Wednesday, December 13, 2017

About Pope Francis Tinkering with the Lord’s Prayer

As if Pope Francis has not committed enough enormities, now he wants to tinker with translations of the Lord’s Prayer.  By far the best I’ve read on this situation comes from that prickly scholar John Hunwicke here and here, and I will defer to him.  Personally, he increased my education concerning the Lord’s Prayer.

He points out that the exact meaning of some of the Lord’s Prayer is a bit of a mystery, the meaning of “our daily bread” being one example.  And a man with any humility would be hesitant to nail down the “correct” meaning by altering a received rendering.

Of course, that excludes Pope Francis.

Fr. Hunwicke continues,
My second reason for making no change is pastoral. Back in the 1970s, we in the Church of England did indeed experiment with 'modern' translations of the Pater noster. Those experimental forms are now, I think, rarely used. The reason is: the clergy discovered that among infrequent church-goers, including the house-bound sick and elderly, and those attending Baptisms, Weddings, and Funerals, and the Midnight Mass brigade, the Lord's Prayer was the only formula they knew. Any other liturgical memories they had lingering from their childhoods had been rendered out-of-date by the liturgical revolutions of the 1960s. Was it 'pastoral' to deprive such people of the only remaining bit of a worship-experience which was in the least familiar to them ... which had any sort of purchase upon their memories?

In his second post, he focuses on the clause Francis wants to mangle. Hunwicke notes that the meaning of “temptation” in the Lord’s Prayer is not what most think it is; it likely refers more to extreme testing such as persecution more than everyday temptation to sin.  Francis’ proposal misses that.  Therefore,

… in my opinion, PF is proposing a revision which is not, as he appears to have been told, a revised translation but a radical change in the meaning of the Greek original. With sorrow, I have to say that this new example of his gigantic self-confidence does not surprise me.

He then makes interesting observations concerning Pope Francis and his selection. But at this point, I will urge you to go read the whole thing.

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