The Church has been known to change its position when faced with moral questions


From here:

Originally Posted by **Cabin4 **

And, before you throw darts…just again remember that the church has been known to change it’s position when faced with moral questions.

It has been changed…slavery is a good and well-documented change.

Your fallacious notion is rebutted here:

Let My People Go
The Catholic Church and Slavery
by Mark Brumley

Try again, Cabin.


Good think you can google and come back with a link…sigh.


…the slave trade was supported by the Spanish (catholic) church, whom by the way brought us the Spanish Inquisition…

The church has had some ugly moments. Pray for the souls of those betrayed by those who ministered in the name of God.

I am done.


I am very glad you mentioned this and provided that link, I learned a lot. That article convinced me to read Sublimis Deus (1537) and In Supremo Apostolatus (1839) which clearly condemned slavery.


In other words, you cannot refute any of the points made in the article and instead are choosing to ignore it because it challenges your anti-Catholic worldview.

I didn’t Google, btw. It’s one of the many Catholic Answers articles that I’ve bookmarked so I can reference them when anti-Catholics such as yourself bring such false accusations against the Church.

You made an accusation. I refuted it with hard evidence. The ball is now in your court. Can you prove the article false with citations of your own?


I found this:

**Spanish Slavery vs. English Slavery

The Spanish considered slavery to be an accidental and unnatural condition for humans. They did not believe slavery was hereditary. Both the law of the Catholic Church and the Spanish legal code (the 13th century Siete Partidas of King Alfonso X) treated slaves as humans rather than as property. The Partidas guaranteed protection of slaves from abusive masters or freeman and allowed slaves to testify in court against their masters. Additionally, because the Catholic Church treats marriage as a holy sacrament and views the family unit as sacred, slave owners could not split up a family by sale. A cedula (royal proclamation) of 1526 allowed slaves to purchase their freedom or coartación. Manumission (an owner granting freedom to a slave), while rare, occurred more frequently under Spanish law than British law. Further, unlike the English, the Spanish used white European slaves, so they did not equate slavery with race.

In contrast, the laws of economics had a much greater impact on British-American slavery than the laws of the Anglican Church or English common law. English colonists quickly adopted permanent, hereditary, race-defined slavery. English law defined slaves as commercial property (like the 1856 U.S. Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision) rather than as humans performing a type of labor. English colonial assemblies passed “Negro Acts” that prohibited slaves from growing food, assembling, earning money, testifying in court, or being educated. Enforcement of slave codes, as well as individual discipline, depended on each slave’s owner and was often arbitrary.

Notwithstanding the contrasting Spanish approach to slavery, Spanish administrators were not entirely color-blind. They segregated militia units based on race. Sentencing records indicate they punished petty criminals of African background more severely than they punished those of Spanish heritage. The life of a slave in colonial Florida was not necessarily better than the life of a British slave in Virginia. However, the institutions of government and church offered Spanish slaves better legal protection and more opportunity for freedom.**

It was at this website:

I believe the Latin Catholic Church also has several saints who were exceptional for their care of slaves.

In any case, it seems the Catholic Church has always been consistent in its teaching on the human person. That is a HUGE difference between the slavery of the United States and slavery in relation to the Catholic Church. But I guess the truth does not really interest anti-Catholics.



The position of slavery was justified by nearly all who USED slaves. The positioning of how the slave was respected is, well, how YOU look at it.

The slave trade was common all thorughout history until it was deemed relevant to review the moral position on slavery.

Once the issue was studies as being immoral, the church then stated such.

The Spanish owned slaves and history recognizes that slavery, even the “good” kind that maybe you are lreferencing , was the “way of life” for those who were slaves.

In addition, the Spanish Inquisition has a long and obscene history based on perceptions and common customs…and very ugly part of catholic history. But I hope that does not make one anti-Catholic to speak of it.

Even World War II and the Catholic Chruch is a difficult issue to know, but it’s there. Actions were taken that, if we all could have chosen differently, should not have happened, but did.


No, it is NOT anti-Catholic to identify misdeeds throughout history done in the name of the church, IF you fairly and faithfully recite the true and correct facts.

Dating back to Judas, some important figures in the Church have done bad things. Still, get your facts straight if you’re going to attack anyone, and have the humility to admit it when your facts are proven wrong.

My opinion, anyhow- YMMV.


Once again, Cabin:

You made an accusation. I refuted it with hard evidence. The ball is now in your court. Can you prove the article false with citations of your own?


Are you asking me to refute history?


I’m asking you to refute the article I linked, since it proved your accusation false.


Is there a particular council that declared slavery was ok and then one that said it is not? Or are you merely citing individuals who had slaves? I was having trouble determining your claim in this thread.


Slavery and Christianity

Ethical Aspect of Slavery


Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but if the Church never dogmatically asserted that slavery was good, why does it matter that at some point it asserted dogmatically that it was evil? That’s not at all a changing of Church doctrine. Isn’t this a meaningless dispute?

Unless, as I said, the Church did dogmatically approve of slavery (which I am pretty confident She did not). But even then, moral teachings can be modified for different circumstances. Usury, for example, was terribly corrupt in a feudal economic system, but not in capitalism. Therefore the Church did not change its moral teaching on usury - it just made a new moral statement regarding new circumstances.

Let me know if I have erred in any of this.

A blessed Easter to you all.


And again, to go with Marco, just because a certain behavior or mindset was prevalent does not mean that it is a dogmatically defined teaching that cannot be altered.

For example, it was implicitly believed in the first 1900 years of the Church that all non-Christians were going to hell. But there was never an authoritative, dogmatic decree on the issue. Then, during Vatican II, the Church realized that non-Christians could still be saved through Christ; She stated this explicitly and dogmatically. If the Church ever changes Her position on THAT, then we Catholics would have a real problem.


The author of the article leaves room for error in his own writing…please read the entire article all the way through.

Have a Blessed Easter everyone.


Hard evidence is hardly anything written by CA! I think you might want to look at a few unbiased sources before you start claiming that the Church did not inplicitly allow slavery. Slavery occurs in the bible and is considered normal, albeit it was a different kind. Slavery was supported in the southern christian churches for years, based on the bible. To suggest that the church has never taken the wrong position is simply not true. Galileo would attest to that, though I see the ultra right wing Catholic minority has begun trying to rewrite that bit of history as well.


I did read the article, hence why I posted it. What is this “error” you speak of? Can you point it out and refute it with evidence of your own?


If you feel you can refute the article with information from other sources, then by all means do so.

As for Galileo, feel free to start a new thread and I can explain how you’re wrong in that regard.


Please read the entire article and note towards the end the authors own discovery.

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