Home / World / Dolan says Pope aimed to clarify ‘Lord’s Prayer’ — not alter it

Dolan says Pope aimed to clarify ‘Lord’s Prayer’ — not alter it

Timothy Cardinal Dolan believes changing the words of “The Lord’s Prayer” would be a sin — and he’s sure Pope Francis agrees.

The head of the Archdiocese of New York said Saturday the Pope’s comments about altering the traditional prayer were likely lost in translation.

“He’s saying, ‘How can I best explain the words of Jesus?’” Dolan declared Saturday at a Christmas season shopping event to assist underprivileged New York families.

“We all know Jesus didn’t mean that God could ever lead us into temptation,” the cardinal continued. “We’re praying that he would protect us from it.”

Pope Francis, in an interview last week, suggested the current translation of the prayer also known as the “Our Father” could use a little fine turning.

The Pope focused on the line “lead us not into temptation,” recited at Catholic Masses around the world, offering the phrase “do not let us fall into temptation” as an alternative.

“It is not (God) who pushed me into temptation and then sees how I fall,” the Pope said. “A father does not do this.”

The outspoken Pope is not the first to wonder about the translation of the familiar prayer. Theologians have long debated its wording as the prayer emerged from a Latin translation of the Bible, drawn itself from ancient Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic writings.

But Dolan said the Pope wasn’t calling for a revision of a tried-and-true prayer that dates back centuries.

Pope Francis suggested the phrase “do not let us fall into temptation” as an alternative to “lead us not into temptation.”

(Andrew Medichini/AP)

“What I heard the Holy Father say was he didn’t want us to misinterpret ‘lead us not into temptation,’” Dolan explained.

The archbishop spoke at the annual St. Nicholas Project Shopping Day, where 600 volunteers went on shopping sprees through Kmart Astor Place to benefit needy family.

Dolan himself went shopping for the Luc family, evacuees who fled to New York after their home in Puerto Rico was destroyed by Hurricane Maria.

Zuleika Luc and her three kids were forced to move in with her sister and sleep on the apartment floor.

Dolan said the Pope was just trying to start a conversation to make sure people comprehend the prayer’s meaning.

“I don’t think he meant to change those magnificent, venerable words,” the cardinal said. “He just said, ‘Let’s make sure we understand it properly.’”

The upside of the conversation following the Pope’s remarks to an Italian television station: When Francis speaks, people pay attention.

“I’m just glad they listened to him, that they’re intrigued by him, and that they’re giving it some thought,” Dolan said. 

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