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Definition:   Seven books included in the canon (authoritative list) of the Roman Catholic Old Testament that are not deemed to be Scripture recognized by Protestants. They consist of: Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees. The Reformers in the 16th century challenged the absolute authority of the Catholic Church, claiming that the Scriptures were the ultimate authority for Christians. Catholicism holds that authority was handed down by Jesus to the Catholic Church, including the right to determine what is authoritative, both in Scripture and Sacred Tradition. 

 Discussion: The apocryphal books, while of historical value, include errors and are used to support unbiblical Catholic traditions such as purgatory, praying to the saints, and the Sacrifice of the Mass. The Catholic Church at the Council of Trent pronounced an anathema (condemnation to hell) upon anyone who denies that these books are part of Holy Scripture. The Bible warns about adding to the Scriptural revelation that the Holy Spirit has superintended (Dt. 4:2, Rev. 22:18).

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