Pope Francis attacks the Evil One: Retranslating the Lord’s Prayer


Judas, possessed by the Evil One, betrays Jesus in the Battle

I think it’s great to see the Holy Father, Pope Francis, wonderfully micro-manage the translation of the Lord’s prayer in English, which isn’t his first language, acting with the immediacy of his pastoral mandate anywhere and everywhere in the Church. Some denigrate this as his being a dictator, but I think we should praise this where we can. This is one of those instances. I’ve been wanting this retranslation ever since I was a little kid. But, oh no, everyone is afraid of not being politically correct. If we changed the translation, people might actually come to acknowledge that the Evil One, Satan, exists, and hates us because he hates God (and God loves us). So, here’s my comments on the story from SKYNews (just to be ecumenical), with more comments at the end. My final translation is actually much more pedantically accurate, so much so, I’m sure no one would ever take it up. I mean, after all, it puts us into humble thanksgiving mode before the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception.


SKYNews – Pope Francis wants to change the Lord’s Prayer [[No, he doesn’t, just the English translation.]]

The pontiff says a line in the current version implies that God pushes people toward sin. By Bethan Staton

He said the line “lead us not into temptation”, memorized by hundreds of millions of Christians for centuries, is based on a flawed translation. [[All true!]]

“It is not a good translation because it speaks of a God who induces temptation,” the Pope said. The implication is awkward for Christians, who believe it is Satan who tempts people to sin. “I am the one who falls. It’s not him pushing me into temptation to then see how I have fallen,” the Pope explained. “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 Pope’s comments, made in an interview with Italian television, could lead to a change in the prayer [[No, just the translation]], which is taken from the Bible [[The translation is from the weird mind an inept translator]] and is considered by some to encapsulate the core messages of Christianity. [[The real Lord’s prayer, yes.]] It also weighs in on a long-running liturgical debate over the nature of evil and the relationship between religion and language, explained Church of England theologian Reverend Dr Ian Paul. [[Yes, well, for the Anglicans. This is SKYNews after all. But also for Catholics, which is why this translation was picked up, as it erases Satan and merely speaks of some sort of generic “evil.”]]

The current version has been used by the Catholic Church since 1966, when the Second Vatican Council decided modern vernacular should be used in services instead of Latin. [[That’s not entirely accurate, not at all.]]

*** My other comments:

The very Creator, YHWH Elohim, said He Himself, as the Incarnate Son of the Woman of Genesis 3:15, would put enmity between ourselves and the Evil One, that is, changing us with friendship with Himself, grace, which He could provide to us in his own justice because of taking the initiative to stand in our stead, taking on the death we deserve, stomping on the head, the power, of the Evil One, but He Himself being crushed for us in doing this. In laying down His life, He lays down ours as well, for we become one with Him, and this throughout the centuries. He carries us as little children into the battle with the Evil One, He Himself doing the fighting for us, but we are with Him. In the Lord’s prayer, the final phrases are more accurately translated:

“Do not let us go into the battle alone [but rather go into battle with us and do the battle for us], and deliver us from the Evil One [Satan].” Amen.


Filed under Pope Francis, Prayer

18 responses to “Pope Francis attacks the Evil One: Retranslating the Lord’s Prayer

  1. nancyv

    I can understand what you are saying, but I also like to get semantic too. I do not think we “fall” into temptation. It is a “choice”.
    Anyway, it is good that people are thinking about this, because it will clear up the notion that God would lead us into temptation…but He can deliver us from the evil one. Thank you Father.
    Forwarding this to my dear daughter because we were having a discussion about this very thing.

  2. sanfelipe007

    Thank you for your commentary, Father.

  3. What I do not understand is what would be done about the Latin: “…et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo.”? Which, *I think*, would be rendered “…and may you not lead us into temptation.” (That is a hortatory subjunctive, no? Is is something else?)
    Would not he have to direct that the Latin text also be adjusted?

    Also: I have seen some English translations that read “…and subject us not to the test”….

    (Richard Bonomo, Madison, WI)

    • Father George David Byers

      The Latin isn’t great, but does carry a sense of battle, which the derived Italian has for tentato, a assassination attempt.

  4. pelerin

    Father – did you know that as from Dec 3rd the French have a new translation for this line too? Instead of ‘et ne nous soumets pas a la tentation’ it is now ‘et ne nous laisse pas entrer en tentation.’ I think this is the third or fourth alteration since I first learnt it as a teenager!

  5. “…lead us not into temptation”” never put me in mind of God’s tempting us but that He would strengthen us from it. Well, I will follow our Leader. He does not error in faith and morals. God bless him…

  6. elizdelphi

    I am glad to have your translation of this.

    It would be interesting if the idea of a consensus on a better version of the Lord’s Prayer caught on ecumenically. But it would be so hard then to get all Christians on the same page about this. It’s always seemed to me to be for ecumenical reasons that we use the specific English translation that we do use. It’s very, very valuable to be able to pray with other Christians in the words Our Lord taught us. It’s my go to prayer if protestants ask me to pray with them.

    I am assuming your translation given at the bottom is from the Greek. What’s the slavishly literal translation of “et ne nos inducas in tentationem”? To be honest it sounds like it would be “and don’t induce us into temptation” which is like “lead us not into temptation”. So is English translation to blame, or is the Latin to blame? Or am I misunderstanding?

    • Father George David Byers

      The idea is a trial or test in the sense of a soldier going into a battle that will test and try him. We should be afraid to go into battle on our own against Satan, the Evil One, who will certainly tempt us beyond our strength. So we ask for Jesus to be with us, to deliver us, save us from the Evil One. This is Genesis 3:15: THE BATTLE. Jesus is the Soldier, the Only One. But we are with Him. He carries us with Himself. We are on the Cross with Him. His strength.

  7. elizdelphi

    I am really glad to understand this very important prayer better. We do have something to be grateful for Pope Francis about.

  8. Interesting post. I wonder why Pope Benedict XVI, who made changes in the liturgy, (example ‘consubstantial’), and who is clearly much more of a scholar than Pope Francis, did not think to address this terrible gaff in the Our Father.

  9. The prayer has always made perfect sense to me. It does not need changing.
    Perhaps the ‘Teachers’ need to explain the prayer for those that do not understand it…

    • Father George David Byers

      The prayer is perfect of course. The translation is totally lacking. And I am a teacher without scare quotes because I have an ecclesial mandate to teach what the One and only Teacher teaches. More understanding is had with battle than temptation and with the phrase Evil One rather than merely some amorphous evil. What our Lord actually said is important. It makes a difference. Good for Pope Francis. I’m glad he’s teaching.

  10. To paraphrase JFK, I have always heard it as, “Lead us not into temptation, but rather, lead us out of temptation.” How hard is that?? No need for change, especially as it would eventually render explanations by Church Fathers, such as Augustine, pointless and foreign, once people forgot, or became unfamiliar with, the translation those explanations were meant to address.

  11. nancyv

    unwobblingpivot – that is how I have always heard it in my heart because of my upbringing, but there are so many who need help believing God loves us to the end and would benefit from a clarification in the teaching. But hey, I think you are right on!

  12. sanfelipe007

    Well, there is also the weak phrase, “daily bread,” which does lead some to think of ordinary food instead of the Eucharist, the supersubstantial bread.

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