Joseph McAuleyJuly 03, 2019
Charles Carroll of Carrollton (Bequest of Charles Allen Munn, 1924) (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Dear Mr. Charles Carroll:

As I only know you through the pages of history, I feel that I must address you rather formally on this, the 243rd anniversary of American independence from Great Britain. You are an interesting historical figure, given that you were the only Roman Catholic to sign the Declaration of Independence in the summer of 1776 and that you outlived all the other signers—by the time of your death at 95, you lived to see the new nation established. For this and other reasons, I wanted to write to you about that liberty you and the other founders fought to attain.

A few years back, I wrote a similar letter to King George III, but for some reason never received a response from His Majesty. I surmised that he could not be bothered writing to an obscure assistant editor from a “popish” periodical from the former colonies. But I am sure that you are well acquainted with Jesuit periodicals and, given your extensive Jesuit education, well versed in current events. Your cousin, John Carroll, was equally notable in that he was a Jesuit and had the distinction of being the first Catholic bishop in the United States, as well as being the founder of Georgetown University. In any event, when I wrote to the king, I wanted to explore how it all came about. I now propose to do the same with you.

You—like many in your time—believed slavery was “tolerable.”

You signed the Declaration of Independence as “Charles Carroll of Carrollton,” and that is how you are known to history. There are differing versions of how that happened: In one, after you initially signed, a fellow delegate sneered that there were many men in the colonies with the same name as yours and that the king could not possibly recognize you as the Carroll of the parchment. Thereupon, you walked back up to the table where the document lay and added: “of Carrollton.” In another version, a delegate seated near you, recognizing you as one of the colonies’ richest men and one of those who had the most to lose if found out as a revolutionary, remarked as you strode up to “Hancock” your name: “There goes another million.”

You were a firm believer in religious freedom and a zealous defender of the separation of church and state. But there is another aspect about you that is not so well known, one that has a great bearing on what we are as a country today and an even greater bearing on the kind of society we have become.

The White House and a Jesuit university, Georgetown, would be built by the blood, sweat and tears of black men, women and children.

You—like many in your time—believed slavery was “tolerable.” Your cousin, the bishop, thought so, too, and you both had slaves. At the time when our founding documents were being written, the founders did without a declarative statement against slavery, believing it would alienate Southerners and the American experiment would flounder before it ever began. Therein lies a tragedy.

Your colleague, John Adams, wrote in his diary that Independence Day should forever be commemorated as a “national festival,” with all kinds of celebrations; that we have done for two-plus centuries. But nations—like their citizens—evolve and mature. With that maturity comes reflection and examination, a not-always-pleasant exercise. Sometimes, history is airbrushed in order to present an idealistic picture, and we Americans have not been immune to that temptation.

To your credit, you tried later to have Maryland pass an anti-slavery bill, an effort that fell lamentably short. You and your cousin the bishop averred that the slaves should be kindly treated, yet your livelihood depended on those who were not considered your “equal.” You favored gradual abolition, but you did not free your slaves. In time, the White House and a Jesuit university, Georgetown, would be built by the blood, sweat and tears of black men, women and children. It would take a Civil War to reduce the fever of slavery, and it would take another century for black Americans to secure basic human rights.

Battles are still being fought against injustice, discrimination and disenfranchisement—even though the United States elected an African-American president not that long ago. It seems we have never been able to eliminate that fever.

Our 33rd president, Harry S. Truman—no stranger to racial divides and attitudes—ruminated about our founding fathers and this conundrum. He once speculated that the reason for Thomas Jefferson’s famous migraine headaches was that Jefferson could never reconcile the conflict between his heart and his mind over this subject, knowing that slavery was incompatible with the American ideal. (This is included in Samuel Gallu’s one-man play “Give ’Em Hell, Harry!” You can see James Whitmore perform this section about 20 minutes into this video on YouTube.) Yet we are still dealing with this in the 21st century.

For the founders, the toleration of slavery was a failure of the greatest magnitude. The talk now is of reparations. How can that be accomplished? Students at present-day Georgetown University have suggested a slight tuition increase to reimburse the descendants of slaves sold by the Jesuits of Georgetown in 1838 to ensure the financial stability of the university. But reparations must mean more than financial remuneration. It must also mean penance and a willingness to admit to the truth before fellow children of God.

Mr. Carroll, you and the founders dared greatly when you declared for independence, yet that independence has not been completely realized. You must know by now that those who built your society have been toiling ever since for an American dream to be owned by us all. The striving to be better is ever being done, but it requires constant vigilance. It is the work of all of us—all Americans.

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JR Cosgrove
1 year 10 months ago

Nearly every signer of the Declaration of Independence and supporter of the constitution thought slavery was not acceptable but in order to get the nation started, agreed to it. Slavery has been common in the world till that time. Then it began to change in a lot of the world. After the Civil War Black Americans progressed positively till the 1960's when programs were introduced to help them even more but had the effect of destroying the black family structure and stop their positive development. Most of today's problems in the Black community stem from policies of the 1960's not slavery.

A Fielder
1 year 10 months ago

J Cosgrove, do you know anything about the Jim Crow south? Racism in this country is so much older than 50 years. Your only comment on this article whitewashes slavery and reduces it to "being common." What I read here is that respectable Catholics with questionable morals and ethics have polluted the ranks of civil society for many years. I wish this were only in our history. Sadly, little has changed.

JR Cosgrove
1 year 10 months ago

I am certainly not whitewashing slavery but it was common for all of history. However, neither slavery nor the Jim Crow laws had a lasting effect on Black Americans. Blacks were making steady progress till the 1960’s. But what was devastating to blacks was political policy. The War on Poverty/Great Society stopped all progress Blacks were making and created a dysfunctional family structure in the Black community. I suggest you should read more. Some good authors on this are Thomas Sowell and Jason Riley.

JR Cosgrove
1 year 10 months ago

The other major factor affecting the Black community was the change in the immigration laws in 1965. Within a few years millions of low skilled workers were entering the country and competing with Blacks for jobs.

JR Cosgrove
1 year 10 months ago

Orlando Patterson, a black sociologist at Harvard, said about 20 years ago concerning the United States

America, while still flawed in its race relations ... is now the least racist white- majority society in the world; has a better record of legal protection of minorities than any other society, white or black; offers more opportunities to a greater number of black persons than any other society, including all those of Africa

John Mack
1 year 10 months ago

Yours is such a vicious revisionist history. yes, welfare programs and public housing in many states forced the husbands to move out. This was the cruelest and stupidest of policies but it was due to extremely conservative thinking that did not want "the undeserving" to benefit and start on the road to prosperity. But you leave out the re-slavery of Afro-American people through the leasing of prisoners by plantation owners and other business owners often expressed delight that they got the dirt cheap forced labor of imprisoned Afro-Americans (often imprisoned without being guilty of a crime. or given long sentences for minor offenses in order to fill the demand for leased forced labor). The leasers boasted that this system was even better than slavery because the expenses of keeping the leased forced laborers was borne by the state and not by them. This system of leased prisoners was introduced after the KKK got whites back in power through terrorizing Afro-American families. You also omit the mass slaughter of certain Afro-American communities and the widespread after-church lynching/burning parties/picnics (with children attending) of "uppity" Afro-Americans, these parties extending well into the 1930's, with postcards showing the hanged and burnt Afro-American sent to relatives elsewhere. Prison breaks up families and continues to do so by the mass imprisonment today of huge numbers of Afro-American people, often imprisoned with long sentences for minor offenses (such as possessing a small amount of marijuana). And you leave out the federal government's toleration of Jim Crow,. As a white kid who played gang football (membership in the gang not required) in the Harlem League I and my friends often went over to Harlem to play. And yes, the families there were not much different from our working class whitevfamilies. But the CIA-induced crack epidemic out a stop to the normalcy of family life for so many in Harlem. later when we lived in a neighborhood taht was about 25% Afro-American homeowners (with Irish and Jews preferring to rent) welfare officials destroyed the peaceful and stable integration of that neighborhood by offering jacked up rent for welfare families it turnend out later that a top welfare official was buying up the apartment buildings that got those jacked up rents. The history of the Afro-American family is a complex one but by no means was there wonderful progress post Civil War and up to the 60's. And US institution were structured to oppress Afro-American families and this is still true today.

Rudolph Koser
1 year 10 months ago

Mr Cosgrove let’s everyone know how ignorant of history and facts he is. He just likes to stir the pot with diatribes and ignorance. If I was that lacking I would keep my thoughts to myself so I wouldn’t be embarrassed. But then if you don’t realize that you’re lacking, you don’t know how not to embarrass yourself or get educated on issues. Really sad. I feel bad for people like this.

Michaelangelo Allocca
1 year 10 months ago

Exactly. How can anybody write "After the Civil War Black Americans progressed positively till the 1960's," and NOT expect many readers to ask, "exactly WHAT country are you talking about?!?"

JR Cosgrove
1 year 10 months ago

Black Americans progressed positively till the 1960's,

Because that is exactly what happened. I am not saying they were the same as the white population. They were substantially less but their economic progress was getting better through the years. Until the 1960's. So for a hundred years there was progress.

JR Cosgrove
1 year 10 months ago

ignorant of history and facts

Except I have history and facts on my side. Read Moynihan, Thomas Sowell, Jason Riley, Charles Murray. Follow the illegitimacy rate amongst Blacks through the years. Follow the poverty rates. Why did they change in the late 1960’s?

JR Cosgrove
1 year 10 months ago

The policies that led to dysfunction in the Black community started with the New Deal Aid to Dependent Children. At that time single parent black households was about the same as for whites. After this the rate increased till about 20-25% for blacks in the mid1960's. The Great Society programs then increased it to over 70% amongst blacks (about 85% in households under the poverty line.) These are the result of Democratic Party policies not denounced by any Democrats. That is incredibly cynical racism.

JR Cosgrove
1 year 10 months ago

Some suggested reading: Moynihan Report; Losing Ground by Charles Murray; The Dream and the Nightmare by Myron Magnet; Discrimination and Disparities by Thomas Sowell; False Black Power by Jason Riley;
Two interviews of Thomas Sowell by Uncommon knowledge: https://hvr.co/2MB1SRl and https://hvr.co/2ugDAAk
Interview of Jason Riley by Uncommon knowledge: https://hvr.co/2VMhWmF
A Washington Post article on the Moynihan Report https://wapo.st/2WtKrH9

JR Cosgrove
1 year 10 months ago

If we wanted to be serious about evidence, we might compare where blacks stood a hundred years after the end of slavery with where they stood after 30 years of the liberal welfare state. In other words, we could compare hard evidence on "the legacy of slavery" with hard evidence on the legacy of liberals.

A quote from Thomas Sowell that is appropriate. He has the data.

JR Cosgrove
1 year 10 months ago

Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said there were "phrases that serve as an excuse for not thinking." One of these phrases that substitute for thought today is one that depicts the current problems of blacks in America as "a legacy of slavery."

A quote from Thomas Sowell that is appropriate

JR Cosgrove
1 year 10 months ago

in ghetto neighborhoods throughout the first half of the twentieth century, rates of inner-city joblessness, teenage pregnancy, out-of-wedlock births, female-headed families, welfare dependency and serious crime were significantly lower than in later years and did not reach catastrophic proportions until the mid-1970s.

William Julius Wilson - Cycles of Deprivation and the Underclass Debate 1985

JR Cosgrove
1 year 10 months ago

How can centuries-old oppression be to blame for problems that became severe only recently?...Did the “legacy of slavery” and Jim Crow skip over a couple of generations and then reassert itself in the mid-1970s? Or is it possible that something else is primarily responsible for the outcomes we see today?

Jason Riley - Wall Street Journal

Rudolph Koser
1 year 10 months ago

Mr Cosgrove let’s everyone know how ignorant of history and facts he is. He just likes to stir the pot with diatribes and ignorance. If I was that lacking I would keep my thoughts to myself so I wouldn’t be embarrassed. But then if you don’t realize that you’re lacking, you don’t know how not to embarrass yourself or get educated on issues. Really sad. I feel bad for people like this.

JR Cosgrove
1 year 10 months ago

I feel bad for people like this

Is that true? Then why the constant denigration of another? You could simply ask for the information I base my conclusions on. I have presented a little of it above. But several personal attacks? That is not feeling bad for someone.

Judith Jordan
1 year 10 months ago

J Cosgrove---
I have asked you for your sources on numerous occasions. You never present them.

JR Cosgrove
1 year 10 months ago

It’s just the opposite of what you say. I always present them and document them. You just never read them. I have presented several sources here and then you claim I don’t present sources. Then below say you do not like my sources even though you have never read them. You just deny the obvious. I have to thank you for always being completely wrong. Maybe you should embrace the CRAPP test. In case readers don’t know what the CRAPP test is search for it.

Alan Johnstone
1 year 10 months ago

On the contrary, you are the relatively ignorant and uninformed person and your contemptuous dismissal of his attempt to set you right is a classic example of your insult to him.

Judith Jordan
1 year 10 months ago

J. Cosgrove---

There were 56 singers of the Declaration of Independence and 41 of them had owned slaves. This hardly shows rejection of slavery. You should review your sources for credibility.

Your comment “…neither slavery nor the Jim Crow laws had a lasting effect on Black Americans. Blacks were making steady progress till the 1960’s.” These comments are stunning and breath taking, making it almost impossible to believe that you actually wrote it. Please state what was the “steady progress” made by blacks.

John Mark correctly pointed out that it was the conservatives who insisted that the husband leave the family home in order to receive government assistance. Further, black families were broken up by slave holders who did not even legally permit marriage for blacks. They divided and sold off black families, and the slave owner and his guests commonly used black slave women for sex…which was rape since there was no possible consent for a slave.

As Mack also pointed out there are post cards showing lynchings and burnings of black people especially during the 1880s and the 1930s. White killers, and children who were present, were so confident about not being arrested that they laughed and posed for these pictures with the murdered black man. Then they mailed the cards to family and friends like it was some festive occasion.

Studies show that when blacks and whites are arrested for the same type of crimes with the same records, the blacks frequently receive a longer sentence than the whites. Also, blacks tend to receive longer sentences if the victim is white.

It is true that slavery existed for centuries…which does not morally justify it. However, through most of its history, slavery was not based on race. Abortion has existed forever, but I can’t imagine anti-choice people being so indifferent about it that they use it as explanation why it exists.

Your sources are erroneous or inadequate. You cited them so it surprising that you are not fully aware of them.

THE MOYNIHAN REPORT. I liked Senator Patrick Daniel Moynihan, but his report was highly controversial when it was published and it still is. Moynihan was criticized for focusing on the black family rather than the on ongoing systemic racism. He was accused of “blaming the victim,” a term coined by William Ryan who “described victim blaming as an ideology used to justify racism and social injustice against black people in the United States.” Ryan was a psychologist who had worked at both the Yale School of Medicine and Harvard School of Medicine. Unfortunately, many have used this study to enforce racist stereotypes about loose family values among blacks.

It should also be noted, that Moynihan stressed the debilitating legacy of American slavery, asserting that it was “indescribably worse” than any form of bondage in the history of the world.

THOMAS SOWELL has pointed out some valid ideas. However, he misses on many other points. He is now the go-to black academic for conservatives. Out of all of academia, they found a black man who agrees with their views. Why can’t they find more? Sowell even rejects the views of his mentor, the conservative economist, Milton Friedman.

JASON RILEY has many stories that are compelling. However, his views against liberal advocates and government programs are overly generalized. Not all government programs are equal in their affects. In fact, the charter school he praises in D.C. was basically put together by several liberals.

CHARLES MURRAY is a shocking source to use given his reputation. It is difficult to believe that anyone who quotes Murray is serious about racial issues. Murray’s study of racial differences in IQ appeals to the lowest common denominator of racism. Murray never explained why he “studied” any differences in IQ, thereby leaving the racist conclusion that race is an indicator about a person’s capabilities.

OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES. I admire Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, but he was not omniscience. To my knowledge, there were no comprehensive studies available at that time for him to rely upon. He was merely giving a personal opinion, which happen to be wrong.

The Great Society had some problems due to the rise of the Vietnam War and uncontrollable economic factors that arose. But it did have an impact on poverty. The poverty rate fell by 26% between 1960 and 2010, with two-thirds of the decline occurring before 1980. There was a rise of blacks into the middle class due to government programs which is conveniently ignore.

JR Cosgrove
1 year 10 months ago

You just refuse to accept the obvious and make one irrelevant argument after the other. You also denigrate anything/anybody you don’t like. Try Abraham Lincoln. I’m repeating his arguments but I guess he is not credible for you. I’m sure you’ll denigrate him too. I suggest you find how how many of the slave owners voted against slavery when they had a chance. For example the NW ordinance.

Alan Johnstone
1 year 10 months ago

A Fielder, and others.

Is there any era of history, is there any grouping of human people, is there any family, tribe, culture or nation wherein the bulk of the members did not prefer one another and have a general fear, hatred or disgust at the alien other?

This article is humbug virtue signalling to me, the scripture puts it another way.
"The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector."
Luke 18:11 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Michaelangelo Allocca
1 year 10 months ago

Speaking of signaling: experience shows that whenever any of the phrases "social justice warrior," "political correctness," or [especially, perhaps] "virtue signalling" appear, the writer/speaker is a knee-jerk right-wing bigot who is horrified when his racism or any of his other prejudices are challenged, or even mentioned. Thanks for telling us who you are.

Alan Johnstone
1 year 10 months ago

21 Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
Matthew 15:21-28 NRSVCE
Write a commentary on this without reference to Jesus distinguishing between this Caananite woman and the Israelites, solely a difference of race.

Then tell me how Jesus could do this, remain sinless as well as maintain that what is being talked about is a sin of racism should it be attributable to anybody else.

Judith Jordan
1 year 10 months ago

Alan Johnstone---

I may be true that people have always feared “the other,” but we are human beings with a soul and a brain. We should evolve so that this kind of thing is unacceptable. Otherwise, what are we?

Adeolu Ademoyo
1 year 10 months ago

It is legitimate to have disagreements and differences of opinions and world views. It is a constitutional right to hold different views and opine them. So regardless of everything we have said or known about the evils of slavery and racism-both obvious and structural racism, the fundamental question is whether we can reconcile evils such as slavery and racism with being a Christian and with being a Catholic or with being a Protestant or an Evangelical. Some believe that one can reconcile slavery and racism and being a racist on one hand with being a Christian, Catholic or Protestant/Evangelical on the other hand. Some believe that one cannot reconcile the two i.e one cannot reconcile slavery and racism on one hand with Christianity on the other hand. I belong to the latter group. Here I am using Christianity to cover all Christian denominations

In deference to public ethics of full public disclosure, my family and I are proud Catholics. In the city, we live in New York, we practice our faith with a dogged and prayerful commitment to God, His Church, and His people. We do this with deep spirituality and a sense of quiet mission as witnesses of God's promise to us, God's works in our lives and God's grace, love, mercies in our lives and His everlasting Hope for us. We-our children, mom and myself -my family- carry and wear our Catholicism quietly but passionately as a form of public witnesses to God with elegance and proper pride for we are joyful servants of God in our parish, and in the public sphere. However, I belong to the latter group (in my first paragraph) for I believe that one cannot reconcile the two - evils such as slavery, racism, and being a racist, on one hand, and Christianity and being a Christian on the other hand. My premise for this claim is the nature of God, and the Christian faith He gave us. I believe that a genuine Christian, Catholic or Protestant/Evangelical cannot be a racist and a racist and believer in slavery cannot be a genuine Christian, Catholic or Protestant/Evangelical. One must abandon one for the other.

Human acts and evils such as slavery, racism, genocide, pogrom are ontological violations of the very Being of God and those He created in His image and therefore slavery, racism, genocide, pogrom are ontological violations of, ontological assault, and ontological aggression against the very nature of Christianity. They are evils, hence they are ontological violations of the Being of God and ontological assault and aggression against the nature of Christianity. Therefore one cannot have it both ways, though one is free (based on inane, mere mechanical and formal freedom to choose) to be a racist and a supporter of slavery if one wants to, but one cannot reconcile this position (evils such as slavery, genocide, pogrom, racism, being a racist, being a denier of genocide) with God, His Being and the faith (i.e Christianity) which He-God-handed to us through His Son-Christ. One cannot moderate one, qualify it (i.e. evils such as genocide, pogrom, slavery, racism, both obvious racism, and structural racism, being racist, being a denier of genocide), and appear "nice" in order to be able to uphold the other (i.e. Christianity). One cannot have it both ways. One has to abandon one for the other. One has to abandon one in order to be able to uphold the other. One cannot hold the two simultaneously.

However, one can hedge, qualify things, quibble, be casuistic, dance around it as many do in the polity today on this but despite this dance, the fundamental question remains as I state it in my opening and everything rests and falls on it.

Hanz P.
1 year 10 months ago

As Lincoln understood, the Declaration of Independence was never a personal statement of the 'founding fathers' or man's law, but an expression of timeless and immutable Natural Laws inherent in creation. Conflating the two destroys the entire structure of inalienable rights as a higher perfected principle of the Creator, that which we humans are bound to strive for as an elusive measure of absolute Goodness--not unlike Plato's Form of Good, part of its philosophical lineage.

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. "
—Abraham Lincoln, the Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863

Timothy Kunz
1 year 10 months ago

Slavery has a long history. The Greek word doulos is used 120 times in the NT. Sometimes it is translated servant, slave or bond man or woman but it is used without comment or critique. Before there were free workers there were slaves who were part of the households for whom they served.
Christian slavery then was a form of ancient employment of persons who did not own land or had no trade, in short, much of humankind. We should not be surprised that it continued. We must be appalled, however, that when recognized for what slavery actually is, we continue the practice it even into today in the US—the worst practitioner among the developed countries.
The one thing that a slave had going for him or her is that the owner had a stake in his and her wellbeing. I am not suggesting that this was the norm, or that there was anything admirable in slavery but wise owners of working animals saw that their investments were fed and groomed so as to keep them producing for as long as possible. That is not the case in wage-slavery. Wage slaves are as valuable as is the cost of replacing them. White, but especially black persons, have been exploited as wage-slaves and both are still so exploited today. We seem to be as blind to this human exploitation in the 21st Century as were our forebears to actual slavery in the 16th and 17th.
Economies are the source of all personal wealth and, as Adam Smith recognized, are created and sustained by human labor. As long as 1% of the population can retain as personal income a huge proportion of the wealth created by the 99%, we are certain to have wage slavery and an immoral distribution of wealth. Tennessee Williams sang “16 Tons” as a poetic expression of just how bad it can be for persons who work as wage-slaves.

John Mack
1 year 10 months ago

Not mentioned is the exceptional cruelty involved in how the Jesuits sold their slaves. First, they raised the slaves in strict Catholicism, including inculcating the indissoluble bonds of Holy Matrimony and the sacredness of the family. Then, when they sold the slaves, they sold women and children in markets that were separated from the markets where they sold the men and male youth. Forever separating spouses and destroying families. Why? They sold the slaves at the widely separated markets where they could get the highest prices, with those markets generally selling to the cruelest masters.

Stephen Shore
1 year 10 months ago

Look, this article is typical of white liberal self flagellation - if you feel so guilty because of what your forefathers did 200 years ago, that is your right. But don't expect every white Catholic male to feel your same pangs of guilt.

Society of 200 years ago was wrong on slavery in America. Period. It was terrible and a great injustice. But as time when on, white men evolved. 500,000 white men died over slavery. In the end, the Civil War did what legislatures and courts could not - it ended a horrific "institution" (also proving that some wars are justifiable).

The Founding Fathers were far from perfect, but in some sense they were amazing for putting together a form of government that in most respects is still together as they envisioned and designed it. Yes, it required and requires periodic "adjustment", but that is part of their genius - they put the means for that "adjustment" in their design of three co-equal branches of federal government. Give them their due - would you rather live in any other country?

Talk about "reparations" needs to stop. Not every African American is a descendant of slaves. Many white men died to end slavery. It is over.

In my humble opinion the group that has a greater argument for "reparations" is the American Indian. Now THAT is an argument that would be hard to defend against!

Neal HEBERT
1 year 10 months ago

I believe you meant to write "founder" not "flounder." Am I correct?
Neal Hébert

arthur mccaffrey
1 year 10 months ago

revisonist history always wants to judge the past by today's norms. Critics think nothing of claiming that our sex and gender are culturally determined, but get all tied up in knots when confronted by a cultural phenomenon like slavery. Let me propose another case of cultural conditioning from 2000 years ago--Jesus choosing only men as his apostles, because he was born into a patriarchal society. He adapted to local conditions in order to get his message across. If he had chosen 12 women to be his apostles no one would have given him the time of day, they would just have dismissed him as an eccentric. Are you going to write a retrospective letter to Jesus complaining about his sexism?

Scott Cooper
1 year 10 months ago

Mr. McCaffrey, thank you for speaking to the real problem with this piece—it’s a waste of print space, electronic or otherwise. And I’m sure we’ll see that open letter to Jesus on his sexism or his bigotry sometime very soon from America.
But I also thank America for continually giving me idiotic pieces like this one to rail against since it allows me to not waste my time ranting against similar inanities on Facebook.

THOMAS E BRANDLIN, MNA
1 year 10 months ago

Oh, for pete's sake! More revisionist history trying to force our present day understanding onto people who have been dead 200 years. This is the same arrogance as trying to say that St. Thomas Aquinas should have understood theology the way Pope Benedict XVI does.

Heart Sticker
1 year 10 months ago

Famous for the green Heart in Oregon sticker. Also, Heart in America, Heart in your home state, Bigfoot, Yeti & Heart Sticker designs. T-shirts, hats, mugs, pint; wine glasses, patches and more. Based in Portland, Oregon, featuring founder Chris Bucci designs, including Texas, Washington, California, Colorado, USA. Visit here: https://www.heartsticker.com/

Roland Greystoke
1 year 10 months ago

Monday Morning quarterbacks always win the game. You also have the "If I were alive back then, I'd do something about it" folks who, if they were alive back then, would be going along with the times. It's done. You can't change it. You can do something about today's slavery: https://www.antislavery.org/slavery-today/ So get on it.

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Republicans have booted Liz Cheney for resisting the lie that the 2020 election was stolen. This move could boomerang on those who champion the truths of tradition and faith.
Stephen Chow, S.J. (photo courtesy the Chinese Province of the Society of Jesus) 
The diocese has been without a bishop since Jan. 3, 2019, when Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung died after leading the diocese for just 17 months.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 17, 2021
Pope Francis brought consolation and hope to Catholics and countless people of other religions in Myanmar when he celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica this Sunday morning for peace in their troubled homeland, which was robbed of democracy by a military coup on Feb. 1.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 16, 2021
Pope Francis today expressed his “very great concern” at the armed clashes in Gaza and Israel and made an urgent, passionate appeal “to those with the responsibility” to bring a ceasefire and “to walk the path of peace.”
Gerard O’ConnellMay 16, 2021