Pope Francis thinks the church should tweak the translation of the “Our Father” to clear up the confusion around the phrase “lead us not into temptation.”

We all know God doesn't lead us into temptation. James 1:13

When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;

My question is why the Catholic Church didn't notice this error much earlier and kept encouraging wrong translation which resulted in a wrong request to God for 2000 years. Did any of the saints ever notice this error? Many were mystics and never sensed that it is a wrong translation?

How is the Holy Spirit's influence embedded in Church's infallibility if such an obvious error was missed? Is this a matter of faith? To believe wrongly that God lead us into temptation? I understand that today's pope noticed but why is it so late if the church should be our protector in what we believe?

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    It was. Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 16:27
  • @Wikis, that is a different question.
    – Grasper
    Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 16:37
  • Deleted some comments as this question isn't about the teaching authority of Pope Francis specifically, it's about the translation of the Our Father.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 16:46
  • @wikis can you explain why you linked in that comment, do you think it's a dupe or are you trying to answer the question?
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 16:47
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    @peterturner the question was why it wasnt spotted earlier. It was. By me. Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 18:48

2 Answers 2


The Our Father has not been wrongly translated.

It is Catholic dogma of the highest degree (de fide) that there are no errors in Holy Scripture, and the 4th Session of the Council of Trent defined the dogma that St. Jerome's Vulgate translation—which says in both Mt. 6:13 and Lk. 11:4: "et ne nos inducas in tentationem" ("lead us not into temptation")—is "free from any error whatsoever in matters of faith and morals," as Pope Pius XII later summarized Trent's dogma.

Read St. Thomas Aquinas's Expositio in orationem dominicam a. 6 for an explanation of "and lead us not into temptation," specifically:

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.

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    OK, I finally got it. It is basically asking don't leave us when we sin. That sounds good. Thanks. For example, if my wife leaves me, I end up in danger of adultery. She leaves me because I hurt her and by leaving she leads me to other dangers. It is not her fault to lead me to these dangers but mine because I rejected her love. I can sum up: God indirectly leads us to temptetion by his absence in our life.
    – Grasper
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 18:08
  • @Grasper Yes, it's the same reason why God giving up the idolatrous Romans "to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness, to dishonour their own bodies among themselves" (Rom. 1:24) does not mean God forced them to sin and commit acts sodomy (cf. St. Thomas's commentary on Rom. 1:24).
    – Geremia
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 20:29
  • and also put the tree of knowledge in the garden of Eden. It was a form of temptation for them but God didn't tell them to eat but the opposite. I think it is also part of a mystery for us.
    – Grasper
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 21:25
  • This answer doesn't seem to engage the question at all. It asserts –dare I say rather dogmatically asserts– that there is "nothing to see here", yet you cite one Pope as saying one thing and the question cites another Pope as saying something to the contrary. I don't see how you can purport to answer this question without even engaging the current affair in the slightest.
    – Caleb
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 10:58
  • @Caleb I also cite the Council of Trent and link to this post, which collects several dogmatic statements on the complete inerrancy of Holy Scripture.
    – Geremia
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 15:42

" Lead us not into temptation" is not an isolated prayer , but is a prelude to the prayer ".. but deliver us from the evil one". Modern translators did the mistake of substituting " evil" for " evil one", the former having a very general implication and the latter specifically referring to the Devil. In fact, old form of the prayer contained the words " evil one" . For instance, old form of the Lord's Prayer in my native language Malayalam ( of southern India ) which had been directly translated from Syrian language, had the words corresponding to " the evil spirit"!

Once you read the prayer in totality, it makes absolute sense.

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