Index of Forbidden Books

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The Index of Forbidden Books (Latin: Index Librorum Prohibitorum) was a list of books established by the Council of Trent (1545-1563 AD) in order to guard Catholics against publications deemed unsuitable (for example, having content that was considered heretical or immoral). Catholics were not allowed to read these books. Ironically, the Index itself at one point was placed on the list when it was found that it was being used as a shopping list for heretical books.

Since 1966, under Pope Paul VI, the list no longer has force of law, although the moral authority of the list was reaffirmed by the Vatican. The last published list dates from 1948.

Notable writers whose works appeared on this Index include Francis Bacon, John Calvin, René Descartes, Karl Marx and Voltaire.[1]

  1. Modern history sourcebook, Fordham University