Catholicism and Colonialism

I hope I am posting in the proper place.

For those who are willing to read it, this

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_and_colonialism

talks about Christianity (mostly Catholicism) and its relationship with colonialism, something I want to know more about. This article seems to be pretty biased against the Church. To those who are knowledgeable about the subject, what is accurate and what is misleading about this article?

Most articles on Wikipedia are not too bad, but this one is absolutely awful and riddled with factual errors.

For a start the artcile is titled "Christianity and Colonialism" but it then goes on to almost totally ignore Protestantism and focus entirely on Catholicism and Orthodoxy, which were far less associated with colonialism and certainly far less with its oppressive aspects.

The artcile claims European Christians believed that non-Europeans were sub-human. This is true only of protestants.

The protestant countries regarded intermarriage between races as immoral and they made it illegal - in some cases it remained illegal until the mid 20th century. In contrast the Catholic countries actively promoted intermarriage bewteen the races.

Catholic colonists from the start regarded non-Europeans as fellow humans to be taught the gospel and offered baptism as fellow Christians. Protestants failed to make any real missionary effort towards non-Europeans until the 19th century.

Protestant powers, especially Britian and the USA, concentrated on swamping the indigenous populations with huge numbers of European immigrant settlers. Catholic powers did this to a much smaller ecxtent, but concentrated mainly on setting up trading posts, hunting, mining etc which disturbed the way of life of the indigenous inhabitants far less.

Catholic colonial powers, right from the time of Columbus, passed strict laws stating in no uncertain terms that non-Europeans must have their rights to their lands, possessions and lifestyles respected and they must not be enslaved, killed, raped, assaulted or harmed. Though these laws were in many places widely disobeyed, the protestant colonies didn't even have such laws - as far as they wewere concerned the native inhabitants were just part of the flora and fauna to be used and abused at will with no legal consequence.

And if Christianity was so oppressive of and hated by non-European inhabitants of European colonies, then
(a) why were the native Americans of Latin America overwhelmingly on the side of Spain during the independence struggles? (They saw what was coming - after independence, the oppression of native races greatly increased.)
(b) why, although after 100 to 400 years of European colonialism, when the African countries gained their independence in the mid-20th century CXhristians were still only a very small proportion of the population; AFTER independence, freed from the interference of the colonial powers, the Christian population expanded exponentially so that now the majority of the population of most of the ex-european african colonies is Christian.

I could go on and on. I havent even mentioned the Jesuits and their centuries long struggle against colonialism (which caused the European powers to force the pope into suspending the Jesuit order for 40 years) - the Reducciones founded to enable the native ameriocans to resist colonialsim in what became Paraguay and elsewhere - after independnece of the european colonies, the new independent european-colonist states of Argentian, Brazil, and Bolivia made war on Paraguay and seized most of its territory.

[quote="Petergee, post:2, topic:221596"]

The artcile claims European Christians believed that non-Europeans were sub-human. This is true only of protestants.

[/quote]

Any reference? I've never heard that claim before. Thanks.

[quote="Vince1022, post:3, topic:221596"]
Any reference? I've never heard that claim before. Thanks.

[/quote]

religioustolerance.org/cr_ident.htm
blakandblack.com/?p=264
people.tribe.net/chaz/blog/7b50dbe8-a8ff-43e1-a066-e374327e6726
enotes.com/genocide-encyclopedia/racism
afgen.com/africa_history.html

[quote="Petergee, post:4, topic:221596"]
religioustolerance.org/cr_ident.htm
blakandblack.com/?p=264
people.tribe.net/chaz/blog/7b50dbe8-a8ff-43e1-a066-e374327e6726
enotes.com/genocide-encyclopedia/racism
afgen.com/africa_history.html

[/quote]

THose links were interesting, but as I read them do not suggest nor prove that European Catholics considered non-Europeans as non-human.

I’m a catholic in a multi-religious southeast asian country which was a former British colony. Without missionaries, the faith would never have come here. Our catholic schools were set up by missionary orders and missionary priests who came to serve in the colony to meet the need for education for children.

Catholic schools are probably the #1 initial ground for conversion, We have almost 40 here out of a total of ~370 schools ie more than 10%. Coincidentally, our population is also about 10% catholic. Many non-catholics send their children to catholic schools because they have a good reputation. Even if they are not converted, they might be sympathetic to the faith. I had a school mate who was like that and he was eventually baptised.

I think a good book to read on this subject would be “Christ and the Americas” by Anne Carroll.

[quote="Vince1022, post:5, topic:221596"]
THose links were interesting, but as I read them do not suggest nor prove that European Catholics considered non-Europeans as non-human.

[/quote]

Of course not, because that would be false and I had specifically pointed out that it is false. Please don't start another of your word-twisting strawman-argument time-wasting sessions, because my life is too short to put up with another one.

[quote="Petergee, post:8, topic:221596"]
Of course not, because that would be false and I had specifically pointed out that it is false. Please don't start another of your word-twisting strawman-argument time-wasting sessions, because my life is too short to put up with another one.

[/quote]

Whoa! Sorry! I was sincerely replying to your thread, after carefully reading the links you posted.

I guess I don't understand your question or concern. I was not trying to twist words, or waste time, or set up a strawman, or whatever other things you negatively infer. Sorry.

I hope others can help you here. Best wishes.

[quote="Petergee, post:2, topic:221596"]
...

Catholic colonial powers, right from the time of Columbus, passed strict laws stating in no uncertain terms that non-Europeans must have their rights to their lands, possessions and lifestyles respected and they must not be enslaved, killed, raped, assaulted or harmed. .....

[/quote]

Was that before or after Cortez and the Pizarro brothers destroyed the Aztec and Inca Empires?

But to spread the blame evenly, Catholic and Protestant soldiers, settlers, missionaries, slaves, traders, explorers all contributed to the largest demographic disaster in history. There was a huge disease gradient between the Old and New Worlds, and as soon as Old World diseases like smallpox, yellow fever, measles, influenza, typhus, malaria etc etc etc burst into the New World, the population of First Americans crashed. Some estimates are as high as 90% of the indigenous population died.

Inevitable, but still....

Before. I certainly don’t claim that every Spanish colonist always strictly complied with the laws made in far-off Spain. Also note that Cortez’s and Pizarro’s men were assisted and vastly outnumbered by native Americans who were only too happy to throw off the oppressive yoke of the Inca and especially the Aztec empires with their human-sacrifice cults.

Similarly during the Seven Years’ War, the Native Americans (who far outnumbered the French colonists) fought on the side of the Catholic French against the protestant British and their American colonists. So much so that to this day the Seven Years’ War is known in the USA as “the French and Indian War”.

But to spread the blame evenly, Catholic and Protestant soldiers, settlers, missionaries, slaves, traders, explorers all contributed to the largest demographic disaster in history. There was a huge disease gradient between the Old and New Worlds, and as soon as Old World diseases like smallpox, yellow fever, measles, influenza, typhus, malaria etc etc etc burst into the New World, the population of First Americans crashed. Some estimates are as high as 90% of the indigenous population died.

Inevitable, but still…

Neither protestants nor Catholics are to “blame” for that. It was another 400 years before Pasteur first showed that microscopic organisms cause diseases (a discovery for which Pasteur the devout Catholic was for decades roundly ridiculed by sceptical atheists and protestants).
Conversely the Native Americans gave the Europeans syphilis.

During school days I surmised, and maybe just because of lack of discussion on this topic, that the North American natives were never interested in the Gospel. But the South and Central American natives simply accepted it. Like it was a conscious choice they made just like you see people picking sides in politics. Maybe that was a tidy way to justify the abuse by neglect that North American natives were given by colonialists. It never seemed reasonable though that entire neighboring continents of similar natives would have opposite responses to the same Gospel.

Regarding intermarriage, since you mention converting natives immediately after mentioning intermarriage I assume you mean Catholics converted natives and then married them. And not meaning marry first and hope to convert your non-Catholic spouse while married to them. Is that right? Today I hear priests say to not marry a person of any random faith or non-faith that you like and hope for the best. People are careless like that now. Rather priests say if we care about our faith then we ought to marry a person of that same faith.

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