Wording of the Lord's Prayer set to change at behest of Pope Francis
The 'Our Father' - one of the Catholic Church's most revered and best-loved prayers - is set to change at the behest of Pope Francis who believes its wording portrays God in a false light as the "one who leads you astray".
The president of the Italian Bishops' Conference, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, has told 'Avvenire' newspaper that Pope Francis had signed off on liturgical changes, including a revision of the Lord's Prayer.
The move follows the French bishops' decision to make a similar change in 2017.
The 'Our Father' is one of the first prayers learned by children.
It is said at every Mass for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics and it is central to the Rosary.
The words of the prayer originate in Matthew's Gospel 6:9-13, where Jesus taught the words to his disciples when they asked him how they should pray.
The translation is derived from the Latin Vulgate, which was translated from ancient Greek by Saint Jerome in the late fourth century.
The revision relates to verse 13, which reads: "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."
Pope Francis has approved a change in the wording of "lead us not into temptation" to "do not let us fall into temptation".
The pontiff approved the revision because he believes the original portrays God in a false light and that Satan is the "one who leads you astray".
Two years ago, the Jesuit Pope signalled his dissatisfaction with the phrase.
He told TV2000, a station owned by the Italian bishops, that "it is not a good translation because it speaks of a God who induces temptation.
"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," he said.
The amended phrase will be used in a revised third edition of the Italian Missal which includes all the texts for the celebration of Mass in the Catholic Church.
The Irish bishops have so far given no indication that they plan to follow the Italian bishops and change the wording of the Lord's Prayer.
They have more leeway to opt out of any change since Pope Francis issued 'Magnum Principium' in September 2017. This shifted responsibility for translations to local languages to national bishops' conferences and away from the Vatican.
A spokesperson for the Catholic Church in England and Wales responded to the news by stressing the Lord's Prayer has been changed in the Italian language.
"There is no plan at present for it to change in English," she said. "I am sure there will be some consultation with the English-speaking nations."
Conservatives have already reacted negatively to the Pope's decision.
Meredith Warren, a lecturer in biblical and religious studies at Sheffield University, told the 'Guardian' newspaper: "This new version of the Lord's Prayer tries to avoid implying that God has some hand in evil.
"But in doing so the Pope not only overlooks the many biblical examples where God works with the Devil to tempt his followers and even his own son.
"The new version actually goes against the plain meaning of the Greek of the gospel text."