German bishops decide against changing ‘Our Father’

The German bishops’ conference has decided not to change their translation of the Our Father prayer.

In a statement, the bishops said they will keep the line “And lead us not into temptation” as it is, despite recent comments from Pope Francis suggesting it was misleading.

The Pope said the line wrongly implies that God tempts people into evil. He told a French TV station in December that this was “not a good translation”, adding: “I am the one who falls. It’s not Him pushing me into temptation to then see how I have fallen.

“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 French version was recently changed to “do not let us enter into temptation” to reflect this, but the English, Italian and German versions remain the same.

Now the German bishops have announced they will keep their translation as it is, in order to maintain unity with Protestant denominations and with other countries.

However, they added that there should be “greater emphasis on clarifying the meaning and the theological background of this petition to the Lord in conversations, discussions and text contributions.”

The Roman Missal renders the line in Latin as “et ne nos inducas in tentationem”. However, the word “tentationem” and its Greek equivalent “πειρασμόν” have been translated in various ways over the centuries.

Some say it better translates as “trial” or “testing”, and could refer either to the Last Judgment or to trials described elsewhere in Scripture, such as those suffered by Job.


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