A time when the Bible was banned and burned by the Catholic Church

6 min


Many people are unaware of the fact that there  was a long period of time, when the Catholic Church – forbid the reading of the Bible.

Not only did she forbid the reading of the Bible, but she also forbid having posession of a Bible
in one’s own home.

These were called the “Dark Ages” for obvious  reasons.  The Apostate Church of Christendom was at the peak of her power, and was afraid that if her subjects owned and read Bibles, that they might question some of the Church’s actions and teachings.

“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 AD Source: Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe, Scolar Press, London, England copyright 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 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 bonfires along with other “heretical” works…The Index of Forbidden Books and all excommunications relating to it were officially abolished in 1966. The Inquisition itself was established by Pope Gregory IX in 1233….” -Vatican archives reveal Bible was once banned book By Jude Webber ROME, Jan 22, 1998 (Reuters)

“Canon 14.   We prohibit also that the laity should be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament; …we most strictly forbid their having any translation  of these books.”– ITEM #2   COUNCIL OF TOULOUSE – 1229 A.D.  Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe, 
 Edited with an introduction by Edward Peters,  Scolar Press, London, copyright 1980  by Edward Peters, ISBN 0-85967-621-8, pp. 194-195

ITEM #3   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.

ITEM #6  THE BIBLE PROHIBITED BY THE INDEX LIBRORUM PROHIBITORUM

Pope Pius IV had a list of the forbidden books compiled and officially prohibited them in the Index of Trent  (Index Librorum Prohibitorum) of 1559.  This is an excerpt :

“Whoever reads or has such a translation in his  possession… cannot be absolved from his sins
until he has turned in these Bibles
…Books in the vernacular dealing with the controversies between Catholics and the heretics of our time are not to be  generally permitted, but are to be handled in the  same way as Bible translations…” – Rule IV & Rule VI  Die Indices Librorum Prohibitorum des sechzehnten Jahrhunderts (Tübingen, 1886), page 246f. Source: The Reformation, by Hans J. Hillerbrand, copyright 1964 by SCM Press Ltd and Harper and Row,Inc.,  Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 64-15480, pages 474, 475.

History’s Most Indestructable Book

Many dictators have attempted to wipe the Bible from existence. Yet it has withstood all these attacks, remaining the most popular book in the world. More copies of the Bible are sold every year than any other book, despite its image as being “out of date.”

Unfortunately, this ultimately led to persecution again as the church quickly became a powerful political force, used to control public opinion and political ambitions.

The Bible continued to be attacked, now from within the church. Bibles in common languages
such as Greek were outlawed. The Latin Vulgate Bible was produced and carefully controlled,
readable only by specially trained representatives of the church. Laws were issued making it illegal for any Christian to possess a Bible. Penalties included burning at the stake. During the Dark Ages even priests were unable to read the Scriptures for themselves. As a result, they were unable to compare the false doctrines sweeping through the Roman church against the doctrines of the Word of God. In Italy, it was still illegal to own a Bible until 1870!

Political ambitions led to such crimes as the Crusader Wars, purported to be in the name of Christ but having no relationship with any Christian doctrine. Christianity was primarily
an excuse used to give them credibility. Since the people had no Bibles to check such things for
themselves, they were at the mercy of the corrupt religiious leaders behind these efforts.

“The Roman Catholic Church has traditionally suppressed, opposed, and forbidden the open use of the Bible. It was first officially forbidden to the people and placed on the index of Forbidden Books List by the Council of Valencia in 1229 A.D. The Council of Trent (1545-63 A.D.) also prohibited its use and pronounced a curse upon anyone who would dare oppose this decree. Many popes have issued decrees forbidding Bible reading in the common language of the people, condemning Bible societies and banning its possession and translation under
penalty of mortal sin and death. The Roman Catholic Church has openly burned Bibles and those who translated it or promoted its study, reading, and use. (John Hus, 1415 A.D.; William Tyndale, 1536 A.D.)” -Christian Equippers International, 2941 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe 96150

1525: Six thousand copies of William Tyndale’s English translation of the New Testament were
printed in Cologne, Germany, and smuggled into England—and then burned by the English church.

“Tyndale wrote that the Church authorities banned translation into the mother tongue “to keep the world still in darkness, to the intent they might sit through vain superstition and false doctrine, to satisfy their filthy lusts, their proud ambition, and insatiable covetousness, and to exalt their own honour… above God himself.” “ –William Tyndale’s New Testament. Worms (Germany), 1526 British Library C.188.a.17 Copyright © The British Library Board ONLINE GALLERY LANDMARKS IN PRINTING

“Tyndale’s New Testament was the first to be printed in English. There are only two complete
copies surviving from the 3,000 or more printed in 1526 by Peter Schoeffer in the German city
of Worms. Tyndale’s translation was pronounced heretical in England, so his Bibles were smuggled into the country in bales of cloth. Those discovered owning them were punished. At first only the books were destroyed, but soon heretics (those found with the Bibles) would be burned too – including Tyndale himself in 1536.” -William Tyndale’s New Testament. Worms (Germany), 1526 British Library C.188.a.17 Copyright © The British Library Board ONLINE GALLERY LANDMARKS IN PRINTING

“For 600 years the Roman Catholic Church attempted to keep translations of the Bible out of the hands of the people. Bible-believing people were mercilessly persecuted and their
Scriptures were destroyed. Those who possessed Bibles without a license were commanded to
deliver them up to the Catholic authorities under threat of inquisition terrors. Booksellers were forbidden to sell any Bibles except to people who possessed a license from the Catholic
church. Huge quantities of Scriptures in English, Germany, Italian, French, Spanish, and in other languages, were confiscated and destroyed throughout the 13th to the 19th centuries.
Bible translators and distributors were imprisoned and burned. Even after the Catholic inquisition was outlawed in many lands in the 18th and 19th centuries, the popes continued to condemn the free distribution of Scripture.” –ROME AND THE BIBLE: TRACING THE HISTORY OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH AND ITS PERSECUTION OF THE BIBLE AND OF BIBLE BELIEVERS, by David W. Cloud, Way of Life Literature, copyright 1996.

“In Roman-dominated lands, the Bible was almost an unknown book among the common people. The Bible in Rome is a strange and rare book. Indeed very few of the common people know what we mean by the Bible.” -ROME AND THE BIBLE: TRACING THE HISTORY OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH AND ITS PERSECUTION OF THE BIBLE AND OF BIBLE BELIEVERS, by David W. Cloud, Way of Life Literature, copyright 1996.

“Book burnings which included Bibles were common after 1521. Sometimes the
translators and publishers themselves were also burned. Possession of Bibles became criminal offenses and often resulted in the execution of the accused. There are cases on record of people executed by order of church for the “crime” teaching their children the Lord’s Prayer or the Ten Commandments in their own native tongue.” -What Happened this Day in Church History June 13, 1757 • The Bible in Many Tongues. Christian History Institute.

“In the two decades after Wycliffe’s death, many Lollards were burned at the stake, some even with their Bibles hanging from their necks to be burned with them.” -Ron Minton, The Making and Preservation of the Bible (n.p.; November, 2000) 216.

“By 1408 even reading the Bible in English was outlawed.” – F. F. Bruce, PP 20-23 History of the Bible in English, 3rd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978)

“One of Wycliffe’s followers, John Hus, actively promoted Wycliffe’s ideas: that people should be permitted to read the Bible in their own language, and they should oppose the tyranny of the Roman church that threatened anyone possessing a Bible with execution. Hus was burned at the stake in 1415, with Wycliffe’s manuscript Bibles used as kindling for the fire. The Catholic Church excommunicated Hus in 1411 and burned him at the stake in Constance on July 6, 1415, having condemned him by the Council of Constance, in an unfair trial.” -English Bible History; “John Hus” GREATSITE.COM; the online showroom of The Bible Museum, Inc. Since 1987

“In the two decades after Wycliffe’s death, many Lollards were burned at the stake, some even with their Bibles hanging from their necks to be burned with them.” -Ron Minton, The Making and Preservation of the Bible (n.p.; November, 2000) 216.

“October 6, 1998 marks 462 years since another Christian was burned at the stake for his translation and distribution of the English Bible.” -The Bible Gateway; Topic : “William Tyndale” Bible.Org.com Tom White and Steve Cleary, “The Smuggler,” The Voice of the Martyrs, October, 1998, pp. 3-4

“Owning a Bible in English, or even quoting Scripture in English, meant death for countless men and women of God.” -1376-Indestructible Book: Story of the Bible Bestselling Catholic Videos in English and Spanish Languages
Largest Roman Catholic Marian Resource

“Many people died at the stake for owning a Bible, or for helping to translate one, or for distributing them to others.” – Sermon of Rev. Orland Wolfram (1912-1987) Pillar of Fire Church Missionary to Guatemala

The Bible is a precious heritage and a priceless gift. It reveals the true God and his Son, Jesus Christ, the Savior of all humanity. Realizing that God inspired many dedicated Christians to great personal sacrifices should motivate us to value the precious heritage of the Bible. The once-forbidden book now lies open — to you!

Source: Rome Corrupted Christianity.


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