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Council of Toulouse was a local council addressing problem of Albigensian heretics Print
Letters to the editor
Thursday, Apr. 21, 2016 -- 12:00 AM

To the editor:

In his letter responding about the use of Latin in liturgical worship (Catholic Herald, March 17), Tom Roberts wrote, “The Council of Toulouse in 1229 declared, ‘We prohibit also that the laity should be permitted to have the books of the old and new testament’; they were in Latin.”

More information is required lest false conclusions be drawn about the Church. The Council of Toulouse was a local council, held by a local church.  It was not an Ecumenical Council, for the whole Church.

It addressed the problem of Albigensian heretics (aka Cathars), very active in Toulouse, who mistranslated the Latin Scriptures to support their pernicious heresies. When the Albigensianism problem was resolved, the limited edict for that local church was no longer needed.

The Church, local and universal, must always guard carefully the integrity of Holy Writ and liturgical texts, lest bad translations be circulated and screwy personal interpretations be bruited about (as attendance in Scripture reading groups can only confirm).

By the way, the Order of Preachers (who staff Blessed Sacrament in Madison) were founded by St. Dominic to combat Albigensianism. There is a jovial chestnut about the merits of the Dominicans and their perennial rivals, Jesuits. Both groups were founded to combat heresies: Dominicans against Albigensianism, Jesuits against Protestantism. Which group, you ask, was more effective?  When was the last time you met an Albigensian?

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, Madison