17 June 2019

The Antidote to Pride

No; this is not a tirade against 'Pride' parades ....

At the Daughter University, there is a Classics don called Mary Beard. I dislike her. Apart from the fact that she is not My Sort of Woman, one reason for this is that, when lecturing, she likes to sound demotic. Not for her the elegantly crafted sentence. She wants to sound Immediate and Spontaneous. So her diction is larded with fillers, not least "y'know".

And now she has had the temerity to attack PF! Loyal Catholics will be horrified. Why should anybody, even a Cambridge don, do such a wicked thing? Answer: she is very angry because he is trying to change the ending of the Oratio Dominica. He is attempting to eliminate the suggestion that the Father might if undissuaded "lead us into temptation". And he is encouraging the more spineless and illiterate Episcopal Conferences to adopt a "superior translation". The Italians, disgraceful apostates from Renaissance Scholarship, have bent the knee to Ba'al.

The Beard points out that the PF-preferred version is not in fact a 'translation'. And this isn't just a question of traduttore traditore. She explains the Greek line word by word, very much as one might explain it to a bright little boy in the top class of his prep school, who is doing a year of Greek in an attempt to make him a more attractive scholarship candidate at the Public School of his choice.

What makes this particularly irritating is that she is dead right. The PF-sponsored 'correction' has nothing whatsoever to do with the original Greek. It has everything to do with the unbelievable over-confidence of a pope who is convinced that his own silly little whimsies take authoritative precedence over the express words of the Incarnate Word himself, and the abiding liturgical tradition of the Church, in all her rites, over nearly two millennia. There can be no doubt that Fr Rosica was giving his Master's authentic views when he described PF as being free from the burdensome chains of Scripture and Tradition.

Of course, PF has every right to be pleased with his own crack-pot twaddle. He is an old man; I m a decade younger and I already claim this same privilege for myself. Readers of my blog will have noticed this.

But does he have the right to make the rest of us into a laughing stock in the eyes of literate people everywhere?

Perhaps he does. Perhaps this humiliation is bestowed upon us by a wise Providence to give us an opportunity to fight our besetting sin of Pride?


E sapelion said...

I think you are being unfair to Pope Francis here. The initiative came from the Italian Bishops' Conference, and they are not the only conference with similar ideas.
As to Mary Beard, I find her television programmes engaging and informative, and her erudition and enthusiasm infectious. But her lectures, and other 'live' appearences, not so much. She has been subject to much vile abuse on the internet, and this may have affected the way she reacts.

Pelerin said...

The official translation of the Lord's Prayer in French changed in December 2017. Whereas previously it had been 'Et ne nous soumets pas a la tentation' it is now 'Et ne nous laisse pas entrer en tentation.'

This is actually not the first change for the French as when I first learned it in French, God was addressed as 'Vous' whereas later He became addressed as 'Tu.' This I think was a far bigger change to get used to than this one phrase mentioned.

I did not know that the English version was under consideration for change as well.

Banshee said...

Speaking as someone from the US, Mary Beard annoys me because she acts like nobody has ever had a thought before. I spend a lot of time yelling at the TV when I subject myself to her shows, and I am often tempted to mute her voice and avoid close captioning too.

But annoying people are sometimes right, and they are entertaining to unleash on valid targets.

Marco da Vinha said...

Father, perhaps you can enlighten me. I have asked this in several places that the new Italian translation has come up and have not received a reply. Perhaps I am missing something, but this seems to be me to be making a mountain out of a molehill. For centuries the Portuguese translation of that very verse has been "e não nos deixeis cair em tentação" - quite literally "do not let us fall in temptation". True, it was not used in the liturgy until the Novus Ordo, but it has been prayed piously by countless Portuguese souls over centuries. I understand that one should be wary of change within the Church, especially when it comes to liturgical texts, but I have to ask: why is our Portuguese centuries-old translation acceptable when it is equivalent to the new Italian, which is apparently unacceptable?
I am not asking this to be argumentative. I truly would like an answer, as I might not be seeing the whole picture.

Dan Hayes said...

Prof Beard is a well known over-the-top academic showperson (previous parlance, showman). Because of her public notoriety, the general public will pay attention to these well-deserved broadsides directed at PF. For this we should all be very grateful. In other words, accept the gift in spite of the gift-bearer!

Michael Leahy said...

I think we have the German Protestants to thank for the resistance, so far, of the Catholic bishops there.

Lillibet said...

I have several pre-VCII and tutoiement and all that, French missals in which "et ne nos inducas in tentationem"is translated "et ne nous laissez pas succomber à la tentation".

Nicolas Bellord said...

@Marco da Vinha: You translate ""e não nos deixeis cair em tentação" as "do not let us fall in temptation". The problem is that 'em' can equally be translated as 'into' in which case the translation would be "do not let us fall into temptation" which has a different meaning!

Nicolas Bellord said...

Generally though it seems to me that one needs to remember the difference between being tempted and succumbing to temptation. My understanding is that God puts us to the test by allowing us to be tempted. "Lead us not into temptation" is a plea not to be put to the test.
That is my understanding. However the proposed change of "Do not abandon us in temptation" seems to me to suggest that God could abandon us when we are tempted i.e. efficacious grace may be withheld by God when we are tempted. This seems to fit in with Pope Francis's idea that there are occasion when we sin because no efficacious grace is available and that therefore we are not responsible. Is this not Lutheranism?

Voice from the roof top said...

Francis wanted change in Lord’s Prayer and Gloria. After that Italian Bishops’ Conference asked for change. Bishops’ Conferences ask for change because Francis wants change. Change in Gloria has not got much publicity.

frjustin said...

@Marco da Vinha: what Mary Beard and other commentators fail to realize is that the Italian bishops were not translating the Lord's Prayer from the Greek of St Matthew's Gospel. They were translating primarily from the Latin translation as used in the Roman rite Mass.

As you point out, the Portuguese/Brazilian bishops were familiar with the popular translation of the Lord's Prayer, hallowed by centuries of use, and simply incorporated it into the Novus Ordo. (Interestingly, the Almeida translation for Protestants is closer to the Latin: "E não nos induzas à tentação", using "tu" instead of "Vós"). That showed pastoral sensitivity.

The Italian bishops decided to change the liturgical text to accord with PF's remarks, but that doesn't mean that the older Italian translation is unacceptable in private use; merely that it will not be used in the liturgy. It is conceivable that many Italians will use the older text in saying the rosary, for example.

What makes this molehill into a mountain is the implication that traditional translations were wrong in spite of centuries of use, and now the bishops have suddenly discovered what Jesus really meant to say. Nossa!

Unknown said...

'Super-essential' instead of 'daily' is a change that would have directed us and the world (through the publicity) to the heart of the Word, the source and summit of the Church's life.

Marco da Vinha said...

@Fr. Justin:
"What makes this molehill into a mountain is the implication that traditional translations were wrong in spite of centuries of use, and now the bishops have suddenly discovered what Jesus really meant to say. Nossa!"

Thank you for being the first person to actually address my concerns. Put in that light, then yes, it makes sense.

Ed the Roman said...

Well, using "Tu" for God is the same as saying "Thou" in English. The French consulate in America has an amusing page on when to use tutoiement and when not to.

Nicolas Bellord said...

@Ed the Roman: I am not sure that you are correct in saying that using "Tu" in French is the same as saying "Thou" in English. In French the use of "Tu" is regarded as very familiar rather than the formal "Vous". In Spanish the formal use is "usted" and in Portuguese you use "O Senhor" (My Lord) when speaking to someone formally. I am not sure that in English there was ever that distinction and "Thou" and "You" are merely the singular and plural of the pronoun or a least the distinction disappeared several centuries ago.

Marco da Vinha said...

@Nicholas Bellord: In European Portuguese the current formal use is "você", "vós" only being used in the interior any more. As in other Latin languages "tu" is singular, "vós" plural. Curiously, the oldest translations of the Pater use "tu".

Robert H. Holden said...

Ever since I've learned Spanish, many years ago, the Pater Noster has always been said in the way the French and now the Italians have begun to say it, namely: "no nos dejes caer en la tentación." Anyone know how long the Spaniards have been mis-translating the Greek?

frjustin said...

Brazilians use "você" (sometimes reduced to "cê")among friends, "o senhor" or "a senhora" to strangers, and "vós" to God throughout the liturgy. "Tu" remains in common phrases: "Deus te pague" - may God repay you.

The Collect for St John [the] Baptist, e.g., reads "concedei à 'vossa' Igreja" - grant to your Church.

It seems that Portugal and Brazil are two countries divided by a common language!

Nicolas Bellord said...

@George But again the Spanish 'en' can be translated into either 'in' or 'into'. Surely though after the verb caer 'into' seems to be the most likely meaning. 'To fall in temptation' is not an obvious meaning.

There is a useful site at:


which leads to the Pater Noster in many languages and also some very old ones. The use of 'caer' and 'cair' in Spanish and Portuguese, i.e. to fall, seems peculiar to those languages. Most languages and particularly the older versions translate 'inducas' as 'lead'. It would be interesting to find out when 'caer' first appeared in Spanish versions of the Our Father. I wonder what the Our Father was like in Old Provencal.

But it seems that the Pope is wanting 'Let us not fall into temptation'. Note the use of INTO. At least that is what the English reports are saying.

But then the Catholic Herald says the new version in Italian is "non abbandonarci alla tentazione". That is 'do not abandon us to temptation" which as I have already says suggests that God can abandon us i.e. not provide us with efficacious grace helping us not to succumb to temptation which strikes me as Lutheran.


frjustin said...

This website shows plaques of the Pater in Occitan and in Provençal:


The Pater in Occitan reads: Paire nòstre que siès dins lo cèl, Que ton nom se santifique, Que ton rènhe nos avènga, Que ta volontat se faga sus la tèrra coma dins lo cèl. Dona-nos uèi nostre pan de cada jorn. Perdona-nos nòstres deutes coma nosautres perdonam a nostres debitors e fai que tombèm pas dins la tentacion mas deliura-nos del mal. Atal sia!

Note the use of "tombèm" meaning "fall".

The first of two plaques in Provençal translates "lead us not": "e noun nous enduguès en tentacioun". But the second has "toumben" meaning "fall":

Paire nostre que siés dins lou cèu, que fugue santifica toun noum, que toun règne nous avéngue, que ta voulounta se fague, sus la terreo coume dins lou cèu. Douno-nous, vuei, noste pan de cade jour, perdouno-nous nòsti dèute coume nous autre perdounan à nòsti debitour. E fai que toumben pas dins la tentacioun, mai deliéuro nous dóu mal. Ansin siegue!

These plaques are found on the walls of the Church of the Pater Noster in Jerusalem,
and the one in Provençal was done by a modern scholar of Provençal in the early 20th century, Frédéric Mistral.

Nicolas Bellord said...

I was hoping we could find a Pater Noster in OLD Provencal by which I mean the language of the Provincia Romana which flowered around the 13th century and extended from Portugal to Genoa. In fact it came in many different dialects as is illustrated in a Descort (Discord!) by Raimbaut de Vaqueiras which has verses in Provencal, Genoese, Old French, Gascon and Galician/Portuguese. These various dialects developed into modern languages but some of them only really survived as patois.

Frederic Mistral (1830-1914) endeavoured to revive some of these patois and the two plaques which frjustin usefully refers to are possibly only 19th century versions - whether they are copied from much earlier texts I do not know.

frjustin said...

My purpose was more to demonstrate that the use of 'caer' and 'cair' ("fall") in the Spanish and Portuguese translations, is not peculiar to those languages. It first appeared in Andalusi Romance which was spoken until the 13th century in the Iberian peninsula when it was displaced mostly by Castilian Spanish. These early sources all demonstrate the Pater's use of the root 'caer', until the rise of Occitan with its root 'tomber' which also means "fall".

There is a useful chart of the Lord's Prayer in all these languages in "Mozarabs, Hispanics and Cross" by R. Gómez-Ruiz, published in 2014 by Orbis Books. The relevant phrase is given as:

Mozarabic: Ed non nos layxes cader in tentatsion
Aragonese: no mos dixes cayer en a tentación
Asturian: nun nos dexes cayer na tentación
Catalan: I no permeteu que nosaltres caiguem en la temptació
Galician: E non deixes cairmos na tentazón

And even in Sicilian: E mancu ni lassati a cascari nnâ tintazzioni

Nicolas Bellord said...

frjustin: Old Provencal in reality comes in many different forms eventually evolving into different languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Italian etc. However from what you tell us it does seem that the use of 'caer', 'cazer' etc appears fairly early but mainly in the dialects of the Iberian peninsular with the exception of Sicily. I just wonder why 'inducas' managed to get translated into a word meaning to fall when in fact the word is derived from the latin 'collectus' becoming 'cadectus'.

According to Block and Wartburg it only survived in French as 'choir' which is now archaic but survives in English as 'chute' and 'parachute'! Although 'mechant' is a survivor.

'Tomber' is an even more curious word. Apparently it meant to fall backwards and replaced 'choir' in the 15th century. Block & Wartburg say that it represents what a jongleur or tumbler does! So perhaps it was the troubadours who first used it in the Pater Noster. Etymologically it comes from Old High German and thus comes through Northern France. In English we have 'tumble' which suggests somebody falling over unintentionally which raises further questions as to what 'tomber' meant.

Anyway it seems to me that to translate 'inducas' as 'fall' is an aberration and the correct translation is 'lead'. Perhaps we need to look back much earlier to see who was responsible for the aberration. How about someone in the 8th century such as the heretical Archbishop of Toledo Elipando trying to suck up to the Muslims?

frjustin said...

For more languages in which "et ne nos inducas" is NOT translated as "lead us not", see this webpage, which contains the full text of the Our Father:

http://www.orbilat.com/Languages/Gallo-Romance_examples.html Some examples:

Old French (12th century): ne soffre que nos soions tempte par mauvesse temptation
Eastern Walloon: Ni nos leyîz nin toumer dvins l'invèye di må fé
Southern Walloon: Nu nos lêssoz nin toumer dins l'anvîe du mâ fé

Ligurian: e no ci lasciè cadè ne tentazion
Piedmontese: e lassene nen tombé an tentassion
Venetan: e non sta portarne in tentathion

The Venetan region with its capital at Venice had an influential Jewish population, and that may perhaps be reflected in the use of "portarne". Talmud Bavli, in the Tractate B'raḥot [b.Ber.60b]has a saying: "Bring me not into the power of sin, and not into the power of guilt, and not into the power of temptation", which is cited in Shaḥarit, the Jewish Morning Prayer.

Robert H. Holden said...

Nicolas Bellord: It may well be that to translate 'inducas' as 'fall' is an aberration in these linguistic traditions, but it seems to me that it is intuitively more in keeping with how we understand God's relationship to his creatures. The real mystery to me is (and I suppose I share this with the pope) is our Lord's use of the equivalent of "inducas."

Nicolas Bellord said...

fjustin: Many thanks for these interesting examples. Perhaps it is just that 'fall' is a free translation but I would suggest that in the end most if not all have the same meaning of 'lead us not into temptation' rather than any idea about actually succumbing to the temptation.

Nicolas Bellord said...

George: Surely the whole purpose of God creating us is to put us to the test and thus he does allow us to be tempted.

frjustin said...

@George: we may never know what our Lord's equivalent of "inducas" was in Aramaic or possibly Mishnaic Hebrew, which was the language of prayer at the time.

But we do know how it was translated into Syriac, an exclusively Christian language closely related to Aramaic and Hebrew. In the "Peshitta", the Syriac translation of the New Testament, Matthew 6:13 is translated as "And do not let us enter into temptation", and Luke 11:4 has the identical wording.

Around 170 AD the so-called "Diatessaron" came into use in the Syriac-speaking Churches. This was a careful combination of the four Gospels into one continuous text. Section VI, 16a has "Lead us not into temptation, but free us from the Evil One".

In his 4th-century commentary on the Diatessaron, St Ephrem (a Doctor of the Church) writes: "A reward however is prepared for those who undergo temptations, for the Spirit is near at hand, as he has said 'But the flesh is weak', lest [temptation] might gain victory over the endurance of the soul, through the weakness of the body. Consequently he said, 'Lead us not into temptation', lest, being unable to bear temptation, we might lose all fear of God".

In the present time, in India, there has been some reverting to the Peshitta wording in the West Syrian rite of the Malankara (Catholic) Church. The monastery of Kurisumala in Kerala, for example, celebrates its liturgy partly in Syriac and partly in English. When the Our Father is said in English, the wording is "Do not let us enter into temptation and deliver us from the Evil One". This is with the full approval of Rome.

Nicolas Bellord said...

frjustin: Language is such a subtle thing. The first Syriac version you quote suggests that the request is to God that we should not be tempted whilst the Ephrem's version is a request to God not to lead us into temptation. I would suggest that we cannot be totally certain of the meaning in either case as often happens in the imperative mood. I tend to the latter meaning though as in the first case the speaker could quite logically say 'well of course I meant it as a request to God not to lead us into temptation'.

frjustin said...

Nicolas Bellord:I wondered what St Thomas Aquinas would say about "inducas", since he wrote an "Expositio" in the same language. Those enterprising Dominicans have uploaded the entire text in both Latin and English:


And lead us not into temptation. "There are those who have sinned and desire forgiveness for their sins. They confess their sins and repent. Yet, they do not strive as much as they should in order that they may not fall into sin again. In this indeed they are not consistent. For, on the one hand, they deplore their sins by being sorry for them; and, on the other hand, they sin again and again and have them again to deplore. Thus it is written: "Wash yourselves, be clean. Take away the evil of your devices from my eyes. Cease to do perversely."[1]

"We have seen in the petition above that Christ taught us to seek forgiveness for our sins. In this petition, He teaches us to pray that we might avoid sin—that is, that we may not be led into temptation, and thus fall into sin. "And lead us not into temptation."[2]

Three questions are now considered: (1) What is temptation? (2) In what ways is one tempted and by whom? (3) How is one freed from temptation?"

He then goes on to answer these three questions. Really the whole thing is quite wonderful. Do check it out.