Pope Francis is not Wrong

I have received so many queries from friends, some very kind and respectable ones and others, rather very impolite and unlettered attacks on the Holy Father. In all these, I recognised the quest for understanding and the normal Nigerian culture of noise and arrogance, steaming from a deadly dose of ignorance. I have therefore decided to give more time to this issue.

Speaking earlier to Italian journalists, Pope Francis expressed his discomfort in the English and Italian translations of the Lord’s Prayer calling for a re-construction of the line that reads “…lead us not into temptation”. The Pope prefers the French translation “…do not let us fall into temptation.”

Please, before you abuse the Pope, note that the Pope is not asking the Church to edit the words of Jesus, he is calling for a proper translation of the words of Jesus into English and Italian, devoid of lexical and semantic ambiguity.

When you say, “…lead us not into temptation”, from the first verb phrase, “lead us” it means you recognise that God “leads” and can lead you, and you are appealing to God for that leadership. But in using the adverb of negation “not” you warn that this God who is capable of leading you, should not lead you into temptation. With that grammatical construction, you have affirmed that God can lead you into temptation, that is why you are warning Him “not to” because He is dubious.

This notion is Theologically, Philosophically and Logically wrong! And is only among the English and the Italian speaking countries.

The Pope prefers the French translation which says, “…do not let us fall into temptation”. In this translation, you recognise that the actions you carry out daily are your responsibilities and that you can, as a result of human frailty “fall into temptation”. Therefore, you are calling on God, your ultimate protector, to help you “not to fall into temptation”.

Someone asked me if God had not been answering the prayer all these years because of the wrong translation. This question is wonderful! So, if God accepts us in our weaknesses and through His love, enlightens our stupidity by His Divine Wisdom, we should reject the enlightenment and hold on to our stupidity because He had accepted us. What a beautiful way of thinking!

Idiongo Ebong


  1. Pope Francis is absolutely correct.In Tamil language (INDIA) we had translated Our Lord`s prayer in the same way as found in French. But, of late, our people have taken to literal translation of English `lead us not into temptation` Good that the word has come from the Holy Father. essar.48@gmail.com Rajendran Susaimanickam