Fr. Giles O.F.M.

The topic of slavery is a very controversial subject here in the United States. Reparations in the way of "affirmative action" bring up heated arguments on both sides. And perfectly good words have taken on derogatory connotations and have become "politically incorrect" to use. Please note, that the words quoted and used in this article are not meant to be derogatory, but are used in their true meaning.

As Catholics it is important that we know the truth and be able to defend it, especially when evil interpretations are given to the actions of the Vatican. Those who hate the Church are quick to point out that the Church was in favor of the South in the Civil War and therefore She must be evil because She supports slavery.

That which most people fail to remember is that the Civil War was not fought over slavery. It was fought over the South's right to secede from the "Union". Popular sentiment bolstered by the unconscionable modern media makers has worked well to confuse the issues to such a degree that everyone now "knows" that the Civil War in the US was fought to free the slaves. And they will give the proof in President Lincoln's "Emancipation Proclamation". But, any honest researcher of history will note that the Emancipation Proclamation was an act of war designed to cripple the South. It was not done out of compassion for the poor slave. In fact it only freed the slaves in the "rebellious" states, it did nothing for the slaves in the states that had not rebelled. And, yes, there were slaves in the Northern states at the time.

The Emancipation Proclamation states in part as follows: "On the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any state or designated part of the state, the people wherof shall be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free."

"The Constitution gave Lincoln no right to free the slaves. He said that he issued his proclamation on the ground of military necessity. The slaves were not only raising the food for the South, so that the white men could go to war, but they were also working on entrenchments, and driving teams with provisions and ammunition for the army." (History of Our Country for Higher Grades, Halleck, American Book Company 1923 p. 398).

But, one might ask, how could the Church support states that condoned slavery? Is not slavery an evil that She should have clearly and loudly denounced?

Slavery has been around since ancient times and is still present today. Let us set aside for the moment all emotion and sentiment and consider the idea of slavery. What is it? It is the control of one person's time and labor by another. This, the Church has always recognized as permissible. In fact this is what most working people in the U.S. do today. We get up five, six, or even seven days a week and head off to our place of employment, and do what we are told for whatever length of time we are there. Stop and think about this for a moment. Every employee is a slave! But, most will argue he is free. He can go wherever he wants and do whatever he wants. This is not absolutely true. He can do those things when he is not employed, that is, after his work is finished and his master, a.k.a. "boss" dismisses him. Well he can always quit. Yes, he can, but he must still earn a living in some way (unless he wishes to live as a parasite). He can change his master but, he is still none the less a slave. Try to remember this is not necessarily a bad thing. It is quite a good thing. We apply ourselves to fulfill the will of another in exchange for certain goods or services that will in turn be supplied to us in compensation for our service (servitude). The Church has always promoted and encouraged servants to be good and faithful — to give an honest day's labor for an honest day's pay. She has likewise encouraged masters to be kind and generous to their servants — always remembering that they are both servants of God.

Here we come to the crux of the matter. God created us all. All are equal in that we all are made in the image and likeness of God — with an immortal soul destined to spend all eternity with Him. But, we are not all equal in other respects. God made us different because we have different places and jobs to fulfill. Some are made to govern, others to be governed, some to teach, some to sanctify, some to lead, some to build, some to cultivate, etc. The one who harvests is no more important than the one who sows. Every vocation is a gift from God and is to be treasured. All are necessary and all are important. The garbage collector is just as necessary as the doctor.

Now, to return to the subject at hand. If a person may indenture himself for a day in order to receive some compensation at the end of the day, then it logically follows that the same man may indenture himself for a week, a month, a year, a decade, or even for the rest of his life. Now we have slavery in its most commonly understood form —  a lifetime of servitude. This has come morally and logically from the same premises we use to justify our daily employment.

Now, there is the objection of those forced into slavery. Willingly contracting yourself is one thing, but forced slavery is another. This may only be justified in a time of war. Those who are captured (combatants , not civilians) are deemed to have forfeited their lives and may be killed, but it is deemed more humane to spare their lives by allowing them to become slaves.

Therefore, in principle, slavery is not the evil that modern society has presented. Practically, we have many problems that have arisen from man's abuse of this system — these the Church has always condemned.

First, it is immoral to start wars (or raids) for the sole purpose of enslaving the victims. Thus, there is no doubt, the capture of the majority of the Negro slaves in Africa was unjust for this very reason. Second, the Church commands that all slaves are to be treated with the dignity and respect that should be given to every human, who is created in the image and likeness of God. The Talmudic traders who profited from this commerce of humans are to be condemned for their inhumanities. Third, slave holders must assume the responsibility for the morality of their slaves. They must see that the slaves observe God's laws, especially concerning marriage. They must see that all their slaves are instructed in the true faith. Again, the Talmudists, Protestants and bad "Catholics" have often failed in this obligation. These abuses the Church has continually fought against. She constantly admonishes masters to look after and care for their servants as their own children.

There is one Catholic Bishop that stands out in American history that the majority of history scholars never give a second glance to. He is Bishop Verot, bishop of Savannah and latter St. Augustine. This brave bishop fought the Talmudic and Protestant practices of the time. He worked tirelessly establishing and running schools for the Negroes. He preached and entreated the slave owners throughout America to treat the slaves morally. One of his main endeavors was to dispel the Talmudic and Protestant idea that Negroes are not human. He tried to impress upon them that they would have to answer to God for the immorality of their servants. He condemned openly the evil practices of using slaves as concubines, disregarding God's laws for marriage among the slaves, and the separating of families. Yet, he argued just as forcibly in favor of at least temporarily maintaining the institution of slavery.

"As to natural law, Verot conceded that nature did not establish slavery. `But natural law approves of reasons and causes by which a man may become the slave of another man.' He linked the matter with property in land. Just as no land belonged to anybody by the right of nature, but legitimate titles constituted it the property of specific individuals, in the same way one man received clear title to the possession of another man's labor." "… A man may sell his labor and work for a day, a week, a month, or a year: why may he not sell it for all his life?"(Rebel Bishop The Life and Era of Augustin Verot, The Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee, 1964 p. 40)

The sale of one's labor must have a reciprocal consideration, an equivalent between the contracting parties. Slaves received this in the certainty of security that they in fact possessed.

" — a certainty which many distressed and starving families in Europe, and in the large cities of America, would indeed appreciate highly, as they know what a source of interminable care, anxiety, and solicitude, this matter is for them. It is truly remarkable how gay, cheerful, and sprightly are the slaves of the South. I do not hesitate to say that they seem to be better contented than their masters; assuredly more so than the sullen and gloomy population found in the work shops and factories of large cities. The master therefore gives an equivalent." (ibid.)

He argued in favor of slavery because, he had the wisdom of the many years of Church history and practice, along with St. Paul, but most importantly the grace of God, to back him up. He was able to foresee that an immediate cessation of the practice would only create a worse situation than had presently existed. Because the majority of the slaves had never been taught morality, and were forbidden to receive an education, they were not ready to become free citizens of the country. Likewise there was no way that the economy would be able to survive such a drastic change. It was obvious to him that if these slaves were given their freedom immediately they would most likely use their "freedom" as a cloak for immorality. His plan was obvious. Instruct the slaves and their owners. Teach them their duties and obligations before God, and gradually emancipate the slaves, bringing them into society as moral hardworking assets to society.

"Bishop Verot's fourth condition for a legitimate slavery required masters to promote marriage among their slaves according to the norms of Christian morality, all the while respecting the slaves' freedom to choose partners of their liking. … Legitimate gains from slaves cannot be censured … but gain at the expense of morality, religion, and humanity, is a horror which can but bring to a speedy ruin a fabric that would rest on it and admit of it. The separation of families is frought with evils and inconveniences which shock the moral sense of everybody at once." (Rebel Bishop p.47)

While there were many abuses, it is obvious that the immediate and unprepared emancipation would (and did) cause a greater evil. But, it seems that the greater part of the slaves were not treated in these extremely hard and evil ways. Looking at photos of white children playing with the black children, or sitting upon the lap of an old black man telling them stories; or seeing a family portrait with the black servants right there in the picture, makes one think that perhaps they were treated more like family than most would care to admit. It is also note worthy that the South was able to carry on the war because, the women and slaves stayed home and tilled the farms so the men were free to fight. Many slaves also picked up guns and fought right beside their masters. Would you put a gun into someone's hand that you have been beating and abusing for many years?

"It was indeed a striking feature of the South, he said, that the slave was better fed and clothed than the free Negro. There had been much misrepresentation and calumny resorted to on this point by abolitionists, but their appalling stories were no more than a malicious fiction. `If there have been cruel, tyrannical, tiger-hearted masters, it is only a proof that there may be monsters in the human race — but such monsters are found as well in free and in slave regions.' The spirit of Christianity, if inculcated as it ought to be, he continued, would teach the master to treat the slave with humanity and kindness, as a fellow being, and as a partaker of the same promises of eternal life. Reverting to the Protestant clergy, he hazarded the opinion that if they endeavored to spread genuine Christianity among the masters they would `do incomparably more for the relief and the happiness of the slave than all the fanatical efforts of abolitionists.'" (Rebel Bishop p 48)

It is contrary to reason for slave owners to beat and abuse their slaves, even if they considered them as nothing more than animals. People in general did not beat and abuse their animals and then expect those same animals to work the fields. Working animals are made to work hard, but they cannot be abused or else they would not be fit for work. They are generally fed and sheltered very well. Today, race horses are often treated better than humans. It is contrary to reason and logic that slaves were universally and constantly abused. Slave owners were not stupid nor foolish.

The terrible stories that we hear may very well have occurred, but it would be incorrect to assume that this was the norm. Just as today it would be wrong to assume that what we see on the evening news is the norm for the society in which we live. The majority of the people in society do not do the things that we see every night on the news. Who was responsible for the Civil War and subsequent problems which did exist? Bishop Verot tells us:

"As for the United States, it is plain, that the Constitution framed after the War of Independence, recognizes the relations of master and slave, and that the law of the United States gives a right to the master to reclaim and seize his fugitive slave, wherever he may be found within the United States. These statements are undeniable, and there is no occasion for me to dwell on a point known to everybody. Those states which have enacted laws against the constitution and the Legislation of the United States have sapped the very foundations of social order, and are the true and responsible causes and agents of the misfortunes which have already befallen the nation, and of the greater calamities with which it is threatened. The words of my text receive here there application: `Justice exalteth a nation: but sin maketh nations miserable.'"

"The fact was, the bishop declared, there had been in the northern United States an actual conspiracy against justice and truth. And the responsible agents of that conspiracy, sorry to say, were the same "fanatical preachers" and "zealots" who earlier had assailed, calumniated, and vilified the Catholic Church. They were the responsible parties. And Verot named their deeds: the burning of the Ursuline Sisters' convent at Charlestown, Massachusetts, in 1834; the Philadelphia riots of 1844; `and so many other acts of crying injustice, cruelty and barbarity, during that religious excitement from which we are just now emerging, I mean the movement of Know-Nothingism.'" (Rebel Bishop p 42-43)

"The slave trade was prohibited by nearly all the European governments, by the United States (Only the importation of slaves from abroad was prohibited by the United States; interstate and intrastate trade in slaves was legal and common.), and by the apostolic decree of Gregory XVI, "which was solemnly read in the council of American Prelates held in Baltimore in the year 1840." (Rebel Bishop p.45) Pope Pio II condemned the slave trade in 1482. Britain prohibited the slave trade in 1807. Congress prohibited the importation of African slaves into the U.S. in 1808. Napoleon abolished slave trade in France in 1815. Slavery was abolished in Central America in 1824. Brazil abolished slavery north of the equator in 1826. Thus the Talmudist slave ship owners were the sole promoters of the enslaving of people.

The tragedy of the immediate and unprepared freedom of the Negro slaves has had devastating repercussions even to this present day.

"They are naturally a sensual race of people and their former condition of servitude aggravated the fatal propensity. Piety and the obligations of the married state they cannot realize, with rare exceptions … and [they] frequently fall away. If Catholicity were a system of singing, sensational preaching, and vociferous prayer, and limited to external observances, they would join the Church in thousands. Since their emancipation they are opposed to mingling with white people. … Though nominally attached to some sect, they know no religion, and have none, and are in some localities lapsing into fetishism. Their natural assemblies are boisterous demonstrations or clandestine political gatherings. They were demoralized by political adventures and tricksters who made use of their votes for plundering the impoverished country. Thus deluded, their condition is in many instances worse than at any former period of their existence. They are indolent and improvident. If they can procure food, they will make no further effort to improve their condition. … They merit our deepest commiseration. Their sins and ignorance are a misfortune rather than a cause of condemnation, and the deep-rooted evils of the system from which they have emerged." (Rebel Bishop p. 143-144)

"The former slave was in a pitiable condition to be thrown on the world to make his living. He often thought that freedom meant idleness. From the talk of some of the northern whites the story was started that southern estates would be divided and that each Negro would get forty acres and a mule. The Negroes could not read and some, it is said, bought bogus deeds or claims to the expected forty acres. Congress formed an organization, known as the Freedmen's Bureau, that tried in various ways to guide, protect, and educate the Negroes, but such work required time. The Negroes often made the task difficult by leaving the plantations and going to the towns to enjoy their freedom. Many of them were soon starving, and the bureau had to feed them. This encouraged laziness." (History of Our Country p. 413) 

The Church's position is now hopefully a little clearer. But the question still remains, what do we do now? It was not very expedient to immediately emancipate all the uneducated slaves and make them equal citizens with the educated, nor was it expedient to disenfranchise the leaders of the Rebel states, thus forbidding those most qualified to run the state from ever acting in that capacity again. I say it was not expedient for the U.S., but as Bishop Verot pointed out perhaps it was expedient for the "… old world to cramp and divide a nation now become too powerful." Is it possible that the same Talmudists that profited from the running of the slave ships now wished to profit from their "freedom"?

I would not dare to state that we should enslave anyone. It is impossible to re-enslave them because those living today were never themselves enslaved. What we must do is as Bishop Verot suggested, have compassion on such misfortunate people, who for whatever reason lack basic Christian morality. We should seek to instruct and guide such individuals to lead basic moral, decent, hard working lives. The worst thing that anyone can do is to approve of, or excuse, total disregard for the laws of God and the Church. The next big mistake is to recognize such moral decadence as "culture". Any attempt to suggest that this is "culture" should be loudly decried by all who have any regard for God and His laws, but especially by those who are the descendents of slaves but in no way have fallen into the moral degeneracy of the majority.

Sadly, our society has established an overburdening sense of guilt upon ourselves for having enslaved these poor people, when what we are most guilty for is not bringing these people to the knowledge and love of God and the true Church. Welfare, affirmative action, or imitation of the moral decadence of these people will not solve the problem, and is nothing more than a misguided effort forced upon us by Protestant-Talmudic ideas. God and the Church will have us treat all men fairly and to have respect for all vocations which He sends. Every man should be judged upon the talents that God has given him, and not be chosen for positions based upon some idea of repairing injury that was done to his ancestors.

At the beginning of this article, I mentioned that slavery is still with us today. I mentioned that in the broad sense of the definition every employed person is a slave. I wish briefly to call attention to the fact that there are terrible immoral practices occurring today that are worse than the tragedies which occurred within the system of Negro slavery here in the U.S prior to the Civil War.

Every day hundreds of ignorant, misinformed people are caught up in a system that is worse than slavery. Young women and children are daily being sold into the "sex trade". There was a shocking article in The New York Times (Jan. 16, 1998) which exposed the common trafficking of sex slaves from European countries into "Israel" (Talmudic occupied Palestine). There are many other similar articles telling of the "Asian market" which is also running in the U.S. These "markets" have become world wide and are well known to the criminal network (including many in the "government").

Likewise, we have a vast drug network which is enslaving the best of today's youth. This too is well known to the criminal (government) network.

Now I am forced to wonder, Where are the "Abolitionists" for today? It seems that today it is in the interest of the Satanists, Talmudists and Protestants, who are inspired by Satan, to maintain and encourage this sex/drug slavery. They are thus destroying the morality and social fabric which is necessary to maintain all society. Perhaps, when it suits their purpose, they will make Christians feel guilty for this too and cripple them further with more "reparations" and "affirmative actions".

It is time for Catholics and true patriots (Only Catholics can be true patriots! We will have to save that discusssion for another time.) to stand up for God and Country and work to put an end to this tearing of the moral fiber of our country. Let us not waste our time looking back at alleged history and feel sorry, but let us rise to the occasion and find out the truth. Let us see what the Church's position is in all these cases in history and try to understand why. Let us fight to defend God and the Church. Let us teach the laws of God and the Church in word and deed. To some it may be to write to their government officials, to others to protest, to others to pray and admonish their neighbors — whatever one's vocation, it is certain that God wants us to do something. Let us find out what that is and do it!

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