In an April 21, 2005, column in the Los Angeles Times, entitled "A Catholic Call For Dissent," Catholic gadfly Charles Curran bemoans the appointment of the conservative Cardinal Ratzinger as the next Pope (Benedict XVI). In doing so, Curran tries to besmirch the Church by claiming that "for over 1800 years the popes and the church did not condemn slavery."
The truth? Campaigns against slavery within the Church date back as early as the seventh century. In addition, Pope Eugene IV, in 1435, and Pope Paul III, in 1537, both roundly condemned slavery in official documents. Both popes threatened excommunication for those engaged in the slave trade. The Holy Office also asserted that slaveholders should emancipate and compensate blacks who were unjustly enslaved. An outstanding overview of the Church's history of its condemnation of slavery can be found in the article "The Truth About the Catholic Church and Slavery," by Rodney Stark, here at christianitytoday.com.
Curran laments that he was fired as a theologian from Catholic University back in 1986. Maybe it was because he can't get his facts right!