On the Utility and Necessity of Prohibiting Harmful Books

The Josias

St. Alphonsus Liguori


To protect the faithful from pernicious ideas, Pope Paul IV established the Index of Prohibited Books, which remained in use as a safeguard for the protection of public morals from 1559 A.D. until the reorganization of the Holy Office under Bl. Pope Paul VI in 1966 A.D. The Index came under attack during the time of St. Alphonsus Liguori, and he chose to include a treatise defending it in an Appendix to the first book of his great Theologia Moralis. St. Alphonsus was named a Doctor of the Church by Bl. Pope Pius IX in 1871 A.D. 

Alphonsus’s magisterial moral manual, which was praised by Pope Benedict XIV as being “of great profit for the salvation of souls”, has never yet been translated into English. Here we are pleased to present a translation of one chapter of Alphonsus’s Treatise on the Just Prohibition and Destruction of Dangerous Books, for the first time…

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One comment

  1. “The art of printing can be of great service in so far as it furthers the circulation of useful and tested books; but it can bring about serious evils if it is permitted to widen the influence of pernicious works. It will, therefore, be necessary to maintain full control over the printers so that they may be prevented from bringing into print writings which are antagonistic to the Catholic faith or which are likely to cause trouble to believers.”

    — Pope Alexander VI, “Inter Multiplices” (1501)

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