A Protestant Perspective on Catholicism

Important note:
Due to the variety of versions of the Protestant faith, I cannot claim to represent them all. I am an evangelical reformed Protestant (try saying that 12 times really fast!) and even there I am mostly representative of myself. So, I make no claims to represent anyone reading this!

Equally important…
I will describe my past views of Catholicism in places here. Many of them are inaccurate. Read through to the end, please, brothers and sisters, before you correct me! :slight_smile:

In the beginning…
I thought it would be most useful to organize my perspective chronologically rather than thematically. My first encounters with Catholics were a disaster. I attended Catholic high school because there were no Protestant Christian high schools close enough to suit me, and while there are many good teachers and some of my teachers knew their faith well, the first ones (and the ones I had most frequently) were not. My teachers taught me (in no particular order) that the Bible was entirely myth except the Gospel (or maybe just a random sampling of books were myth, according to others,) that Jesus was sinful and that all religions are equal paths to salvation. Most of my teachers were clueless when it came to the Bible and I quickly became very arrogant and confident in my Biblical knowledge.

This was, you must remember, on top of the traditional Protestant dislikes of Catholicism: the idolatrous devotion to Mary, weird ideas about the Lord’s Supper and slavish devotion to the Pope. I quickly became convinced that Catholics were unbiblical heretics, at least seriously misguided, quite possibly doomed to hell.

Still, I had a couple of incidents that caused me to reflect on my position.

I was rather outspoken, and when I wrote a particularly nasty response to some questions on Catholicism, my teacher offered to talk with me. This was at the end of the year, and I spent too much time reflecting on whether or not to take him up on his offer that the moment passed. I was sufficiently ashamed (I really liked the teacher, and my response was not charitable at all) that as a self-imposed penance I went to Reconciliation at school. I awkwardly entered the room with the priest, told him I wasn’t a Catholic and didn’t agree with the theology behind reconciliation and penances etc, but that I had not been very loving in the way I interacted with Catholics and would appreciate some prayer. I was impressed that he simply prayed with me.

When my Grade 11 teacher told me that all religions were equal paths to salvation, I actually argued against her position using an appeal to both the Bible and Catholic beliefs. I knew enough about Catholicism to know that she misunderstood the faith she claimed to have.

In Grade 12, a teacher who was not teaching my class heard me asking questions to a visiting priest and invited me to speak with him at lunch. He was a theologian, and clearly knew the Bible well. We only had a chance to talk briefly, and what I most remember was his great sadness after I recounted the things I had learned, and he said that he really hoped that my experiences had not damaged my faith.

When I left those schools behind, I wanted to be in a Protestant Christian environment. I felt like I couldn’t take any more Catholic schooling. While in my private Christian university, I found myself in an unexpected position. I had spent a lot of time researching my faith when I was in high school in order to defend it, but (in true Protestant style) I had reached conclusions that were not congruent with my own tradition or those of others.

I had a discussion about reconciliation with a roommate, for instance. He was shocked that I would even think of defending such an unbiblical practice. He was also convinced that Catholics thought priests had the power to forgive sins. I told him that the priest was acting on God’s behalf, with no power of his own, and in any case, the Bible told us to confess our sins to each other and it was practical - sin in Protestant churches normally intensely private with little outside involvement. Confession and counseling has practical psychological benefits.

Or in my church history class, where everyone else thought the Catholics were simply being evil in restricting vernacular translations of the Bible, and I explained the real fears they had about thousands of heretical sects forming around private interpretations of scripture (which, as it turned out, were justified!) (Do note that I still think vernacular translations of the Bible and individual Bible reading are very important, and that while understandable, this was a mistake on the Catholic church’s part.)

Or in a theology class, where one of my classmates thought that Catholics worshiped dead people, and I explained how Catholics use intercessory prayer. Or another one, where a Catholic girl asked me if I was Catholic, because I used the sign of the cross before prayer. In actuality, I did it because a) the early Christians had done it and b) it was a private reminder to myself to learn about other Christians rather than assuming I knew what they were about and c) because I… liked it.

In any case, a slow set of changes happened. i was conscious that I was no longer “classically” reformed. I’d read the joint statement on justification issued by Catholics and Lutherans, and I myself was convinced that the practical difference between John Calvin’s view (that justification by grace through faith alone, but a faith that could not exist without works) was not sufficiently different from a Catholic view (salvation by grace alone, expressed through faith and works, justification primarily from faith, but also accounting for works) in practice. After all, in both schemes, God initiated the relationship and in response you need to A) believe and B) do something about it.

I also had Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses (at different times) try to convert me. I enjoyed talking with them (not that I was the least swayed by their fanciful arguments) and my discussions were made much easier by my background in church history. After all, as I pointed out to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, if you don’t accept the full divinity of Christ as clearly articulated at Nicea in 325, how could you then unthinkingly accept the canon of scripture affirmed via the same methods by the same church in the late fourth century? Of course, one could argue from scripture too, but they have a special translation of the Bible which purposefully mistranslated John 1, which makes things difficult. It was so easy to show them how wrong they were… until I considered that some of these arguments applied equally well to my Christianity. Why did I not accept monarchical bishops for instance, preferring a more “scriptural” pastor and council of elders, despite the clear evidence of church history?

I additionally had a professor who was a great fan of all things Eastern Orthodox, and I inherited that passion from him. Arguments for Mary’s perpetual virginity seemed flimsy, but he made sense of icons, and it additionally introduced another challenge to the classic Protestant narrative. As a Protestant, I grew up (like all other Protestants I know of) hearing that there were two choices in the 1500s: be part of the Church of Rome, or protest it! Nobody had mentioned that there were Coptic churches and Orthodox churches. Sure, one guy (the Pope) could mess things up (from a Protestant perspective, remember! :slight_smile: ) but how come no other Christian church with actual roots stretching back to the fourth century looked like Protestantism? If we had recaptured the early church, in truth, why did the Coptic church look a lot like the Catholic church, but with a different Pope? Why did the Orthodox church look like the Catholic church, but sans the Pope?

Another Professor I had was very anti-Catholic (being a former Catholic himself) and suggested that the Orthodox were closer to Protestants than Catholics. I nearly choked on my food. Clearly, he didn’t know much about Orthodoxy! Icons are about as far as you can get from Protestant theology, and the Orthodox had them everywhere. The Virgin Mary was treated like the Catholics treated her. On and on. I had to assume he didn’t know what he was talking about. The only real out you got with the Orthodox is that they didn’t think the Pope was an infallible universal pastor - you could get away with assigning him a “presidency of love.”

(Con’t)

That same professor was unable to answer when I asked him where sola scriptura was in the Bible. Even though he had no answer, he did not like it when I explained it as our own bit of capital-T Tradition that we treated the same way the Catholics did except that ours was ironic. I also did an independent study on the ecumenical movement, and as part of that I read a number of books by Catholics who had become Protestant and Protestants who had become Catholic. One thing that confused me was how most of the anecdotes/available books described lapsed/pew-warmer Catholics becoming Protestant and committed, evangelical Christians becoming Catholic. My professor cynically remarked that perhaps the new Protestants were just happy to have found the truth. I wasn’t so sure.

I’d decided that I wanted to go into education. I was casting about for electives to take, and I noticed that there were two teaching religion classes - one for those wanting to teach in private Christian schools and another for those wanting to teach in Catholic schools. I took both. I was initially the only Protestant in the Catholic class (and for good reason; the class was “useless” unless you wanted to teach in a Catholic school) though a friend switched into it after hearing about it from me.

There I had for the first time an extended class full of genuine, committed Catholics. I really, truly enjoyed the class and I met Catholics who knew and loved Jesus. I also saw part of Fr. Robert Baron’s Catholicism series, and he convinced me that the Catholic perspective on the Eucharist was Biblical. I experienced Catholic fellowship, though I did not participate in the prayers to the saints and I was bemused and confused what to do with a gift of a “third class relic” from the teacher. The rosary that I received I kept and carry with me to this day, though when I use it in prayer I replace the Hail Marys with other things.

All this has led me to here, where I’ve been asking questions. It was suggested in another thread that I could explain what I thought Catholics got right, and so I wrote the above. As you can see, as of this stage in my life I’m convinced of the Catholic side of the following disputes:

  • Sola scriptura
  • Sola fide
  • Church government/authority
  • Mary (thanks to an earlier thread here)
  • The Pope (again thanks to an earlier thread here)
  • The Eucharist

Things I’m not sure about:

Wow, I expected to write more here. Anyways, there are a ton of minor differences between Catholics & Protestants. I worry that there’s something I’ve overlooked. ALSO, being comfortable with the theology does not equal being comfortable with the practice of something. For instance, I still don’t feel comfortable saying a Hail Mary.

But, I’m basically in a time of prayer and reflection on my faith and to where I am being called. I hope this was interesting, and I appreciate your prayers.

:thumbsup:

Thanks so much for sharing your faith journey!

I think you have a strong virtue to persevere in matters of the faith. Many Christians (Catholics alike) have fears of accepting doctrines because they believe them to be in direct contrast to their biblical interpretation. They then pit themselves against these with unrelentless contempt, without searching the sincere aspect behind them.

As a Catholic, I do not accept Sola Fide, but I have learned that it is not always so offensive from the view point of some genuine Christians. There are aspects of Sola Fide which do not contradict Faith and Works. What I mean is, not all things Protestant are in opposition to Jesus, by any means.

For me, conversion to the Catholic faith was not so much of a change as it was deepening and broadening the genuine faith I already knew as an Evangelical Christian. The Catholic faith focussed my faith more accurately. This brought more peace and more grace, yet at the same time it brought more challenges and responsibilities.

I look forward to hearing more of your fellowship. I really appreciate someone who has been subject to false teachers and bad examples, but follows the Holy Spirit in order to overcome their pitfalls.

The genuine Catholics in this forum are not out to convert you to a Catholic, but encourage the Catholic Faith you already have! The Genuine non-Catholics here are really good to commune with in the Written Word of God, and learn how they actually have lots of Catholic unity with us.

The love of Jesus and suffering against sin will lead us all to the same place.

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Welcome Sam.

Couple of things:

  • Curious how old you are? Basically wondering when you went to H.S.
  • It’s unfortunate for sure, that you had H.S. educators who were so off on the Catholic faith. Christ’s flock can be confused and poorly educated, even those teaching. If your education was recent, I think it is important to make contact with the Principal of the school and let them know.
  • Your intellect is leading you well on matters of faith and your ability to discern the truth.
  • Suggest strongly, that you contact your local parish priest and enroll in RCIA (Rite for Christian Initiation for Adults). This is the process for entering the Church and classes will start up in August or September depending on the parish. You would then come into the Church on Holy Saturday at the Easter Vigil Mass. Given your educational knowledge already on matters of faith and depending on the priest, it may be possible to enter the Church separate from RCIA. To do this you would likely meet with the Priest one on one over a period of weeks.

You said:

I also had Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses (at different times) try to convert me. I enjoyed talking with them (not that I was the least swayed by their fanciful arguments) and my discussions were made much easier by my background in church history. After all, as I pointed out to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, if you don’t accept the full divinity of Christ as clearly articulated at Nicea in 325, how could you then unthinkingly accept the canon of scripture affirmed via the same methods by the same church in the late fourth century?

Substitute Mormons and JW’s with someone else and change the Divinity of Christ to any one of a number of disputed subjects. The same thinking consistently applies. If one rejects the OHCAC teaching and says it can error - which is not biblical as Christ promised to lead it to all truth - then one can not be confident that they are holding the Written Word of God in the bible. For the Catholic Church gave us the bible, the canon first listed at the Council of Rome in 382.

“The order of the Old Testament begins here: Genesis, one book; Exodus, one book; Leviticus, one book; Numbers, one book; Deuteronomy, one book; Joshua [Son of] Nave, one book; Judges, one book; Ruth, one book; Kings, four books [ie., 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings]; Paralipomenon [Chronicles], two books; Psalms, one book; Solomon, three books: Proverbs, one book; Ecclesiastes, one book; Canticle of Canticles, one book; likewise Wisdom, one book; Ecclesiasticus [Sirach], one book. Likewise the order of the Prophets. Isaias one book, Jeremias one book,…lamentations, Ezechiel one book, Daniel one book, Osee … Nahum … Habacuc … Sophonias … Aggeus … Zacharias … Malachias … Likewise the order of the historical [books]: Job, one book; Tobit, one book; Esdras, two books [Ezra and Nehemiah]; Esther, one book; Judith, one book; Maccabees, two books.” Council of Rome, Decree of Pope Damasus (A.D. 382).

The bible is a Catholic book. Catholics are the original “Bible Christians”.

PnP

Thank you so very much for sharing this with us. I am a convert from the Baptist denomination and the real striking point for me was that there are 33,000 different interpretations of Scripture and only one can be right because God would not have 33,000 different opinions on everything in His Word. So, through study of His Word, I became convinced that not a single one of my arguments against Catholicism could stand because they were contrary to Scripture and the early Church.

God bless you as you continue to study and grow in faith in Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Very interesting. I want to be the first to welcome you 'Home", your on your way. Just ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten you in your journey. You are in my daily Mass and prayers. The Catholic Faith is so deeply spiritual and beautiful you can and should spend a lifetime absorbing it’s Truths! I am a ‘cradle’ Catholic and I still love learning my faith. Such as Fr. Barron’s wisdom. I suggest you read Patrick Madrid’s books “Surprised by Truth” 3 Volumes. Also you could contact the cominghome.com network. As for the Hail Mary, remember the first part comes right from the Bible and the second part, Holy Mary Mother of God. ( Jesus is God and she is HIS Mother) pray for us sinners, (we’re all sinners) NOW and at the HOUR of our death, the 2 most important times in our lives. Right now,( when we make decisions that will effect our Eternity) and when we are dying and about to face our Divine Creator! Where would this world be without Mary. She totally obeyed God in all things. She dedicated her life to serving God and His Divine Son. Never be afraid of loving Her as we can never lover her more than Jesus did and He is not jealous of our Love for His Mother. I hope some of these thoughts help. Please don’t let some of your past bad experiences scare you away from the Truth. Jesus said, I am the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE. There were many errors in our schools after Vatican II that should never have happened due to human failures. But the teachings of the Catholic Church are the same today as when Christ taught them. And they will remain the same till the End of time. In spite of human error, TRUST the Church. She is Rock(Peter) solid. God Bless, Memaw

Ton of minor differences but some very significant differences, especially in the understanding of The Church and the Sacraments (the means by which God give us his grace; we are after all saved by grace, through faith, working in love).

I worry that there’s something I’ve overlooked. ALSO, being comfortable with the theology does not equal being comfortable with the practice of something. For instance, I still don’t feel comfortable saying a Hail Mary.

We are the body of Christ, those both living and departed. Each limb of a body needs each other. All the saints in heaven, those with God are by definition crowned with righteousness. And God hears the prayers of a righteous man. We can see the Saints in the Book of Revelation offering prayers in front of the throne for us. When I ask you to pray for me it’s the same as asking Mary to pray for me with the exception of her being in heaven and being the Mother of God. This is prefigured by the Davidic Kings. Their mothers were the queens (not their wives) and people went to them to intercede for them to their son’s, the Kings. What son can say no to their mother?

Also remember, that the first half of the Hail Mary is straight from scripture. The second half is “pray for us now…” is from the Church, based on Tradition. It does not conflict with scripture one bit. Never does Tradition conflict with Scripture. Not once.

Also… the reformer Martin Luther said the following (note that the Church added the second verse after Luther). Somehow I get a sense on CAF that American Lutherans are warming up again to Mary… and rightly putting her back in the place of honor that she deserves (best that they comment directly on this)

“Our prayer should include the Mother of God . . . What the Hail Mary says is that all glory should be given to God, using these words: 'Hail Mary, full of Grace, The Lord is with Thee, Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the Fruit of Thy Womb, Jesus Christ.Amen!” You see that these words are not concerned with prayer but purely with giving praise and honour. We can use the Hail Mary as a meditation in which we recite what grace God has given her. Second,we should add a wish that everyone may know and respect her . . .(Personal Prayer Book, 1522).

PnP

Good points. For me, I do appreciate the actual prayer of the Rosary. I wrestle with some aspects of devotions to her. But the Prayer and recourse devotion is very much in line with Scripture. (most directly Luke ch. 1 and James ch. 5)

The Prayer of Faith

13 Is any one among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.[c] 16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. 17 Eli′jah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit.

19 My brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

The Church would not have issue with a genuine prayer from the heart. :thumbsup: I think there is a place for the written prayers. But when we are not able to pray in our own expression of words and thoughts, we have not understood prayer in its most organic sense. We are not speaking with God, but merely taking a corporal prayer and thinking devotion of repetition and superficial gestures are pleasing to God.

ALSO, being comfortable with the theology does not equal being comfortable with the practice of something. For instance, I still don’t feel comfortable saying a Hail Mary.

But, I’m basically in a time of prayer and reflection on my faith and to where I am being called. I hope this was interesting, and I appreciate your prayers.

Absolutely. The Rosary is not a required practice for be Catholic. I have reservations about what some Catholics believe is a better devotion to Jesus. I think the quote from Acts in my signature is the devotion which Mary leads us to. We are obligated to these devotions which are the means in which we are given Mary as a Mother. Private revelations and devotions are just that, private. It is the Lord who sees in secret and knows the hearts of men. Keeping His commandments and relying on His Spirit and Love to compel us is what is pleasing to Him and Our Mother in Him.

May The Lord Bless you on your Faith journey.

And I recommend (if you have not done so, to call into Catholic Answers Live when Tim Staples, Jimmy Akin, or another Catholic convert is the guest.

God Bless and Godspeed

When I became a Christian in the real sense, at about age 28, I had the good fortune to have a wise old Methodist trained pastor as my first spiritual mentor. He was discouraging, but I learnt a lot from him.

By that time he was in the Presbyterian Church, for reasons of which I won’t go into here.

However I remember him saying to me that -

  1. Protestants tell a lot of lies about Catholics and the Catholic Church and

  2. Protestants can be arrogant when it comes to the Catholic Church.

He also commented that American Catholicism was a bit different to (general) Catholicism.

He didn’t go into detail, but I suspect that since American Catholicism has had to exist cheek by jowl with a mainly Protestant culture, it has developed differently to Catholicism where it has had the upper hand for centuries eg. Latin America, Rome, Italy, the Latin countries of Europe and so on.

I also suppose the American penchant for personal freedom has meant the boundaries of theological thinking have been more open than in Latin countries.

On the other hand, it has not suffered the violence that it endured in Reformation Europe.

So on the one hand you’ve got a Protestant based culture which is suspicious of Catholicism, and often has quite distorted ideas about the Catholic Church, but on the other hand you’ve got a pretty well educated Catholic priesthood and laity. In Latin America, I would think that catechesis could be quite poor at times, and sometimes mixed up with local superstition eg. voodoo in Haiti.

So in the USA you can get a load of rubbish from one side, but at least you can also be guided towards the truth by the other.

As for the divisions in the US Protestant Churches, it was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who wrote way back in 1939, after he returned to Germany from his second visit to the US, in “Protestantism without Reformation” that -

“It has been granted to the Americans less than any other nation of the earth to realize on earth the visible unity of the Church of God. It has been granted to the Americans more than any other nation of the earth to have before their eyes the multiplicity of Christian insights and communities… In Minneapolis, four Lutheran churches of different observances are said to stand in a single street. American Christianity has no central organisation, no common creed, no common cultus, no common church history and no common ethical, social or political principles…”

He observed that before World War II. So you shouldn’t be surprised at the inconsistencies you’re experiencing with the Protestant and Catholic divide in the US.

My old pastor also commented the American Civil War had an enormous effect on American religious thinking, and as a consequence American eschatology (last days stuff) was a “bit weird” (as he put it). He added, “The Europeans don’t think like that, and they’ve had a much longer experience of Christianity.”

Just food for thought.

Arguing on behalf of the CC while at Church has become somewhat of a hobby of mine. I love correcting the uninformed with regards to Catholicism.

After all of these years, I, too, am still not able to have a meaningful relationship with the saints or Mary. It seems so unnecessary. But once I understood that they are not worshipped but are reverred and that we are asking them to pray for us just as we would a living person, it became possible to accept the teaching of the Church. It still don’t take advantage of this extra help but I accept it to be the truth.

But that in itself is a good estimony of the fellowship which your church offers. There is room for discussion and conversation.

While “at Church” for us is not the time to debate. There is attention on what has been established and the Liturgy. But I would like to get more in the practice of after service fellowship. :thumbsup:

Some make understandable points that it is hard to get a good amount of “the message” from the cut up sections of readings in the Liturgy. But it is only an hour of our time to give attention to the Mass celebration. We can’t read whole books from Scripture. And opening our hearts to the fullness of Christ in the Eucharist should be equally doing the same with the Liturgy of the Word. And our prayers and fellowship should be towards lifting up our pastor too! He needs our prayers and witness to lift his spirit.

Sorry to ramble. Thanks dronald

:thumbsup:

Jon

I can appreciate the story of Adonijah to a certain degree. Like you say, it can be an example of seeking the intercessory prayers from those in good standing with Jesus. But what happened to Adonijah? He was struck dead that day. :shrug:

I admit I never understood this passage. Why did Solomon have him killed, and in spite of his mother’s request??? As much as this example is used by Catholics to support a “better devotion” to Mary, we need to justify the fact that he was struck dead by Solomon.

That’s funny. I find I mostly argue/explain/debate with other Catholics about the truth of Catholic teaching. Unfortunately so many just see some things as “rules” but they never bother to try to understand the reason and truth behind them. They just see it as going through the motions and can ignore or go against whatever and whenever they feel like.

Also keep in mind that while we say the rosary, we are reflecting on the life of Christ.

And,

One always must keep in mind that Mary always calls us into a relationship with her Son. She directs us to “do whatever he tells you”.

I want to add a point of clarification here. You may already know this, but it wasn’t clear from your post whether you did, and the comment that “this was a mistake on the Catholic Church’s part,” leads me to believe you have an incomplete understanding on this issue. The Church never restricted correct translations of the bible into the vernacular. The Church did, however, restrict heretical translations, that is translations in which there was something wrong with the text itself. For example, in todays terms, it would be like the Church restricting the Jehova’s Witnesses’ New World Translation because the translation itself is not faithful to the original text, and was changed to fit their particular theology (cf. the NWT’s incorrect translation of Jn 1:1 “and the Word was a god” to the correct translation “and the Word was God”).

This article offers further explanation (Note: bold emphasis added; italics text in original):

The first German-printed Bible, bearing the arms of Frederick III, issued from the Mentz press about 1462. Another version appeared in 1466, two copies of which are still preserved in the Senatorial Library at Leipzig. Other versions were published in rapid succession.

. . .

“In the best biblical collection known,” says Dr. E. S. Hall, "that of the King of Wurtemberg, at Stuttgard . . . there were when the learned librarian, Dr. Alder, published his great catalog,** twenty-seven different editions of the Bible in German, printed before Luther’s, independently of the two in the library at Leipzig**.

. . .

Three editions of the Bible printed in the Italian tongue appeared in the year 1471, one of which was from a translation made by Nicholas Malermi, a Camalodese monk, in 1421. No fewer than eleven complete editions of these versions appeared before the year 1500, and were reprinted eight times more before the year 1567, with the express permission of the Holy Office. . . . n 1532 a new and complete Bible in Italian was published by Anthony Bruccioli, who professed to have translated direct from the original Hebrew and Greek. “In the space of twenty years,” says Cardinal Wiseman, "it passed through ten editions, several of which—all very inaccurate—having been formally condemned, a revision was undertaken by Santes Marmoschini, a Dominican friar, but it grew under his hand into a new version, which was published at Venice in 1538, and again in 1546 and 1547." More than forty editions of the Bible in Italian are reckoned before the appearance of the first Protestant edition (which was little more than a reprint of Bruccioli’s version), printed at Geneva in 1562 (See Le Long’s Bibliotheca Sacra; Panzer’s Annales Typographici, Nuremburg, 1791—1803; Dublin Review, vol. 1, etc.)

In Spain, the whole Bible, which had been translated into the vernacular tongue by Boniface Ferrier in 1405, was printed at Valencia in 1478, and reprinted in 1515, with the formal consent of the Spanish Inquisition. . . . Carranza, the celebrated Archbishop of Toledo, says in the Prologue to his Commentaries: “Before the heresies of Luther appeared, I do not know that the Holy Scriptures in the vulgar tongue were anywhere forbidden. In Spain, the Bible was translated into it by order of the Catholic sovereigns, at the time when the Moors and Jews were allowed to live among the Christians according to their own law.”

. . .

Although no Catholic version of the English Bible appeared in print until some time after the publication of such versions in other countries, it is clear, from the testimony of Sir Thomas More (cite), that no prohibition of vernacular versions had been issued by the ecclesiastical authorities in this country, and that many manuscript copies of the same had been freely circulated, subsequently to, as well as “long before,” the time of Wycliffe.

The Protestant Canon Dixon, of Carlisle, says: “From the earliest times the English Church or nation was possessed of the sacred writings through the labors of monks and bishops. . . . At length, however, at the beginning of the 15th century, the resolute prelate Arundel passed his famous Constitution to forbid any man from making new translations on his own account, or reading those that had been made in or since the time of the lately deceased Wycliffe. He thus proclaimed the war of authority against private versions; though certainly he neither forbade the ancient versions to be used, nor denied that an authorized version might be made. . . .”

Again, you may have already known the above, but just wanted to post it for clarification in case you didn’t.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.