Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Catholic Climate Eradicated Slavery

Servus Aethiopum
baptised 350,000 souls

At the beginning of the Dark Ages the great pagan cosmopolitan society now grown Christian was as much a slave state as old South Carolina. By the fourteenth century it was almost as much a state of peasant proprietors as modern France. No laws had been passed against slavery ; no dogmas even had condemned it by definition ; no war had been waged against it, no new race or ruling caste had repudiated it ; but it was gone. This startling and silent transformation is perhaps the best measure of the pressure of popular life in the Middle Ages, of how fast it was making new things in its spiritual factory. Like every-thing else in the medieval revolution, from its cathedrals to its ballads, it was as anonymous as it was enormous. It is admitted that the conscious and active emancipators everywhere were the parish priests and the religious brotherhoods ; but no name among them has survived and no man of them has reaped his reward in this world. Countless Clarksons and innumerable Wilber-forces, without political machinery or public fame, worked at death-beds and confessionals in all the villages of Europe ; and the vast system of slavery vanished...The Catholic type of Christianity was not merely an element, it was a climate ; and in that climate the slave would not grow.

G.K. Chesterton, A Short History of England, 108, quoted in part in A Saint in the Slave Trade: Peter Claver, SJ (1581-1654), Arnold Lunn, London: The Catholic Book Club, 1947, 56-57.

P.S. "Father [Claver's]'s work was...the instruction, the conversion and the care of the Negroes..." A Saint in the Slave Trade, 92.

P.S.S. Would that abortion and homosexualism should be eradicated the same way, by the tireless work of holy parish priests!

"A religious who would advance in virtue must study to know himself: knowing himself, he will despise himself; but not knowing himself, he becomes proud. He must speak little with men, and much with God. When he speaks, let him always speak well of others, and as far as possible, ill of himself. He ought, like Melchisedech, to be without father, mother, or relatives; because he must look upon them as not belonging to him: God alone must hold the place of all to him. Let him not regard matters of curiosity, or hearken to useless news, which only cause distractions." A Saint in the Slave Trade, 38 (A quote from Saint Alonso Rodriguez).

Cf. Aethiopum Servus
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...