Civil rights/ Slavery


#1

I watched a documentary last night about the freedom riders and the fight for civil rights in the early 60s, this was set mostly in greenwood, MS. Before I go on, I want to make it clear, I am not racist in anyway, nor do I think slavery is right (in any form).

In this documentary, they interviewed many former civil rights workers, and others that were fighting for equal rights at that time, they also interviewed members of the KKK, some were older and involved in some of the violence in the 60s, I was shocked to hear how they felt and what they believed, and following the show, I went online and did some digging about the bible verses that were mentioned…

Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT
Exodus 21:2-6NLT
1 Timothy 6:1-2 NLT
Luke 12:47-48 NLT

out of all those, the Luke verse surprised me the most, I can see how many people feel this is justification for slavery and bigotry.

I am a bit confused by this, these 4 verses are just a sample too, there are other verses that seem to condone this as well, The only thing I can think of is, Gods ways and mans ways are much different and many of things man holds true is not the same with God, Is it possible God DID create certain races for slavery? I cannot believe this, but I can reach no other conclusions based on these bible verses.

It also struck me that God does not somehow intervene when/ if people misinterpret the bible.It just seems strange to me God would not correct us, since this is a far reaching topic and involves so many people.

Finally, what should we take from this, if God does support the idea of slavery for certain races? As mentioned above, it is known Gods ways and mans ways are different, but this comes down to basic respect for other people, Is it possible modern people will be punished for NOT obeying these types of verses, even though it goes against our beliefs?

Where does the church stand on Gods and mans ways and their different beliefs? Should man ALWAYS follow what God says is right, even if it contradicts with our mortal beliefs, knowing that we are most likely wrong, as god is always right?


#2

Consider that most of the early church was comprised of slaves and that Rome enslaved most of the known world at that time. In light of this we gain a deeper understanding of how radical the message of the gospel is, especially to the people of that era.
We must also acknowledge that slavery was accepted throughout much of history. Relatively recent abolition is due to the spreading of the gospel.


#3

[quote="mikekle, post:1, topic:339703"]
I watched a documentary last night about the freedom riders and the fight for civil rights in the early 60s, this was set mostly in greenwood, MS. Before I go on, I want to make it clear, I am not racist in anyway, nor do I think slavery is right (in any form).

In this documentary, they interviewed many former civil rights workers, and others that were fighting for equal rights at that time, they also interviewed members of the KKK, some were older and involved in some of the violence in the 60s, I was shocked to hear how they felt and what they believed, and following the show, I went online and did some digging about the bible verses that were mentioned...

Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT
Exodus 21:2-6NLT
1 Timothy 6:1-2 NLT
Luke 12:47-48 NLT

out of all those, the Luke verse surprised me the most, I can see how many people feel this is justification for slavery and bigotry.

I am a bit confused by this, these 4 verses are just a sample too, there are other verses that seem to condone this as well, The only thing I can think of is, Gods ways and mans ways are much different and many of things man holds true is not the same with God, Is it possible God DID create certain races for slavery? I cannot believe this, but I can reach no other conclusions based on these bible verses.

It also struck me that God does not somehow intervene when/ if people misinterpret the bible.It just seems strange to me God would not correct us, since this is a far reaching topic and involves so many people.

Finally, what should we take from this, if God does support the idea of slavery for certain races? As mentioned above, it is known Gods ways and mans ways are different, but this comes down to basic respect for other people, Is it possible modern people will be punished for NOT obeying these types of verses, even though it goes against our beliefs?

Where does the church stand on Gods and mans ways and their different beliefs? Should man ALWAYS follow what God says is right, even if it contradicts with our mortal beliefs, knowing that we are most likely wrong, as god is always right?

[/quote]

No. Christ taught that the greatest commandment is love - love for God and love for one another. Our all loving God loves all his creatures and did not create certain races to be enslaved. The Catholic Church teaches the equality of men. It is not God who came up with the evil of slavery but mankind, sometimes using religion and God as an excuse.


#4

NO. God does support the idea of slavery for certain races.

There has been slavery since the beginning of time due to mankind and original sin. God is love. Those who accept Him and follow His teachings are blessed with grace and eternal life. All we can do is pray for the lost souls, past and present, to seek His forgiveness and love.

This thread reminds me of John Newton who wrote Amazing Grace. Newton grew up with no religion and was forced into the Royal Navy. He was kicked out of the service for insubordination. He then became a slave trader for the Atlantic Slave Trade. One night a storm hit his ship and he almost died and cried out to God to save him. Mr. Newton survived the storm and on that very night he accepted God into his heart...although he continued to be a slave trader for a few more years due to his father's friend forcing him to.
When he left the slave trade he became a tax collector. Mr. Newton eventually
ended up becoming ordained into the Church of England and wrote poetry and hymns the most famous poem being Amazing Grace. He also wrote a book describing the horrors of the treatment of slaves on the ships and apologized over and over.

There is good in everyone. Sometimes it takes a while for those who do evil to realize it. Let us continue to pray for their souls.

God Bless :)


#5

Slavery is never justified…:frowning:


#6

One thing that is providing fodder to the confusion is that you aren’t being presented with both sides. For example, the Bible forbids the enslavement of free persons:

Exodus 21:16 says, "Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death."
1 Timothy 1:10 says, “For slave traders and liars and perjurers…[are] contrary to sound doctrine.”
Revelation 18:13 lists human trafficking among the sins of the Roman empire: “She also bought cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh…and human beings sold as slaves.”

There are also several passages that say that masters and slaves are equals in the sight of God:

Ephesians 6:9 says, “Masters, treat your slaves [well]. … [H]e who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.”
[Note: that explicitly states that God does not favor masters over slaves.]]
Philemon 1:15-16 says, "* so that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave, but as more than a slave, as a dear brother."
Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Now we can throw Bible verses back and forth all day. What we have to look for is not just which verses get tossed around by which sides, but what the passages mean and what evidence we have to back that up. The first three passages you mentioned are rules about how to treat slaves, and the last one just describes how slaves are treated and uses that description to illustrate a point. It doesn’t even say that this treatment is okay. None of those passages says that it is okay to enslave people and buy and sell them. You would have a very difficult time if you tried to draw out a logical connection between, for example, the statement that slaves should obey their masters, and the conclusion that some races are meant for slavery. The one thing doesn’t follow from the other.

It is also important to realize that the kind of slavery that is described in the Old Testament is not the same as American slavery of the 18th and 19th centuries. Under the Old Testament form of slavery, slaves had:

The right to life – Exodus 21:20 – Marriage rights – Exodus 10-11, Exodus 21:4 – Kinship rights – Exodus 21:3, 9; Leviticus 25:41, 47-49, 54 – Protection from breach of contract and physical violence – Exodus 21:20-21, 26-27 for foreign or Hebrew servants; Exodus 21:8 for a Hebrew daughter in a marriage; Leviticus 25:39-41 for Hebrew servants – The right to one day free from labor, participating in the Sabbath with other free servants – Deuteronomy 5:14, Exodus 20:10 – Access to liberty and freedom of movement – Leviticus 25:40-45, 48, 54 for Hebrew indentured servants; Deuteronomy 15:1, 12; 23:15 for foreign or Hebrew servants; Exodus 21:8, 11 for a Hebrew daughter in a marriage.

All servants maintained their rights unless voluntarily relinquished – Deuteronomy 15:16-17, Exodus 21:5-6 – The person who had a servant was accountable to the law for their treatment of the servant, whether the servant was a foreigner or a Hebrew – Exodus 21:20-21, 26-27 – If a person who had a servant struck the servant and knocked his tooth or eye out he had to let the servant go free – Exodus 21:26-27.

Under the Law of Moses you could purchase women and men who voluntarily sold themselves into indentured servitude but you could not sell them – Exodus 21:2, Leviticus 25:39, 42, 45, Deuteronomy 15:12. Enslaving someone against their will or selling people into slavery was forbidden – Exodus 21:16, Deuteronomy 24:7. Any servant who ran away was automatically allowed to go and live as they chose. It would be illegal to oppress the servant or return them to whoever they worked for – Deuteronomy 23:15.

Thus it was automatically a voluntary system, because at any time you could leave and you would be free forever. It was entered into to avoid poverty or for payment of debt (which was released every seven years; Deut. 15:1, 12).

Because of all this, you can see that the slavery we think of in America doesn’t apply to the Biblical system. The Biblical system was more like indentured servitude. The slavery we know of is more like what the Romans practiced, and the Apostles were all clear that Christians had to treat people better than that, and really look at people as equals. This was a return to the way God had ordained things in the beginning. From this perspective, the Romans were not more advanced than the ancient Hebrews: the Hebrews recognized the moral equality of all people under God and the universal rights of every person, including slaves.*


#7

[quote="KimberlyCat, post:4, topic:339703"]
NO. God does support the idea of slavery for certain races.

There has been slavery since the beginning of time due to mankind and original sin. God is love. Those who accept Him and follow His teachings are blessed with grace and eternal life. All we can do is pray for the lost souls, past and present, to seek His forgiveness and love.

This thread reminds me of John Newton who wrote Amazing Grace. Newton grew up with no religion and was forced into the Royal Navy. He was kicked out of the service for insubordination. He then became a slave trader for the Atlantic Slave Trade. One night a storm hit his ship and he almost died and cried out to God to save him. Mr. Newton survived the storm and on that very night he accepted God into his heart...although he continued to be a slave trader for a few more years due to his father's friend forcing him to.
When he left the slave trade he became a tax collector. Mr. Newton eventually
ended up becoming ordained into the Church of England and wrote poetry and hymns the most famous poem being Amazing Grace. He also wrote a book describing the horrors of the treatment of slaves on the ships and apologized over and over.

There is good in everyone. Sometimes it takes a while for those who do evil to realize it. Let us continue to pray for their souls.

God Bless :)

[/quote]

I think you meant to write "God does not ..."


#8

[quote="severus68, post:7, topic:339703"]
I think you meant to write "God does not ..."

[/quote]

Yikes! Thank You! :blush:


#9

Mikekle #1
Is it possible God DID create certain races for slavery? I cannot believe this, but I can reach no other conclusions based on these bible verses.

No.

Israel was the chosen nation, and the other peoples were not. If they were circumcised, then the servants themselves were considered Israelites, via "adoption." In other words, nothing better could happen to a pagan than to be made a servant in Israel.

While God allowed divorce, slavery, and polygamy, none of these were positively commanded by God. For instance, in Exodus 21:2, the Sacred Scripture says: "If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years shall he serve thee; in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing." Note here that God is not commanding the Israelites to have slaves (servants). Rather, He is merely implicitly permitting them to have slaves. The verse here talks about the regulation of slaves and therefore is an implicit endorsement of slavery. But this is a far cry from God commanding the Israelites to have slaves. This difference is important because the death penalty, unlike slavery, is firmly commanded by God, not merely permitted.

What is referred to in other translations as "slaves" is more correctly rendered as "servants," as the Douay Bible has it. When we 21st century people think of slaves and slavery, what comes to mind right away is the horrible atrocities committed by white men against blacks in the United States mostly during the 1800's. But this is not the kind of slavery we read about in the Sacred Scriptures. God asked the Israelites to treat their servants well. Also, as pointed out in Leviticus 22: 10-11, the servants or slaves had some privileges which even some Israelites did not.

In Ephesians 6:5, 8 Paul is often quoted eagerly, but very seldom ver. 9: “Masters, do the same to them, and forbear threatening, knowing that He who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no, partiality with Him.” This equality before God encouraged the early Church to convert slaves – Pope Callistus (d. 236) had been a slave. With the demise of the Roman empire, the embrace of those in slavery continued and only ordination to the priesthood was denied.

Christ had not condemned slavery and St Paul told slaves to obey their masters (Col 3:22, et al), but with St Paul, the Church revolutionised the status of the slave from the first: (re Onesimus) “no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.” (Philemon 1:16).

“Under Roman Law the slave was a chattel with no more rights than an animal. His master might seduce, mutilate, torture or kill him without any interference by the law.” [Sir Arnold Lunn, *Is The Catholic Church Anti-Social?, Burns & Oates 1946, p 186, 188].

The Church revolutionised the status of the slave long before there could be any thought of abolishing slavery. The inalienable rights of the slave to marriage and then family were safeguarded from the first by the precepts of the Church, and were later secured by legal enactment in the Theodosian code, which was later revised and classified by Justinian (A.D. 527-565). The law followed where the Church had led. The granting of religious equality to slaves was a silent but tremendous revolution – emancipated slaves were often raised to the priesthood and even to the very Chair of St Peter, Pius I and Callistus I in the second and third centuries. (Ibid. p 187).
[See *The Victory of Reason, Rodney Stark, Random House, 2005, p 30].


#10

Burns & Oates 1946, p 186, 188].

The Church revolutionised the status of the slave long before there could be any thought of abolishing slavery. The inalienable rights of the slave to marriage and then family were safeguarded from the first by the precepts of the Church, and were later secured by legal enactment in the Theodosian code, which was later revised and classified by Justinian (A.D. 527-565). The law followed where the Church had led. The granting of religious equality to slaves was a silent but tremendous revolution – emancipated slaves were often raised to the priesthood and even to the very Chair of St Peter, Pius I and Callistus I in the second and third centuries. (Ibid. p 187).
[See *The Victory of Reason, Rodney Stark, Random House, 2005, p 30].

Christ commanded love - love of God and love of others. Slavery is a terrible breach of this.


#11

Why did a Roman Catholic pope implicitly approve it in the papal bull Romanus Pontifex?


#12

As used here, "slavery" is the condition of involuntary servitude in which a human being is regarded as no more than the property of another, as being without basic human rights; in other words, as a thing rather than a person.

Under this definition, slavery is intrinsically evil, since no person may legitimately be reduced to the status of a mere thing or object and thus become capable of being the property of another person. This form of slavery can be called "chattel slavery"...

...However, there are circumstances in which a person can justly be compelled to servitude against his will. Prisoners of war or criminals, for example, can justly lose their circumstantial freedom and be forced into servitude, within certain limits. Moreover, people can also "sell" their labor for a period of time (indentured servitude)...

Nicholas V refers to wars in Romanus Pontifex. Matters of war and imprisonment are prudential teachings, not infallible teachings.
archive.catholic.com/thisrock/1999/9907fea2.asp

Such servitude is not slavery.

There existed the practice of various types of slavery before the 15th century. However, it was not until the 15th century, and with growing frequency from the 16th to the 19th centuries, that racial slavery as we know it became a major problem. It is this form of servitude that is called to mind when we think today of the institution of slavery, and is the type which was to prevail in parts of the New World for over four centuries.


#13

[quote="Abu, post:12, topic:339703"]
As used here, "slavery" is the condition of involuntary servitude in which a human being is regarded as no more than the property of another, as being without basic human rights; in other words, as a thing rather than a person.

Under this definition, slavery is intrinsically evil, since no person may legitimately be reduced to the status of a mere thing or object and thus become capable of being the property of another person. This form of slavery can be called "chattel slavery"...

...However, there are circumstances in which a person can justly be compelled to servitude against his will. Prisoners of war or criminals, for example, can justly lose their circumstantial freedom and be forced into servitude, within certain limits. Moreover, people can also "sell" their labor for a period of time (indentured servitude)...

Nicholas V refers to wars in Romanus Pontifex. Matters of war and imprisonment are prudential teachings, not infallible teachings.
archive.catholic.com/thisrock/1999/9907fea2.asp

Such servitude is not slavery.

There existed the practice of various types of slavery before the 15th century. However, it was not until the 15th century, and with growing frequency from the 16th to the 19th centuries, that racial slavery as we know it became a major problem. It is this form of servitude that is called to mind when we think today of the institution of slavery, and is the type which was to prevail in parts of the New World for over four centuries.

[/quote]

Didn't Roman Catholic priests own and keep slaves. And in fact, did a RC pope own a slave? No one objected?


#14

Tomdstone #13
Didn't Roman Catholic priests own and keep slaves. And in fact, did a RC pope own a slave? No one objected?

The reality is that the teaching hasn't changed. The Church has always condemned unjust servitude while maintaining that “just” servitude is not contrary to natural or divine law. We have already seen the strictures over servitude.

See post #9 especially:
The Church revolutionised the status of the slave long before there could be any thought of abolishing slavery. The inalienable rights of the slave to marriage and then family were safeguarded from the first by the precepts of the Church, and were later secured by legal enactment in the Theodosian code, which was later revised and classified by Justinian (A.D. 527-565). The law followed where the Church had led. The granting of religious equality to slaves was a silent but tremendous revolution – emancipated slaves were often raised to the priesthood and even to the very Chair of St Peter, Pius I and Callistus I in the second and third centuries. (Ibid. p 187).
[See *The Victory of Reason, Rodney Stark, Random House, 2005, p 30].


#15

[quote="Abu, post:14, topic:339703"]
The reality is that the teaching hasn't changed. ].

[/quote]

{ 1 Tim. 6:1-5 : } "Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be blasphemed. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful to them on the ground that they are members of the church; rather they must serve them all the more, since those who benefit by their service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these duties.
Whoever teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that is in accordance with godliness, is conceited, understanding nothing, and has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words. From these come envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions, and wrangling among those who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth."


#16

[quote="Abu, post:14, topic:339703"]
The reality is that the teaching hasn't changed.

[/quote]

Wikipedia is not always accurate of course, but here's what they say in the article on the Catholic Church and slavery:
Throughout Christian antiquity and the Middle Ages, theologians generally followed St. Augustine in holding that although slavery could not be justified under natural law it was not absolutely forbidden by that law. As a consequence the Roman Catholic Church, up until the modern era, came to accept certain types of slavery as a social consequence of the current human condition, connected by some with original sin, but teaching that slaves should be treated humanely and justly.


#17

This is one of those things that is confused and sometimes intentionally because we use the same word to describe two different things.

  1. Slave. A person who is beaten whipped purchased and given minimal living conditions shelter and food, is a possession rather than a person.

  2. Slave. A person who is actually more resembling a servant, may be very respected by their employer, though subservient to their employer, given money to spend, days off, good private living conditions and food in exchange for work.

So in 1 Timothy 6:1 it is the latter number 2, the word is doulos in the Greek.

I have to confess I am a slave in the sense of number 2. I get up 5 days a week go to work get a number of conditions in that work, do the work I am expected to do, expect to be reprimanded scolded if I breach those conditions of employment, and go home at the end of the day and get some spending money.

My status is considerably better having that master, than if I was to attempt to be my own master. My conditions are better.

Have you ever heard someone complain that they don't get paid enough, appreciated enough, in their job?

So 1 Timothy 6:1 would read in todays speak employers respect your employees, employees respect your employers. Doesn't sound like slavery in the sense of 1. Slave as detailed above.

So 1. Slave as detailed above is very very bad. But for some reason in the NT at least where it is talking about 2. Slave as detailed above, people imagine 1. Slave as detailed above.

When in fact that is the exact situation we have today.


#18

[quote="Tomdstone, post:16, topic:339703"]
Wikipedia is not always accurate of course, but here's what they say in the article on the Catholic Church and slavery:

Throughout Christian antiquity and the Middle Ages, theologians generally followed St. Augustine in holding that although slavery could not be justified under natural law it was not absolutely forbidden by that law. As a consequence the Roman Catholic Church, up until the modern era, came to accept certain types of slavery as a social consequence of the current human condition, connected by some with original sin, but teaching that slaves should be treated humanely and justly.

[/quote]

That’s right. Slavery is a reality in the ancient world which cannot be denied. More importantly is to treat slaves with love like a member of the family and after he serves for certain number of years where he pays his due by his servitude he should be freed to become a free man. In the modern days, perhaps we see it more like an employment.

The Church’s teaching on slavery is best exemplified by St Paul’s exhortation to Philemon regarding his slave, Onesimus. When a slave is treated well, he would even go back voluntarily to his master to serve him.

*Philemon 1: 10, 12, 14, 15, 17
10 I am appealing to you for my child, Onesimus, ...12 I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you. ... 14 in order that your good deed might be voluntary and not something forced. 15 ... so that you might have him back forever, 16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a beloved brother—especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
17 ... welcome him as you would welcome me.
*


#19

[quote="Tomdstone, post:16, topic:339703"]
Wikipedia is not always accurate of course, but here's what they say in the article on the Catholic Church and slavery:
Throughout Christian antiquity and the Middle Ages, theologians generally followed St. Augustine in holding that although slavery could not be justified under natural law it was not absolutely forbidden by that law. As a consequence the Roman Catholic Church, up until the modern era, came to accept certain types of slavery as a social consequence of the current human condition, connected by some with original sin, but teaching that slaves should be treated humanely and justly.

[/quote]

Timeline of Catholic History and Slavery

(This one is partial. I have a more complete one in my records.)

First century: the Apostles condemned the slave trade among every other kind of injustice: “For slave traders and liars and perjurers...[are] contrary to sound doctrine.” 1 Timothy 1:10. St. John condemns the slave trade in Revelation 18:13.

In 95 A.D. Pope St. Clement said, “We know many among ourselves who have given themselves up to bonds, in order that they might ransom others.” (1 Clement 55:2)

In 140 A.D. Pope Pius I was elected pope. He was previously a slave.

In 230 A.D. a document containing rules for pastors asserted that Church money should be used “[to] redeem slaves and captives and prisoners.” (See the Didascalia Apostolorum)

Before 311 A.D. St. Lactantius said, “Someone will say, Are there not among you some poor, and others rich; some slaves, and others masters? Is there not some difference between individuals? There is none. [Rather] we mutually bestow upon each other the name of brethren, [and] we believe ourselves to be equal. ... We have no slaves, but we both regard and speak of them as brothers in spirit, in religion as fellow-servants.” (Divine Institutes, Book V, Chapter 16)

In 380 A.D. the Apostolic Constitutions asserted that Church money should be collected “[for] the deliverance of slaves.”

395 A.D. - St. Gregory of Nyssa condemned the slave trade, saying, “If man is in the likeness of God, and rules the whole earth, and has been granted authority over everything on earth from God, who is his buyer, tell me? Who is his seller? … God does not enslave what is free, who is he that sets his own power above God’s?” (Homilies on Ecclesiastes, concerning Ecc. 2:7)

St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom are argued both ways on slavery, but the evidence that they were opposed to slavery has great strengths and the evidence that they were favorable towards it has great weaknesses.

St. Patrick opposed slavery completely, and had been a slave at one point.

The canons against slavery were reconfirmed in 625 A.D. at The Council of Rheims (Canon 17), which banned the enslavement of free persons and excommunicated anyone who tried it.

In 844 A.D. the 2nd Council of Verneuil (in Canon 12) declared that when Church funds are not set aside for ransoming slaves or are misappropriated, “captives are defrauded, and the good name of all is smirched by this fault.”

In 1092 A.D. the Council of London commanded (Canon 27): “Let no one dare hereafter to engage in the infamous business, prevalent in England, of selling men like animals.” These anti-slavery Church laws were in effect throughout the middle ages and remained into modern times. They were only replaced when the Code of Canon Law was promulgated in 1918.


#20

[quote="dmar198, post:19, topic:339703"]
Timeline of Catholic History and Slavery

(This one is partial. I have a more complete one in my records.)

First century: the Apostles condemned the slave trade among every other kind of injustice: “For slave traders and liars and perjurers...[are] contrary to sound doctrine.” 1 Timothy 1:10. St. John condemns the slave trade in Revelation 18:13.

In 95 A.D. Pope St. Clement said, “We know many among ourselves who have given themselves up to bonds, in order that they might ransom others.” (1 Clement 55:2)

In 140 A.D. Pope Pius I was elected pope. He was previously a slave.

In 230 A.D. a document containing rules for pastors asserted that Church money should be used “[to] redeem slaves and captives and prisoners.” (See the Didascalia Apostolorum)

Before 311 A.D. St. Lactantius said, “Someone will say, Are there not among you some poor, and others rich; some slaves, and others masters? Is there not some difference between individuals? There is none. [Rather] we mutually bestow upon each other the name of brethren, [and] we believe ourselves to be equal. ... We have no slaves, but we both regard and speak of them as brothers in spirit, in religion as fellow-servants.” (Divine Institutes, Book V, Chapter 16)

In 380 A.D. the Apostolic Constitutions asserted that Church money should be collected “[for] the deliverance of slaves.”

395 A.D. - St. Gregory of Nyssa condemned the slave trade, saying, “If man is in the likeness of God, and rules the whole earth, and has been granted authority over everything on earth from God, who is his buyer, tell me? Who is his seller? … God does not enslave what is free, who is he that sets his own power above God’s?” (Homilies on Ecclesiastes, concerning Ecc. 2:7)

St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom are argued both ways on slavery, but the evidence that they were opposed to slavery has great strengths and the evidence that they were favorable towards it has great weaknesses.

St. Patrick opposed slavery completely, and had been a slave at one point.

The canons against slavery were reconfirmed in 625 A.D. at The Council of Rheims (Canon 17), which banned the enslavement of free persons and excommunicated anyone who tried it.

In 844 A.D. the 2nd Council of Verneuil (in Canon 12) declared that when Church funds are not set aside for ransoming slaves or are misappropriated, “captives are defrauded, and the good name of all is smirched by this fault.”

In 1092 A.D. the Council of London commanded (Canon 27): “Let no one dare hereafter to engage in the infamous business, prevalent in England, of selling men like animals.” These anti-slavery Church laws were in effect throughout the middle ages and remained into modern times. They were only replaced when the Code of Canon Law was promulgated in 1918.

[/quote]

These are instances where Church authorities were against slavery. However, it seems like you omitted the cases where the Church authorities came out in favor of slavery. Why not include both?
For example, the Council of Gangra.


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