I do not know about you, but I find it highly disquieting that the French clergy has now decided to change the French text of the “Our Father”. Do they really think they know better than past generations? Do they really think there is more value in choosing a supposedly more accurate or convenient translation than by leaving the faithful safe in the knowledge they will die with same prayers they were born with?
This “change” introduces the very dangerous concept that the Church might have done things the wrong way even in fundamental things like the “Our Father”. “Look” – the French atheist will say to his friends – “these people say they are the depositaries of eternal truths, and now say to us even in the case of their most important prayer they didn't get it right”.
If you ask me, the vernacular version of the most common prayers should be the one that has been honoured by centuries of private devotions, not the one the last translator who has come around thinks appropriate. A prayer is more than its words. It is an entire world. You don't mess with it.
If the slow usage of the centuries has the effect that the way people understands the meaning of certain words change, then – if you ask me- the proper meaning should be duly explained, not the words changed. The Creed in English says “he descended to hell”, and it is part of Catholic education to know this is the limbus patrum and not the Gehenna.
If we start to play with words in this way, soon nothing will be safe anymore. Is the Hail Mary orthodox? How can I know, if I am praying the version given to me by a XXI Century Jesuit?
Tradition is just this: traditio, “transmission”. Let's transmit to the next generation the prayers we have received from the preceding one. Let's explain what there is to explain. Let us not make linguistic experiments with prayers.
I often say that what was good enough for my grand-grandmother is good enough for me. I can't see why the Our Father should be an exception, nor can I imagine an army of French grand-grandmothers led to erroneous belief by a wrong interpretations of the Our Father.
They were Catholic, you see. They knew things. They weren't people who do not even know how to make the sign of the cross and whose prayers must be dumbed down to match with how dumb they are.
Personally, I think the French clergy should focus their effort on explaining and evangelising, rather than running after language usages of people who don't know jack about what the clergy themselves should teach them.