Papal Condemnation of Slave Trade
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Pope Gregory XVI
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Pope Gregory’s papal bull entitled In supremo apostolatus denounced the slave trade, particularly in the New World. In the letter, the pope asked for believers to turn away from "the inhuman slave trade" of blacks and Indians, citing that slave practices are "absolutely unworthy of the Christian name."

Despite this explicit condemnation, American Catholics did not end slavery. Bishop John England of Charleston in letters to President Van Buren’s Secretary of State interpreted the papal bull as a condemnation of slave trading but not necessarily owning slaves. Likewise, Archbishop Francis Kenrick of Baltimore was accused of equivocation and upholding the "status quo" of American slavery. Ultimately, Catholics continued to debate the issue of slavery up until the Civil War.
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Race/Ethnicity and Religion in American History
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Religious Groups
Catholicism (Western Liturgical Family): Other ARDA Links

England, John

Pope Gregory XVI portrait- Internet Archive- from Lettres Apostoliques de Pie IX, Gregoire XVI, Pie VII

Slave traders- Internet Archive- from The Life and Labors of David Livingstone by J. E. Chambliss

Slave auction- Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-2582
Book/Journal Source(s)
Glazier, Michael, and Thomas Shelley, 1997. The Encyclopedia of American Catholic History. Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press..
Ahlstrom, Sydney, 2004. A Religious History of the American People. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Panzer, Joel, 1996. The Popes and Slavery. Alba House.
Web Source(s)
Pope Gregory XVI's In Supremo Apostolatus
Web Page Contributor
Benjamin T. Gurrentz
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in Sociology

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