Detail map of Roma, Lazio, Italy Overview map of Roma, Lazio, Italy

A: Roma, Lazio, Italy

The Sacred Congregation of the Inquisition Begins Publication of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum

1557 to 1948
Index 1557

This edition of the Index of Prohibited Books was issued under the authority of Pope Paul IV, but withdrawn for unknown reasons.

Using print technology that it hoped to control, in 1559 the Sacred Congregation of the Inquisition, in charge of censorship for the Catholic Church, began publication in Rome of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (List of Prohibited Books). Two years earlier the first Roman index was issued under the direction of Pope Paul IV, but was withdrawn for unknown reasons. Once established in 1559 the Rome index was updated through 32 editions, the last of which appeared in 1948. 

“The various editions also contain the rules of the Church relating to the reading, selling and censorship of books. The aim of the list was to prevent the reading of immoral books or works containing theological errors and to prevent the corruption of the faithful. The list was not simply a reactive work. Catholic authors had the possibility to defend their writings and could prepare a new edition with the necessary corrections or elisions either to avoid or to limit a ban . . . . Pre-publication censorship was encouraged.”

Timeline Themes