Is colonization itself sinful?

there are not a lot of catholic resources on the issue. most modern people say it’s completely wrong, and of course blame the church for a good part of it.

I realize it’s very historically complex, but is it inherently wrong for temporal rulers to take over and conquer other lands? for example, Portuguese in Africa, Spanish and French and British in the americas

Are you colonizing anything? I wouldn’t worry about it if not.

In all seriousness, it is a complex issue. “Colonization” is not a single moral action.


do you mind explaining a bit on what you mean, father?

no, I’m personally not colonizing anything, obviously, but I am sure you are familiar with the attacks on the church in regards to this issue and the factthat some of the main countries involved were catholic nations, in certain cases, sometimes even with papal bulls written in support

Was their motive for doing so to eliminate evil in the indigenous people, like the human sacrifice encountered by the Spanish conquistadors? If so it probably was justified. (Not sure if that was actually the Spaniards’ primary motive, I’m a little rusty in this area of history)

Colonization with the intention of replacing another culture’s evil with the colonizing culture’s goodness is perfectly moral and justified.

It’s important to mention that the appeal to abuses occurred by colonialists from anti-colonialist leftists are usually a means to gaslight religious people about their traditions. When push-comes-to-shove, the conversation boils down to the morality of the action itself, not whether any abuses, if they took place, were justified.

The primary motive of colonisation of the new world was trade, and the wealth that came from that. To have an empire. And once the Spanish and Portuguese started, other European countries didn’t want to have less influence than them, so they joined in. Until they got to the new world they would have had no idea what indigenous people thought or believed.

Definitely complex. IMO, I don’t think it was right.

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well, I don’t think they knewthat until they got there, in fact, they didn’t even know that this continent even existed, they were under the impression to be saialing to india

doesn’t conquest violate just war theory though?

The term is impossibly broad and you won’t necessarily get the same answer if you ask a thousand people about it. In the most loose interpretation, any sort of impression of values upon a group of people with a different set of values is colonization (the people who hold this definition will conveniently excuse themselves from their own rule and impress their views on other people) which negates one of the main purpose’s of the Church’s existence. We can’t follow that definition without destroying ourselves.

That’s why - as opposed to words that are loosely interpreted depending on who you talk to- it’s more useful to stick with stuff that is definable. Murder is gravely wrong. Enslavement is gravely wrong. Human trafficking is gravely wrong. Extortion is gravely wrong. Looking at each of these individually, there was indeed a lot of grave evils that occurred throughout the colonial era. Leopold II of Belgium is one of the more extreme examples near the end of colonization of a European country committing grave evils on an entire group of people because they have the military strength to do so.

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I EXIST because of colonisation, so I don’t think it is wrong, per se. What I think is wrong, is when the colonists treat the inhabitants of their colonies as subservient slaves, instead of equals.

The entire Old Testament from Genesis till Judges is a story of the People Israel colonizing the land of Canaan, sooo…

I’m sure there are plenty of threads already on this subject as well as stuff written from Catholic Answers. It would be better to come up with something more specific to talk about -like, in X century X country colonized X land and Pope X seemed to support it with X document.

I support colonization.

ok, what about the mere fact of enlarging one’s empire by conquering other nations, that was one of the main factors of the discovery of the new world by Spanish and Portuguese monarchs

How does this fit into the just war doctrine? How many civilian lives can you morally take to replace a corrupt culture with a Catholic culture? Sincere question. Want to understand your perspective. Colonization is impossible without much bloodshed.

Let’s say, by some miracle, there was a newly reformed Holy Roman Empire in Europe that was thoroughly Catholic. With the Pope’s blessing, the HRE decided that the evils of America (the heresy of protestantism, widespread abortion, gay marriage, etc) had to be eradicated. During the colonization efforts, Americans would obviously fight back. When all was said and done, 35 million Americans died… but with the result 300 million living under a benevolent Catholic theocracy that eliminated the above mentioned evils. Would you welcome this as a moral action?

to be honest, I really couldn’t find much, that’s why I’m posting.

the problem is that conquest does not really seem to align with just war criteria

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Yes, I think so. Attacking a people that have done nothing to threaten you is pretty hard to square with just war theory.

I would say… it depends.

(The ultimate moral philosophy cop out :smile:)

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but if you want examples, dum diversas, romanus pontifex, inter caetera,

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