Tuesday, 15 January 2008

The truth about the Spanish laws against slavery: rebutting the atheist sceptics again

A recent correspondent thinks that all the Spanish rulers in Latin America were a parcel of rogues and trots out the usual Secular Fundamentalist claptrap, displaying the usual almost complete ignorance of history and not one shred of evidence to support her jaundiced hypothesis (bless 'er!).

Here's what she writes:

'Stepping out of the classifications of "Roman Catholic" and "protestant" and "freemasons" we can simply observe the phenomena from a human scale. All parties concerned exploited what seemed to be a good economic venture. Some parties tried to stop it but people will be people and humans tend to think more about themselves than other people. Protestant, Catholic, whatever, they all wanted the wealth of the New World and took it however they could, disregarding the inhumanity that brought it about. The Americas was peopled by Hidalgos and Conquistadors who were fresh from the Crusades and the Inquisition and wanted adventure. Besides the New World was peopled by pirates, buccaneers, criminals and other undesirables. No one could expect them to "behave" themselves and no one cared if they misbehaved because according to all of those groups enumerated, they were going to hell anyway, Amerindians and colonists alike. The MAJORITY felt that as long as they profited it would be fine. If all the people in the churches (this is plural, now) had felt so strongly about it they would have found a way to stop it. So, good intentions aside, all of these religious institutions oversaw the continuation of Amerindian exploitation and extinction and it didn't help that a few thought it was bad because most did not care.'

Here is how I replied to her:

'I'm sure you're a lovely lady. But...according to your world-view, seemingly, almost everyone is stinkingly corrupt, out for themselves, cares nothing for the rights of others, thinks more about themselves, that is just the way people are, whether Catholic or Protestant or Secular they are all out for one thing - themselves.

I do not share your cynical view of the world.

How does your cynical view accommodate the Jesuit saints who built the Reducciones for the native Indians like the Guarani?

How do you explain that a handful of Jesuits taught hundreds of Guarani how to build homes, town halls, magnificent churches, to play beautiful Baroque music, to make some of the best musical instruments in the world and so many other things?

Have you ever even heard the powerfully beautiful choral works that were written by Amerindian composers themselves - in the jungle, moreover! - having been taught the art of musical composition by the Jesuits in the 17th and 18th century?

Well? Have you?

St Peter Claver SJ, Apostle of the Slaves

How do people like St Peter Claver, who made himself the servant of the slaves, fit into your sad little view of the world?

What about St Martin de Porres, one of the most beautiful of the many amazing and wonderful black saints of the Catholic Church?

St Martin de Porres, the sainted Dominican lay brother

Were these people all pirates, buccaneers, criminals and undesirables?

Do you really believe that?

And, if not, then consider that the Church that inspired them to these great and heroic acts was none other than the Roman Catholic Church which you so much disdain to consider favourably.

Did this legion of friars, brothers, priests, nuns and sisters think that all those whom they gave their lives for were just going to Hell, were only good for exploitation, extinction and profit?

Did these sons and daughters of the Roman Catholic Church simply refuse to care?

No, of course not.

Why not?

Because they did not share your sad and cynical view of humanity and of the world. They saw the image of God in their fellow men and women and sought to serve them as they would serve God Himself.

They no longer thought chiefly of themselves but were ready to give themselves completely for others.

How quickly does this radical self-giving explode your sad little view of the world!

Do you see this? Do you see what it is that inspires these heroic saints? Can you comprehend it, my dear?

Let me tell you what it is.

It is what we Catholics call love.

I think you have been reading too much Philip Pullman and Dan Brown (you list them among your favourites) and have read too little of the actual laws passed by the Spanish Crown for the governance of the New World.

King Phillip II of Spain who maintained the laws against slaving in the face of opposition from godless Spanish anti-clericals and anti-monarchists in the New World

And you have obviously read even less of the lives of the saints!

The story of their lives is not some clever fairy tale dreamt up by a couple of cynical atheists, like Brown and Pullman.

The lives of the American saints are TRUE stories. They actually and really happened.

The evidence is there for you to read and discover - if you can bring yourself to do it.

BUT where is YOUR evidence?

I've given you evidence in the form of the actual laws that were promulgated by the Spanish Roman Catholic kings under the influence of the Spanish Roman Catholic Church.

It may suit your Secular Fundamentalist world outlook to believe that there is no difference between Catholics and other religions but history and fact are against you.

There were secularists in those days, too, however much you may wish to pretend otherwise.

And it is a matter of historical fact that the slavers were exactly the same people who became the anti-clericals and anti-monarchists who hated the Church and the Spanish crown.They hated Church and King because both outlawed the slave-trade by which the slavers were enriching themselves.

Read the facts and face the truth - if you dare.

Read and be amazed!'

But will she?

I wonder.

St Peter Claver and St Martin de Porres, pray for us!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

About time someone stands up to the myth surrounding Hispanic colonization!