Pope seeks new version of Lord’s Prayer: Has he tried it in Irish?

‘It’s Satan who leads us into temptation, that’s his department,’ says Pope Francis

Pope Francis has called for the wording of the Lord's Prayer to be changed because it implies God "induces temptation".

He said the wording of the prayer, more popularly known as the Our Father, should be altered to better reflect that it is not God who leads humans to sin.

The Pope’s comments have been greeted with some surprise internationally but a solution could be at hand by virtue of the prayer’s Irish translation.

Bishop Brendan Kelly of the Irish Catholic Bishops' Council on Liturgy noted that the Irish phrase in the Ár n-Athair "ná lig sinn i gcathú" translated as "don't allow us into temptation", rather than the "lead us not into temptation" of the English version.

Asked about the Pope’s comments, Bishop Kelly said the matter had “not been discussed” by the council and “had never come up. But we will make that change if the Holy Father wants us to”.

However "it was news to me", he said, that change was afoot, while noting that the French bishops had introduced an altered wording to the prayer last Sunday. French Catholics now say, as translated, "let us not enter into temptation", rather than the "do not submit us to temptation," chosen after the Second Vatican Council.

Fr Brendan Hoban, co-founder of the Association of Catholic Priests, said "it never struck me up to this" that the phrase might mean God leading people into temptation.

“My understanding was that it wasn’t God who was responsible for leading us in a bad direction,” he said, but he could sympathise with those who might see it that way.

‘Satan’s department’

In an interview broadcast on Italy’s TV2000 last Wednesday, Pope Francis said: “It is not a good translation because it speaks of a God who induces temptation.”

He continued: “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.”

He also noted how the church in France had adapted the prayer.

Two versions of The Lord's Prayer, as taught by Jesus, are recorded in the gospels. The longer version is in Matthew's gospel, delivered during the Sermon on the Mount, and the shorter one is in Luke's gospel.

Probably the best known prayer in Christianity, it is memorised by millions of people worldwide and usually when they are children.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times