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Did Catholic Church Ever Teach any Curse of Cham?

1) Did Catholic Church Ever Teach any Curse of Cham? · 2) Cardinal Lavigerie Fought Slavery · 3) Why Curse of Ham Became Negroes among Muslims

Peter Roman [I am currently adhering to his non-Feeneyite rival Pope Michael] miscited one word, replacing "Central Africa" with "Central Asia" in his translation, I cite it after him.

Prayer to Implore the Conversion of the Descendants of Cham in Central Africa

Oremus et pro miseririmis Africae Centralis populis Aethiopum, ut Deus omnipotens tandem aliquando auferat maledictionem Chami a cordibus eorum, detque illis benedictionem, unice in Jesu Christo, Det et Domino nostro consequendam.

Let us pray for the most wretched Ethiopians in Central Africa, that Almighty God may at length move THE CURSE OF CHAM from their hearts, and grant them the blessing to be found only in Jesus Christ, our God and Lord.


Domine Jesu Christi, unicus salvator universi generis humani, qui jam dominaris a mari usque ad mare, et a flumine usque ad terminos orbis terrarum: aperi propitius sacratissimum cor tuum etian mesierrimis Africae interioris animabus, quae adhuc in tenebris et umbra mortis sedent; ut intercedente piissima virgine Maria matre tua immaculata, ejusque sponso gloriosissimo beato Joseph, relictis idolis, coram te procidant Aethiopes, et Ecclesiae tuae sanctae aggregentus. Qui visi [=qui vivis], etc.

Lord Jesus Christ, the only Saviour of the entire human race, who ready rulest from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the each, open propitiously thy most sacred heart also to the most wretched souls of Central Asia [=Africa], who are still seated in the darkness and the shadow of death, that, through the intercession of the most pious Virgin Mary, thy immaculate mother, and of her most glorious spouse, S. Joseph, the Ethiopians, having abandoned their idols, may prostrate themselves before thee, and be joined to thy holy Church. Who livest, etc.

Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be to the Father.

His Holiness, Pius IX., by a decree of the S. Cong. of Rites, Oct. 2, 1873, granted to all the faithful, every time that, with at least contrite heart and devotion, they shall say these prayers, with the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory be to the Father:
An indulgence of three hundred days.
A plenary indulgence, once a month, to all who, having said them with the above dispositions, at least once a day, for a month, shall, on any day, being truly penitent, after confession and communion, visit a church or public oratory, and pray there, for some time, for the intention of his Holiness.

The Raccolta: Or, Collection of Prayers and Good Works, to which sovereign pontiffs have attached holy indulgences. Published by order of His Holiness, Pope Pius IX. Maryland: Woodstock College, 1878, pp. 413-415.

Applied to Central Africa, the expression "curse of Cham" is probably an euphemism for "curse of Nimrod", that is, the curse of slave hunting (along with Paganism).

Obviously, like the curse of "may his blood come upon our heads" this is not a curse which makes each and every member of an ethnic or slightly biological race cursed, it is a curse from which anyone can free himself by conversion and by leading a better life.

In the case of 1873 slave hunters in Central Africa, by becoming Christians and hunting slaves no more.

It very much does NOT mean European Catholics should hunt slaves in Central Africa - especially not in 1873, a few decades after King Charles X (a Rex Christianissimus) had taken Algiers and hanged pirates precisely for hunting slaves./HGL

Faking History:

From where, then, did the black race come? From Ham’s other sons, Cush and probably also Put, whose descendants settled in Africa. But, as we have seen, the Bible says absolutely nothing about the black descendants of these men being cursed! Yet it was incorrectly assumed that they were. When did church commentators begin applying the curse to Ham?

A churchman of about 1,500 years ago, Ambrosiaster, applied it thus, saying: “Due to folly Ham, who foolishly ridiculed the nakedness of his father, was declared a slave.” And John F. Maxwell observes in his recent book Slavery and the Catholic Church: “This disastrous example of fundamentalist exegesis [explanation] continued to be used for 1,400 years and led to the widely held view that African Negroes were cursed by God.”

Even up to a hundred years ago the Catholic Church held the view that blacks were cursed by God. Maxwell explains that this view “apparently survived until 1873 when Pope Pius IX attached an indulgence to a prayer for the ‘wretched Ethiopians in Central Africa that almighty God may at length remove the curse of Cham [Ham] from their hearts.’”

From : What Is the Bible's View? Are Blacks Cursed by God?
Religion of Sunday, 29 April 2007
Source: kwabena Frimpong Amankwah

  • 1) St. Ambrosius or according to others Ambrosiaster (the expression means "fake Ambrosius" or a writing falsely attributed to St Ambrose, so it is not a precise alternative authorship from antiquity) says absolutely nothing in the quote of this implying any curse damning blacks to slavery.

    Church fathers had a lot to say about setting an example of crimes meriting slavery. It's a precedent for prison punishment, not for black slavery.

  • 2) The prayer was about Pagan blacks in Central Africa.

    Even if "curse of Cham" were curse of Chanaan, the idea is not that one could treat blacks as such worse, because of the curse. It was that blacks were sometimes behaving so as to merit it and this was due to bad education and that was a misfortune due to the curse (citing from memory a dialogue between two Jesuits, either of Brazil or of Moçambique, back in 1500's or perhaps around 1600). Also, I have not found this precise reasoning in earlier texts than this, and certainly not in above quote from St Ambrose.

  • 3) Maxwell is thus wrong in implying that "This disastrous example of fundamentalist exegesis" was disastrous for the blacks.

    Trying to free someone from a curse by praying for him is not exactly disastrous - unless you pray for very specific things in very clumsy ways, which the above Catholic prayer did not. However, he is perfectly right that the blacks come from Kush, perhaps also Put./HGL

A Non-Catholic Non-Fundie exegesis which was perhaps more disastrous:

By Japhet, Gomer and Magog Africa is meant, and by Tiros Persia.

Magog is a Biblical baddy, but more usual traditional condidates are Russia and Turkey. Here they say Africa?

The sexes of both man and the lower animals were meant [changing to p. 59] to be separated in the ark during the deluge. This is clear from the way in which they entered the ark: first Noah and his three sons went in, and then their wives separately (Gen. vii. 7). But when they came out of the ark after the flood, God commanded Noah, "Go out of the ark, thou and thy wife, thy sons and their wives" (Gen. viii. 16), thus putting the sexes together again. Ham among the human beings, and the dog among the lower animals, disregarded this injunction and did not separate from the opposite sex in the ark. The dog received a certain punishment, and Ham became a black man; just as when a man has the audacity to coin the king's currency in the king's own palace his face is blackened as a punishment and his issue is declared counterfeit.

So, Cham was cursed, and that precisely to blackness of face, before he was sinning against his father?

Or this:

Slaves do not, as a rule, bring blessings on their master's house, but Joseph's master's house was blessed because of Joseph. Slaves are not remarkable for being scrupulous, but Joseph gathered in the silver in Egypt for his king. Slaves are not distinguished for their chastity and modesty, but Joseph would not listen to a sinful suggestion.

Potiphar showed the subtlety for which the Egyptians were famous where their own interest was concerned. He boasted to his friends that as a rule a white man has a Cushite, a colored man, for his slave, whilst he, a Cushite, contrived to obtain a youth of the white race for a slave. Hence it became [p. 67] a saying in Egypt, "The slaves sold (i.e., the Ishmaelites who sold Joseph); the slave bought (alluding to Potiphar, Pharaoh's servant); and the freeman has become the slave of both."

It is a cultural and historical fact that Egyptians from time to time held Kushites - that is black people - as slaves.

It is possible, but not necessary that Potiphar was one.

However, including this here can have had repercussions by setting an example.

We are not allowed to say any portion of Holy Writ by heart, but must always read it from the Scroll. Thus when Rabbi Meier was once in Asia on Purim, and was unable to find a copy of the book of Esther, he wrote the book out from memory (as he knew it by heart), and then made another copy from which he read to the congregation.

This is against the practise of the Catholic Church. And as you may see by now, the exegetes I am citing are Jewish.

Sleepiness and laziness in a man are the beginning of his misfortune.

Man in celibacy is in sublime ignorance of what is meant by the words "good," "help," "joy," "blessing," "peace," and "expiation of sin." He is, in fact, not entitled to the dignified name of man.

The Catholic Church honours celibacy while not dishonouring marriage and considers sleeping with gentleness : who sleepeth does not sin.

So, the exegesis is clearly non-Catholic.

But what about non-Fundie?

The deluge in the time of Noah was by no means the only flood with which this earth was visited. The first flood did its work of destruction as far as Jaffé, and the one of Noah's days extended to Barbary.

A Fundie - and Catholic - exegesis is of course it extended all over the world.

Job was born when the Jews went down to Egypt; he married Dinah, Jacob's daughter, and he died when the Israelites left Egypt.

Job probably never existed, and if he did exist, the events recorded concerning him never took place. The whole narrative is intended as a moral lesson.

So, one rabbi was a Fundie and another wasn't. Hence all of the source is Non-Fundie. Church Fathers are all fundies, and Moralia in Job by St Gregory takes for granted that Job actually existed.

This is not the Church Fathers, not the Patrologia by Migne. It is called the Genesis Rabba or Bereshit Rabba and is the Judaising Midrash on Genesis.

You can find it here:

I am not linking directly./HGL

This post first appeared on Creation Vs Evolution, please read the originial post: here

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Did Catholic Church Ever Teach any Curse of Cham?


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