Bishop Anthony B. Taylor issued the following statement July 9 regarding the approval of changes to the Lord’s Prayer in Italian.
“I have received some inquiries regarding the Lord’s Prayer due to news reports that the Italian bishops have approved a new translation of the Lord’s Prayer in Italian, which Pope Francis has accepted. One phrase is ‘non abbandonarci alla tentazione’ which would be the equivalent of saying in English literally “do not abandon us into temptation” but with a gentler nuance along the line of ‘do not let us fall into temptation” (instead of “lead us not into temptation’ — ‘non indurci in tentazione’ — which sounds like God himself is causing us to be tempted rather than merely allowing us to be tempted).
“The Greek original (καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν) is, of course, unchanged. All of these variant translations are supported by the Greek text — if you know a second language, you know that translating is an art rather than a science and there are often legitimate variations in how you might render a given phrase, each of which has a different nuance, which is the case here with the word εἰσενέγκῃς.
“By the way, we should not forget that there are two versions of this prayer in the New Testament itself. The version in Matthew 6:9-13 is the form that we traditionally use liturgically, but there is also a different version in Luke 11:2-4. It is probable that Jesus spoke about prayer on numerous occasions, probably not saying the exact same thing every time. In any event, in both cases the Greek version in the New Testament is the authoritative text, which is then translated into all the different languages. This is what the Italian bishops have done in the course of their work on an updated version of the Roman Missal in Italian.
“By the way, it is worth noting that the Spanish version of this verse is ‘no nos dejes caer en la tentación’ — ‘do not let us fall into temptation’ — which removes the implication that God would directly lead us into temptation and thus right in line with what the Italian bishops are trying to accomplish in their new translation. Even so, I do not anticipate any change of translation for the Lord’s Prayer in English.”
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