The classic Protestant suspicion is that Catholics fear the Bible; that the Church forbade the laity to read it for centuries because if that had been allowed, people would have seen how unscriptural Catholic doctrines were. This is simply untrue, of course, but is still widely believed among Protestants. -Peter Kreeft
The Catholic view of the bible is that Scripture is but one book and that book is Christ.
“Through all the words of Sacred Scripture, God speaks only one single Word, his one Utterance in whom he expresses himself completely.
For this reason, the Church has always venerated the Scriptures as she venerates the Lord’s Body. She never ceases to present to the faithful the bread of life, taken from the one table of God’s Word and Christ’s Body. In Sacred Scripture, the Church constantly finds her nourishment and her strength, for she welcomes it not as a human word, “but as what it really is, the word of God”. “In the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet his children, and talks with them.
Isn’t that beautiful?
Catholics hear scripture in every mass-they will hear the whole bible read every 3 years. How many Protestant churches do that? Scriptures read (or sung) from the OT, from the Psalms, and the NT in the mass. The mass is divided into 2 parts: The Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Because the gospel readings are the words of our Lord, the congregation stands in honor of Him during the gospel reading. Does that sound like a church that wants to hide the bible from the people?
Just reading the above should indicate that the allegations that the Catholic Church put the bible on the Forbidden Books list, burned, banned or chained bibles to keep them from laymen are false.
I will briefly address each of the claims and why they are not true:
Claim 1: Bible forbidden to laymen, placed on the Index of Forbidden Books by the Council of Valencia . . . [A.D.] 1229.”—Lorraine Boettener, “Roman Catholicism”
That claim can’t be true for 2 reasons:
- The earliest date for the formation of the Index is 1542, so it isn’t possible to have been placed on the Index 1229, because that was more than 300 years before the Index existed.
2. There has never been a Council of Valencia.
Perhaps Boettner needed a little help with his homework? Maybe he was thinking about a Council held in 1229 in Toulouse, France? That one does get cited by anti-Catholics as supposed “evidence” that the Church banned the bible.
The truth is that It was a local council, not an ecumenical council. It was called to deal with the Albigensian heresy, which maintained that the flesh is evil and therefore marriage is evil, fornication is not a sin, and suicide is not immoral. The Albigensians were using corrupt vernacular versions of the Bible to support their heresies and it was those versions that were banned locally until the heresy was put to rest.
Claim 2: Some Evangelicals accuse the Catholic Church of “Chaining Bibles” to keep them away from the laity.
” The Church DID chain Bibles in the Middle Ages; and for the same reason that the Telephone Company chains its directories to the booth — to prevent people from STEALING them. They were chained so that everyone could read it, in the congregation.
We must remember that each Bible had to be copied by hand and that it took many years of a monk working behind the walls of a monastery, called a scriptorium, to do this. Each Bible was made on vellum (sheep hide), it took 250 sheep and 1000’s of hours to make every Bible”. –Did the Catholic Church Forbid Bible Reading?
“According to standards today, each one of these Bibles would be worth about $100,000. Records have been compiled which show that there were 5,000 chained books in 11 Protestant and 2 Catholic libraries. The Reformers, likewise, chained their Bibles in their churches for at least 300 years. Therefore, Catholics were not alone in chaining Bibles.
After the invention of the printing press, prior to Luther’s Bible being published in German, there had been over 20 versions of the whole Bible translated into the various German dialects (High and Low) by Catholics.” So don’t believe it when someone tells you that the Church tried to stop the bible from being translated into the vernacular. What they tried to stop were versions that were tainted with falsehoods”.-Catholic Bridge, Did the Catholic Church Forbid Bible Reading?
Claim: The Catholic Church burned bibles.
Corrupted, inaccurate versions of bibles were burned to keep people from teaching the incorrect parts of the bibles. Does this action make the Church anti-Bible? No. If it did, then the Protestants of this period were also anti-Bible. John Calvin, the main Protestant Reformer, in 1522, had as many copies as could be found of the Servetus Bible burned, since Calvin did not approve of it. -Bible Burning and Other Allegations, Catholic News Agency
Claim: 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
Information is only as good as its source! There was no Council of Tarragona in 1234. There was a provincial council in 1242 to deal with the details of the Inquisition. At that time, Muslim Moors, who had recently been ejected from this region, had produced doctored versions of the Bible, much like the Albgensians had done in France. This was done to support the view that it was Ishmael, not Issac, who Abraham blessed, that Jesus was not crucified and that another even greater prophet would follow Jesus. Many many copies of these false scriptures had been spread throughout the land during the Moorish occupation of Spain. -Catholic Answers Forum
Be careful who you listen to.