List of authors and works on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum  

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The Index Librorum Prohibitorum ("List of Prohibited Books") is a list of publications which the Catholic Church censored for being a danger to itself and the faith of its members. The various editions also contain the rules of the Church relating to the reading, selling and censorship of books. The aim of the list was to prevent the reading of immoral books or works containing theological errors and to prevent the corruption of the faithful.
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The Index Librorum Prohibitorum ("List of Prohibited Books") is a list of publications which the Catholic Church censored for being a danger to itself and the faith of its members. The various editions also contain the rules of the Church relating to the reading, selling and censorship of books. The aim of the list was to prevent the reading of immoral books or works containing theological errors and to prevent the corruption of the faithful.

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This is a list of authors and works listed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. The Index was abolished on June 14, 1966 by Pope Paul VI.

A complete list of the authors and writings present in the subsequent editions of the index are listed in J. Martinez de Bujanda, Index Librorum Prohibitorum, 1600-1966, Geneva, 2002.

Some notable authors and intellectuals whose works are widely read today in leading universities worldwide and are now considered as the foundations of science were listed on the Index. E.g. Kepler's New Astronomy and World Harmony were quickly placed on the Index after their publication.Other examples of noteworthy intellectuals and religious figures who were on the Index include Martin Luther, Jean-Paul Sartre, Voltaire, John Calvin, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, René Descartes, Francis Bacon, Huldrych Zwingli and Blaise Pascal.

Contents

Single works listed

With some writers, only certain books were banned: Samuel Richardson (Pamela), Emanuel Swedenborg (The Principia), or Immanuel Kant (Critique of Pure Reason), for example. Alfred Rosenberg's Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts (The Myth of the Twentieth Century) and his An die Dunkelmänner unserer Zeit: eine Antwort auf die Angriffe gegen den "Mythus des 20. Jahrhundert" (Regarding The Dark Men of Our Time: an Answer to the Problems against the "Myth of the Twentieth Century"), were condemned by decrees of February 7, 1934 and of July 17, 1935 respectively. Ernst Bergmann's Die deutsche Nationalkirche (The German National Church) and his Die natürliche Geistlehre (Natural Spirit Teachings), by decrees of February 7, 1934 and November 17, 1937.

Authors' complete works listed

In a few cases, according to The Book of Lists by Irving Wallace, Amy Wallace and David Wallechinsky, all works of a particular writer were on the Index: Thomas Hobbes, Émile Zola, Jean-Paul Sartre. As for Benedict Spinoza, the Church put all of his posthumous works on the Index.

Other

Among the notable writers on the list were Jean Buridan and Laurence Sterne, as well as the Dutch sexologist Theodoor Hendrik van de Velde, author of the sex manual The Perfect Marriage.

Reversals and exclusions

There have been cases of reversal with respect to some people whose works were on the Index. For instance, Mary Faustina Kowalska's work and her diary of her reported Divine Mercy visions of Jesus and Mary were initially on the Index. She died in obscurity, and only after her death did the sisters of her convent send her writings to the Vatican for its approval.

The current official position of the Vatican is that the version of Faustina's writings that reached Rome was incorrectly translated; the questionable material could not be corrected with the original Polish version owing to the difficulties in communication throughout World War II and the subsequent Communist Iron Curtain. Only much later, in the 1970s—four decades after she had died—had Karol Wojtyla, who was Archbishop over the area where Faustina had spent her last years, initiate a re-working of the translation. This version was accepted by Rome in 1976; two years later, Archbishop Wojtyla was elected Pope, becoming John Paul II.

Although officially the ban is now attributed to misunderstandings created by a faulty Italian translation of Kowalska's Diary, some sources state that in fact it stemmed from more serious theological issues. For instance, her claim that Jesus had promised a complete remission of sin for certain devotional acts that only the sacraments can offer was against the views of the conservatives at the Holy Office. At the time her work was placed on the Index, the Secretary of the Holy Office was the highly conservative Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani.

As Pope, John Paul II beatified Faustina, then later Canonizing her on Easter 2000, the first saint proclaimed for the third millennium. Upon canonizing her, the Feast Day "Divine Mercy Sunday" proposed by Faustina was made obligatory for the entire Church. Though her writings were once banned, today Faustina's Vatican biography quotes samples of her reported conversations with Jesus Christ from her diary and Divine Mercy Sunday (based on her writings) is now celebrated on the Sunday after Easter.

Not on the Index were Aristophanes, Juvenal, John Cleland, James Joyce and D. H. Lawrence. According to Wallace et al., this was because the primary criterion for banning the work was anticlericalism, blasphemy, heresy.

Some authors whose views are generally unacceptable to the Church (e.g. Karl Marx) were never put on the Index; nor was Charles Darwin (see Evolution and the Roman Catholic Church).




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