What do Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur mean for Catholic books?

The “Nihil Obstat” and “Imprimatur” are official declarations by a local Catholic diocese that a certain book does not explicitly reject the Catholic Church’s teachings.

Nihil Obstat is Latin for “Nothing stands in the way [of printing],” and it is issued by the diocesan Censer. Imprimatur is Latin for “Let it be printed,” and it is issued by the local bishop.

It is important to realize that the “Nihil Obstat” and “Imprimatur” do NOT mean that a book bearing these labels is inerrant, inspired, or divine. It only means that the local bishop didn’t find the book objectionable. I say this because many Protestants try to emphasize the Imprimatur of certain books that they deem heretical in order to show prove their claims against the Catholic Church. Don’t be fooled by them.

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  • MichaelP


    I am glad you posted this.  I have ran into this problem with books by Modern authors that show the Nhil Obstat and Imprimatur as proof that their interpretations of scripture are correct and actual Church teaching.  I think the key word is “explicit”.


  • David Cassidy

    Hey Taylor

    Can you drop me an email tomorrow? Thanks.