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Index of Forbidden Books: History and Examples
These cards, from the original Villanova library card catalog, are stamped with “On Church Index” above the call number.
“The Index of Prohibited Books, Index Librorum Prohibitorum, established in 1557 by Pope Paul IV, was a list of books that Catholics were prohibited from reading on pain of excommunication. The books were prohibited because they contained material considered dangerous or contrary to faith or morals…[it] was abolished by Pope Paul VI in 1966 because it was considered to be contrary to the teaching of Vatican II concerning freedom of inquiry.” (New Catholic Encyclopedia v. 7, 2nd ed, 2003.)
At Villanova University this meant that anyone wishing to check out these books had to report to the Library Director’s office with a permission slip from their professor to request access to the book.