God does not lead us into temptation, Satan does, pope says

| December 11, 2017 | 4 Comments
Our Father

Worshippers recite the Lord’s Prayer during Mass at Corpus Christi Church in Mineola, N.Y., Oct. 13. The Italian and English translations of the “Our Father” can give believers the wrong impression that God can and does lead people into temptation, Pope Francis said. CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz, Long Island Catholic

The Italian and English translations of the “Our Father” can give believers the wrong impression that God can and does lead people into temptation, Pope Francis said.

The Italian bishops’ television channel, TV2000, has been broadcasting a series of conversations between the pope and a Catholic prison chaplain looking at the Lord’s Prayer line by line.

The episode broadcast Dec. 6 focused on the line, “Lead us not into temptation.”

Father Marco Pozza told the pope that friends have asked him, “Can God really lead us into temptation?”

“This is not a good translation,” the pope said.

The standard versions of the prayer are translated from the Latin, which was translated from the New Testament in Greek.

While he said nothing about ordering a new translation, Pope Francis noted how the French bishops had decided that beginning Dec. 3, the first Sunday of Advent, French Catholics would change the line to the equivalent of “do not let us enter into temptation.”

French-speaking Catholics in Benin and Belgium began using the new translation at Pentecost last June. The common Spanish translation already is “no nos dejes caer en la tentacion” or “do not let us fall into temptation.”

The Italian bishops’ conference in 2008 adopted a new translation of the Bible; for the Lord’s Prayer both in Matthew 6 and Luke 11, they chose “do not abandon us in temptation,” although they did not order the change in liturgical use. The New American Bible, revised edition, is the basis for the Lectionary used at English-language Masses in the United States; the petition from the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew and Luke is translated as: “do not subject us to the final test.”

Pope Francis told Father Pozza, “I’m the one who falls. But it’s not (God) who pushes me into temptation to see how I fall. No, a father does not do this. A father helps us up immediately.”

“The one who leads us into temptation is Satan,” the pope said. “That’s Satan’s job.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in its discussion of the Lord’s Prayer, says, “our sins result from our consenting to temptation; we therefore ask our Father not to ‘lead’ us into temptation. It is difficult to translate the Greek verb used by a single English word: the Greek means both ‘do not allow us to enter into temptation’ and ‘do not let us yield to temptation.'”

Referring to James 1:13, the catechism says, “‘God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one’; on the contrary, he wants to set us free from evil. We ask him not to allow us to take the way that leads to sin.”

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Category: From the Pope

  • Charles C.

    This should be an interesting discussion.

    I’ve seen three reactions in support of the Pope’s comments so far. 1.) He’s not ordering a change, 2.) he’s not calling for a change in the prayer itself, and 3.) the new words will provide a better understanding of the relationship between God, man, and temptation.

    I don’t understand numbers 1 and 2. No, the Pope’s not ordering it, but when the Pope says a translation is bad and he suggests a better one, who is going to argue with him? When the change is adopted (as it will be) will people claim that a prayer with different words is the same as the old one? Similar, yes. Almost identical, sure. But if the prayer doesn’t change, how can the words of the prayer change?

    The serious discussion, I suspect, will be whether the change will be as big a benefit as the cost, and whether there is another way of explaining to the faithful about temptation. (Some reactions are to the effect that this would not be a wise move.)

    As I say, I’m looking forward to an interesting discussion.

  • joep222

    Jeremiah 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (10) “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

  • Charles C.

    I’m asking a barely related question here as I have not received a satisfying answer anywhere else.

    During the Our Father, what’s up with people’s hands? What’s the policy and why? I suspect the Archdiocese would say “Do whatever you want,” but that’s hardly useful or encouraging. I’ve found an article which raises the question, here’s part of it.

    “Our Father. The intention for lay people using the Orans position at this time is, I suppose, that we pray Our Father, and the unity of people and priest together is expressed by this common gesture of prayer. Although this gesture is not called for in the rubrics, it does at least seem, on the surface, to not be in conflict with the sacramental sign system at the point when we pray Our Father.

    “I say on the surface, however, since while lay people are doing this the deacon,
    whose postures are governed by the rubrics, may not do it. So, we have the awkward disunity created by the priest making an appropriate liturgical gesture in accordance with the rubrics, the deacon not making the same gesture in accordance with the rubrics, some laity making the same gesture as the priest not in accordance with
    the rubrics, and other laity not making the gesture (for various reasons, including
    knowing it is not part of their liturgical role). In the end, the desire of the Church for
    liturgical unity is defeated.

    “After Our Father. This liturgical disunity continues after the Our Father when some, though not all, who assumed the Orans position during the Our Father continue it through the balance of the prayers, until after “For thine is the kingdom etc.” The rubrics provide that priest-concelebrants lower their extended hands, so that the main celebrant alone continues praying with hands extended, since he represents all, including his brother priests. So, we have the very anomalous situation that no
    matter how many clergy are present only one of them is praying with hands extended, accompanied by numbers of the laity.”

    There you have it sports fans. Will some one come up with a good answer for me? (And no, I’m not going to hold hands with someone during a prayer, unless it is at my wedding.)

  • Cajetan

    Since the inception of Catholicism in Nigeria, in Igbo language it is “ekwela ka anyi kwenye na nlanye, meaning do not let us enter into temptation.”