Bible in the vernacular -- help!

I’m deabting—if one could grace it with that name—a person over on the “Former Catholics for Christ” forum. Most of the folks there are fundamentalists who are simply not interested in changing their views, however I am persisting in the hope that I might correct some misunderstandings in more open minds that might come across the forum. Here’s my question: the usual “Catholics kept the Bible from the people” bit was thrown out. I answered as best I could, pointing out that there were 18 to 20 German translations from Luther; that before the printing press bibles weren’t common (and most people were illiterate); etc. Someone threw these quotes out to me, and I don’t know enough history ro answer. Can anyone help?
Here is what he wrote. I think he’s copying it from somewhere, though, as he’s not usually this articulate:

“Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical on the bible (1893) wrote, “by reading the scriptures the intelligence will be illuminated and strengthened…and at the same time the heart will grow warm and will strive with ardent longing to advance in virtue and divine love. He also granted 300 days of indulgence to the faithful who spent a ¼ hour a day for 30 days in reading the Holy Scripture.”

"Then Pope Pius XII said, “We firmly hope that in the future, reverence for, an well as the use and knowledge of the sacred scriptures will everywhere more and more increase for the good of souls”

“Yet these are rather late views and the church has not always felt this kindly towards the reading of the scriptures. In 1229 AD for instance, the bible was forbidden to the laity by the Council of Toulouse with the following decree, “we forbid also the permitting of the laity to have the books of the Old and New Testament, unless any should wish, from a feeling of devotion, to have a psalter or breviary for divine service. But we must strictly forbid them to have the above-mentioned books in the vulgar tongue” (History of the councils, vol. ii, part I, col. 425)”

“Furthermore, the council of Trent (Canons 9 to 14) stooped so low as to anathematized (curse) all those who believe in the private interpretation of the bible. The same council exalted tradition above the bible in such a way that without the help of tradition the scriptures are not better than a piece of pagan literature.”

“Again Pope Pius VIII in 1829 denounced the circulation of the bible in vernacular tongues as a crafty device and a nefarious scheme threatening everlasting ruin.”

“Pope Leo XII (Ubi Primas, 1824) described Protestant bible societies as strutting with effrontery through the world.”

"Pope Gregory XVI was particularly severe in condemning the Protestant bible societies in his encyclical letter “inter praecipuas, published in the year 1844 where he said, “among the chief machinations by which in our times of their faith, a prominent place in held by the bible societies. These societies first formed in England and since extended far and wide, we now hold in battle array, conspiring to translate the books of the divine scriptures into all popular languages, to issue an immense number copies, to spread them indiscriminately among Christians and heathen, and to entice every individual to read them without our guidance….moreover, we confirm and by our apostolic authority renew the commands already given against the publication, distribution, reading and keeping of scripture translated into the vernacular…at the same time it will be our duty to snatch out of the hands of the faithful all bibles translated into the peoples language”

“Continuing the policy of his predecessors, Pope Pius IX (Qui Pluribus, 1864) considered as “an old device of heretics” the giving of the bible to the people translated into their own tongues”

Here’s a good resource.

newadvent.org/cathen/15367a.htm#mixed

Note especially the English Bibles.

Many Protestants will try to claim the King James Bible as the first translation into English. This is not true. The Douay-Rheims was, I believe in 1604.
Furthermore, what about the Latin Vulgate of St. Jerome? Vulgate = vulgar = common (the meaning has slightly changed since then :)). The “vulgar tongue” was Latin back then. So the Bible was translated into the vernacular from Greek.
We see that early on the Church promoted the Bible in the vernacular.

[quote=Character Zero]Many Protestants will try to claim the King James Bible as the first translation into English. This is not true. The Douay-Rheims was, I believe in 1604.
Furthermore, what about the Latin Vulgate of St. Jerome? Vulgate = vulgar = common (the meaning has slightly changed since then :)). The “vulgar tongue” was Latin back then. So the Bible was translated into the vernacular from Greek.
We see that early on the Church promoted the Bible in the vernacular.
[/quote]

The first translation of parts of the bible was probably done by Bede or others at his time. The first full translation I think was done by Wycliff. The KJV was a later translation not even close to Wycliff or Bede or several other known fragmentary translations.

ken

[quote=II Paradox II]The first translation of parts of the bible was probably done by Bede or others at his time. The first full translation I think was done by Wycliff. The KJV was a later translation not even close to Wycliff or Bede or several other known fragmentary translations.

ken
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Ken, could you be more specific as to what translation from what?

Joao

You need to challenge him on HIS sources…but first do some homework:

Toulouse:
This was probably an Albigensian bible…see
catholic.com/library/Catholic_Inventions.asp

Pius VIII: he doesn’t give a source. Is this a quote from Pius VIII or an interpretation of something he said?

Council of Trent: does not sound like something the Council said but an interpretation of something that was said. Look on-line to actually read canons 9 to 14.

Ubi Primas, Inter Praecipuas, and Qui Pluribus…go look at them and see what they actually said first. I assume you can find them on-line. I bet some of these quotes are wrong, out of context, etc.

The first translations date from c. 150, the Syriac version, and the Old Latin version, dates to the third century. These early translations (versions) help scholars reconstruct the Biblical text.

Fact: There are no originals of the Biblical text in existence. There are only copies. All copies were made by Catholic hands for 15 centuries until the printing press was invented. Why would a Protestant trust anything that came from the Catholic Church? Yet he must accept a copy of the Scriptures made by the Church – there is no other source. There is no other authoritative list of the table of contents than the one drawn up by the Catholic Church. Read up on manuscripts. It’s an eye-opener.

“Before the Albigensians, the Church had happily translated the Bible into every vernacular tongue. But now the Church saw the authority of the Bible abused by cult leaders who preyed on the ignorance, or the latent extremism, of the people. In 1229, at the Council of Narbonne, in direct response to the abuses of the Albigensians and related heresies, the Bible was forbidden to all save priests, bishops, and others in religious vocations. The people would hear the Bible in Church. But mad-eyed fanatics would not be allowed to wave the Bible over their heads and claim some new reveleation, some special reading—to common people who were mostly illiterate—that denied the Trinity or endorsed fornication, abortion, and suicide as positive deeds.” (H. W. Crocker III. Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church—a 2,000 year history (Three Rivers Press, 2001), p. 175.

About the dangers of private interpretation of Sacred Scripture, 2 Peter 3:15-16 says, "So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, beware lest you be carried away with the error of lawless men and lose your own stability. "

Concerning the decree of the 1229 Council of Toulouse, this article in the Catholic Encylcopedia on Scripture might be helpful, newadvent.org/cathen/13635b.htm, especially Part VI. ATTITUDE OF THE CHURCH TOWARDS THE READING OF THE BIBLE IN THE VERNACULAR:
After the death of Innocent III, the Synod of Toulouse directed in 1229 its fourteenth canon against the misuse of Sacred Scripture on the part of the Cathari: “prohibemus, ne libros Veteris et Novi Testamenti laicis permittatur habere” (Hefele, “Concilgesch”, Freiburg, 1863, V, 875). In 1233 the Synod of Tarragona issued a similar prohibition in its second canon, but both these laws are intended only for the countries subject to the jurisdiction of the respective synods (Hefele, ibid., 918). The Third Synod of Oxford, in 1408, owing to the disorders of the Lollards, who in addition to their crimes of violence and anarchy had introduced virulent interpolations into the vernacular sacred text, issued a law in virtue of which only the versions approved by the local ordinary or the provincial council were allowed to be read by the laity (Hefele, op. cit., VI, 817).

Also, in Karl Keating’s Catholicism And Fundamentalism: The Attack on “Romanism” by “Bible Christians” (Ignatius Press, 1988), p. 45-46, it says:
In order to promulgate their views, the Albigensians used vernacular versions of the Bible to “substantiate” their theories. The Church had no complaint about mere translations of the Bible; vernacular versions had been appearing for centuries. But the Albigensians were twisting the Bible to support an immoral moral system [which promoted fornication and suicide]. So the bishops at Toulouse restricted the use of the Bible until the heresy was ended. They were trying to stop the heresy’s spread because it was the cause of civil unrest and considerable suffering. Their action was a local one, and when the Albigensian problem disappeared, so did the force of their order, which never affected more than southern France. This is hardly the across-the-board prohibition of the Bible that Boettner, for debating purposes, would like to see but that never existed.

People, what about the below…Pius IV decreed this in the council of trent, which was not a local council but a binding one on all Catholics, and 300 years later…It looks based on this that people were not even allowed to read Catholic versions of scripture??? Correct me if I’m wrong here. The bottom part titled “Rules” is from this link, which is a historical english website, and I have no reason to believe it’s not accurate.

[/font]http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/trent-booksrules.html

“In early times the Bible was read freely by the lay people…New dangers came in during the Middle Ages…To meet those evils, the Council of Toulouse (1229) and Terragona (1234) forbade the laity to read the vernacular translations of the Bible. Pius IV required bishops to refuse lay persons leave to read even Catholic versions of Scripture unless their confessors or parish priests judged that such reading was likely to prove beneficial” (Addis and Arnold, Catholic Dictionary, The Catholic Publications Society Co., N.Y. (1887), p. 82).

Rules on Prohibited Books, approved by Pope Pius IV, 1564:

“Since it is clear from experience that if the Sacred Books are permitted everywhere and without discrimination in the vernacular, there will by reason of the boldness of men arise therefrom more harm than good, the matter is in this respect left to the judgment of the bishop or inquisitor, who may with the advice of the pastor or confessor permit the reading of the Sacred Books translated into the vernacular by Catholic authors to those who they know will derive from such reading no harm but rather an increase of faith and piety, which permission they must have in writing. Those, however, who presume to read or possess them without such permission may not receive absolution from their sins till they have handed them over to the ordinary. Bookdealers who sell or in any other way supply Bibles written in the vernacular to anyone who has not this permission, shall lose the price of the books, which is to be applied by the bishop to pious purposes, and in keeping with the nature of the crime they shall be subject to other penalties which are left to the judgment of the same bishop. Regulars who have not the permission of their superiors may not read or purchase them.”

It always helps to quote a Protestant when making these points with Protestants. R. C. Sproul – a full-fledged Sola Fide/Sola Scriptura Protestant teaching pastor with solid academic credentials – scoffs at the notion many Protestants have that the Catholic Church kept the Bible from the people. He notes that during the period of the Reformation, people actually believed in Truth, actually believed in Heaven and Hell. He notes that the cautions placed on the reading of Scripture were to insure that people did not fly off into self-propelled fantasies of interpretation that could lead to heresy. You might find something on his web site www.ligonier.org.

[quote=Catholic Tom] People, what about the below…Pius IV decreed this in the council of trent, which was not a local council but a binding one on all Catholics, and 300 years later…It looks based on this that people were not even allowed to read Catholic versions of scripture??? Correct me if I’m wrong here. The bottom part titled “Rules” is from this link, which is a historical english website, and I have no reason to believe it’s not accurate.

[/quote]

I need a better explanation on what I had written and quoted above. Council of Trent reaffirms what they had in the regional councils, and this was binding on all Catholics

[quote=Sherlock] “Furthermore, the council of Trent (Canons 9 to 14) stooped so low as to anathematized (curse) all those who believe in the private interpretation of the bible. The same council exalted tradition above the bible in such a way that without the help of tradition the scriptures are not better than a piece of pagan literature.” QUOTE]

Check this link

newadvent.org/cathen/02544a.htm

You might want to read the 6th paragraph, which mentions the council of Trent. Then, try this link

newadvent.org/cathen/15030c.htm

Check out the bottom of paragraph A. First Period at Trent.
What the Protestants say is true – as far as it goes. The reasons for the decrees, however, are never mentioned.
The first link above notes the troubles caused to Catholics by the Protestant bible societies. Well, you can read for yourself.
Lastly, there is this:
2 Peter 1:20 “First of all you must understand this, that no prophesy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophesy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved nby the Holy Spirit from God.”

If you consider the turbulent times of Trent, 1545, and the upheavel in Europe from the Reformation and the prevalence of Protestant “bible socieites,” and sola scriptura,allowing only the Magesterium to interpret Scripture (which is what’s going on here) probably saved the Church.
God bless

Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mother, have mercy on us
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Was the Catholic Church an Avowed Enemy of Scripture in the Middle Ages (or at any other time)?

web.archive.org/web/20040215142810/http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ508.HTM

[quote=Sarah Jane]Was the Catholic Church an Avowed Enemy of Scripture in the Middle Ages (or at any other time)?

web.archive.org/web/20040215142810/http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ508.HTM
[/quote]

There is the small matter of the Council of Oxford in 1408 - which forbade the circulation of Wycliffite versions, and did nothing to encourage a replacement for them.

And the Spanish Inquisition did likewise. So the earliest Spanish versions after printing came to Spain are Protestant; except for the 1478 printing of Bonifacio Ferrer’s version, which was so completely destroyed that only one page remains.

What is so strange is that, in the early centuries, despite the various heresies, there was never any attempt at a wholesale ban on the making of versions anywhere. So the mere presence of heresy is unlikely to be the only cause of Catholic wariness towards the making of such versions. ##

I would recommend to anyone to get the book:
"Where We Got the Bible - Our Debt to the Catholic Church"
by Henry Graham
He became a convert after learning where the bible truly came from. He goes into considerable depth to debunk the notion that the Catholic Church forbid reading of scripture. It was only heretical versions that were forbidden. What our monks did to transcribe scripture by hand (before the printing press) is a wonderful story. This book will answer a lot of questions that non or ex-catholics have. I even found an on-line version somewhere for free (I have is downloaded somewhere, might be on a CD). Amazon has it, but so do most Catholic bookstores (please support them first!!:yup: )
MBS1

[quote=II Paradox II]The first translation of parts of the bible was probably done by Bede or others at his time. The first full translation I think was done by Wycliff. The KJV was a later translation not even close to Wycliff or Bede or several other known fragmentary translations.

ken
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Actually the theory that Wycliffe translated the first complete Bible in English (Bede translated only parts of the Bible in English) has been debunked by modern Bible scholars this is part of the Reformation proganda myth that English speaking history books have told us. Wycliffe likely tweaked already existing English translation existing at the catholic universites in England at the time.
Vernacular Bibles where well in exisitance for scholars and the clergy and the rich at the time of the reformation. But that was not the fault of the church. THe printing press was not invented yet. The church would have released an English version of the Bible a lot sooner but they had a little problem in England at the time called the Refromation priest were hiding for their lives for years so they couldn’t translate the Bible only in Exile in Rheims France did they get the opportunity to translate an approved Catholic Bible in English which as you point out existed in some from the time of St Bede. in the Olde English.

[quote=Gottle of Geer]## There is the small matter of the Council of Oxford in 1408 - which forbade the circulation of Wycliffite versions, and did nothing to encourage a replacement for them.

And the Spanish Inquisition did likewise. So the earliest Spanish versions after printing came to Spain are Protestant; except for the 1478 printing of Bonifacio Ferrer’s version, which was so completely destroyed that only one page remains.

What is so strange is that, in the early centuries, despite the various heresies, there was never any attempt at a wholesale ban on the making of versions anywhere. So the mere presence of heresy is unlikely to be the only cause of Catholic wariness towards the making of such versions. ##
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The anglicans after the break from Rome would burn the Wycliffe Bible it was just a bad translation. Protestants burned Bible too some where for legit reasons like errors and eroneous translations which is the reason catholics burned bibles. But often they would burn a Bible simply because it was Catholic. But like I said you never hear about that one.
Oh well I guess they thought if the King James English was good enough for Jesus it should be the only Bible right?

I realise this is an old thread, but I also am in discussion with a Protestant who is willing to debate honestly. I need some more background on this topic. Has anyone some citations for Protestants burning Catholic Bibles?

I presume it was the invention of the printing press that made the difference - just as the internet & facebook etc have changed to attitude to taking photographs, especially of minors.

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