Origin of ‘heresy’
When the basic New Covenant canon started to develop towards the end of the Fourth Century (generally) the laity was strictly ‘forbidden to read the word of God, or to exercise their judgment in order to understand it’.³ Damasus recorded that ‘bad use of difficult passages by the simple and poor gives rise to hear-say’ and the general populace was denied access to the compilations. The word ‘hear-say’ developed into ‘heresy’ and people who opposed Church opinions were subsequently called ‘heretics’.4It was with a resolution of that council that the ban was officially established but some members of the priesthood had trouble understanding the new terminology. The unreliability of their explanations of heretics and heresies is illustrated in the case of St. Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis (d. 403) who mistook the Pythagorean Sacred Tetrad (the number 4), for a heretic leader.
After he suppressed the Bible, Damasus created an array of formidable penances and additional anathemas ‘designed to keep the curious at bay’5, the chief tendency of the priesthood was to keep the Bible away from people and substitute Church authority as the rule of life and belief.
Owning a Bible was a criminal offence
In 860, Pope Nicholas I, sitting high on a throne built specially for the occasion in the town square, pronounced against all people who expressed interest in reading the Bible, and reaffirmed its banned public use (Papal Decree). In 1073, Pope Gregory supported and confirmed the ban, and in 1198, Pope Innocent III declared that anybody caught reading the Bible would be stoned to death by ‘soldiers of the Church military’ (Diderot’s Encyclopedia, 1759). In 1229, the Council of Toulouse, ‘to be spoken of with detestation’, passed another Decree ‘that strictly prohibits laics from having in their possession either the First or New Covenants; or from translating them into the vulgar tongue’. By the 14th Century, possession of a Bible by the laity was a criminal offence and punishable by whipping, confiscation of real and personal property, and burning at the stake.
With the fabricated Christian texts safely hidden from public scrutiny by a series of Decrees, popes endorsed the public suppression of the Bible for twelve hundred and thirty years, right up until after the Reformation and the printing of the King James Bible in 1611.
¹Lives of the Popes, Mann, c. 1905
²The Library of the Fathers, Damasus, Oxford, 1833-45
³The Library of the Fathers, Damasus, Oxford, 1833-45
4The Catholic Dictionary, Addis and Arnold, 1917
5Early Theological Writings, G. W. F. Hegal
(Original article on: http://www.vatileaks.com/_blog/Vati_Leaks/post/Why_Popes_banned_the_Bible/)