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Pray tell

France's Catholic Church has finally corrected a 'blasphemy' that first appeared in its version of The Lord's prayer half a century ago.

After almost two decades, theologians and writers have decided that the French equivalent of 'And lead us not into temptation' implies that God Herself could lead us astray. The line once read: 'And don't submit us to temptation' and now reads: 'And don't let us enter into temptation'.

The change will appear in a new French translation of the Bible validated by the Vatican. Traditionalists were appalled when the unfortunate wording was introduced in 1966, as according to father Frédéric Louzeau, a theologian, it suggested that: 'God, who is infinitely good and the source of all goodness, could drive man to evil or sin'.

Le Figaro, France's conservative daily newspaper, said the consequences of the translation on 'millions of Catholics' was 'incalculable'.

The error came about because of an ecumenical compromise between Orthodox Christians and reformed Protestants to create a common Lord's Prayer - the French Protestant version of the Bible modified the phrase at the time.

The new translation will not be used in French parishes until the changes are incorporated into the latest Roman Missal - not before 2015.

'We'll have to explain it to our congregation. Even the priest will get it wrong,' says Father Scheffels, of Nanterre - perhaps ironically for a prayer that came as a request to 'Teach us to pray'.

Eric Denimal, a theologian, told Le Parisien that believers should not worry about having said the wrong thing for the past half century.

'Whatever way the phrase is pronounced, what counts ultimately is the authenticity of the relationship between the person praying and the God he is addressing,' he said. Amen.