Coat of Arms of the Medici Popes

500 years ago today the Fifth Lateran Council convened, lasting five years. After the Tenth Session Pope Leo X published Inter Sollicitudines (“among the concerns” my translator says), on this day in 1515.

This document began the official censorship of books. In order to be printed a book had to carry imprimatur, the official seal of approval. A book without this, if printed, would lead to excommunication, the arrogance of the church saying such a person couldn’t go to heaven. All churches practice this even if they do not have such language. Denominations and congregations make decisions about who is acceptable. Membership can be withheld or revoked. That’s excommunication. Some go even further, condemning those who aren’t even members.

Church Boards and Councils will censor a preacher. Preachers censor Sunday School teachers. Bible Colleges censor instructors. I do not know if it is true or not, but at my college we were all led to believe a professor was relieved for teaching what someone deemed an unacceptable theory of how part of the Bible reached its final form. Since the whole student body accepted this it, at least, demonstrates evangelical Christians consider such activity as plausible.

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