Vatican Corner 06-22-2019

Among the best known Christian prayers is the Lord’s Prayer or the Our Father, and it is found in the Bible in Matthew 6:9- 13. It has been translated from the Latin vulgate, which was translated from ancient Greek, which was translated from Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus. For some 16 years, experts have been studying the biblical text of the Lord’s Prayer, and have decided that “from a theological, pastoral and stylistic viewpoint,” the centuries-old wording is translated incorrectly. At issue is the word peirasmos which means both to tempt and to be tested, and the verse is “Lead us not into temptation.” Pope Francis has argued for several years that the current wording is “not a good translation,” neither in English, Italian, nor some other languages. He has said 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.” The experts have determined that the verse: Is better translation as “Abandon us not when in temptation. And yet It has been pointed out the God does not abandon us either, since Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” An opposing interpretation of the verse is that the Lord submits us to the test, to prove if we are faithful. Supporters of this interpretation point to a number of times Sacred Scripture explains that God introduces or test those whom He loves. Emeritus Pope Benedict has written that when we pray the Our Father, we must therefore, on the one hand, be ready to take upon ourselves the burden of trials that is meted out to us. On the other hand, the object of the petition is to ask God not to mete out more than we can bear, not to let us slip from his hands. Anyway, as a result of this long study the Vatican and Pope Francis have decided to approve a new translation of the prayer. The debate about the Lord’s Prayer is not a new one according to Dr. Corne Bekker of the Regent University School of Divinity. He says it comes up for discussion at least every hundred years or so. In the last official translation of the Bible into Italian in 2008 the verse was changed to “and do not abandon us to temptation,” although the change did not make it into the Mass texts. In Spain and other Spanish-speaking lands, the translation of the verse is currently “not let us fall into temptation.” Belgium currently translates the verse: “bring us not to the test.” In 2017 France adopted similar wording to the Spanish translation and the change went over fairly smoothly. Many French parishes passed out sheets containing the new French text, with the changed words in bold. Some observers have speculated that In November of 2018, Pope Francis more or less strong-armed the Italian bishops into modifying the translation of the prayer in the Italian Mass text. The German church has announced that they will stay with the current translation and not change. A theologian speaking about the matter said that changes to a prayer’s wording can pose some risk. People learn this prayer by heart as children. If you tweak the translation, you risk disrupting the pattern of communal prayer. You may also be playing fast and loose with Christ’s own words.