There has been much ado about it. Some say it’s unthinkable. A few say it’s schismatic. Many say it’s heretical. They are talking about Pope Francis’s intention of rewriting a sentence of Lord’s Prayer with their eyebrows raised in contemptuous incredulity. The fact is that most of these dissidents are like the insular Pharisees and have never liked the pope for his munificent largess of humanity without boundary. The so-called “conservative” Catholics do not want the pope to make Lord’s Prayer as close as to what it is supposed to mean, even calling his purpose an audacious challenge to the infallibility of the Holy Spirit by which the prayer was inscribed in the Holy Writ. But is the pope, who himself is an eminent Jesuit scholar, willfully shaking the bedrock of the teaching and faith of the faithful indeed? Or is the pope really an Antichrist incarnate?
The subject sentence at issue is: “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” The Pope has recently told Italian TV that it nuances that it is God himself that puts us in temptation, whereas it is us who fall into the trap of evil by our free will. Yet, the dissidents argue the pope’s bona fide, ad homine intention on the following grounds: (1) the change of Lord’s Prayer will sever and bifurcate Christian unity; (2) it will obfuscate the original meaning of the Greek version; and (3) it is simply outrageous to change the most sacred, ancient form of universal prayer as taught by Christ himself.
It is understandable that the root of such misunderstood sentence arises out of the old translation from the Greek to Latin Vulgate and then to vernacular language. However, in terms of the original language of the bible, it is hard to pinpoint one because (1) Jesus and this twelve disciples spoke Aramaic; (2) the new testament was mostly written by Hellenistic Jews (Jews speaking Greeks) and Greeks converted into Christianity; and (3) the bible was further translated by scholars into vernacular language, so that it could be rendered naturally comprehensible to the faithful in their own language. In this regard of clarity, the pope wants to make it lucid to chime the bells of the souls.
If the dissidents regard the pope’s noble purpose of making necessary changes to Lord’s Prayer as a subverting act toward the sacred authority of Lord’s Prayer, then they should look back on the history of Church from the First Council of Nicaea to the Council of Trent and to the Second Vatican Council to remind themselves of the intentions of the Church to render herself accessible to the masses throughout the turmoil of epochal waves of changes according to its corresponding zeitgeist. So why not this time? Call me schismatist or heretic. For all what’s worth in all good faith, I side with Pope Francis.