Is it a sin to burn the bible?


#1

Say for example I owned several bibles and while spending time at my vacation cabin, in the middle of nowhere, I just decided to throw one into my fireplace one night for no good reason at all -should I feel regret for doing so?

Perhaps my book collection was quite large, and I threw torahs, bibles, Korans and CCC's all in the fireplace, just for fun -knowing that I had plenty more of all of them stacked in the shed. Is that a sin?


#2

...none of the above mentioned bibles had been blessed by a Catholic priest by the way. :cool:


#3

You shouldn't burn any piece of paper that shows the name of G-d.

If you have old photo copies that contain His name and you don't know what to do with it.... if it's Hebrew scripture take it to a Jewish graveyard and they will bury your copies for ya.

If it's Christian scripture... not sure but I think that this is what the Easter Fire is for, to burn sacred things that are no longer needed?


#4

I would feel pretty uneasy about it, but I doubt it is a sin as such. Talk to your priest.


#5

It might be a good idea to do an examination of conscience and figure out why you did this “for no good reason,” and then mention it, and the reason why, at your next confession. When you get absolution, forget about it after doing your penance and applying any lessons learned.

The Word of God is always to be treated with respect. Yet, basically, it is a book. We do not worship a book any more than we do other inanimate articles. We worship the Word of God made Flesh, that is, Jesus Christ, with the rest of the Trinity.

A book could get damaged to the point where it is unusable, or even dangerous to use, such as if it was subjected to a flooding situation during some sort of flood. That could be a Bible stored in a basement or attic and subjected to repeated leaks, and growing mold, or one subjected to a flood in a natural disaster or a sewer main break, for example. I could understand disposing of a bible so damaged by burning, as opposed to throwing it in the trash, but I would check with a priest before proceeding.


#6

Imagining you with a lit match in your hand - getting antsy waiting for my counsel. ;)

ACTUALLY ... it's not so dumb a question. < excuse the damning with non-existant praise.

I'm in a ministry that brings Sunday services to a place where the Catholics can't GO to mass and where the numbers are so few that priests don't usually come (on Sunday mornings, during the time the facility allots for worship services, priests are busy saying mass for hundreds).

In our service we print out all the readings of the day (the liturgy) on sheets of paper.

They are USED in that service, we tell the people to keep their own -- but they often leave them. What to do?

I have on occasion distributed them in the lobby of the facility to those waiting to see
the children (5-17) temporarily living there. But there are extras, each week. Amounting to quite a pile of paper clutter ... yet "clutter" with the word of God on each piece of paper, potentially life changing for someone.

At a certain point I have thrown many papers away. In a human way I childishly complain inside myself that I am a goofball holding the bag if I don't.

I wouldn't burn a bible though. For heaven's sake, a thrift store would be glad to take the donation of it, and resell it with funds going to the poor possibly.

Now your idea that "you have other Bibles" makes more sense in my single paper situation. If I throw away the liturgical papers .... and kept one each week for three years, I could have a "set" of the three years of Sunday readings at least.

Once again, its a better question than I thought at first glance - and caused me to think
about a related though different "problem" I have sometimes.

Couldn't resist sharing the ridiculous image that came to mind on first seeing the thread title though. :blush: Hope it gave you a smile. :)


#7

My view is that all Scofield Reference Bibles and New World Translations should be burnt. All Bibles that haven't been altered to fit a certain man made doctrine should be given to those who have not got a copy.


#8

It would most certainly be grave matter to burn a Bible or a catechism “for no good reason at all” or “just for fun”. This is blatant desecration of sacred books, and if done with full knowledge and full consent of the will, it would constitute a mortal sin. If someone thinks it’s “fun” to burn the word of God, that person needs to go to confession ASAP. If you have excess Bibles and catechisms laying around, donate them to someone who could use them, either to your parish (for RCIA or sacrament prep classes), or to a missionary group (and yes, there are missionaries who serve English speakers).

The same would apply to the Torah, since it contains the first five books of the Bible.

Burning the Koran would be a grave sin against charity, since 1) it’s blatantly disrespectful to the deepest-held beliefs of our Muslim brothers and sisters, and 2) such an action could potentially threaten other people’s safety in other parts of the world if anyone found out about your actions. The Vatican has clearly condemned the desecration of the Koran: catholicherald.co.uk/news/2010/09/08/vatican-condemns-koran-burning-in-florida/


#9

I've discarded photocopies of bible passages before once I have no longer needed them. It never occurred to me to consider that just because it had the word 'God' on the surface of the paper in ink it somehow made the paper better.

Let's face it, sometimes books reach the end of their useful lives and we are, in fact, authorised to burn sacramentals (at least those that are flammable) in order to dispose of them properly.

What's more worrying here is that you chose to burn something on a whim. I can't presuppose what your 'whim' actually was. I don't know if you felt anger towards the book or you were just seized with a temporary overwhelming compulsion. I would suggest that you examine your conscience. We all make mistakes, and sometimes we can make them in a moment and be horrified by them for ages afterwards.

I don't know if you committed a mortal sin, but instinctively I doubt it since that would require consideration, agreement to the principle, malice of forethought and the presence of actual grave matter. I'm not sure that you gave it enough thought beforehand and I'm not sure that it's actually grave matter to burn a book even if, to some people, it's distasteful because that book was a bible.

I would say that burning books leaves a sour taste in many people's mouths because of the echoes of persecutions of the past that doing so evokes. But I've burned books before, simply because they were old, unwanted and basically just household trash. Unless your motive was deliberate and wilful rejection of God, then I would suggest that you were simply very very unwise.

Talk to your priest. Explain the circumstances and what you were feeling. Even if it's not a mortal sin, I think you'll need to feel the forgiveness of Our Lord for the guilt you may be putting yourself through, even if it was just a momentary aberration.


#10

How can burning the Koran be considered a sin? The Koran contains lies, particularly a carefully constructed heresy which denies Jesus both that he was crucified and that he was son of God.


#11

[quote="CaptFun, post:6, topic:315682"]
In our service we print out all the readings of the day (the liturgy) on sheets of paper.

They are USED in that service, we tell the people to keep their own -- but they often leave them. What to do?

[/quote]

Do you know when to burn these things? I've heard you bring these things along with your palm branch from the previous year and burn them in the Easter Vigil fire. Others say that there's another fire and that this fire is where the ash for Ash Wednesday comes from.

I should add that I only completed one Catholic year, so I'm unsure about several things


#12

Well now, I'm not sure as to the answer, but I'm curious as to why anyone would even hypothetically decide to roast holy books "just for fun", lol.


#13

[quote="Delaine75, post:12, topic:315682"]
Well now, I'm not sure as to the answer, but I'm curious as to why anyone would even hypothetically decide to roast holy books "just for fun", lol.

[/quote]

I do think it is okay to burn a Bible that is worn out beyond use, the same as for a USA flag that is worn out. Or I've also heard of people burying one.


#14

[quote="Indifferently, post:10, topic:315682"]
How can burning the Koran be considered a sin? The Koran contains lies, particularly a carefully constructed heresy which denies Jesus both that he was crucified and that he was son of God.

[/quote]

It is a sin against charity. The words on the paper are, indeed anathema to us as Catholics, however to burn this book, or pages from it, is to deliberately desecrate an object held sacred by those of another faith.
To do so is known to anger some members of that faith so much as to incite murders to be committed in revenge. By knowing this fact, to deliberately perform this act of desecration in a manner that had any chance of being discovered and thereby provoke such a revenge attack could make you (at least partly) culpable for any resulting violence.

It is a sin against the efforts the church is putting into ecumenical dialogue.
It is a sin against the efforts to foster mutual respect and co-existance between Christianity and Islam.
It casts grave scandal on fellow Christians. It causes non Christians to see us as intolerant and spoiling for a fight - not being examples of Christian Love and Respect.

Do we hear of St.s Peter & Paul advocating the desecration of the pagan temples and shrines in the cities where they preached and established their churches? - NO!
They advocated taht the christians should change their behaviour, and lead exemplary lives of Christian Love and Virtue.

If I came into possession of a Koran, which I did not wish to keep and read (it can help to know what those we wish to evangelise believe), I would seek to give it back to the nearest Mosque and treat it with respect until the moment of hand-over. Admit in handing it over that you intend no disrespect and are handing it over as you understand that Muslems consider the physical book itself to be of inherent sacred value.

Regarding Christian texts and blessed objects which need to be disposed of:
I believe these should never be disposed of as garbage or with garbage. Any object which has been blessed for sacred use should be treated with the respect that that deserves.
A printed bible or other sacred text used for prayer or studying Gods word or Will should be treated with respect. Not thrown in the Garbage or recycling bin.
They should not be disposed of in a way that carried a high risk of profane use.

They should be respectfully buried or cremated. Objects containing metal or other precious materials should be recycled in a manner that involves the respectful dismantling of the object. (e.g. Chalices and Ciboria used for the Holy Eucharist must be melted down. The metals can then be re-processed and recycled. Ideally they should be re-used for new sacred vessels but that is not mandatory).


#15

there is a proper way you can dispose of things like that. Usually burning it in a blessed fire is the best way to do it. If a bible is so beat up it is no longer really useable (mulitple pages torn or missing and so on and so forth) burn it in a BLESSED fired and that is the proper way to dispose of it. You can dispose of a bible but you must treat it with respect being the word of God.


#16

When in doubt, i pray God and Mother Mary to show me my wrong doing. Once i know, i then pray to have remorse about it.

You need remorse to have a good confession.

I agree that a priest would be the perfect person to ask!


#17

A lot of these comments about burning or disposing of something in a ‘blessed’ fire and suchlike do rather strike me as tending towards superstition.

The things that count as sacramentals do not have a power in and of their own right. They are not transubstantiated into something different.

Yes, they have a symbolism and people do become attached to symbols because of what they represent, but provided one does not dispose of objects in such a way as to offend someone else, I fail to see the problem. Disposing of a religious object privately should not represent a sin.

Obviously what I have said above does not apply to the Blessed Sacrament.


#18

I recall that a similar question came up in how to dispose of the outdated Sacramentaries. The answer was that they should be burned and the ashes buried--it was not respectful just to toss them in the garbage, because they had been blessed and used for the Eucharist.

So here, the proper way to dispose of a worn or unusable Bible is burning, perhaps not in a blessed fire, but in a reverent manner.

The point of the original post that would point towards sin is that these texts were burned, not in a reverent manner after they were unusable, but on a whim. And including texts that others consider holy does not help the matter--it is still offensive to believers in other religions, and the way it's described here does not reflect a spirit of love or concern for them.

Compare it to disposing of a flag. It should also be burned in a reverent way, once no longer able to be used for its purpose. But how different if it is burned, say, in a protest against the US, or if you just threw your flag on a campfire for no particular reason. In all three cases, it is burned, but the circumstances make a difference in the spirit of the occasion, and in whether it is reverent disposal or the sort of thing many would see as desecration.


#19

[quote="bmonk, post:18, topic:315682"]

Compare it to disposing of a flag. It should also be burned in a reverent way, once no longer able to be used for its purpose. But how different if it is burned, say, in a protest against the US, or if you just threw your flag on a campfire for no particular reason. In all three cases, it is burned, but the circumstances make a difference in the spirit of the occasion, and in whether it is reverent disposal or the sort of thing many would see as desecration.

[/quote]

While a lot of people certainly have a strong attachment to the flag due to what it represents to them, I can't honestly see it as a sin to destroy a piece of cloth with some colours on it. I simply don't think it's possible to desecrate a bit of cloth. It isn't holy. It isn't a sacramental. It's not even against the law (even if some people think it should be, I don't see how that would ever square against free speech).


#20

[quote="Jeffgo, post:8, topic:315682"]
It would most certainly be grave matter to burn a Bible or a catechism "for no good reason at all" or "just for fun". This is blatant desecration of sacred books, and if done with full knowledge and full consent of the will, it would constitute a mortal sin. If someone thinks it's "fun" to burn the word of God, that person needs to go to confession ASAP. If you have excess Bibles and catechisms laying around, donate them to someone who could use them, either to your parish (for RCIA or sacrament prep classes), or to a missionary group (and yes, there are missionaries who serve English speakers).

The same would apply to the Torah, since it contains the first five books of the Bible.

Burning the Koran would be a grave sin against charity, since 1) it's blatantly disrespectful to the deepest-held beliefs of our Muslim brothers and sisters, and 2) such an action could potentially threaten other people's safety in other parts of the world if anyone found out about your actions. The Vatican has clearly condemned the desecration of the Koran: catholicherald.co.uk/news/2010/09/08/vatican-condemns-koran-burning-in-florida/

[/quote]

Well, I'm seeing things differently in that the Word was made Flesh in Jesus alone and that the bible is not Jesus. The bible is a book and to consider it anything more than that seems a bit like idolatry.

Within the Catholic Church though, there are a number of objects that can be considered sacred such as palms, relics, or anything that has been physically blessed through the Holy Spirit... So if a bible hasn't been blessed, then it's just a book. Right?


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