Pope Francis has stated that the words we say, "...lead us not into temptation," is a poor translation. He favors what the French, Spanish and Italians have already begun changing to, "Do not let us fall into temptation" (Spanish), "Do not abandon us to temptation" (Italian), "Do not let us enter into temptation" (French).

The key word here in the Greek is "eisenènkes" - which literally translates to "do not take us inside." So, while what Pope Francis is proposing may be theologically desirable - it would not be quite accurate to say "lead us not into temptation" is a poor translation - literally speaking, "lead us not into temptation" is the more literal translation. (Kington, 2017).

Found on, (n.d.) we find these translations:

The Lord's Prayer 











Pater hêmôn ho en toes ouranoes;
hagiasthêtô to onoma sou; 
elthetô hê basileia sou; 
genêthêtô to thelêma sou,
hôs en ouranô, kae epi tês gês. 
ton arton hêmôn ton epiousion dos hêmin sêmeron; 
kae aphes hêmin ta opheilêmata hêmôn, 
hôs kae hêmeis aphiemen toes opheiletaes hêmôn;
kae mê eisenenkês hêmas eis peirasmon, 
alla rhysae hêmas apo tou ponerou. 
hoti sou estin hê basileia kae hê dynamis kae hê doxa eis tous aeônas; 

While we can speculate on what an original Aramaic, primary source, may look like - the fact is, we do not have any Aramaic autographs available to us. Eusebius does quote there was such a version in the Early Church, we just have no copies of an original Aramaic version.

From Catholic Answers we find these quotes:

Around 180 Irenaeus of Lyons wrote that
Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching in Rome and laying the foundation of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon his breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia. (Against Heresies 3:1:1)
Fifty years earlier Papias, bishop of Hieropolis in Asia Minor, wrote, 
"Matthew compiled the sayings [of the Lord] in the Aramaic language, and everyone translated them as well as he could" (Explanation of the Sayings of the Lord [cited by Eusebius in History of the Church 3:39]).
Sometime after 244 the Scripture scholar Origen wrote,
"Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew, who was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism and published in the Hebrew language" (Commentaries on Matthew [cited by Eusebius in History of the Church 6:25]).
Eusebius himself declared that
"Matthew had begun by preaching to the Hebrews, and when he made up his mind to go to others too, he committed his own Gospel to writing in his native tongue [Aramaic], so that for those with whom he was no longer present the gap left by his departure was filled by what he wrote" (History of the Church 3:24 [inter 300-325]).
The bottom line here, while the existence of an Aramaic original for the Book of Matthew is quite likely, the oldest extant versions of Matthew we have are in Greek. Speculation on what an Aramaic original might say is purely that - speculation.  According to the Greek, the more literal translation, where St. Jerome translated the Latin "Pater Noster" and the word in Latin is  “inducere,” which means “bring in.” It is from here that we get the English translation we're most familiar with:
Matthew 6:9-13Douay-Rheims Thus therefore shall you pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.11 Give us this day our (daily) bread.12 And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.13 And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. Amen.  (BibleGateway, n.d.)
The Douay-Rheims was first published in 1582 and the popular King James Version (KJV) came out 29 years later in 1611. The two versions are virtually identical, except the KJV adds "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever" which was actually a copyist/scribe addition, not found in the Greek (modern and more accurate versions leave this part out).

Taking this all into consideration - one of the reasons stated, "in a TV interview this week, Pope Francis said that the line asking God to “Lead us not into temptation,” or in Italian, “non indurci in tentazione,” should be changed because it has been translated badly" (Kington, 2017). This is not really a good justification for the translation we're all accustomed to is quite literal and accurate.

Another reason Pope Francis gives is the theological meaning. "It is Satan who leads us into temptation - that's his department" (Kington, 2017). I can handle that sort of rationalization, but why? Why would we change the wording which is so widely accepted throughout Christendom (Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant)? 

Can the Pope Unilaterally Change the Mass?

Does the pope have the right/authority to change the wording used in the Mass?  Certainly he does. Wording has been changed many times throughout history, most recently under Pope Benedict XVI where the wording of the Consecration and the Credo were changed (back) to the more literal, accurate and traditional translations (The Consecration went back to "for many" instead of "for all" in the Consecration of the Blood of Christ; the Credo went back to "I believe..." instead of "We believe..."). There were other changes too under Pope Benedict XVI. Even the Novus Ordo Missae itself was not a product of the Second Vatican Council, rather it was a product of Pope Paul VI, several years after the council had concluded. There are several debating points here which I will not get into at this time - the point is, the pope does have the authority to make changes to the liturgy. That being said, local bishops still have authority within their respective jurisdictions to determine which form of the Mass has their licit permission to be said. 

My concluding thought here...  

Even though the pope does indeed have this authority, should he invoke it here on the widely accepted form of the Our Father?

And from a fellow apologist, Jimmy Akin, he has a few choice words on this subject too...  that the media has blown this all out of proportion and that Pope Francis is not calling for a change to the Our Father - it was simply a comment he made in a television interview (in Italian, and he has it linked on his site). Jimmy's point is that we don't need to be all worked up about this. It is largely (false) media hype. (Akin, 2017). I will add though, while Pope Francis may not have made a call to change the Our Father, he has stated his approval for such a change and, as it has been pointed out, the Italian, French and Spanish have already implemented the change he approves of.


Akin, Jimmy. (December, 2017). No, Pope Francis is Not
        Changing the Lord's Prayer. Retrieved December 10, 
        2017 from 

BibleGateway. (n.d.). Retrieved December 9, 2017, from

Catholic Answers, (August 4, 2011). Was Matthew's Gospel 
         First Written in Aramaic or Hebrew? Retrieved on 
         December 9, 2017 from                     

Kington, Tom. Pope Francis suggests rewording the Lord's
         Prayer. The problem? 'Lead us not into temptation'. 
         LA Times, December 8, 2017. Retrieved on December 
         9, 2017 from, n.d.. The Lord's Prayer. Retrieved 
         on December 9, 2017 from 

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