Regarding the recent series of articles on the Payette Bibles, which are very interesting, some light needs to be brought upon any implication that the Catholic Church prohibited the Bible in English.
Of course, Latin was the common language of Western Europe in the early Middle Ages, and the Catholic Church had the Bible translated into the common language of Latin by St. Jerome sometime in the fifth century.
As Latin ceased to be the common language, it continued to be the language of the educated who were able to read at all. (Most people could not read in those days.) English translations of the portions of the Bible, while uncommon, did exist. Bede, an English monk, translated the gospel of John into English in the eighth century.
The concern the Catholic Church had about certain translations around the time of the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s was that they may contain error.
However, in 1582 a Catholic English translation of the New Testament was created, the Douay Rheims Bible, which was a direct translation of the Latin Vulgate. The Old Testament translation followed in 1609.
Scott M. Stevens
Editors Note: The author of the Bible series has responded to this letter. His response can be seen HERE.