Pope Francis: ‘Our Father’ is poorly translated

In a video series for Italian television network TV2000, Pope Francis said that “lead us not into temptation” is a poorly translated line of the Our Father.

“This is not a good translation,” the Pope said in the video, published Dec. 6. “I am the one who falls, it’s not (God) who pushes me toward temptation to see how I fall. A father doesn’t do this, a father helps us to get up right away.”

He noted that this line was recently re-translated in the French version of the prayer to read “do not let me fall into temptation.”

The Latin version of the prayer, the authoritative version in the Catholic Church, reads “ne nos inducas in tentationem.”

The Pope said that the one who leads people into temptation “is Satan; that is the work of Satan.” He said that the essence of that line in the prayer is like telling God: “when Satan leads me into temptation, please, give me your hand. Give me your hand.”

Just as Jesus gave Peter his hand to help him out of the water when he began to sink, the prayer also asks God to “give me your hand so that I don’t drown,” Pope Francis said.

The Pope made his comments in the seventh part of the “Our Father” television series being aired by Italian television network TV2000.

Filmed in collaboration with the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications, the series consists of nine question-and-answer sessions with Pope Francis and Fr. Marco Pozza, a theologian and a prison chaplain in the northern Italian city of Padua.

In each of the sessions, Fr. Pozza asks the Pope about a different line in the Our Father prayer, and the Pope offers his insights. A preview of the series was presented at the Vatican’s Film Library by Msgr. Dario Edoardo Vigano, head of the Secretariat for Communications.

The show also led to the publication of a book titled “Our Father,” which was released by the Vatican Publishing House and Italian publisher Rizzoli Nov. 23, and is based on Pozza’s conversations with the Pope in the video series.

Each of the first eight episodes of the series begin with an excerpt from conversation between the Pope and Pozza, which is followed by a second conversation between Pozza and another guest. The final episode will consist of the priest’s entire conversation with Pope Francis.

In his question to Pope Francis on the line “lead us not into temptation,” Pozza noted that many people have asked him how God can lead someone into temptation, and questioned what the phrase actually intends to say.

The question is one of the reasons the French bishops decided to make a request for a new translation of the Our Father that they believe conveys the meaning more clearly.

According to the French episcopal conference, the decision to make the change was accepted by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in June 2013.

The new translation, released Dec. 3 to mark the first day of Advent and the beginning of the new liturgical year, now reads “ne nous laisse pas entrer en tentation,” meaning, “do not let us fall into temptation,” versus the former “ne nous soumets pas à la tentation,” or “lead us not into temptation.”

The Pope’s remarks do not change the translations of liturgical texts. Such a change would begin with a resolution by an episcopal conference in English-speaking countries.

In a previous episode of the “Our Father” series, Pope Francis said “it takes courage” to recite the prayer, because it means calling on someone else and truly believing that “God is the Father who accompanies me, forgives me, gives me bread, is attentive to everything I ask, and dresses me better than wildflowers.”

“To believe is a great risk,” and means daring to make the leap of faith, he said. Because of this, “praying together is so beautiful: because we help each other to dare.”

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44 Responses to Pope Francis: ‘Our Father’ is poorly translated

  1. ebinn says:

    A stone wears away drip by drip. Pope Francis is trying it with a bucket of water. It seems he has a repository of knowledge unknown to the earlier Fathers and Doctors of the Church. The devil in disguise.

  2. Brother Burrito says:

    I don’t know you but have you considered putting your own head in a bucket of water? for a good long while perhaps?

    Near death experiences are all the rage at the moment.

  3. ljsedivy says:

    Exactly, Ebinn!

  4. ljsedivy says:

    It’s like, “Finally! After 2K years we have Bergolio to interpret the most basic Christian prayer.” (sarcasm, obviously). This is so dangerous because now people can question the authoritative translation of the ENTIRETY of Sacred Scripture.

    I have no love for this man, Bergolio. Praying for his conversion becomes harder every day.

  5. Brother Burrito says:

    Death is the only certain way to meet Jesus, though it is extremely wise to be prepared for that meeting.

    This is the whole purpose and mission of the Catholic Church: to introduce and prepare every single soul for their ultimate encounter with JESUS CHRIST the Saviour.

    If you aint doing that, you aint of, with, and in the Church. You are the weakest link, goodbye.

  6. Brother Burrito says:

    Who am I to judge Pope Francis?

    We should ask ourselves this every day, and be honest with our answers.

  7. “You shall not add to the word that I speak to you, neither shall you take away from it: keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”
    [Deuteronomy 4:2]

    He is a bold heretic


  8. Toad says:

    ”Pope Francis said that “lead us not into temptation” is a poorly translated line of the Our Father.”
    I agree with him – so, presumably, we are both wrong.
    But – if it is – makes you wonder how much else of ”dogma;” is poorly translated, doesn’t it?
    One little spelling error two thousand years ago, and we’d all now be worshipping The Bogey Man.
    What a thought!

  9. johnhenrycn says:

    Are you and / or Pope Francis anymore proficient in Koine Greek than I am?

  10. johnhenrycn says:

    If the English translation is changed, I’ll not adopt it. For far more than half a century I have been taught otherwise by Protestants and Catholics. Like a man with Tourettes, I will make a point of loudly (or semi-loudly) saying “Lead us not…” whenever I hear “Do not let me fall…”. Anyway, it’s a distinction without a difference thought up by a Curial Cabal intent on leading us astray into a world friendly religion. That some better Catholics than me fall for this sucker punch is sad.

  11. ljsedivy says:

    He says the English translation is a poor one? This coming from a man that does not speak English????

  12. johnhenrycn says:

    He’s said to use the F– bomb a lot. Maybe just in Spanish. I never have. In Spanish.

  13. johnhenrycn says:

    I have just about every major bible there is, but none of them translates Matthew 6:13 like His Holiness says it should be. Am I mistaken? Tell me.

  14. johnhenrycn says:

    E non c’indurre in tentazione…
    Secondo Matteo
    Il Vangelo
    Arnoldo Mondadori Editore (1947)
    Nulla Osta Alla Stampa
    P. Basilio Da Montecchio
    O.F.M. Capp.
    Venezia, 28 Augusto 1947
    – and Imprimatur –
    + Fr. A. J. Card. Piazza
    Venetiis, 28 Augustii 1947

  15. johnhenrycn says:

    No, you can’t check my accuracy on Google, because the book I quote (The Gospel of St Matthew in Italian, c. 1947) has not been captured yet by that website.

    Oh, my bad. I guess it has:

  16. Toad says:

    ”..a Curial Cabal intent on leading us astray into a world friendly religion.”
    ” a world friendly religion.”? Fie! (as Francis reputedly says)
    What an oxymoron. Horrible idea. Can’t have that.

  17. The Raven says:

    The Greek text is

    καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ

    And the key word is εισενεγκης – which some scholars suggest should be translated as petitioning the Lord to prevent us from erring.

    From my point of view, the Church Fathers, who translated scripture into Latin, and who were competent in Kione when it was still a living language, translated the phrase as

    et ne nos inducas in tentationem sed libera nos a malo

    And that’s good enough for me.

    I suspect that this translation proposal is based more on its proponents’ substitution of their feelings about what Our Lord “should” have said for what Our Lord actually did say.

  18. The Raven says:

    And here is Father Hunwicke’s more scholarly take on the issue LINK

  19. johnhenrycn says:

    Lay off that toby jug, Toad. A “world friendly religion” is not an oxymoron, nor is it something Our Lord approved of:
    ” Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 Jn. 2:15 KJV

  20. Toad says:

    ‘A “world friendly religion” is not an oxymoron, nor is it something Our Lord approved of:”
    No doubt Christ did not approve of it , JH. Nor was it what we have.
    What we do have is endless, and apparently meaningless – ”differences of opinion,” often resulting being boiled in oil – over
    ” differences of opinion ,” (as Montaigne says.)
    Fine. After you in the pot.
    I can’t help seeing something heartless, loveless, and vicious in all this.
    But then, I’m thick.

  21. johnhenrycn says:

    “…heartless, loveless, and vicious…”
    Chillout, Mr T; you’re too hard on yourself.

  22. Toad says:

    OK, JH.
    You might well be right.
    But, thanks for the bumper-sticker bit of scripture.
    Much appreciated.

  23. Toad says:

    .(..in fact, I increasingly find a great deal of the ”…things that are in the world,” utterly detestable. Except for other ”dumb” animals – who are too stupid to vote for Donald Trump, or Brexit, or to get bent all out of shape by the lack of altar rails.)

  24. johnhenrycn says:

    Actually and sadly, it’s very easy “to get bent all out of shape” at our age where there are no altar rails, as my body has learnt whilst shakily kneeling in front of this tabernacle chapel that lacks one.

  25. johnhenrycn says:

    “I increasingly find…the world utterly detestable.”

    Spot on. The world is awful. Not the people in it – not most of them, although most of us are weak creatures – but we have made it into a carnival of clowns. Don’t stop with Donald Trump in your cursing. Name me one of our leaders who doesn’t deserve the same. Right. I’m off.

  26. John Servorum says:

    The English, Latin, Greek and Aramaic for this verse of the Our Father reads the same, “and lead us not into temptation.”
    The Holy Father should not presume to suggest a better translation because a better one does not exist.
    He is suggesting here that we alter the words spoken by Our Lord, which of course we cannot and will not do.
    He should learn that his power and authority have limits.

  27. johnhenrycn says:

    In a BBC rethinking of “Dickensian” tales, Mrs Bumble screams at her workhouse orphans who pray: “Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven (at the 3:55 mark):

    Mrs Bumble was very traditionalist.

  28. Toad says:

    The literal English translation of the line from the Spanish is, ”Let us not fall into temptation,” John Servorum ( Lovely name, etc.) Make what you like of that.
    …But I suppose you are right. As an American said, when confronted with a Latin prayer book, ”If English was good enough for Jesus, it”s good enough for me.”

  29. John Servorum says:

    Yes, I’m aware of the Spanish translation but it is the exception. Perhaps Pope Francis, having grown up with that incorrect translation of the Greek original which is itself a translation of the Aramaic, is unsure of the original meaning of that phrase.
    We should keep in mind that after his baptism in the Jordan river the Holy Spirit drove Our Lord into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. Relevant, no?
    We can only hope that our Holy Father will not lead us into a bad translation of the Lord’s Prayer.
    By the way, thank you, you have a lovely name as well. Franch, no?

  30. Toad says:

    Toad? French? Non.
    Why should God lead anyone into temptation? Not His job.

  31. John Servorum says:

    I would imagine that the word temptation is what gets in the way of our attempt to understand what God is accomplishing in our lives on a daily basis.
    Testing or trying might be better and more accurate words, because while Satan tempts us in order to lead us into sin, God tries or tests us to sterngthen us on our path to perfection.

    We see this in a variety of biblical passages, as in –

    “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”
    James 1:12

    “For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.”
    Psalm 66:10

    “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, ‘Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.’ He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead.”
    Hebrews 11:17-19

    That being said, the closest we can come to recognizing the original words of our Lord is to pray
    “and lead us not into temptation.”


  32. Toad says:

    ”Testing or trying might be better and more accurate words,”
    Very likely. But God chose not to use them – did He? That’s the point.

    “and lead us not into temptation.”
    If you are Spanish, God did not say that. If you are British – He did.
    Oh, well. What the heck. Enough of this.

  33. GC says:

    Don’t be silly, Toad. We all know that we are asking God to keep us from temptation, which is the clear meaning here in the context – to come to us in moments of temptation and evil and guard us against going therein further.

    Deficient funny toads need to look at the whole of the prayer and Scripture to gain the context. Why would we say, for instance, “free us from evil” in the very next line? We cannot be expected here to make up for all toadian deficiencies of each and every kind. It’s well beneath us and we have better things to do.

    Again, let Toad do Toad’s own homework. We are not Toad’s personal homework service providers, though the clear impression here is that Toad assumes we are.

    As they used to say in Australia when I were there – rack off!

  34. John Servorum says:


  35. John Servorum says:

    Grace to you and peace.

  36. Toad says:

    ”We are not Toad’s personal homework service providers, though the clear impression here is that Toad assumes we are.”
    I do ask a lot of questions, GC – to clear things up, I like to hope. Doesn’t always work . Never mind – sometimes it does. Where I come from, we don’t say ”Rack off.” I suppose it means ,”Go away,” or something.

    Off topic, I hope CP&S tackles this one.
    i have some questions.

  37. johnhenrycn says:

    I don’t have much use for The Guardian but that was a very good article linked by Toad. Well worth reading and reflecting upon. I believe the seal of the Confessional to be sacred and not to be broken. If it is, the sacrament will be – or might be – destroyed. I say *might be* because we are reminded by this article that in the early centuries of our Faith, Confession was a public event. If we return to that old practice, I wonder what it might mean for a resurgence of moral behaviour and clean living amongst devout, observant Catholics? Might we not become less sinful in our lives if we had to think about the humiliation of public exposure?

  38. JabbaPapa says:

    The Latin version of the prayer, the authoritative version in the Catholic Church, reads “ne nos inducas in te[mp]tationem.”

    It’s hard to translate, but it’s a Subjunctive, rather than an Imperative as such.

    Literally, “May you not permit internal conduct within us into temptation”.

    It is a Prayer against our Original Sin and our own tendency towards evil.

  39. Toad says:

    ”Might we not become less sinful in our lives if we had to think about the humiliation of public exposure?”
    True, JH. There’s no ”might” about it.
    It ‘s a fact.
    It reminds me of our mutual friend, Cyril Connolly – who mused on the number of people who were scared of committing suicide, for fear of what the neighbours would say.
    It also reminds me of Homer Simpson, who, when Marge asks him, ”Homer, how could you do such a dreadful thing?” ..replies. ”I swear to God, marge – I never thought you would find out.”
    That’s real morality, as it is lived, daily – as we all know, but find it impossible to admit.
    Take Toad, for example (Please!) – he never lies – except when it’s in his interests to do do.
    Like everyone else – regardless of their particular sect.

  40. johnhenrycn says:

    Yes, Toad: being shamed through public exposure, or rather fear thereof, is what keeps many of us in line, more or less. My dear mother-in-law, an Anglican, and I were musing about that very thing this afternoon over a bottle (just one) of Chateau Thames Embankment Chardonnay (2016). From a Catholic perspective, I think there is much to be said for the idea of public confession and penance, although I doubt it will ever catch on in our self-absorbed narcissistic time when our leader preens himself with displays of ostentatious humility. It’s not an impossible idea, however (think *AA*)

    I remember the awful anxiety I suffered as an adult as I made my first Confession (two attempts needed) but I did it. If I, an extremely private person who does not form relationships except with great reluctance (think Doc Martin) can do it, a return to congregational confessions of our failures and struggles is not completely absurd. I don’t mean that mundane collective breast beating we sometimes participate in at the start of Mass; but start easy peasy with minor habits and faults and build from there. Viz: “My name is johnhenry and I’m an islamophobe.”

  41. JabbaPapa says:

    Apart from the public confession and penance at every Holy Mass, there’s a very good reason why public confessions were generally done away with — they ended up constituting not only a source of prurient and sinful interest in the wrongdoing of others, but also a kind of twisted means for some people to publicly brag about how nasty they were.

  42. johnhenrycn says:

    I suggest the “public confession and penance at every Holy Mass” you speak of – where people lightly touch their chests saying: “Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault” is a formality, not a real confession. It is most certainly not one that the Curé d’Ars would have approved of, if it even existed in his day.

    As for your main contention – that in ancient times public confession “ended up constituting…a kind of twisted means for some people to publicly brag about how nasty they were”… Please provide scholarly support (not saying you’re wrong) for the idea public confessions in ancient times were merely occasions for public braggadocio. Not just sometimes (which obviously must have been sometimes) but as the usual state of affairs.

  43. johnhenrycn says:

    Another thought (my last one tonight) – Is Confession without prior or subsequent restitution to the victims of the sins confessed a real and effective one when we speak of absolution? I’ve an essay on that point by Ronald Knox that’s always caused me great pain, because there are many sins in my life for which I have not made complete restitution to my victims.

  44. JabbaPapa says:

    1) Restitution to every victim of one’s sins sounds like an impossibility

    2) I suggest the “public confession and penance at every Holy Mass” you speak of … is … not a real confession

    It provides no absolution from mortal sins, and it is certainly not a Sacramental Confession, but it is a general confession of one’s venial sins, which are forgiven in the Eucharist

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