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 the way that it does now, when in fact the Catholic Church has believed the very opposite of what it does now.and acted accordingly.Here is the perfect illustration of that truth:
the History of the Catholic Church's official views on Human Slavery:
| And now for Roman Catholic "TRADITION",
the teaching transmitted through the generations :
( supposedly from Jesus Christ )
|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||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||Pope Martin I condemns people who teach slaves about freedom or who encourage them to escape.|
|1089||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||The Third Lateran Council imposed slavery on those helping the Saracens.|
|1226||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||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||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||Pope Alexander VI authorises the King of Spain to enslave non-Christians of the Americas who are at war with Christian powers.|
|1537||Pope Paul III condemns the indiscriminate enslavement of Indians in South America.|
|1548||The same Pope Paul III confirms the right of clergy and laity to own slaves.|
|1639||Pope Urban VIII denounces the indiscriminate enslavement of Indians in South America, without denying the four just titles for owning slaves.|
|1741||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|| (Protestant) Britain became the first major power to permanently abolish the slave trade.
Situation_in_1789 ] .
|1839||Pope Gregory XVI condemns the international negro slave trade (in an inconsequential manner). See the endnote below|
The Holy Office in an instruction signed by Pope
Pius IX declares:
Slavery itself, considered as such in its essential nature, is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law, and there can be several just titles of slavery, and these are referred to by approved theologians and commentators of the sacred canons It is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged or given".
|1888||Pope Leo XIII condemns slavery in more general terms, and supports the anti-slavery movement.|
|1918||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!).|
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 ]
Catholicism and the Old South"
Note re:Pope Gregory XVI's 1839 "Apostolic Letter" condemning the slave trade was only addressed to the dozen U.S. bishops meeting in "the 4th Provincial Council of Baltimore". In the eyes of this pope everything that happened to slaves over the centuries happened in spite of his church and its popes, and any relief slaves had enjoyed or could hope for would come from those same holy people and institutions.
The following are excerpts from a web site designed to promote both the old Catholic Church and the old South:
"President (Jefferson) Davis was not without solace during confinement. A rosary sent by some sisters in Savannah reached him. More notably, comfort was extended by the Vicar of Christ himself, Ven. Pope Pius IX. It took the form of a crown of thorns woven by the pope with his own hands and a portrait of the pontiff autographed with the words from Scripture, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." . . . The crown, with thorns about two inches long, is such that it is hard to see how the pope could have fashioned it without hurting himself.
I haven't examined the evidence closely enough to make an informed judgment about it, but there are some who argue that the plot to assinate, not only President Lincoln, but many other leaders of his administration was orchestrated and carried out almost exclusively by Roman Catholics, not just from the South, but from Rome and from the Catholic province of Quebec in Canada.
The role of the Christian churches in the practice of human slavery in the Americas is deplorable and needs to be exposed. But since we have already done that elsewere, rather than repeat it here, we refer you to the Church and slavery in the Americas.
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