To start off with, vernacular is Latin for “in the language of the people” or the language of the local area. That would mean English in America, German in Germany, and so on.
The importance of Bible translations in vernacular is that it allowed the people of an area better chances of understanding the Bible. Protestants like to claim Luther wrote the first vernacular Bible because the Catholic Church didn’t want the people to read it in their own language.
This is simply false.
The Catholic Church did write the Bible in vernacular. Martin Luther wrote the fourteenth (14th) version of the Bible in German; and who could have written the previous ones if not the Catholic Church? There were over 200 versions of the Bible written in languages other than Latin by the time Luther came on the scene in the sixteenth century. The idea that he wrote the first vernacular Bible is simply not true.
The problem the Church had with vernacular was that it was misused. Remember that the Catholic Church not only was given the Bible and Tradition, but it was given the charge to protect them. Before the Reformation, the Catholic Church approved each vernacular Bible to ensure it was written with accuracy. Heretical versions kept cropping up because individuals (like William Tindale for example) purposely changed parts of the Bible they didn’t like. Naturally the Church tried to stop these heretical Bibles from being produced; and earned a notorious reputation in the process.