Pope Francis has begun a conversation about a possible change to the Lord’s Prayer – as he thinks the current version implies that God pushes people toward sin.
He said the line “lead us not into temptation”, memorised by hundreds of millions of Christians for centuries, is based on a flawed translation.
“It is not a good translation,” the Holy Father said, “because it speaks of a God who induces temptation.”
For Christians, it is Satan, not God, who is the tempter and who induces humanity to sin.
“I am the one who falls. It’s not him pushing me into temptation to then see how I have fallen,” Pope Francis explained.
“A father doesn’t do that, a father helps you to get up immediately. It’s Satan who leads us into temptation, that’s his department.”
The Pope’s comments, made in an interview with Italian television, could lead to a change in the prayer, which is taken from the Bible and is considered by some to encapsulate the core messages of Christianity.
The current version has been used by the Catholic Church since 1966, when the Second Vatican Council decided modern vernacular should be used in services instead of Latin.
Before being translated from the Latin vulgate it was translated from ancient Greek. The original text was written in Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus.
Question marks over the temptation line are not new in Christian liturgical debate.
The Catholic Church in France voted last month to change to a translation approximating “do not let us enter into temptation”, and Church of latter-day saints uses the adapted line “suffer us not to be led into temptation”.