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Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur


In the Catholic Church, certain types of writings need a bishop’s authorization to be published for use in Catholic instruction. The nihil obstat and imprimatur indicate that a writing has received that authorization. They signify that, in the judgment of the bishop who grants the imprimatur, the work contains nothing contrary to faith and morals. However, the nihil obstat and imprimatur are not an endorsement and do not guarantee that the entire contents of a work are true.

"Nihil obstat" literally means "Nothing obstructs." It is given by the censor librorum, a person who is "appointed by the bishop of a diocese to examine before publication those writings or other media of communication that are subject to the Church’s supervision." 

"Imprimatur" means "Let it be printed." A work may be given the imprimatur by the local ordinary (generally the diocesan bishop) after the censor has given the nihil obstat.

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