PETITION: Holy Father, Please don’t change the Our Father!

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As you may have heard, Pope Francis recently changed the Italian translation of the words of the Lord’s Prayer. And now, there are reports that he is considering changing the English translation as well. [See links below]

This petition, therefore, politely, but firmly, asks the Holy Father to allow the status quo to remain as is with the Our Father.

The proposed change is from the familiar, “Lead us not into temptation,” to “do not abandon us to temptation.”

Dutch Biblical scholar Fr. Reto Nay explains that this new translation is not true to the original text: 

"The text of the Our Father is passed down to us in the New Testament, which was written in ancient Greek. The phrase "and lead us not into temptation" is contained both in Mt 6:13 and Lk 11:4 with identical wording. … This means that the wording of the prayer cannot be blamed on a transmission error or misunderstanding."

Continuous repetition of the basic prayers has embedded these words deeply into our psyches. The effort required to undo those familiar words will disrupt our pattern of prayer, and cause confusion among the faithful. 

Pope Francis’ claim that the current translation is “not good” is his own private judgement. His opinion stands against the combined weight of tradition going back through St. Jerome’s translation into Latin, and all the way back to the Greek text of the Gospels themselves.

And, one must remember that temptation, in itself, is not evil. But, that God may allow temptation to visit us (though never beyond our capacity to overcome it), both to allow us to show our love for goodness and to perfect us in prayer.

Behind the scenes reports suggest that the change in the Italian translation were made solely on the authority of Pope Francis, with little opportunity even for discussion of such a momentous change. 

Attempting to change the Lord’s Prayer will create much confusion in the Church’s public worship. Some people will say the Lord’s Prayer silently in public gatherings, using the familiar words.

Others, unwilling to compromise with a new unproven translation, will pray in Latin, which is familiar to many. We are already observing cases in which priests are preparing Latin texts to distribute during Mass. 

The Pope is not an expert in translation. Many Catholics will question if the Pope has overstepped his authority in this instance and will wonder if they are required to follow him.

This attempt to change the Lord’s Prayer will create unnecessary divisions within an already-divided universal Church.

Thank you for SIGNING and SHARING this urgent petition with your like-minded family, friends, and colleagues.