Imprimatur

The term employed to signify that the Roman Catholic authorities have approved of a book's publication. This approval must be given to all works of clergy or laity dealing with the Bible, doctrine, church history, church law, and ethics. It indicates that the censor has found in them nothing that is in conflict with the church's teachings. It is thus more negative than positive. The approval is given through the bishop of the diocese. All works-whatever the subject-written by clergy are supposed to receive this imprimatur. This practice grew up as a result of decrees of the Council of Trent (1545-63) which established a list of forbidden and expurgated books.

See also Index.