Pope Clement VIII (1592-1605) confirmed the Council of Trent’s proclamations against Bible translations (Eadie, History of the English Bible, II, p. 112). Trent’s ten rules regarding books prohibited anyone from reading the Bible without a license from the bishop or an inquisitor. Clement VIII modified this by declaring “the Holy Inquisition have taken away from Bishops and Superiors all power to grant any such licences” (Littledale, Plain Reasons, p. 91). Thus, Clement VIII went further than his predecessors, not allowing licenses to be granted for the reading of the Bible under any condition.
It is important to notify our readers of the harshness of the curses that poured from the lips of the popes toward those who opposed them. Clement VIII, for example, restored and edited the “Curse from the Roman Pontifical against Those Who Interfere with Nuns.” This curse was issued against any person that attempted to remove a nun from her unscriptural vows and from her cloister:
“But if any one shall dare to attempt such a thing, let him be accursed at home and abroad; accursed in eating and drinking; accursed in walking and sitting; accursed in his flesh and his bones; and from the sole of his foot, to the crown of his head, let him have no soundness. Come upon him the malediction which, by Moses in the law, the Lord hath laid on the sons of iniquity. Be his name blotted out from the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous. His portion and inheritance be with Cain, the fratricide; with Dathan and Abiram; with Ananias and Sapphira; with Simon the sorcerer, and Judas the traitor; with those who have said to God, ‘Depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.’ Let him perish in the day of judgment; and let everlasting fire devour him with the devil and his angels; unless he make restitution, and come to amendment. So be it! So be it!” (Blakeney, Popery in Its Social Aspect, 1854, pp. 125, 126).
These horrible curses demonstrate the presumption and pride of the papacy, which assumes to itself prerogatives belonging solely to Almighty God.
Another curse used by Catholic authorities in the 13th century included these choice excerpts:
By the authority of God Almighty, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and the undefiled Virgin Mary, mother and patroness of our Saviour, and of all celestial virtues, angels, archangels, thrones, dominions, powers, cherubims, and seraphims, and of all the holy patriarchs, prophets, and of all the apostles and evangelists, of the holy innocents… may ——————— [here was inserted the name of the victim] be damned.
We excommunicate and anathematize him; and from the threshold of the Holy Church of God Almighty we sequester him, that he may be tormented, disposed, and be delivered over with Dathan and Abiram, and with those who say unto the Lord, ‘Depart from us, for we desire none of thy ways.’ As a fire is quenched with water, so let the light of him be put out for evermore, unless it shall repent him, and make satisfaction. Amen.
May the Father, who created man, curse him! May the Son, who suffered for us, curse him! May the Holy Ghost, who suffered for us in baptism, curse him! May the Holy Cross, which Christ, for our salvation, triumphing over his enemies, ascended, curse him! May the holy and eternal Virgin Mary, mother of God, curse him! May St. Michael, the advocate of the Holy Souls, curse him! May all the angels, principalities, and powers, and all heavenly armies, curse him. …
May he be damned wherever he be, whether in the house or in the stable, the garden or the field, or the highways, or in the woods, or in the water, or in the church. May he be cursed in living and in dying!
May he be cursed in eating and drinking, in being hungry, in being thirsty, in fasting, in sleeping, in slumbering, and in sitting, in living, in working, in resting, in blood-letting!
May he be cursed in all the faculties of his body!
May he be cursed inwardly and outwardly! May he be cursed in his brains, and in his vertex, in his temples, in his eye-brows, in his cheeks, in his jaw-bones, in his nostrils, in his teeth and grinders, in his lips, in his throat, in his shoulders, in his arms, in his fingers!
May he be damned in his mouth, in his breasts, in his heart and purtenance, down to the very stomach! May he be cursed in his reins, and in his groins, in his thighs, in his genitals and in his hips, and his knees, his legs and feet, and toe-nails! May he be cursed in all his joints, and articulation of the members! From the crown of his head to the sole of his feet may there be no soundness! May the Son of the living God, with all the glory of his Majesty, curse him! And may heaven, with all the powers that move therein, rise up against him, and curse and damn him, unless he repent and make satisfaction. Amen. So be it. Be it so. Amen (Blakeney, pp. 126, 27).
Terrible curses like this were pronounced over Bible-believing Christians for centuries by the pompous pretenders headquartered at Rome.
Pope Clement VIII “sent missionaries into the valleys of Piedmont, with a view to induce the Protestants to renounce their religion. … These missionaries endeavoured to get the books of the Protestants into their power, in order to burn them; and on the owners concealing them, wrote to the duke of Savoy, who, for the heinous crime of not surrendering their Bibles, prayer books, and religious treatises, sent a number of troops to be quartered on them, which occasioned the ruin of many families. … they took away the children by open force, and if the wretched parents resisted, they were immediately murdered” (Foxe, abridged, pp. 162, 163).
The following is a description of the horrible events that followed:
“This was followed by a most cruel order, published on January 25, 1655, which decreed that every family of the reformed religion, of whatever rank, residing in Lucerne, St. Giovanni, Bibiana, Campiglione, St. Secondo, Lucernetta, La Torre, Fenile, or Bricherassio, should, within three days after the publication thereof, depart from their habitations to such places as were appointed by the duke, on pain of death and confiscation.
“This order produced the greatest distress among the unhappy objects of it, as it was enforced with the greatest severity, in the depth of a very severe winter, and the people were driven from their habitations at the time appointed, without even sufficient clothes to cover them: by which many perished in the mountains through the severity of the weather, or for want of food. Those who remained behind after the publication of the decree, were murdered by the popish inhabitants, or shot by the troops, and the most horrible barbarities were perpetrated by these ruffians, encouraged by the Roman Catholic priests and monks” (Foxe, abridged, p. 163).
During all these brutal persecutions, in which hundreds of men, women, and children were slaughtered, all of the vernacular Scripture translations and Christian books that could be found by the priests were destroyed.
The first Irish New Testament (at least in modern times) was published in 1602. The translator, Nicholas Walsh, was “barbarously murdered in his own house while engaged upon” the translation (Anderson, A Brief Sketch, p. 8). The work was completed by William Daniel or O’Donel. Most of the copies of this New Testament were “bought up, from time to time, by Romish ecclesiastics” to keep them out of circulation among the people (Anderson, p. 20). The Jesuits obtained the Irish types used for this New Testament and carried them to Doway for the publication of Irish tracts in defense of Romanism (Anderson, p. 20).
Pope Paul V (1605-1621) issued a Bull containing the following language: “We excommunicate and anathematize, in the name of Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and by the authority of his blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul, and by our own, all Wickliffites, Hussities, Lutherans, Calvinists, Hugonots, Anabaptists, and all other Heretics, by whatsoever name they are called, and of whatsoever sect they be; and also, all Schismatics, and those who withdraw themselves, or recede obstinately from the obedience of the Bishop of Rome; as also their Adherents, Receivers, Favourers, and generally any defenders of them:—TOGETHER WITH ALL, WHO, WITHOUT THE AUTHORITY OF THE APOSTOLIC SEE, SHALL KNOWINGLY READ, KEEP, OR PRINT, ANY OF THEIR BOOKS WHICH TREAT ON RELIGION, or by or for any cause whatever, publicly or privately, on any pretence or colour defend them” (Ouseley, A Short Defence of the Old Religion, 1821, p. 257).
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