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'Lead us not into temptation'/ Collection basket in sanctuary

        Q. When we say the Lord's Prayer at Mass, we pray, "Lead us not into temptation." Why would God lead us into temptation? I know that God allows temptation to occur, but the word "lead" is an active verb that implies God may be actively involved in our being tempted.

        Would you please clarify the church's teaching on God's role in temptation? (Chambersburg, Pennsylvania)

 

        A. I agree with your concern over the phrase "lead us not into temptation." But more important, so does Pope Francis. In an interview in 2017 with Italian television, Pope Francis said, "That is not a good translation."

        He suggested as a possible alternative, "Do not let us fall into temptation." And within two years, Vatican-approved translations in French, Italian and Spanish included equivalents such as "Do not abandon us to temptation."

        That comports with the biblical Letter of James that says: "No one experiencing temptation should say, 'I am being tempted by God'; … Rather, each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire" (1:13-14).

        The Catechism of the Catholic Church clarifies that the Greek wording used in the Scripture "means both 'do not allow us to enter into temptation' and 'do not let us yield to temptation'" (No. 2846).

        So be comforted: The God who created us out of love would not purposely place us in temptation and set us up to fall into sin.

 

        Q. Recently a new priest came to our church and started a tradition many of us think is disrespectful and distasteful.

        When the ushers take up the collection, they put it in a covered basket and march it up the aisle, right behind the gifts of bread and wine. Then the priest accepts the gifts, places the basket on the floor of the sanctuary and the Mass continues with the basket in front of the altar.

        Is there anything in Catholic doctrine that indicates whether we should or should not do this? (Atlanta)

 

        A. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal is the church's official "guidebook" for the celebration of the Eucharist.

        Here is what it has to say about the offertory procession: "The offerings are then brought forward. It is a praiseworthy practice for the bread and wine to be presented by the faithful. … Even though the faithful no longer bring from their own possessions the bread and wine intended for the liturgy as was once the case, nevertheless the rite of carrying up the offerings still keeps its spiritual efficacy and significance" (No. 73).

        That same section of the instruction addresses your concern over the particular placing of monetary gifts: "Money or other gifts for the poor or for the church, brought by the faithful or collected in the church, are acceptable; given their purpose, they are to be put in a suitable place away from the eucharistic table."

        From the wording of the instruction, it seems clear that the position of the collection basket should not take the focus away from the Mass.

 

        Questions may be sent to Father Kenneth Doyle at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 30 Columbia Circle Dr., Albany, New York 12203.

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