Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

Catholics: Pope Nicholas V authorized perpetual slavery in "Dum Diversas". What scripture did he rely upon?

From Wikipedia: "Dum Diversas is a papal bull issued on 18 June 1452 by Pope Nicholas V. It authorised Alfonso V of Portugal to reduce any "Saracens (Muslims) and pagans and any other unbelievers" to perpetual slavery. This facilitated the Portuguese slave trade from West Africa."

Do you know what scripture he used to make this decision?

When was this papal bull reversed, by whom, and by what scriptural authority?

Has a pope ever apologized on behalf of the Church for authorizing slavery, as John Paul II apologized to the Jews for Catholic persecution?

Why is this not a contradiction of papal infallibility?

(and lest anyone think I'm out to bash Catolics, there were many churches that sanctioned slavery, such as the Southern Baptists who broke away from the Baptists specifically to recognize the scriptural basis for slavery...I'll get to you presently).

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The Bible does not condemn slavery. Colossians 3:22 even states, "Slaves, obey your human masters in everything."

    This was much debated before and during the US Civil War.

    The condemnation of slavery is one of those non-biblical doctrines that Catholics have developed through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit over the centuries.

    Only ten years after the document you referenced, the following happened:

    + In 1462, Pius II declared slavery to be "a great crime" (magnum scelus)

    + In 1537, Paul III forbade the enslavement of the Indians

    + Urban VIII forbade it in 1639

    + Benedict XIV forbade it in 1741

    + Pius VII demanded of the Congress of Vienna, in 1815, the suppression of the slave trade

    + Gregory XVI condemned it in 1839

    + In the Bull of Canonization of the Jesuit Peter Claver, one of the most illustrious adversaries of slavery, Pius IX branded the "supreme villainy" (summum nefas) of the slave traders.

    + Leo XIII, in 1888, addressed a letter to the Brazilian bishops, exhorting them to banish from their country the remnants of slavery -- a letter to which the bishops responded with their most energetic efforts, and some generous slave-owners by freeing their slaves in a body, as in the first ages of the Church.

    This is not an issue of papal infallibility because the Pope Nicholas V was not declaring doctrine.

    With love in Christ.

  • Jane
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    I'm not Catholic, but the idea that we can't rely on sola scriptura does make sense. After all, the NT wasn't written until at least 30 years after Jesus was crucified and resurrected, so what did the Christians who lived and died before it was written do? Weren't they taught directly by the apostles themselves? And what about the apostles who never wrote any of the NT? Didn't they have their own disciples, who went on to teach others? If that's the case, then aren't their teachings every bit as important and illuminating as the Bible is? After all, it was considerably further down the line of succession before the NT was even canonized. So what did the Christians do before the Synod of Hippo and the Councils of Carthage decided and upheld what we now consider Scripture? Can we trust these men? How do we know? Only writings outside the Bible, from early Christians, can tell us. If we rely on Scripture alone, then we can't know whether or not they were right, because the Bible says nothing about them, and there is no list in any of the books of the writings that should be considered Scripture. Not every book in the Bible is quoted in another, and there are some that were quoted that aren't considered canonical. I hope this makes sense. I'm rather tired today.

  • 3 years ago

    Papal Bull Dum Diversas

  • Lives7
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Slavery is not and never was a part of Sacred Tradition. You are mixing small "t" traditions (forms of piety, actions or prayers) with the larger Sacred Tradition established by Jesus Christ Himself.

    Infallibility is the process to affirm on matters of faith and morals what Christ specifically taught. After much discussion, debate, and research the Pope simply declares what Jesus taught. It is why Saint Paul upon his conversion to Christ went first to Peter for instruction. Peter's ministry is unique among the appointed Apostles.

    Many hate what they perceive of the Roman Catholic Faith, not the Truth of Roman Catholicism.

    Investigate your Fears.

    Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever.

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  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    I approach the Bible and all religious cults with the same objectivity. I'm neither for or against nor do I have reverence for either. However, I do find it odd that those of us stilled marked by the remnants of slavery and its sponsorships could be a willing participant in any religious body, today.

  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    The catholics are hilarious. They keep telling me that the papal bulls whilst being controversial were also in a sense justified because they also permitted the enslavment of whites aswell as blacks.

    But when i ask them what white countries the papal bulls refer to they can never tell me.

    I have always insisted that it encouraged, permitted and justified the enslavement of the so called coloured peoples of the planet.

    Black catholics are the funniest because they keep telling me that their ancestors kept misbehaving so they deserved enslavement.

  • Buzz s
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    As you may be aware, Catholics hold 3 things on equal footing as scripture. The Bible is one, the majesterium and tradition are the others. Much of the appeals for things not found in the Bible go to the other 2. It is hard to argue with the logic found in them. (I don't have it in print, but I am going to make it up!)

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