Should we burn/surrender Protestant bibles?

According to the Catechism of St. Pius X:

"32 Q. What should a Christian do who has been given a Bible by a Protestant or by an agent of the Protestants?

A. A Christian to whom a Bible has been offered by a Protestant or an agent of the Protestants should reject it with disgust, because it is forbidden by the Church. If it was accepted by inadvertence, it must be burnt as soon as possible or handed in to the Parish Priest.

33 Q. Why does the Church forbid Protestant Bibles?

A. The Church forbids Protestant Bibles because, either they have been altered and contain errors, or not having her approbation and footnotes explaining the obscure meanings, they may be harmful to the Faith. It is for that same reason that the Church even forbids translations of the Holy Scriptures already approved by her which have been reprinted without the footnotes approved by her."

Is the Catechism of St. Pius X still valid and binding? If we are in possession of a Protestant bible, are we obligated (under pain of mortal sin) to burn it or surrender it to the parish priest, as instructed?

There are a whole batch of books that are left out of them and sometimes the translation of a word may be questionable (though if you’ve ever compared translations this is usually way overstated by Catholics). I personally don’t think a Protestant Bible is “evil” and needs to be burned. I think these Bibles help more than hurt our current society that has become so immoral.

Could there be a case where one should burn a book - even a problematic bible? Sure it is possible.

However to get to your question about that Catechism-

That Catechism is very good in many ways - however that particular aspect is an aspect that was a prudential aspect applicable at that time more than 100 years ago. Such is no longer the same today.

One of course should use certain Protestant Bibles - if they are used - with knowledge and caution - being aware of their origin and possible translation differences and most especially of their notes which will be containing Protestant ideas that are incorrect.

And some things some other Christians might hand one - ought to be destroyed (such as anti-Catholic tracts etc).

Catholics and Protestants even work hand in hand (as brothers) to produce common Bibles (though the Catholic editions will have Catholic notes and some of the translational and other choices can vary somewhat - choosing a different word for example in the Catholic edition). Catholic editions are of course to be approved as well by the competent authority in the Church.

There is a great deal of ecumenical work together as well as it is important to read the Church documents on the matter of ecumenical relations.




On the contrary I keep a Protestant Bible so I can use it in apologetics with them. There isn’t a Bible (Mormon, SDA, JW, or any other Protestant version) where you cannot show them the contradictions and flaws in their faith. However if you use a Catholic Bible they will automatically think and say “well that’s because it’s your mistranslation or your bad Bible.” You can even use the Book of Mormon to prove that it is a false teaching and religion.

Now then from here I go to a story I am reminded of about Pope Francis being prayed over by a bunch of Protestant ministers. I bring this up because if we go around burning mistranslated Bibles are we going to win them back to the true Church or are we going to alienate them and drive them further away?

Yes we are called to admonish the sinner and instruct the ignorant but it must be done with love and respect. As Jesus did, as the Holy Spirit does and as The Father expects…


I keep a New World Translation (completely written in, highlighted, underlined, etc) for the same reasons.

Also remember that in Martin Luther’s German translation he added the word “Alone” to force the Bible to teach that “a man is justified by faith alone” (Romans 3:28). One word can make a big difference.

No, it no longer applies. But at the time, it was probably necessary to protect Catholics from errors such as this.

Protestant Bibles are just as good as Catholic ones. They’re just missing a few books in the Old Testament - which I don’t read too often, anyway.

My favorite Bible is an NIV that my sister gave us after my husband was very ill. I had borrowed hers to read at the hospital as I hadn’t thought to bring my own. (Oddly enough, it was a Catholic hospital & I couldn’t find a Bible to read! I suppose I could have asked, but I wasn’t thinking too straight at the time. We never even saw the chaplain until husband was checking out a week later.)

I liked the NIV translation so well I bought a pocket NT to keep in my purse. Catholic pocket NTs don’t have the Psalms & Proverbs - most Protestant versions do.

I was amused by the term “an agent of the Protestants” in the old catechism. What nefarious schemes were they up to? :smiley:

Unfortunately not good ones.

Which, of course, Protestants no long add. They have good Biblical scholars now.

Really? You think it would actually be a mortal sin to not burn a bible?

I was given a “Protestant” translation of the New Testament by some really friendly Protestants when I registered for my classes for my first semester at college. My reading of this flawed translation was my first step in accepting the gospel and eventually becoming a Catholic. It also included Psalms which I would read at certain times of the day so without knowing it I was imitating the Liturgy of the Hours. Not a bad thing in my opinion.

I have to tell you that even though I rarely ever read them, most of the Bible’s I have are Protestant translations that’s what happens when you’re descended from a Sunday school teacher. I have one of my great grandma’s New Living Translation Bibles and she wrote down on a little piece of paper the verses and what not that she needed to remember I think that’s a good practice.

Were those teachings only for that time? That’s my first question.

What would St. Pius X think about the most recent popes statements about Protestants and other religions?

If St. Pope JP2 is kissing the koran for instance...   ?   Pope Benedict praying at a mosque with muslims.   Pope having joint prayer services with Protestants.  

Kinda really confusing there.

I know as a child it was a protestant bible that was complied for older children and young adults that helped me understand The Gospel.   It was given to my older sibling as a first holy communion gift by another Catholic, actually.. I'm not sure if the gift giver knew, maybe she would not have given it.  Out of curiosity one day I picked it up and started to read it and I found it so simply put and easy to understand that it really helped me believe in Jesus.   It was so simply put and easy to understand that I bought the same one for my godson at his first holy communion.  

Maybe I should not have?

Civis romanus sum
You suffer scruples.
And thats ok, but you cant deal with this alone.

Please speak to your priest.
This type of issue, and question is something we cannot help you with. Our answers could be very damaging.

You should also ONLY be reading current up to date Catechism.

And should NOT be concerning yourself with other religions.

You WILL NOT suffer mortal sin and be denied God because a bible belonging to a different religion is in your home, school, library, shop, etc.

No…such Bibles are not forbidden by the church and that was just a discipline in Pope Pius Xs day. We need to respond with charity and perhaps thank them for their concern for our soul while refusing it as unneeded since you certainly should have your own Catholic Bible. I would point out that it is more needed by someone who has none. If one decided to consider accepting it, one should look it over and check to see if it contains anti-Catholic notes, which is the thing that the church is really referring to in this case and that has been the case down through history. Few Bibles were rejected because of the translation itself (the Murderers Bible for instance) but all that were rejected were due to a-C footnotes. I would for example steer clear of The Scofield Reference Bible which was the first one to contain the rapture errors in it which of course was concocted by anti-Catholic CoI preacher J.N. Darby in an attempt to scare and proselytize Irish Catholics away from their faith.

Burn them? No, though tossing one in the trash (JWs New World (Mis)Translation for instance) would not bother my conscience at all since it is intentionally corrupted.:shrug: But just a simple King James Bible without commentary is really no problem aside from its lack of completeness.

Some years ago a close family friend who is a fallen away Catholic, now Pentecostal had his 80th birthday party and so I gave him a nice large print RSV-CE2 which I hoped he would read. He accepted it with grace.

I wouldn’t burn a Gore Vidal novel. My God. I think burning any Bible would be a grave sin. I would never be able to forget or forgive myself for committing such a sick vicious atrocity. For the rest of my life. I call that a hateful thought.

Burning religious items is actually considered a respectful method of disposal.


Yes and no. It really depends on the context of the burning. For example, a scapular that is beyond threadbare and you shouldn’t just throw it out. I don’t think the Church would approve of say a KKK style cross burning.

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