Slavery and the Catholic Church

Hey everyone. I have often heard people say that the Catholic Church has never condemned slavery or at least that they did not do so for much of the past 2000 years. Is this true?

That’s inaccurate. For instance, from a sampling of papal encyclicals we have: *We order and command all and each of the faithful of each sex, within the space of fifteen days of the publication of these letters in the place where they live, that they restore to their earlier liberty all and each person of either sex who were once residents of said Canary Islands, and made captives since the time of their capture, and who have been made subject to slavery. These people are to be totally and perpetually free, and are to be let go without the exaction or reception of money. If this is not done when the fifteen days have passed, they incur the sentence of excommunication by the act itself, from which they cannot be absolved, except at the point of death, even by the Holy See, or by any Spanish bishop, or by the aforementioned Ferdinand, unless they have first given freedom to these captive persons and restored their goods. We will that like sentence of excommunication be incurred by one and all who attempt to capture, sell, or subject to slavery, baptized residents of the Canary Islands, or those who are freely seeking Baptism, from which excommunication cannot be absolved except as was stated above.
(Sicut Dudum, Pope Eugene IV Against the Enslaving of Black Natives from the Canary Islands, January 13, 1435)

[T]he said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ; and that they may and should, freely and legitimately, enjoy their liberty and the possession of their property; nor should they be in any way enslaved. (Pope Paul III, Sublimus Dei, On the enslavement and evangelization of Indians, 1537)

We warn and adjure earnestly in the Lord faithful Christians of every condition that no one in the future dare to vex anyone, despoil him of his possessions, reduce to servitude, or lend aid and favour to those who give themselves up to these practices, or exercise that inhuman traffic by which the Blacks, as if they were not men but rather animals, having been brought into servitude, in no matter what way, are, without any distinction, in contempt of the rights of justice and humanity, bought, sold, and devoted sometimes to the hardest labour. (Pope Gregory XVI, In Supremo Apostolatus, Apostolic Letter condemning the slave trade, 1839)*That’s just a sampling. Some of the above mention other letters of their predecessors echoing the same tradition. Click the links for more. :o

Holly3278 #1
I have often heard people say that the Catholic Church has never condemned slavery or at least that they did not do so for much of the past 2000 years. Is this true?

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].

I know I’m going to get slammed as some sort of hater who just wants to say bad things about the Church saying but…Historically, the Catholic Church has been a major player in the slave trade, Augustine himself claimed it was instituted by God and many other Synods and councils over history came to the same conclusion. Have a read of this liberalslikechrist.org/Catholic/Church&slavery.html . It lists several proclamations from Popes and groups of Bishops who continued to promote Slavery, right up till the end of the Papal States (another reason Italy invaded and took over Rome)

My understanding is that slavery has always been condemned in two aspects: the enslavement of free persons, and the treatment of slaves as unequals.

In the Bible

The enslavement of free persons: The Old Testament condemns it in Exodus 21:16 - “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.”

Treating slaves as unequals: the Old Testament condemns it in Job 31:13-15 - “my manservant or my maidservant, when they brought a complaint against me; what then shall I do when God rises up? When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him? Did not he who made me in the womb make him?”

The enslavement of free persons: The New Testament condemns it in 1 Timothy 1:10 - “[F]or slave traders, for liars, for perjurers…[are] contrary to sound doctrine.” See also Revelation 18:13.

Treating slaves as unequals: the New Testament condemns it in Ephesians 6:9 and Philemon 1:15-16.

In Church History

The enslavement of free persons: St. Gregory of Nyssa condemns it in 395 A.D. - “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 2:7)

Treating slaves as unequals: St. Lactantius condemns it before 311 A.D. - “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)

Also see St. John Chrysostom in 392 A.D. - “Let there be an interchange of service and submission [between master and slave]; for then there will be no such thing as slavery: let not one sit down in the rank of a freeman, and another in the rank of a slave: rather it were better that both master and slaves should be servants to each other.” (Homily on Ephesians 5:21) Also: “[D]o not keep [slaves] in your service without having need of them; but, after buying them and teaching them useful arts, so that they can [support] themselves, let them go free.” (Homily on 1 Corinthians 15:34)

The enslavement of free persons: The Council of Rheims condemns it in 625 A.D. “If any man is willing to turn a freeman to slavery, or has already done so, and the bishop has warned him, and he shows no retraction of his neglect or refuses to amend, let [him] be excommunicated.” (Canon 17, my own translation, and probably not very reliable – you should have it checked)

The unequal treatment of slaves: St. Isidore condemns it in 610 A.D. - “I can hardly credit that a friend of Christ, who has experienced that grace, which bestowed freedom on all, would still own slaves…[for] God has made no difference between the soul of the slave and that of the freedman.” (I haven’t yet found the source)

The enslavement of free persons: The Council of London condemns it in 1092 A.D. - “Let no one dare hereafter to engage in the infamous business, prevalent in England, of selling men like animals.” (Canon 27)

The unequal treatment of slaves: Pope Alexander III condemns it in 1167 A.D. - “Christian men ought to be exempt from slavery, [moreover] nature having made no slaves, all men have an equal right to liberty.” (Papal Bull concerning the Muslim King of Valencia’s enslavement of captives)

In the early 1400s the Kingdom of Spain began the black slave trade by capturing and enslaving the free people of the Canary Islands. This was the start of the slave trade as we remember it. Pope Eugene IV condemned it in 1435: “All and each of the faithful of each sex, within the space of fifteen days of the publication of these letters in the place where they live, that they restore to their earlier liberty all and each person of either sex who were once residents of the Canary Islands…who have been made subject to slavery. These people are to be totally and perpetually free and are to be let go without the exaction or reception of any money.”

As Rodney Stark argues in his book “The Victory of Reason”: “…Pope Pius II (1458 to 1464) and Pope Sixtus IV (1471 to 1484) followed with additional bulls condemning enslavement of the Canary Islanders, which, obviously, had continued. What this episode displays is the weakness of papal authority at this time, not the indifference of the Church to the sin of slavery…”

Spain and Portugal continued to enslave the West Africans, but the Church showed that she believed in their equality by ordaining them and establishing a Church in West Africa. In 1491, King Afonso the Good of the Kongo was converted to the Catholic faith and started the process of establishing the black Church. In 1518, Pope Leo X consecrated the king’s son, Henrique, Titular Bishop of Utica. Bishop Henrique was the first native bishop of West Africa. But as Spain and Portugal continued to enslave these populations, the Church there crumbled, and it has been hard to restore it since.

As post #2 pointed out, the condemnation of slavery was repeated in 1537 in the Bull Sublimus Dei. I would add that in 1686 the Holy Office condemned the enslavement of free persons and required slave holders to free them under pain of sin. (Instruction of the Holy Office No. 230) In 1741 Pope Benedict XIV excommunicated whoever would “deprive [free men] of liberty or retained in servitude.” (Immensa Pastorum - based on a Google Translate version of this page: documentos-magisterio.blogspot.com/2012/02/bula-immensa-pastorum.html)

Hopefully this analysis shows that the Church’s condemnation of slavery reaches much farther back than some authors would like you to think.

Denzinger (43rd edition)

668: Letter Unum est to the Princes of Sardinia, ca. September 873

There is one matter on which We must, in a fatherly way, give you some warning; if you do not correct it, you commit a grave sin, and because of this, you will increase, not profits, as you hope, but rather losses. As We have learned at the instigation of the Greeks, many who were held captive by the pagans are then sold in your regions and, after having been purchased by your compatriots, are held under the yoke of slavery, even though it is established as pious and holy, as is fitting among Christians, that your compatriots, when they have bought them from the Greeks, should set them free for the love of Christ and that they receive their reward, not from men, but from our Lord Jesus Christ himself. We therefore exhort and command you with paternal love that, if you have purchased any captives from them, you will allow them to go free for the salvation of your soul.

The best answer as to the Catholic Church and slavery is “mixed”. To say that the Church has never advocated against slavery would be wrong, just as saying that the Church didn’t rule in favor of slavery would also be wrong.

Here is a somewhat long but well-sourced article summarizing times when the Church in its history has sought to reduce or denounce slavery as well as those times when it endorsed and participated in slavery.

For example one papal bull, Dum Diversas, says in 1452:

We grant you [Kings of Spain and Portugal] by these present documents, with our Apostolic Authority, full and free permission to invade, search out, capture, and subjugate the Saracens and pagans and any other unbelievers and enemies of Christ wherever they may be, as well as their kingdoms, duchies, counties, principalities, and other property …] and to reduce their persons into perpetual servitude.

Yet it stresses how through the works of the Church the ensalvement of Christians in the West was alomst completely eliminated. The fate and welfare of non-Christians was a whole other matter.

From your same linked site- “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 in Rome and in the Catholic province of Quebec in Canada.”

Perhaps you should find a more scholarly site.

Wow. Thank you everyone for enlightening me on this matter. I really appreciate it! :thumbsup:

Mike from NJ #7
The fate and welfare of non-Christians was a whole other matter.

Incorrect.

Sixty years before Columbus “discovered” the New World, Pope Eugene IV condemned the enslavement of peoples in the newly colonized Canary Islands. His bull *Sicut Dudum *(1435) rebuked European enslavers and commanded that “all and each of the faithful of each sex, within the space of fifteen days of the publication of these letters in the place where they live, that they restore to their earlier liberty all and each person of either sex who were once residents of [the] Canary Islands . . . who have been made subject to slavery. These people are to be totally and perpetually free and are to be let go without the exaction or reception of any money.”

ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/POPSLAVE.HTM
(Fr Joel Panzer)
“The pontifical decree known as *The Sublime God *has indeed had an exalted role in the cause of social justice in the New World. Recently, authors such as Gustavo Gutierrez [liberation theologian] have noted this fact: 'The bull of Pope Paul III, *Sublimis Deus *(June 2, 1537), is regarded as the most important papal pronouncement on the human condition of the Indians.’ It is, moreover, addressed to all of the Christian faithful in the world, and not to a particular bishop in one area, thereby not limiting its significance, but universalizing it.”

“Eugene IV and Paul III did not hesitate to condemn the forced servitude of Blacks and Indians, and they did so once such practices became known to the Holy See. Their teaching was continued by Gregory XIV in 1591 and by Urban VIII in 1639.”
It should be noted that Isobella of Spain faithful to the Church’s rules, decreed that Columbus’s New World natives were subjects of the Spanish crown and therefore could not be enslaved. Most of Columbus’ slaves were freed and ordered returned to the New World.

Dr Rodney Stark: “The theological conclusion that slavery is sinful has been unique to Christianity (although several early Jewish sects also rejected slavery).”

Despite this evidence, critics still insist the Magisterium did too little too late regarding slavery. Why? One reason is the critics’ failure to distinguish between just and unjust forms of servitude. The Magisterium condemned unjust enslavement early on, but it also recognized what is known as “just title slavery.” That included forced servitude of prisoners of war and criminals, and voluntary servitude of indentured servants, forms of servitude mentioned at the outset of this article. But chattel slavery as practiced in the United States and elsewhere differed in kind, not merely degree, from just title slavery. For it made a claim on the slave as property and enslaved people who were not criminals or prisoners of war. By focusing on just title servitude, critics unfairly neglect the vigorous papal denunciations of chattel slavery.

Historians critical of the papacy on this matter often make that same argument. But papal teaching condemned both the slave trade and chattel slavery itself (leaving aside “just title” servitude, which wasn’t at issue). It was certain members of the American hierarchy of the time who “explained away” that teaching. “Thus,” according to Fr. Panzer, “we can look to the practice of non-compliance with the teachings of the papal Magisterium as a key reason why slavery was not directly opposed by the Church in the United States.”

The Sublimus Dei was among the items listed in the article I referenced (which I’m guessing you didn’t read :shrug:)

I agree with you that it’s a strong statement by the Church against slavery. But as I noted the Church had previously released Dum Diversas which outright allowed and encouraged non-Christians to be enslaved. The two papal bulls are diametrically opposed to each other.

But that’s not all. As noted in the article that I referenced:

In March 1425 Martin V issued a bull threatening excommunication for any Christian slave dealers and ordered Jews to wear a “badge of infamy” to deter, in part, the buying of Christians.[139] Ten black slaves were presented as a gift to Martin by Prince Henry of Portugal in 1441.[140] In 1452 Martin V condemned those who purchased Greek rite Christians and sold them to non-Christians. Only the sale to non-Christians was forbidden.[138]

I stand by my notion that the Church was very mixed on the notion of slavery. I also stand by my notion that the Church it was another matter when it came to the enslavement of non-Christians. There were most certainly those in the Church who strived to eradicate any and all slavery; yet there were others (including popes) who only wished to stop the slavery of Christians and were neutral or for the enslavement of non-Christians.

Do you have a link to the 1866 document in question? It seems the history of that document is elusive. This article has a scholar’s explanation of the document and that it refers to “servitude,” not slavery, per se. The quote you site was made popular by Andrew Sullivan, a dissenting Catholic. In the response in the article, it reads in part:*[Sullivan] noticed the date of the Instructio (1866), and assumed that the subject of the statement he quotes (translating servitus as slavery) is American racial slavery. It wasn’t. The reason that the Holy Office is wrestling with the question is that it is focused on the possible legitimacy of three types of servitude that are not at the heart of the American debate: (1) penal servitude; (2) indentured servitude; and (3) the servitude of prisoners captured in just wars. That’s why we have this business (right there in the material Sullivan quotes, but evidently doesn’t pay much attention to) about the need to examine whether the “slave” (servitus) “has been justly or unjustly deprived of his liberty.”*In other words, the document, if this scholar’s description of it is accurate, would be saying that certain servitude imposed on a guilty person in the penal system would not be intrinsically evil. Or, for example, a prisoner in the context of war could possibly be put to work. At any rate, please link to the document if you have it. It apparently can be found in Collectanea, Vol. 1, pp. 715-720, although I was not able to find it online after a short search.

What would be quite peculiar in this matter if the liberal website you cited accurately represented Pope Pius IX’s position as the Church’s voice, is that such a message was not echoed in preceding or succeeding papacy’s. In fact, you can find other sites quoting Pius IX in his beatification of Peter Claver, who is actually the patron saint of slaves, by saying that slavery is “supreme villainy.”

Mike from NJ #11
I stand by my notion that the Church was very mixed on the notion of slavery. I also stand by my notion that the Church it was another matter when it came to the enslavement of non-Christians.

Both are incorrect, as a “notion” = “a vague idea in which some confidence is placed”, and the facts have already been given.

The matter is further muddled by certain nineteenth century American clergy-including some bishops and theologians-who tried to defend the American slave system. They contended that the long-standing papal condemnations of slavery didn’t apply to the United States. The slave trade, some argued, had been condemned by Pope Gregory XVI, but not slavery itself.

Historians critical of the papacy on this matter often make that same argument. But papal teaching condemned both the slave trade and chattel slavery itself (leaving aside “just title” servitude, which wasn’t at issue). It was certain members of the American hierarchy of the time who “explained away” that teaching. “Thus,” according to Fr. Panzer, “we can look to the practice of non-compliance with the teachings of the papal Magisterium as a key reason why slavery was not directly opposed by the Church in the United States.”

Can you address Dum Diversas then?

I don’t think they are. Although Dum Diversas is sometimes interpreted as authorizing Spain and Portugal to start the racial slave trade, there are several lines of evidence against this, and which lead me to believe that the form of “slavery” mentioned in this bull was a form of forced labor for prisoners of war, not the same thing as racial slavery.

First of all, racial slavery had already been condemned. (See Sicut Dudum from Pope Eugene IV, already quoted on this thread.) Second of all, notice the emphasis of this document on “Saracens” (Muslims) and “enemies of Christ.” Spain was at war with the Muslim empire at this time, and it was standard practice at the time to enslave prisoners of war instead of kill them.

Because of this, in my judgment, the most you could glean from this document is that unfree prison labor can be justified and can be called slavery. That is far different from racial slavery – racial slavery assumes the inequality of blacks, and because of that, it was condemned by the popes of the time.

Does this seem like a fair analysis to you?

The problem here is that the circumstances of the time are now not understood, as dmar198 has intimated.

What we need to understand here is the context of a bull written at a time of severe Muslim persecution of Christendom - Byzantine/Constantinople was under threat of attack and takeover by Muslims. In fact it was written just one year before the Muslims defeated Christian Byzantine (100-200K invaders against a mere 8,000 or so defenders). To give a context let me say that the Muslim invaders looted, pillaged and slaughtered Christians for a number of days before giving the few hiding survivors terms for their subjugation and homage if they surrendered as vassals to Islam.

The call by Pope Nicholas V (who authored this bull) was to rally Christendom to come to the aid of its members and confront Islam (the Saracens and pagan mercenaries they gained by conquering W. African pagan countries) head on. But he failed to get the European Kings to help and that is why Byzantine fell. This bull was directed to the Spanish only and was an authorization to engage the conquering Muslims and make war with them to stop their encroachment and aggression and conversion of Pagan Africa into homage by providing a quota of men of war - mercenaries . It was a time of war and at this time the Church had a definite voice of influence in government secular affairs and had to assert itself to defend innocent lives being slaughtered by the Muslim hordes. The pope uses the language and emotion of the day. Christians were terrorized by what looked like Satan himself waging war against Christendom. So the pope authorized the taking of prisoners of war and their enslavement/incarceration as a life sentence for crimes against Christendom. This was a mercy since the war convention at the time was to kill enemies due to the high cost of maintaining them and guarding or else holding the noble ones (knights/lords) as hostage for payment from their Christian families.

This bull was not a general edict to enslave people willy-nilly. It was no different than giving a life sentence to criminals with hard labor to pay back society as is done to this very day in the USA.
Also see: the-american-catholic.com/2012/04/30/slaverymeme/

While Christian theologians could develop St Paul’s understanding of God’s will concerning slavery, such a development was and is essentially precluded in other faiths, except as heresies. “Of the major world faiths, only Christianity has devoted serious and sustained attention to human rights, as opposed to human duties.”
[See The* Victory of Reason, Random House, 2005, p 29-31].
See: christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/julyweb-only/7-14-53.0.html

Dum Diversas was a real papal bull but it in no way is a general endorsement of slavery. It is simply an authorization to the Spanish monarchy to engage the aggressor enemy of Christians in a “just war” and to take any survivors as prisoners and incarcerate them for life for their crimes against Christianity.

I’ll quote again the most pertinent passage in Dum Diversas, highlight points that you have overlooked:

“We grant you [Kings of Spain and Portugal] by these present documents, with our Apostolic Authority, full and free permission to invade, search out, capture, and subjugate the Saracens and pagans and any other unbelievers and enemies of Christ wherever they may be, as well as their kingdoms, duchies, counties, principalities, and other property …] and to reduce their persons into perpetual servitude.”

This wasn’t limited to just West African countries. This wasn’t just limited to those at the time in conflict with Christians. This was everywhere and everyone. Most importantly it included the people in the New World, who I think we can say were not a threat to those Christians in West Africa.

No the papal bull gave unlimited power to those entities who wished to conquer and subdue any and all non-Christians. What I quoted above says so quite plainly.

When was Dum Diversas issued? And when did Europeans discover the New World?

There were lands and peoples discovered off the western coast of Arfrica prior to Dum Diversas. Also Dum Diversas was used as a justification for the subjugation of people in the New World when that was later discovered.

So I’ll ask again, did Dum Diversas limit the Protuguese and the Spanish just to those they were at war with? It’s clear that it’s not.

I don’t see how it could be clear without the full text of Dum Diversas, in latin and its english translation. I, for one, would like to see both.

Romanus Pontifex, written in 1455, is along the same lines as Dum Diversas and quotes it. It is a document of faculty, not a document on faith and morals.

nativeweb.org/pages/legal/indig-romanus-pontifex.html

From the background.

The kingdoms of Portugal and Castile had been jockeying for position and possession of colonial territories along the African coast for more than a century prior to Columbus’ “discovery” of lands in the western seas. On the theory that the Pope was an arbitrator between nations, each kingdom had sought and obtained Papal bulls at various times to bolster its claims, on the grounds that its activities served to spread Christianity.

I will bold the part that quotes Dum Diversas.

But since, as we are informed, although the king and infante aforesaid (who with so many and so great dangers, labors, and expenses, and also with loss of so many natives of their said kingdoms, very many of whom have perished in those expeditions, depending only upon the aid of those natives, have caused those provinces to be explored and have acquired and possessed such harbors, islands, and seas, as aforesaid, as the true lords of them), fearing lest strangers induced by covetousness should sail to those parts, and desiring to usurp to themselves the perfection, fruit, and praise of this work, or at least to hinder it, should therefore, either for the sake of gain or through malice, carry or transmit iron, arms, wood used for construction, and other things and goods prohibited to be carried to infidels or should teach those infidels the art of navigation, whereby they would become more powerful and obstinate enemies to the king and infante, and the prosecution of this enterprise would either be hindered, or would perhaps entirely fail, not without great offense to God and great reproach to all Christianity, to prevent this and to conserve their right and possession, [the said king and infante] under certain most severe penalties then expressed, have prohibited and in general have ordained that none, unless with their sailors and ships and on payment of a certain tribute and with an express license previously obtained from the said king or infante, should presume to sail to the said provinces or to trade in their ports or to fish in the sea, [although the king and infante have taken this action, yet in time it might happen that persons of other kingdoms or nations, led by envy, malice, or covetousness, might presume, contrary to the prohibition aforesaid, without license and payment of such tribute, to go to the said provinces, and in the provinces, harbors, islands, and sea, so acquired, to sail, trade, and fish; and thereupon between King Alfonso and the infante, who would by no means suffer themselves to be so trifled with in these things, and the presumptuous persons aforesaid, very many hatreds, rancors, dissensions, wars, and scandals, to the highest offense of God and danger of souls, probably might and would ensue – We [therefore] weighing all and singular the premises with due meditation, and noting that since we had formerly by other letters of ours granted among other things free and ample faculty to the aforesaid King Alfonso – to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions, and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery, and to apply and appropriate to himself and his successors the kingdoms, dukedoms, counties, principalities, dominions, possessions, and goods, and to convert them to his and their use and profit – by having secured the said faculty, the said King Alfonso, or, by his authority, the aforesaid infante, justly and lawfully has acquired and possessed, and doth possess, these islands, lands, harbors, and seas, and they do of right belong and pertain to the said King Alfonso and his successors, nor without special license from King Alfonso and his successors themselves has any other even of the faithful of Christ been entitled hitherto, nor is he by any means now entitled lawfully to meddle therewith – in order that King Alfonso himself and his successors and the infante.may be able the more zealously to pursue and may pursue this most pious and noble work, and most worthy of perpetual remembrance (which, since the salvation of souls, increase of the faith, and overthrow of its enemies may be procured thereby, we regard as a work wherein the glory of God, and faith in Him, and His commonwealth, the Universal Church, are concerned) in proportion as they, having been relieved of all the greater obstacles, shall find themselves supported by us and by the Apostolic See with favors and graces

The latin text of Romanus Pontifex can be found in this book.

archive.org/details/europeantreatie00paulgoog

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