Vatican City, Jun 7, 2019 - The Apostolic See has confirmed the translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal prepared by the Italian bishops' conference. The translation has garnered attention for its changes to the Our Father, as well as the Gloria.
The Italian bishops' conference had approved the new edition of the Messale Romano during their November 2018 general assembly. The Apostolic See's confirmation of the text was communicated during the conference's meeting last month.
News reports in English may have given the impression that Pope Francis had changed the Our Father for the whole of the Church, rather than his see having confirmed a change made by the bishops of Italy.
The new Italian text is a translation of the third edition of the Missale Romanum, the Latin typical edition which was issued in 2002. The existing Messale Romano was a translation of the second edition of the Missale Romanum, which had been promulgated in 1975.
The English translation of the third edition of the Missale Romanum was issued in 2011.
A spokesman for the English and Welsh bishops has said that the International Commission on English in the Liturgy “is not currently considering the Lord's Prayer,” and that “there are no plans at present for [the Our Father] to change in English,” but that “I am sure there will be some consultation with the English-speaking nations.”
A spokesperson for the Scottish bishops said there were “no plans” to adopt the changes, while Bishop Francis Duffy of Ardagh and Clonmacnois, liturgy chair for the Irish bishops, said that “In consultation with bishops from other English-speaking countries, the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference will give close attention to the reported change to the Lord’s Prayer. The bishops will look at the implications for both the Irish and English translations of this much loved and universal prayer.”
The change in the Italian translation was many years in the making. The revised version of the Our Father had been published in a version of the Bible approved by the Italian bishops' conference in 2002, and published in 2008.
The French bishops' conference made a similar change to its translation of the Our Father. In 2017 it adopted a translation reading “ne nous laisse pas entrer en tentation” (do not let us fall into temptation), whereas the former translation had read “ne nous soumets pas à la tentation” (lead us not into temptation).
In January 2018, the German bishops' conference chose against changing their translation of the Our Father to accord with the new trend. They noted “philosophical, exegetical, liturgical and, not least, ecumenical” reasons to leave the translation untouched, and added that the petition speaks of “the trust to be carried and redeemed by almighty God.”
Though the new Italian translation of the Our Father was not Pope Francis’ “change,” he has several times been publicly critical of the way the petition “ne nos indúcas in tentatiónem” is translated in some languages.
In an interview with Italian Catholic television network TV2000, Pope Francis lauded the French bishops' decision, and he expressed concern that certain translations could give the impression it is God “who pushes me toward temptation to see how I fall.”
More recently, Francis commented that “the original Greek expression contained in the Gospels is difficult to render exactly, and all modern translations are somewhat limping.”
The Greek verb found in the Gospels, eisenenkeis, means to bring in, to lead in, to carry in, or to introduce.
In his collation on the Our Father, St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that “Christ teaches us to pray, not that we may not be tempted, but that we may not be led into temptation. For it is when one overcomes temptation that one deserves the reward … Our Lord, therefore, teaches us to pray that we be not led into temptation, by giving our consent to it,” because “it is human to be tempted, but to give consent is devilish.”
“But does God lead one to evil, that he should pray: 'Lead us not into temptation'? I reply that God is said to lead a person into evil by permitting him to the extent that, because of his many sins, He withdraws His grace from man, and as a result of this withdrawal man does fall into sin,” the Angelic Doctor wrote.
“God, however, directs man by the fervor of charity that he be not led into temptation. For charity even in its smallest degree is able to resist any kind of sin: 'Many waters cannot quench charity.' He also guides man by the light of his intellect in which he teaches him what he should do. For as the Philosopher says: 'Every one who sins is ignorant.' 'I will give thee understanding and I will instruct thee.' It was for this last that David prayed, saying: 'Enlighten my eyes that I never sleep in death; lest at any time my enemy say: I have prevailed against him.' We have this through the gift of understanding. Therefore, when we refuse to consent to temptation, we keep our hearts pure … And it follows from this petition that we are led up to the sight of God, and to it may God lead us all.”