Hello Jennie, I appreciate your very polite comments. I enjoy a good civil discussion! My comment was starting to get quite long, and I'm not great at putting links in comments, so I decided to make this its own post.
Like Elena, I was raised moderately Catholic, but did not really decide to claim my heritage, so to speak, until I was an adult. I have a bachelor's degree in Religious Studies, and much of what I learned in my secular university verified the truth of the "Catholic version" of history. I have never been to Catholic school, and did not even own a Catholic Bible translation until I was in my early 20's. You might not like the NIV any better, but it led me to the Catholic Church. Especially verses such as these. I am often struck, reading through the book of Acts, how much the early Church sounds like the Catholic Church. Ordination, forgiving sins, collecting relics, etc.
Regarding the 10 commandments, rest assured that the Catholic church does prohibit idolatry, regardless of how we break a segment of text into a group of ten.
The Bible was not available to the common people because the common people could not read. Literacy is still not 100% even in America, much less the entire world. Throughout the centuries, the Scriptures have been read during Mass, so the common people would be familiar with the Bible, even if they could not read it themselves.
The preface to the King James Bible tells of early vernacular versions of the Bible:
“Much about that time , even our King Richard the Second’s days, John Trevisa translated them into English, and many English Bibles in written hand are yet to be seen that divers translated, as it is very probable, in that age . . . So that, to have the Scriptures in the mother tongue is not a quaint conceit lately taken up, . . . but hath been thought upon, and put in practice of old, even from the first times of the conversion of any Nation; no doubt, because it was esteemed most profitable, to cause faith to grow in men’s hearts the sooner, . . .”
The history of English Bible translation (preceded earlier by editions in the earlier common language of Anglo-Saxon) is very long, starting with Caedmon in the 7th century, Aldhelm (c. 700), the Venerable Bede (d. 735), followed by Eadhelm, Guthlac, and Egbert (all in Saxon, the vernacular language of that time in England). King Alfred the Great (849-99) translated the Bible, as did Aelfric (d.c. 1020). Middle English translations included those of Orm (late 12th c.) and Richard Rolle (d. 1349).
Vernacular Bibles in many languages appeared throughout the early and late Middle Ages (after Latin ceased being a common, widespread language). Between 1466 and 1517 fourteen translations of the Bible were published in High German, and five in Low German. Raban Maur had translated the entire Bible into Teutonic, or old German, in the late 8th century. Between 1450 to 1520 there were ten French translations, and also Bibles rendered in Belgian, Bohemian, Spanish, Hungarian, and Russian. 25 Italian versions (with express Church sanction) appeared before 1500, starting at Venice in 1471.I wrote about the Waldensians/Valdois here. I found information in an online Reformation museum that said the Waldensian Bibles to which you allude, included some of the deuterocanonical books, such as Tobit and Maccabees.
That link also includes information on the idea that there were groups of underground born again Christians hidden throughout the centuries. I have not found any historical evidence for the existence of such hidden Christians.