Vatican Censorship

Two authors have accused the Vatican of having their novel blacklisted in Italy. The historical novel Imprimatur, which will be published in Australia in May, suggests a 17th century Pope had funded the Protestant hero William III.

The authors claim that documents found in the Vatican secret archive and the Italian state archives suggest William III received a huge sum of money from Rome.

I guess the Vatican doesn’t like the idea that one of their Popes supported a Protestant heretic? However, that is no excuse for censorship.

from smh.com.au

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6 Comments

Filed under atheism, atheist, books, censorship, pope, vatican

6 responses to “Vatican Censorship

  1. asimplesinner

    Do you think you find some evidence to prove the big bad Vatican conspired to get this book censored? I mean it was published by the same publishing house as the DaVinci Code Italian edition – which was published easily enough and still in print today…

    15,000 copies were printed and sold. Not exactly a mega hit, to be sure, but I admit, more books than I have ever sold…

    At the end of the day, this sounds like a HUGE ploy for some free publicity.

  2. What, the vatican getting involved in politics? Never. Next they will be saying they supported the Nazi’s…oh wait a minute…damn.

  3. @asimplesinner
    The only evidence I had was circumstantial from the article and what the authors said. As one of the authors said “… a type of auto-censorship …”. So whilst the Vatican may not have actually decreed censorship of the book, there would appear to be sufficient pressure from them for the publisher to stop producing any more copies.

    In my mind this is something that people need to be aware of, hence me highlighting it on my blog (perhaps I should have put ? after the word censorship?)

    On the auto-censorship topic, I have seen evidence of this before and vaguely remember an article in the papers recently about it. It occurs in all sorts of fields, the threat of being sued, or whatever, is sometimes sufficient for a publisher to not print something because they couldn’t be bothered with the hassle.

  4. asimplesinner

    “So whilst the Vatican may not have actually decreed censorship of the book, there would appear to be sufficient pressure from them for the publisher to stop producing any more copies. “

    I hate to belabor the point, but that is pure conjecture. I know how you feel on the Vatican to begin with, but are you allowing that to color your sense of objectivity?

    Honestly, if the Vatican had all that much power I can think of dozens and dozens of far more important and notable things they would prefer to see not published… All of which gets published. If they were that powerful, abortion would probably be illegal in Italy and Italian TV would not be known as “Titty TV”…

    These two are novelists looking to get some of that good DaVinci Code free-PR love. I think you have done your part to give them just that.

  5. Firstly, I didn’t let my views on the Vatican colour my sense of objectivity. I merely reported what was in the media.

    This article has a slightly different take on the matter. They assert that the Vatican removed a priest from Rome because of the book. They also state that the impending canonisation of Pope Innocent XI did not take place.
    Two things, I imagine, which would have irked the Vatican somewhat?
    The article states that it is the authors who decided to not to have their novels published in Italy. So we are back to auto-censorship.

    So whilst their is no direct evidence the Vatican censored the book, or put direct pressure on someone to cease production in Italy. There is indirect evidence that the authors and/or publisher decided to auto-censor the book at least in part because the Vatican had expressed its concern. IMHO my conjecture that the Vatican was in some way responsible for the banning/non-production/censorship of the book stands on the basis of the auto-censorship.

    From UNIREPS comes this statement “First published to great controversy in Italy in 2002, Imprimatur was boycotted by the Italian press and publishing world.” Again because of auto-censorship? Auto-censorship because of concerns what the Vatican said or might say, no way of knowing. But what other reason would there be?

    Methinks asimplesinner that you have a point about the free publicity. It’s odd the main controversy was back in 2002 and we are only hearing about it now.
    ——————————————————————————–
    On Auto Censorship, there was an interesting documentary on ABC last night (on Compass) about the making of religious films. At one point they discussed the Hays Code , developed in 1927 it was, according to the documentary, at least in some part, in response to pressure from religious groups. The documentary actually used the term ‘auto-censorship’ for the way some of the movie studios started treating religious themes.

    Whilst I agree that there should be some sort of code governing what appears in movies. Should certain topics be off limits just because of religion?

  6. One other thing, the story of the book Imprimatur, reminded me of a similar story about Tom Cruise’s Biography. From the SMH article:

    “Pan Macmillan will not print a local edition of the book Tom Cruise, An Unauthorised Biography in Australia due to legal concerns, a move that has been labelled an act of censorship.”

    Auto-Censorship at work again, this time because of worries about legal action; from, ,dare I say it, a religious organisation.

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