Banned Books, Les Miserables : LUSENET : Catholic Pages Forum : One Thread

What exactly is the Vatican list of Banned Books? I know that Les Miserables was on it for many years. Victor Hugo's Les Mis is the most positive and Christian book I have ever read, and the most perfect charector is a Catholic Bishop.

-- Anonymous, July 04, 1998


The "Index" listed books and publications that contained misleading Catholic doctrine or practice. For instance A story might depict a Priest falling in love and getting involved with a woman. That in it self is gravely sinful and against Catholic moral teaching. Today certain publications require a review , those used for Teaching Catholic doctrine for example should contain Correct doctrines. But with mass printing and "paperless" publication today it is impossible to review everything having reference to the Catholic faith to insure that it is accurately presented. Just like now in the US we have a "Culture of Death" fuled by free and open distribution of audio and video that promotes violence and death. The Church was trying to warn the faithful that certain publications contain dangers to the Catholic faith.

-- Anonymous, July 04, 1998

Rich, do you know of any place where the reasons behind such a ban are published? Because it's easy for someone to look at a ban on Les Miz and make a quick judgement on the Church saying that it is rediculous and paranoid since it bans such a wonderful work of literature. If the reasoning behind the ban was known or readily available, this type of attack would be less possible.

To further thought, I think 'ban' might be too strong a word. It might be better to list such books as 'misleading about the Catholic Faith' (but, of course, find a shorter phrase or word that is synonymous). That way, we'd say what we mean and we'd avoid confusion.

It's like the new Disney movie "Mulan". This movie is a Disnified story, an Americanized story, which gives only the briefest of nods to the Chinese culture and to the legend upon which the movie is based. It's terrible! Who ever heard of an oriental ancestral guardian spirit with a Brookland accent!!! But I'm not about to bann the movie. I'd just like to see some bold font somewhere saying, "View for entertainment only, not for edification on Oriental culture or history." because as entertainment, it's very good.

I believe the same kind of wording should be applied to the above question. "Ban" seems much too harsh in this situation. Of course, there are documents which should be banned. But not works like Les Miz!

-- Anonymous, July 06, 1998

The word "Ban" means just what it say's though. Catholics are not to read or watch those things that were on the "Index" under penelty of Sin. The Catholic Faith is not for entertainment it is a set of Divinely revealed Truths that should not be mocked or misrepresented in anyway.

-- Anonymous, July 06, 1998

The Index of Forbidden Books is no longer maintained and canon law no longer prescribes canonical penalties for those who read books on the Index, but Cardinal Ratzinger has said on a number of occasions that it retains all its moral force.

The word "ban" really is appropriate, Esther. Even priests were not allowed to read books on the Index without the permission of their superiors. Eg, if you wanted to study Luther, you had to ask for permission to read the books because they were all on the Index.

I think Cardinal Ratzinger's comments arose in relation to Maria Valtorta's "Poem of the Man God" which was on the Index. He was saying that essentially, if a book was on the Index, we should be vary wary of reading it even today.

Of course, bringing back the Index would cause turmoil throughout the Church. Three-quarters of the books read in Catholic schools would be forbidden for sure! :)

God bless, Paul McLachlan

-- Anonymous, July 06, 1998

Here's a link to an interesting article on the History of Censorship in the Church. (It only covers events till about 1913, however.)

-- Anonymous, July 10, 1998

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