Pope Francis has given the ancient Lord’s Prayer an update – indicating that he felt followers of the Catholic faith had been led into mistranslation.
Devout Catholics will need to recycle their Bibles after the pontiff ordered the change to the line ending: “and lead us not into temptation.”
Francis said it had been poorly translated and in its current form implied that followers could be tempted to sin by God.
The Pope changed the line to “do not let us fall into temptation” after it was approved by the General Assembly of the Episcopal Conference of Italy on May 22.
According to reports in the Catholic Press the Pope has said the wording of the verse is “not a good translation”: “A father doesn’t do that [‘lead us not into temptation’], a father helps you to get up immediately,”
Francis said. “It’s Satan who leads us into temptation, that’s his department.”
The latest interpretation of the ancient text is not without controversy – as some Catholics felt the Pope had overstepped his authority.
At the time the Pope indicated his support for the verse changes in 2017, key conservative evangelicals criticised the Pope’s support for the revised version.
Philip F. Lawler, editor of Catholic World News summed up the opposition to the move in comments to the New York Times , saying that while the translation of the line “isn’t unreasonable,” if Francis actually intends to change the prayer, “it’s very upsetting” because it is so deeply ingrained for Catholics.
“Pope Francis has made a habit of saying things that throw people into confusion, and this is one of them,” he said. “It just makes you wonder, where does it stop, what’s up for grabs. It’s cumulative unease.”
President Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti announced the approval of the revised line.
It will appear in the third edition of the Messale Ramano, the liturgical book that contains the guiding texts for Mass in the Roman Catholic Church. The key verse appears in the Book of Matthew (6:13) and has been the focus of expert research for decades, as some raised questions over the current translation in use.
French Catholics adopted the change in late 2017, and it was widely predicted Italian Catholics would follow suit.
Pope Francis signalled his support for the change that year, also giving an Italian Catholic TV channel his own interpretation of the line.
“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,” he told TV2000.
The change to the verse does not affect Anglican or Protestant worshippers, who use different texts.