Is slavery intrinsically evil?


#1

Given that St. Paul mentions slavery several times (“Slaves be obedient to your masters” - Eph 6:1 and the letter to Philemon come to mind) without specifically condemning slavery does that mean that it is not an intrinsically evil institution? Does anyone know what the Church has said about this?

James


#2

Slavery was accepted at the time as not being intrinsicly evil. Today it is considered evil because we have developed a better sense of morals that is not contingent on the Bible. Slavery these days however, is called minimum wage.


#3

A complex topic. Chattel slavery is intrinsically evil, but not all types of slavery are intrinsically evil. Indentured servitude is not intrinsically evil.

Please see this link:

catholiceducation.org/articles/facts/fm0006.html


#4

“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.”

Pope Blessed Pius IX, June 20, 1866: Instruction


#5

St. Paul was simply referring to a fact of life. If slaves were to be followers of Christ, they would have to live their faith according to their status in society in the same way that we must all obey lawful authority and our employers to the extent that they have authority over us. It is not intrinsically sinful to be a slave, it is intrinsically evil to own slaves because slavery reduces a human (who is equal in the eyes of God) to a mere posession. No matter how good and just a slaveowner otherwise is, owning slaves is still immoral. The fact that Christians (including Catholics) have failed to live up to this does not negate it.


#6

[quote=fix]A complex topic. Chattel slavery is intrinsically evil, but not all types of slavery are intrinsically evil. Indentured servitude is not intrinsically evil.

Please see this link:

catholiceducation.org/articles/facts/fm0006.html
[/quote]

Pope Blessed Pius IX says that buying/selling a slave is not intrinsically evil (see my previous post).


#7

[quote=James0235]Given that St. Paul mentions slavery several times (“Slaves be obedient to your masters” - Eph 6:1 and the letter to Philemon come to mind) without specifically condemning slavery does that mean that it is not an intrinsically evil institution? Does anyone know what the Church has said about this?

James
[/quote]

I don’t know what the Church has to say about it, but it seems to me that the only argument against slavery stems from abuses or mistreatment. I don’t see how, as such, it would be immoral. Given a slave is treated well or even decently (like an indentured servant), what would be problematic about it? I suppose one could argue that no slavery is better than slavery, so long as there are opportunities for all to advance themselves on their own (like in this country), but when such opportunities do not exist, it would seem plausible that slavery could even benefit someone who otherwise would have no work.


#8

“So as to slavery we ask: Is it morally wrong. Yes, unless it is a punishment for crime. Then it is no worse, perhaps even milder, than life in prison. The slave can work in better surroundings, have more comforts, unless of course he was a slave in the ancient mines or agricultural capitalism.”

catholiceducation.org/articles/facts/fm0007.html


#9

[quote=fix]“So as to slavery we ask: Is it morally wrong. Yes, unless it is a punishment for crime. Then it is no worse, perhaps even milder, than life in prison. The slave can work in better surroundings, have more comforts, unless of course he was a slave in the ancient mines or agricultural capitalism.”

catholiceducation.org/articles/facts/fm0007.html
[/quote]

Do you take what Fr. Most said to be authoritative over what Pope Blessed Pius IX said?


#10

[quote=Trad_Catholic]Pope Blessed Pius IX says that buying/selling a slave is not intrinsically evil (see my previous post).
[/quote]

I think it’s important to distinguish between kinds of slavery, as fix was doing… considering that Pope Eugene IV condemned involuntary slavery in 1435, that Pope Paul III did the same in 1537, that the Holy Office did the same in 1686, that Pope Gregory XVI did the same in 1839, and that Leo XIII did the same after Pius IX’s statement, I think it’s safe to say that Pius’ words probably refer to indentured servitude.


#11

[quote=Trad_Catholic]Pope Blessed Pius IX says that buying/selling a slave is not intrinsically evil (see my previous post).
[/quote]

Trad-Cath,
Ive seen that quote attributed to both Pius IX personally and to the Holy Office and not the Pope. Some context would be nice. Provide some proof that Pius IX said it, and or give a link to the document. Thanks.

Stylite


#12

do unto others as you will have done unto you. Just accept the fact that the bible contradicts itself and this is no problem.


#13

[quote=Trad_Catholic]“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.”

[Pope Blessed Pius IX, June 20, 1866: *Instruction
[/quote]

Could you provide a link to this document, I can’t find it. Pope Gregory XVI clearly taught differently in 1839

Gregory XVI “IN SUPREMO APOSTOLATUS“
papalencyclicals.net/Greg16/g16sup.htm


#14

[quote=dredgtone]do unto others as you will have done unto you. Just accept the fact that the bible contradicts itself and this is no problem.
[/quote]

Where does the bible contradict itself? It does not. One has to interpret the bible properly. The Church is the interpreter, not an individual with limited reasoning, improper context, and a relativistic mindset.


#15

[quote=theMutant]Could you provide a link to this document, I can’t find it. Pope Gregory XVI clearly taught differently in 1839

Gregory XVI “IN SUPREMO APOSTOLATUS“
papalencyclicals.net/Greg16/g16sup.htm
[/quote]

Apparently, this quotation from Pius IX is also used by active homosexuals who attempt to expose the Church for changing her teaching.

The Instruction is Instructio Number 1293: Found in Collectanea, Vol. 1, pp. 715-720.

You can find a good clarification by Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review here:

freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/961706/posts

Note that the key is that Pius IX uses the word “servitus” not in reference to slaves but various types of servants.

I hope this helps…


#16

[quote=Ham1]Apparently, this quotation from Pius IX is also used by active homosexuals who attempt to expose the Church for changing her teaching.

The Instruction is Instructio Number 1293: Found in Collectanea, Vol. 1, pp. 715-720.

You can find a good clarification by Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review here:

freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/961706/posts

Note that the key is that Pius IX uses the word “servitus” not in reference to slaves but various types of servants.

I hope this helps…
[/quote]

It was on a women priest site all out of context as well. Good find, Ham! :thumbsup:


#17

[quote=dredgtone] Slavery these days however, is called minimum wage.
[/quote]

**My great-grandparents who WERE SLAVES ** would probably argue this one with you. :tsktsk:

Even the lowest paying job in the most free country in the whole world is living like kings and queens compared to the poor of 3rd world countries. If you have any opportunities to travel in this life, take advantage & you will see how lucky WE ALL ARE here in America!

BTW, slavery does still exist! And often, indentured servants often have no real chance of ever working off the debts they owe.


#18

Keep in mind that slavery, say in Europe, was entirely different than in the United States. Slaves in Europe were viewed as human beings and allowed to go to Mass, etc., and eventually earn their freedom. Slaves in the U.S. were viewed as sub-humans or animals and were never allowed to “earn” their freedom, except in very rare cases.

Interestingly enough, when the Jesuits came to America, Rome found out that they had aquired some slaves. They were ordered to immediately cease owning slaves, so they did. They sold them.


#19

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