The Council of Trent (1545-1564) placed the Bible on its list of prohibited books, and forbade any person to read the Bible without a license from a Roman Catholic bishop or inquisitor. The Council added these words:
“That if any one shall dare to read or keep in his possession that book, without such a license, he shall not receive absolution till he has given it up to his ordinary.”
An “Ordinary” in ecclesiastical language, denotes any person possessing or exercising ordinary jurisdiction, i.e., jurisdiction connected permanently or at least in a stable way with an office, whether this connexion arises from Divine law, as in the case of popes and bishops, or from positive church law.
Rome’s attempt to keep the Bible from men has continued to recent times.
Pope Pius VII (1800-1823) denounced the Bible Society and expressed shock at the circulation of the Scriptures. Pius VII said,
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