The Worst of Indignities:  The Catholic Church on Slavery

The Worst of Indignities: The Catholic Church on Slavery

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Many Americans think of slavery as their nation’s original sin. But in truth, slavery has involved peoples and cultures and countries far beyond the United States. Slavery is as old as human history itself.

And yet, the one living institution that has condemned slavery longer and more consistently than any other is the Roman Catholic Church.

In The Worst of Indignities: The Catholic Church on Slavery, bestselling author Paul Kengor shines a light on:

  • The record and biblical roots of the Church’s teaching on slavery
  • The efforts of individuals and institutions within the Church to not only bring about freedom for enslaved people but to care for their physical and spiritual needs
  • The stories of former slaves whose lives of exemplary holiness have placed them on the path of sainthood

At a time when race relations are so bitter, we need the clarifying truth to unite us all. The story of the Roman Catholic Church’s bold and divine opposition to slavery is one unknown to Catholics and non-Catholics alike. It is time for that story to be told.


Paul Kengor, Ph.D., is professor of political science at Grove City College, director of the Institute for Faith & Freedom, and editor of The American Spectator. He is the bestselling author of over twenty books, including A Pope and a President and The Devil and Karl Marx. He often appears on talk radio shows and TV networks, from Fox News to MSNBC to C-SPAN to EWTN.


“Too often we hear that the Catholic Church tolerated—even endorsed—slavery in past centuries. In The Worst of Indignities, Paul Kengor obliterates this myth. He digs deeply into the Church’s history to convincingly demonstrate how popes, saints, and theologians have consistently condemned this horrific and inhumane practice.”

Eric Sammons
Editor-in-Chief, Crisis Magazine


“Slavery is as old as the human race, and it makes for a depressing study. Only with the rise of Christianity have people—saints—seen the possibility of its eradication. That is a far more hopeful story, told well in these pages by Dr. Kengor. The Worst of Indignities is a myth-busting history that’s much needed right now.”

Mike Aquilina
Author of Africa and the Early Church: The Almost-Forgotten Roots of
Catholic Christianity


“If you want to speak intelligently and honestly about slavery—past, present, and future—then you must read this book. It is indispensable. In our confused and confusing (and dishonest) times, Dr. Kengor has done the Church and the world a great service by writing a book that is careful, thorough, honest, and rigorous.”

Fr. Robert McTeigue, S.J., Ph.D.
Host of “The Catholic Current” on The Station of the Cross Media Network


“Paul Kengor tells ‘the rest of the story’—recognizing that the Church’s historical role in ending slavery was not an ecclesiastical Black Legend but the neglected account of her role in advancing slavery’s end.”

John M. Grondelski, Ph.D.
Independent Scholar and
National Catholic Register Columnist

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