Excerpt as again, link may not work: catholicbridge.com/.../did_the_catholic_churc... ...<quoted text>
I've never met a Christian that was forbidden to read the Bible. The Bible brings us a very simple message on how we should live our lives. Wasn't Noah's ark found just a few years ago? Ancient cities have been uncovered that were thought not to exist and were found located right where they were supposed to be. Relics and sites are still being found that support the Bible. However, if one doesn't believe then he might as well be reading a comic book. Just think about why the placebo effect works!
Did the Catholic Church forbid Bible reading?
How come Catholics weren't allowed to read the Bible?
In this Article
1.The historical context
2.The situation earlier in this century
3.What it's like today
1.History of how the Bible came to us
2.What's with these "extra" books in the Bible
3.Mary in the Bible
4.A biblical examination of gay sex
5.How come Catholics were not allowed to read the Bible?
6.Flowchart of Catholic Doctrine
Some Evangelicals have accused the Catholics of burning people for reading the Bible. Mark Bonocore responds:
We must be careful not to project modern, American sensibilities (in regard to freedom and justice) into the context of medieval history. In the Middle Ages and before 1776, there was simply no such thing as separation of Church and State ---not in Catholic countries OR in Protestant countries. If we "burned people for reading the Bible," then the Protestants burned people for praying in Latin or hearing the Catholic Mass (something they unquestionably did in England, Geneva, and Scandinavia, etc.). At this time in history, heresy was also a secular crime; and the powers of a particular country treated it as such ... Despite the "spin" that some Evangelicals put on the Catholic position, the Catholic Church was never opposed people reading the Bible. What it opposed was people reading interpretations the Bible apart from the teaching authority of the Church, which would lead to the kinds of problems we have today with 30,000 denominations interpreting Scripture differently. The Bible itself warns against this.(2 Peter 1:20). With the invention of printing, there was a communications explosion, and one suddenly saw lots of people making very poor and heretical translations of the Bible and popularizing them throughout Christendom...The Church tried to stop this.
The common people of the middle ages had no intellectual defense with which they could make a reasonable judgment about the Truth. They were almost as vulnerable to the heresies that were sweeping through their communities as a person standing in front of a gun today. Except a lot more than their lives was at stake, their eternal lives were in jeopardy. Today, if someone went out into the street and started shooting people, we wouldn't say, "let him go ahead and do it, people can protect themselves...it's their own fault if they are shot to death." The Church was very worried that people who were influenced by these heresies were going to spend eternity in hell. No one was punished for simply believing a heresy. The crime was teaching it, and leading others astray. The Church felt it was their job to protect the souls of the innocent. In hindsight, we see that we would have done better by not using force.
Some Evangelicals accuse the Catholic Church of "Chaining Bibles". 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. Today even telephone books are chained to telephones so they don't "walk" away.