Everyone here has given good responses. The facts are that several Popes objected to versions of the Bible that were basically bad translations. Some even had additions and/or deletions unilaterally done by the translators.
This was mostly prior to the printing press. At the time bibles were copied by Monks. It took a monk 6 months to a year to produce one bible. That is full time work. Paper in those days as expensive. The good paper used for Bibles was extremely expensive. I read recently that one of those old hand made Bibles would have cost a minimum of $8,000 in today’s money. I think that $8,000 is very low in today’s money if we are taking into consideration that it took a man one year of full-time labor. In my estimation it would have even $20,000 to $40,000 to cover a man’s labor and material. The book had to hand written. The copies did a hash-check on each page by counting every continent (I think that each continent has a different values… So an A might have been the number 1 and a z the number 26 for example) … the hash count on each page had to be the same.
This is the practice that was used throughout Jewish and Christian history to ensure the accuracy of every page copied.
Apparently it worked since the Dead Sea Scrolls verify the accuracy of modern copies of scripture. This, by the way, is the same method we use today to verify the accuracy of computer file content. When we pass around packets of info or entire files, we generally pass the hash value with it. The receiver verifies the hash by recounting the data. It is an extremely accurate method of checking data. And the Bible copyists did this for ever page.
Another distortion you will hear about the CC and the Bible in those days was that the CC wanted to prevent people from having the Bible so they allowed only one copy per parish and it was chained down so that no one could read it. The tail goes on to say that only the priest was allowed to read the bible.
Remember that a good lie always has a kernel of truth in it. Then the mistruth is spun off the truth. Thus the lie is harder to separate from the fantasy.
The truth is that the CC did used to chain copies of the bible to the church wall. It is also true that every parish usually had only one copy of the Bible. While it sounds terrible in today’s environment it made perfect sense in those days.
Bibles were extremely expensive and hard to come by as I showed above. So most small parishes could only afford one copy. That copy was a prime target for thieves because they could get a good price for it form a fence. So to protect their very valuable, rare, only copy the parishes would chain them to the Church wall. Perhaps, with the expense and rarity of a Parish Bible, a priest was careful who he allowed to touch the bible. I don’t know, but I would be if I were a priest in those days. It had to be handled delicately to ensure that it lasted decades in a parish where there were hundreds of members.
Now about only the priest being allowed to read the bible. As others have stated here, most people in those days were not educated. They could not read. Those who could read were usually educated in schools and monasteries run by the CC. So they not only spoke and read Latin, the language of the Vulgate, but the Vulgate was one of the books required in the education of every student. So every educated person was raised reading the bible from the first year of their education.
Education in Europe was not only the province of the wealthy. Early on the CC (meaning the popes) ordered that all monasteries make a free education available to every young boy/man who requested it. They were not allowed to ask for anything from the boy’s family, not one chicken or gold piece… most of the parents hardly had that to spare anyway. So many hundreds of thousands of young men who would have never learned to read received a free education from the Catholic Church… this changed the fact of Europe in many ways. And every one of these young me read and studied the bible and theology from day one.
As soon as the printing press was invented…. The church started printing out copies of the bible in many languages. These were available to anyone who could afford them. Churches then had many copies for people to use.
I’ve even had non-Catholics try to tell me that the CC does not allow Catholics to own bibles today. I tell them that my family has had copies of the bible for generations that I know. I’ve seen the bibles owned and used by my great grand parents. Their response is to usually call me a liar. Some people are not interested in the truth about the CC. They lies help feed a hate they seem to need.