Q&A

Did the Catholic Church Forbid People from Reading the Bible?

By February 15, 2017 One Comment

Full Question

When the popes were treated as more powerful than kings why was the common man not allowed to read the bible?

Answer

For starters, up until the relative modern era the “common man” would not have been literate enough to read the Bible even in the vernacular.  There would have been no reason to prohibit the reading of something that most people couldn’t read.
Secondly, the reading of the Bible was never prohibited.  Certain translations that were considered heretical or that contained anti-Catholic commentaries were prohibited but those who were able to read an authorized translation were never forbidden to read the Bible.

By Fr. Charles Grondin

One Comment

  • Peter Aiello says:

    There is still, in the culture of the Church, the tendency to discourage the private interpretation of Scripture. How can you read Scripture without getting a personal understanding of what it is saying? In any discussion of conscience formation, the direct use of Scripture itself is hardly ever mentioned. The reading of Scripture doesn’t have to be prohibited by the Church, when the Church does not encourage its direct use. All of Christianity is supposed to be regulated by Sacred Scripture (V2’s Dei Verbum 21) including our own consciences. How can this happen without us understanding it?
    It is my primary spiritual instruction book.

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