Slavery intrinsically evil

My friend is trying to make the case for a change in doctrine by saying that the Church changed its mind on slavery.

I replied that the Church has always thought slavery a bad thing, but not necessarily evil in itself. Slavery could have evil elements, especially its dehumanizing aspects and splitting of families, but there could exist a slavery which, while not the ideal, was nonetheless not against the natural law.

My friend cites the catechism and the encyclical mentioned in this article:

firstthings.com/article/2005/10/development-or-reversal

The article has my argument as well.

Simply put, not all that goes under the name of slavery is the same. There are plenty of times when people are justly entitled to the labor of someone else. As payment of a debt to someone else or to society for instance. When it comes to invading a country, scooping up innocent humans and forcing them into labor as mere property with no rights as a human being, when the Church spoke on the matter, it was always to condemn it.

Here are a couple of resources for you:

Let My People Go: The Catholic Church and Slavery
catholiceducation.org/en/controversy/common-misconceptions/let-my-people-go-the-catholic-church-and-slavery.html

oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Slavery

Yes, slavery is intrinsically evil according to JPII’s Veritatis Splendor as properly mentioned by the linked article. That’s the official Church’s teaching.

Everything else is a noise trying to say he did not mean it to say it that way…
Cardinal Dulles recognizes that JPII goes against previous teachings:

He would have had to make it clear that he was rejecting the nuanced views of the biblical writers and Catholic theologians for so many past centuries. If any form of slavery could be justified under any conditions, slavery as such would not be, in the technical sense, intrinsically evil.

… but for sure JPII did not mean it that way.

Really?
If that’s the case and we need multiple ‘translations’ what JPII said then anything coming from Vatican is useless.

I don’t know. Veritas Splendor wasn’t about slavery per se. And, as Dulles points out, one would have to say that deportations are intrinsically evil.

One should understand what intrinsically evil means and how it relates to determination if an act is moral or not.
Would slavery, deportation be a moral object of an act or it’s a consequence.
The same goes for a murder, is killing a moral object or a consequence - killing in a self defense.

Thanks. I think the issue is what JPII meant by intrinsically in the encyclical and what the catechism means concerning slavery. I think the catechism is pretty clear because it adds that it has to dehumanize.

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