Did the Church ever ban laity having a Bible?

I have been challanged by a protestant that the Church in the past has forbid laity from posessing any part of the Bible and he gave the following sources:

“Canon 14. We prohibit also that the laity should not be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament; we most strictly forbid their having any translation of these books.”- The Church Council of Toulouse 1229 ADSource: Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe,Scolar Press, London, Englandcopyright 1980 by Edward Peters,ISBN 0-85967-621-8, pp. 194-195

The Council of Tarragona of 1234, in its second canon, ruled that:

“No one may possess the books of the Old and New Testaments, and if anyone possesses them he must turn them over to the local bishop within eight days, so that they may be burned…”- The Church Council of Tarragona 1234 AD; 2nd Cannon - Source : D. Lortsch, Historie de la Bible en France, 1910, p.14.

“Opened on Thursday alongside the Inquisitionarchives was the infamous Index of Forbidden Books, which Roman Catholics were forbidden to read or possess on pain of excommunication. They showed that even “the Bible” was once on the blacklist. Translations of the holy book ended up on the bonfiresalong with other ``heretical’’ works…The Indexof Forbidden Books and all excommunications relating to it were officially abolished in 1966. The Inquisitionitself was established by Pope Gregory IX in 1233…”-Vatican archives reveal Bible was once banned book By Jude WebberROME, Jan 22, 1998 (Reuters)

I know there has got to be a logical explaination for these quotes. Can anyone shed any light on this?:confused:

The church banned un-approved translations that were defective … why would the church want to allow faulty translations be provided to the faithful ?..

Jerome stated that “ignorance of Scripture is ingnorance of Christ”
**
Also, please not that common ownership of “bibles” was not common until after the invention of the printing press … the first book printed? The Bible and a ‘catholic’ one at that [as that would have been before the Protestant Reformation] …before Gutttenberg, bibles were hand copied … they were very expensive …

I do not know how many “bibles” you have in your house - we have 6 - I think … but we would not have even one if they cost [in todays dollas] what they did before Guutenberg … about $25,000.00 - heck I probably would not be able to own one if it cost $500.00 - I rarely have paid over $125 for a book and that was only because it was required by a professor in college - and many of thise I sod back as fast as I could so I could afford the texts for the next term :rolleyes:

Add to that how many comon folks were literate … :shrug:

Also, Luther did not make the first translation into the German … in fact many existed [18 if memory serves] before his … Luther refused to submit his vdrsion to his Bishop for approval … he had added words to some passages [like Romans … “by faith [*alone], apart from works of the law” - alone being added … ] and played with the 'arrangement and order of the various books and some he wanted to eliminate altogether …

So, primarily in France where a heresy ws rampant and a faulty translation was created to lead people astray … yes the church took positive steps …

And later, after the bible alone theology gained ground - some church leaders warned against private intepretation … but absolute discouragement of scripture reading … no not true … :slight_smile:

Along with all the explanations you will get about the historical and regional context of these provisions, ask your friend if he’d mind if you were to pass out some New World Translation bibles at his church (NWT is the Jehovah Witness bible, an most inaccurate and heretical translation).

Whenever people send me stuff like that, I Google to see whether such a Council ever met, and if so, what the subjects under discussion were.

In the vast majority of cases, I find one of two things: either, the Council did not exist, or the subject was something other than what the accuser is claiming.

So, that would be my first step, if I were you. :slight_smile:

There are indulgences granted for scripture reading, so obviously it wasn’t banned. But this person probably won’t like indulgences either.

Pax

Or even worse, pass out Catholic bibles. Wonder how many non-denom pastors would allow that.

[LEFT]Did the Catholic Church Keep the Bible From Being Translated Into the Vernacular Languages?

[FONT=Verdana][size=3]A very good source on all this is the short but informative book by Farther Henry Graham.

[/size][/FONT]Where We Got the Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church
[/LEFT]

Just a comment:

Protestants will claim people could finally start learning the Scriptures when the printing press came along. As my World Civilization teacher said, “people could talk to Jesus.”

But what about the Mass?

What about Sacred Tradition, which comprises of the teachings of Scriptures?

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

The Council of Toulouse was a regional council, **not **an ecumenical council. Regional councils have do not have authority on the Church as a whole.

This council was called to deal with the Albigensian/Manichean heresy that was running amok in souther France. The texts it was referring to were doctored versions of the Bible which the Albigensian/Manichean created in order to support their heretical teachings. So no, this council did no forbid the reading and study of authentic copies of the Bible.

The Council of Tarragona of 1234, in its second canon, ruled that:

“No one may possess the books of the Old and New Testaments, and if anyone possesses them he must turn them over to the local bishop within eight days, so that they may be burned…”- The Church Council of Tarragona 1234 AD; 2nd Cannon - Source : D. Lortsch, Historie de la Bible en France, 1910, p.14.

There was no Council of Tarragona in 1234. There was a provincial council in 1242 to deal with the details of the Inquisition. Presuming the author simply got the year wrong, I do know the history of this area and time in a general way. Muslim Moors, who had recently been ejected from this region, had produced doctored versions of the Bible, much like the Albgensians had done in France. This was done to support the view that it was Ishmael, not Issac, who Abraham blessed, that Jesus was not crucified and that another even greater prophet would follow Jesus. Many many copies of these false scriptures had been spread throughout the land during the Moorish occupation of Spain.

“Opened on Thursday alongside the Inquisition archives was the infamous Index of Forbidden Books, which Roman Catholics were forbidden to read or possess on pain of excommunication. They showed that even “the Bible” was once on the blacklist. Translations of the holy book ended up on the bonfiresalong with other ``heretical’’ works…The Indexof Forbidden Books and all excommunications relating to it were officially abolished in 1966. The Inquisitionitself was established by Pope Gregory IX in 1233…”-Vatican archives reveal Bible was once banned book By Jude WebberROME, Jan 22, 1998 (Reuters)

I know there has got to be a logical explaination for these quotes. Can anyone shed any light on this?:confused:

The word “infamous” in the first sentence demonstrates this is a biased commentary. The Index never included the Bible itself. Rather, specific editions and translations that had been altered, doctored, or or were an exceptionally poor translation.

To claim the Catholic Church banned the Bible itself is so false that it cannot be reconciled with reality.

The problem is the councils mentioned here, and their declarations are part of the RCC’s sacred tradition, are they not?

The Council of Toulouse used these words: “We prohibit the permission of the books of the Old and New Testament to laymen, except perhaps they might desire to have the Psalter, or some Breviary for the divine service, or the Hours of the blessed Virgin Mary, for devotion;** expressly forbidding their having the other parts of the Bible translated into the vulgar tongue**” (Pierre Allix, Ecclesiastical History of Ancient Churches of the Albigenses, 1821, p. 213).

THE COUNCIL OF TARRAGONA - 1234 A.D.
The Council of Tarragona of 1234, in its second canon,
ruled that:
“No one may possess the books of the Old and New
Testaments in the Romance language, and if anyone
possesses them he must turn them over to the local
bishop within eight days after promulgation of
this decree, so that they may be burned…”

  • D. Lortsch, Historie de la Bible en France, 1910, p.14.

    The term ‘romance language’ used in the above canon, means all the languages that descend from Latin, the language of ancient Rome. This shows how the RCC did not, and do not want a Bible that we can understand.

    The only copies of the entire Bible (with all its parts, Old and New Testament) would be bound and cloistered under the Church’s control. They could tell us in the parts of the Bible they won’t let us have it says the only ones getting into heaven are purple elephants, and we wouldn’t know the difference.
    “Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered” (Lk 11:52).

It is the very words of Christ that give a person life. “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (Jn 6:63).
The Magisterium said definitively in these councils that they would measure out this spirit of life, the word of God, as they saw fit; when, where, from whom, how much, and even whatever they could and wanted to about the Gospel (no dissent on purple elephants only salvation, because there’d be no inclination to say otherwise. Besides, they have the Bible, they wouldnt lie to us, would they? ) :shrug:

   If the RCC is the one true church, that is the sole proprietor of the True Gospel, why would its Magisterium ever work to damper that Gospel it in any way?  Yet clearly in these mentioned councils they have.

But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house [divided] against a house falleth. - Luke 11:17

First, it would be important to ascertain that these are authentic quotations. That the Church has always given an Indulgence for daily Scripture reading seems to fly in the face of such a declaration - how does one obtain the Indulgence, without a Bible? :shrug: (St. Jerome was a Catholic priest; he said, “Whoever does not know the Bible, does not know Christ.” He said that in the early 400s AD.)

So there is a disconnected thought happening here, if your quotation above is authentic.

Which means that we would have to look at the context of the quotation - what document is it part of, what does the rest of the document say, what situation was the document responding to, and what were the circumstances - for example, was it a local situation where qualified Bible translators were unavailable, for some reason? (Bible translation is a tricky business; you don’t want amateurs attempting it, and maybe the situation was that they had a lot of amateurs who thought they were Bible experts?)

There were a lot of Bibles that were banned, but it was because they were terrible translations. A stack of King James Bibles got burned one time because the publisher omitted the word “not” from the Ten Commandments.

You may find this helpful:

socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/08/was-catholic-church-avowed-enemy-of.html
catholic.com/thisrock/2002/0212fea3.asp

Gaudium de veritate,

Don
+T+

Maybe this will be helpful, it is from "TurrisFortis.com. :

One more myth, that is all-too often repeated to make the Catholic Church look unbiblical, is that in 1229, the Bible itself was forbidden to laymen and placed on the Index of Forbidden Books by the Council of Valencia. This lie originated in the anti-Catholic book, Roman Catholicism, by Loraine Boettner. Unfortunately, it has been repeated and repeated by other anti-Catholic writers, and even spread into mainstream literature. It is one of the simplest arguments to refute, as it simply cannot stand up to historic scrutiny.

First of all, the Index of Forbidden Books was established in 1543, so a council in 1229 could not have placed a book on it. Second of all, there has never been a church council held in Valencia, Spain. Plus, the Moors were in control of that area in 1229, so the Church could not have had a council there even if they wanted to.

There was a council in 1229, but it was in Toulouse, France. It was a local council, not an ecumenical council (which means it did not represent the entire Church). This council did deal with the Bible, in a way. It was called to deal with the Albigensian heresy, which maintained that the flesh is evil and therefore marriage is evil, fornication is not a sin, and suicide is not immoral. They also opposed taking oaths, which completely undermined medieval feudal society, which was based on oaths. These Albigensians were using corrupt vernacular versions of the Bible to support their theories, twisting the Bible to “prove” their point. To combat this, the bishops at Toulouse restricted the use of the Bible until this heresy was ended. This was a local restriction, not a universal one, and when the heresy was over, the restriction was lifted.

This restriction never affected more than one area of southern France, and is a far cry from the Catholic Church banning the Bible from all laymen.

Those councils were regional councils, not binding on the whole Church (and it’s just the CC, not the RCC. Don’t exclude the Eastern Church!).

The problem with your logic is first, that pretty well no one could read, and those who could, and could afford a Bible, could also read in Latin. Of course, you know the pitfalls of translation, right?

Yeah. well witness the fact that the Catholic Church has been around for 2,000 years and has yet to be divided and fall, so that lack of fulfillment to your twisted interpretation of the scriptures fails on an epic scale as a prophecy applied to it. (You do know what the Bible says about false prophets? Deuteronomy 18:21 And if in silent thought thou answer: How shall I know the word that the Lord hath not spoken? 22 Thou shalt have this sign: Whatsoever that same prophet foretelleth in the name of the Lord, and it cometh not to pass: that thing the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath forged it by the pride of his mind: and therefore thou shalt not fear him. )

Do you allow your family whom you love to use a Jehovah’s Witness Bible for their study? I think not. Then the same thing is true of the church in dealing with gross errors in vernacular translations.

CHAPTER XIV. A Deluge of Erroneous Versions

FOLLOWING Tyndale’s example, others continued the work of issuing English-printed Bibles, and so in the reign of Henry VIII we have to face quite a deluge of them. One by one they came forth, authorised and unauthorised, printed and published by irresponsible individuals, full of errors, with no proper supervision, and having no other effect (as we shall presently see) than that of drawing down contempt and disgrace upon the Sacred Scriptures.

(1) The English Church was now separated from Rome, and the English Bishops were mere puppets and slaves at the beck and call of the Royal Tyrant, Henry. They exercised no real independent jurisdiction over either clergy or people; the governor and ruler in Church and State was the King; and consequently no ecclesiastic could undertake responsibility in regard to the publication or suppression of Bibles without the will of his Imperial Master. So long as Henry made no objection, any printer or publisher or literary hack, who thought he saw a chance of making a little money out of the venture, would take in hand the publishing of a new version of the Bible. George Joye, for example, took this course in regard to Tyndale’s Bible, and in consequence (1535) brought down upon himself a volley of bitter and un-Christian reproaches from that worthy who (as I have said before) was a man of uncontrollable temper and scurrilous language when thwarted or resisted. In reply to this tirade, George Joye published an ‘Apology’, in which he showed that the printer had paid him only 4 ½ d. for the correction of every 16 leaves, while Tyndale had netted 10 pounds for his work; and besides, he exposed in fine style the departure from the truth of which Tyndale had been guilty in boasting of his translation and exposition as if it were his own, whereas Joye shows it was really Luther’s all the time; that Tyndale did not know enough Greek to do it, and had only added ‘fantasies’ and glosses and notes of his own imagination to the work of others. However, we have no time to dwell on the quarrels of these amiable Bible translators, else we should never reach the end of our historical review. Let us enumerate briefly the versions that saw the light in rapid succession during the reign of Henry VIII. Now…why do you insist on using an abridged edition of teh Word of God when you yourself make a big deal of the Bible being the sole authority of all that you believe?

This stuff is always ridiculous. It’s either made up, inaccurately quoted, interpreted improperly or taken completely out of context.
For example, look at the bolded portion of the above quote - what does it mean? Your source apparently thinks it means that the Church was prohibiting the laity from access to the OT and NT, right? But what does it actually say? It says that they prohibit that the laity from NOT having access to the OT and NT. It means the exact opposite of what the moron cited it thought it said. So either it completely refutes what he claims OR it is a false document (ie made up). Dont waste too much time on it.

I googled the quote that I referenced above. Whoever gave it to you got it wrong - here’s what may be an original:

Canon 14. We prohibit also that the laity should be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament; unless anyone from motive of devotion should wish to have the Psalter or the Breviary for divine offices or the hours of the blessed Virgin; but we most strictly forbid their having any translation of these books.

Notice how the “NOT” from your source isnt in the original?

I got this from,
lazyboysreststop.com/apol64.htm

an antiCatholic apologetics site. Whoever wrote it was pretty desparate. They start off with the question “what is the truth? Does the Catholic Church now prohibit, or has it ever prohibited the reading and possession of the Bible?”

And then the unnamed author goes on to show that there were times when the possession of a text was restricted, but never that reading was restricted. So, the answer to the above is a resounding “No”. Was there ever a time when possession was prohibited? Yes, and the reason was because there were bad translations being purposely written to distort the Gospel.
Basically, there have been times when bad translations of Scripture were leading people astray. The Church had to deal with it. You will never find anywhere where the Church prohibits the reading of Scripture. They restricted the distribution of poor texts/translations.

I don’t know if the Catholic Church ever prevented people from owning the scriptures, but it does seem as though they were never as aggressive during the 1500-1800s at encouraging the laity to read the scriptures. I definitely think the Protestant Reformation led to an increase in literacy in Europe because the Protestant faith required Bible readership to a great extent, much like the Jews have had a higher rate of literacy through the centuries because of the primacy of the Law and the need to read to understand it.

It’s a play on words. Yes, certain translations of the Bible were on the Index of Forbidden Books — not because they were Bibles, but because they were corrupted Bibles containing altered text reflecting heretical views (comparable to the modern-day Jehovah’s Witness New World Bible, which alters text to fit their views, such as their version of John 1:1: “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was a god.” Bad Bible translations were placed on the Index, not because they were Bibles but because they were bad translations.

By claiming that “the Catholic Church put the Bible on the Index of Forbidden Books,” the writer is creating a false impression that the Bible itself was being banned. No legitimate Bible translation was ever on the Index.

Ridiculous. Have you ever studied lay piety in the Middle Ages? Illiterate Catholic laypeople knew the Bible by heart. How? Because the Sacred Scriptures were interwoven with their daily lives! Everyone knew exactly what the Bible said – you couldn’t avoid it, it was so pervasive. Secular time was reckoned by Church Feast Days. Feast days had elaborate re-enactments of Biblical events in which everyone in the village would participate. Read Eamon Duffy’s “The Stripping of the Altars” to learn more about how far the Biblical literacy of Catholic peasants differs from the absurd fairy tale of their supposed Biblical illiteracy.

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