Please enable us to enhance your adventure
here by clicking on whichever device that
you will be using to explore our websites today:
|The Roman Catholic Church's
barbaric treatment of slaves
(i.e. Africans and Native Americans)
the third of our five sections on|
"the barbarism of the R. C. Church"
Whether it is through ignorance or by reason of amnesia many Roman Catholics labor under the illusion - fostered by their hierarchy - that their church has always believed and acted in the past in the benign way that it may act now, when in fact that same Catholic Church has believed the very opposite of what it does now and acted accordingly.
the History of the R. C. Church's
| And now for Roman Catholic "TRADITION",
the teaching transmitted through the generations :
( supposedly from Jesus Christ )
Most of the following is not behavior to be proud of,
and is displayed here in black text. The rare exceptions
when the R.C. church did something to reduce slavery,
are displayed in blue text.
|362 AD||The local Council at Gangra in Asia Minor excommunicates anyone encouraging a slave to despise his master or withdraw from his service. (Became part of Church Law from the 13th to 20th centuries).|
|354-430 AD||St. Augustine teaches that the institution of slavery derives from God and is beneficial to slaves and masters. (Quoted by many later Popes as proof of "Tradition".|
|650 AD||Pope Martin I condemns people who teach slaves about freedom or who encourage them to escape.|
|1089 AD||The Synod of Melfi under Pope Urban II imposed slavery on the wives of priests. (Became part of Church Law from the 13th century).|
|1179 AD||The Third Lateran Council imposed slavery on those helping the Saracens.|
|1226 AD||The legitimacy of slavery is incorporated in the Corpus Iuris Canonici, promulgated by Pope Gregory IX which remained official law of the Church until 1913. Canon lawyers worked out four "just titles" for holding slaves: slaves captured in war, persons condemned to slavery for a crime; persons selling themselves into slavery, including a father selling his child; children of a mother who is a slave.|
|1224-1274 AD||St.Thomas Aquinas defends slavery as instituted by God in punishment for sin, and justified as being part of the right of nations and natural law. Children of a slave mother are rightly slaves even though they have not committed personal sin! (Quoted by many later Popes).|
|1435 AD||Pope Eugenius IV condemns the indiscriminate enslavement of natives in the Canary Islands, but does not condemn slavery as such.|
Pope Nicholas V issued the papal bull Dum Diversas on 18 June, 1452. It authorised (King) Alfonso V of Portugal to reduce any "Saracens (Muslims) and pagans and any other unbelievers to perpetual slavery.
The same pope wrote the bull Romanus Pontifex on January 5, 1455 to the same Alfonso. As a follow-up to the Dum diversas, it extended to the Catholic nations of Europe dominion over discovered lands during the Age of Discovery. Along with sanctifying the seizure of non-Christian lands, it encouraged the enslavement of native, non-Christian peoples in Africa and the New World.
|1493 AD||Pope Alexander VI authorises the King of Spain to enslave non-Christians of the Americas who are at war with Christian powers.|
|1537 AD||Pope Paul III condemns the indiscriminate enslavement of Indians in South America.|
|1548 AD||The same Pope Paul III confirms the right of clergy and laity to own slaves.|
|1639 AD||Pope Urban VIII denounces the indiscriminate enslavement of Indians in South America, without denying the four just titles for owning slaves.|
|1741 AD||Pope Benedict XIV condemns the indiscriminate enslavement of natives in Brazil, but does not denounce slavery as such, nor the importation of slaves from Africa.|
|1807 AD|| (Protestant) Britain became the first major power to permanently abolish the slave trade.
Situation_in_1789 ] .
|1839 AD||See the inconsequential manner in which Pope Gregory XVI condemned the international negro slave trade.|
Following its Civil War, the United States of America enacted the 13th amendment to its Constitution banning slavery forevermore in this country.
That same year, the highest authority in the Catholic Church, short of the Pope, i.e. the "Holy Office" (of the Inquisition), which rules on matters of orthodox faith and teaching, declared published the following official statement, signed by then Pope,
Pius IX :
|1888 AD||Pope Leo XIII condemns slavery in more general terms, and supports the anti-slavery movement.|
|1918 AD||The new Code of Canon Law promulgated by Pope Benedictus XV condemns selling any person as a slave. (There is no condemnation of owning slaves, however, and that was viewed as an entirely distinct issue at the time!)|
|1965 AD||The Second Vatican Council defends basic human rights and denounces all violations of human integrity, including slavery (Gaudium et Spes, no 27,29,67).|
Table prepared by John Wijngaards, with data from: J.F.Maxwell,|
The Development of Catholic Doctrine concerning Slavery
World Jurist 11 (1969-70) pp. 147-192 and 291-324.
[ from http://www.womenpriests.org/teaching/slavery1.asp ]
Roman Catholicism and