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Antwerp, November 23, 2016
On November 27, 2016 the “new common Dutch-Flemish translation” of the ‘Our Father’ will go into effect within the Roman Catholic Church in Flanders and the Netherlands. Vox Populi, a commission of Catholic laymen, which is a part of the Roman Catholic Laity Forum NPO, has serious reservations about the new translation of the ‘Our Father’. They wonder whether this is the most urgent “problem” that the Church should be occupied with right now? And why would this ‘reform’ be necessary now? There is not a single pastoral need to come up with a “new common Dutch-Flemish translation” of the ‘Our Father’. This initiative of the Belgian and Dutch bishops will only add to the confusion within the Church and thereby increase the crisis of faith. The main obstacle is the new prayer: “and bring us not into trial ” to replace the existing “and lead us not into temptation.” The Greek ‘peirasmos’ can be translated as either ‘trial’ or ‘temptation’. However, within the context of the ‘Our Father’, ‘peirasmos’ can impossibly be translated as ’trial’. Also, the ‘Catechism of the Catholic Church’ makes, in the context of the ‘Our Father’, an explicit distinction between ’temptation’ (= tentatio) and ’trial’ (= probatio). “And lead us not into temptation” is therefore the only correct translation. It seems as if the Belgian and Dutch bishops deliberately wanted to change the prayer, that Jesus Christ Hímself taught us. There are serious linguistic, theological, pastoral and doctrinal problems with the new Dutch-Flemish ’translation’ of the ‘Our Father’. The truth is that we are not dealing with a newer or better ’translation’ here, but rather an ideological reinterpretation of the text. Therefore, Vox Populi calls upon the Episcopal Conferences of Belgium and the Netherlands, to abandon this experiment doomed to failure with the ‘Our Father’ and to maintain the existing situation.
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The Board of Vox Populi, part of the Roman Catholic Laity Forum NPO
Campaign leader: Mr. Michaël Dekee
Head office: Kapelsesteenweg 418, 2930 Brasschaat (Belgium)