The Council of Toulouse was held in 1229 in response to the Albigensian heresy that rose in France where it is recorded on the Biblical Timeline with World History. The Council decreed that the common people (those who were not priests) should not read unauthorized copies of the Bible.
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Heresies and the Ban of Reading Unauthorized Bibles
In the eleventh century, a new belief that came from Manichaeism found its way in some parts of France and Italy. This belief spread into southern Europe, and a lot of its believers came from the town of Albi in France that is why they were called the Albigensians. The Albigenses considered themselves Christians, but what made them different was their belief in the god of light and the god of darkness. For them, life was a constant struggle, and the two gods fought each other every day. Other Albigensian beliefs also included:
* The belief that when people died, they would be reincarnated into another body
* The ban on eating meat
* The disapproval of marriage
* The belief that men and women are equal
* The refusal to submit to authorities, especially the feudal lords
The number of Albigensian believers grew in southern Europe until the pope became alarmed at the spread of the heresy. At first, he ordered the priests to bring them back to the “right” path through preaching and teaching. To prevent the Albigensian beliefs from spreading, the local bishop assembled the Council of Toulouse in 1229. The council told the people to look for the heretics in their own areas and allowed the people to destroy their houses. The council also ordered the people to destroy Bibles that were translated into French and other non-Latin languages. The people were also prohibited from reading any of the unauthorized copies of the Bible.
The Inquisition started in 1233, and the suffering of the Albigensians only increased as the years passed. The decision to forbid the people from reading non-Latin Bibles would be confirmed in the Tarragona Council in 1234.
Gieseler, Johann Karl Ludwig. Text-book of Ecclesiastical History Volume 2. Carey, Lea, and Blanchard, 1836.
McDonald, James. “Cathars and Cathar Beliefs in the Languedoc.” Accessed November 16, 2016. http://www.cathar.info/.
Mizzi, Dr Joseph. “Bible Forbidden to the Laity.” Just for Catholics. Accessed November 16, 2016. http://justforcatholics.org/a198.htm.
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