Now this is one that people tell me didn't happen, and yet history clearly shows what happened and who was the power behind it. The Roman Catholic Church from early on tried to stop laymen from possessing or reading the Bible on their own and this intensified through the Middle Ages and later, with the addition of a prohibition forbidding translation of the Bible into native languages. (See http://catholicbridge.com/catholic/did-the-catholic-church-forbid-b..., https://www.huffpost.com/entry/why-christians-were-denied-access-to...)
The Roman Catholic Church burned the Bibles with the scripture holding what was later to be called the Majority true text or Textus Receptus which came from Jerusalem through Pella where the Christians had fled after the fall in 70 AD, and suppress any writings from it. And also the Bibles that came from Antioch where the Christians had formed their center of studies during the early church, and the true text that reach the Waldensians which they spread to the Reformation and used by Luther and others, so now you have an inkling why they had to be destroyed. They also actually forbid it from being read in a attempt to keep people from seeing the corruption they were allowing into the church, to bring in more pagan converts, and the changes they were making in direct contraction to the Bible truths, calling it traditions, including changing the Sabbath. Many claim it was a misunderstanding or try to deny it, or say there is no proof, or that it is just a story concocted by those who were against the Catholic Church, but lets take a look.
An extraordinary decision is found in the records of the First Council of Constantinople of 381-3, convened by Roman Emperor Theodosius. What was decided at that assembly presents an historical fact, and involved Pope Damasus, who was in attendance. He was a man so corrupted and so notorious with women that he was called the 'tickler of Matron's Ears.(Lives of the Popes, Mann, c. 1905)
The historical record shows Pope Damasus banned the Bible and the laity was strictly "forbidden to read the word of God, or to exercise their judgment in order to understand it."(The Library of the Fathers, Damasus, Oxford, 1833-45)
After he suppressed the Bible, Damasus created an array of formidable penances and additional anathemas "designed to keep the curious at bay", Early Theological Writings, G. W. F. Hegal). The primary intent was to keep the Bible away from people and to substitute Church authority as the rule of life and belief.
Owning a Bible was actually made a criminal offence by the Roman Catholic Church. In 860, Pope Nicholas I pronounced against all people who expressed interest in reading the Bible, and reaffirmed its banned public use (Papal Decree).
In 1073, Pope Gregory supported and confirmed the ban, and in 1198, Pope Innocent III declared that anybody caught reading the Bible would be stoned to death by "soldiers of the Church military." (Diderot's Encyclopedia, 1759).
In 1229, the Council of Toulouse, passed another Decree "that strictly prohibits laics from having in their possession either the Old or New Testaments; or from translating them into the vulgar tongue".
By the 14th Century, the possession of a Bible by the laity was a criminal offence and punishable by whipping, confiscation of real and personal property, and burning at the stake. Now your getting an idea why so many were being burned at the stake, and the hidden purpose of the various inquisitions.
With the Bible banned from public scrutiny by a series of decrees, popes endorsed the public suppression of the Bible for over a thousand years, right up until after the Reformation and the printing of the King James Bible in 1611.
Here are some of the decrees...
Decree of the Council of Toulouse (1229 C.E.): “We prohibit also that the laity should be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament; but we most strictly forbid their having any translation of these books.”
Ruling of the Council of Tarragona of 1234 C.E.: “No one may possess the books of the Old and New Testaments in the Romance language, and if anyone possesses them he must turn them over to the local bishop within eight days after promulgation of this decree, so that they may be burned...”
Proclamations at the Ecumenical Council of Constance in 1415 C.E.: Oxford professor, and theologian John Wycliffe, was the first (1380 C.E.) to translate the New Testament into English to “...helpeth Christian men to study the Gospel in that tongue in which they know best Christ’s sentence.” For this “heresy” Wycliffe was posthumously condemned by Arundel, the archbishop of Canterbury. By the Council’s decree “Wycliffe’s bones were exhumed and publicly burned and the ashes were thrown into the Swift River.”
Fate of William Tyndale in 1536 C.E.: William Tyndale was burned at the stake for translating the Bible into English. According to Tyndale, the Church forbid owning or reading the Bible to control and restrict the teachings and to enhance their own power and importance.
Clearly, when you leave the fox in charge of the hen-house you will find some hens missing.