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Did the Church burn the first printed copies of the Bible?

Full Question

A friend insists the Catholic Church burned the first printed Bibles and punished people who had them. Is there any truth to the story?


Nope. Printing with movable type was first used (say most historians, but not all) by Johann Gutenberg, a German Catholic. The first book he printed was the Mazarin Bible, so called because a copy was discovered in Cardinal Jules Mazarin’s library. More commonly known as the Gutenberg Bible, the book was printed more than 60years before the Reformation began.


  1. Edward A. Hara Reply

    You guys didn’t answer the question. When a Protestant makes this sort of accusation, he has in mind men like Wycliffe and the “bible” he translated.

    What you need to remind these people of is that these Bibles such as the one that Wycliffe made, were deliberately made with Protestant teaching and errors in an attempt to attack Catholic teaching. The Church, as the Shepherd of Christ’s flock, was doing Her duty in not only burning these spurious Scriptures, but stopping their production by burning at the stake unrepentant rebels like Wycliffe.

  2. Michael Reply

    OK, then this should be stated in the question. The question said “the first printed Bibles”, not “the first Protestant Bibles” or “the Bibles made by Wycliffe.” And frankly, even if Wycliffe was a heretic I cannot condone taking God’s law into human hands by executing him – nor would anyone in the modern Vatican.

  3. Gill Parkes Reply

    Wycliffe Bible was an extremely accurate translation based on the Greek Textus Receptus, not like the various Catholic transltons which based on Egyptian and Latin heretical versions.

    1. Timothy J. Corbitt Reply

      St Jerome’s Translation makes Wycliffe look like a comic book, with several of the important pages ripped out, because the child did not like them.

    2. Islandpride09 Reply

      Excerpt – “The common and received opinion about the matter among non-Catholics in Britain, for the most part, has been that Rome hates the Bible-that she has done all she could to destroy it—that in all countries where she has held sway she has kept the Bible from the hands of the people—has taken it and burned it whenever she found anyone reading it. Or if she cannot altogether prevent its publication or its perusal, at least she renders it as nearly useless as possible by sealing it up in a dead language which the majority of people can neither read nor understand.…/protes…/wbible.htm

  4. Sergio Penaflor Reply

    May I pose a question: to bible experts, DO YOU HAVE HISTORICAL IDEA about the life of Jesus Christ, after the presentation, and just before His Ministry? This is very long years! There are ONLY TWO person that knows and understand and have intimate feeling and knowledge about this…His parents…MARY AND JOSEPH! This is why the Catholic Church give importance to His parents, especially Mother Mary, because they were the depository of the wealth of knowledge of about their Son…GOD BECOME MAN, as prophesied in the bible.

  5. Ron Reply

    And even King Henry VIII who uphold catholic teaching and before he made England Protestant, burned bibles that he considered heretics. so it’s not only the catholic church who burned those erronious translation of the Bible.

  6. Lorry Reply

    There were so many who took it upon themselves to make their own interpretations and copies of the Holy Bible, some that put “Thou shalt lie, Thou shalt steel, Thou shalt commit adultery, etc” These are the ones that the Catholic Church burned, the ones so filled with error! Even though the printing press was invented, didn’t mean that books were readily available! Most people still couldn’t read, and a lot of those who could, couldn’t afford to buy one! The Church made them available, but did have to protect them from being stolen by people who would sell them.
    The Holy Bible we have today is still the same Holy Bible that was compiled and Canonized by the Holy Catholic Church, the same one that EVERYONE used for 1200 years, up until the reformation, when men thought they knew more and could do a much better job than the Holy Spirit and wrote their own version.
    Those who follow the King James, follow the wrong King!!!

  7. MNTCATH Reply

    Burned? sorry, no recycling bins back then. Besides, the Church had every right to protect the True Faith. The spirit of Protestantism that was promoted through bible variants spawned from the concept that EVERYONE can be their POPE or Priest, was a failure of orthodoxy outside the alleged evil Catholic church. Not only did Reformers disagree with each other, I would not be surprised if they even burned each others’ bible versions.

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