Catholic Courier

Posted: July 10, 2013

Why does Our Father end with 'deliver us from evil'?

Q. I have been asked many times why Catholics end the Lord's Prayer with "deliver us from evil," while Protestants continue on with "for thine is the kingdom," etc. Is it because the additional phrase was not said by Christ when he taught the prayer to the apostles? (North Myrtle Beach, S.C.)

A. The original manuscripts of the Gospel (Mt 6:9-13) end the Lord's Prayer, as taught to the apostles by Jesus, with "deliver us from evil," and this has been the Catholic version of the prayer. All the official "Catholic" texts of the Bible down through the centuries -- including the Vulgate, the Douay-Rheims, the Confraternity Edition and the New American Bible -- have never appended the additional verse, and Catholic and Protestant commentators are in general agreement that it was never a part of the original text.

As early as the year 100 A.D., though, the doxology beginning "for thine is the kingdom" had been added to some manuscripts, and it was included in the Didache, a first-century manual of morals, worship and doctrine in the church. (A doxology is a short hymn-like verse that exalts the glory of God.)

The doxology found its way into the standard Protestant version of the Lord's Prayer during the 16th century Reformation in England under Queen Elizabeth I and has remained a part of it ever since.

In the Catholic Mass, after "deliver us from evil," the priest recites the prayer that begins, "Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil ..." before saying, with the congregation, the concluding doxology.

Q. I teach CCD to children preparing for their first Communion. Can you explain to me how the Catholic Church can allow 7-year-old children to receive from the chalice? The law does not allow them to consume alcohol, and the church should not be encouraging children to break the law. (Port Republic, N.J.)

A. The reception by children of holy Communion under the species of wine would probably break no law because most jurisdictions allow minors to consume alcohol under specific conditions, including as part of a religious service. The amount of alcohol consumed by sipping from the chalice is minute and may well be less than when a child drinks cough medicine.

Having said that, no one should be forced to take from the cup; it should be explained to first communicants that receiving under both species is optional and that Communion is received in its fullness even when only the host is taken. Parents, of course, may elect to have their children refrain from drinking from the cup; and when first communicants do receive from the chalice, it is probably a good idea for them to try a sip of wine ahead of time at home, so that they will not have an adverse reflex reaction to the taste.

Questions may be sent to Father Kenneth Doyle at askfatherdoyle@gmail.com and 40 Hopewell St., Albany, NY 12208.

 

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