Department of Religious Studies at Loyola University New Orleans

The H. James Yamauchi, S.J., Lectures in Religion

The Yamauchi Lectures in Religion series was begun in 1985 in memory of Professor H. James Yamauchi, S.J., a celebrated former Chair of the Department of Religious Studies who taught at Loyola University New Orleans from 1956 to 1966. Father Yamauchi was known and loved for his enthusiastic knowledge of religion and his passionate communication of same to the New Orleans community.  This lecture series seeks to perpetuate his work by bringing the results of religious scholarship to a wider audience.

FALL 2014

"African Slaves and Catholic Liberators: Why Bad Things Went Unnoticed by Good People"

Dr. James Gaffney, Professor Emeritus of Ethics & former Chair of the Department of Religious Studies

How was the Catholic Church's tolerance of slavery throughout most of its history influenced by the New Testament, Aristotle, and St. Thomas Aquinas?

Tuesday, October 21, 7:00pm
Reception at 6:15pm
Free, and Open to the Public

Why did St. Peter Claver  -- the Church's “Slave of the Slaves”--  never advocate emancipation?

Loyola University New Orleans
Audubon Room
Danna Center, 2nd floor

6363 Saint Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA, 70118

Why did moral champions of abused Native Americans ignore the plight of African slaves?
Why was there no universal moral condemnation of slavery by the Catholic Church until Vatican II?

How were Catholic attitudes towards the enslaved perverted by the myth of a biblical curse, by a distorted image of Africa, by Spanish anti-Islamic prejudice, and by the spectacle of enslaved Africans?

Why were Protestants more prominent than Catholics in the American Abolition Movement?
Can this tragic history offer us any positive moral wisdom?

Sometimes, even in saints and heroes, moral empathy and energy are tightly linked to moral apathy and inertia. In Catholic colonialism that irony became chronic: Hard to diagnose, and with painful consequences for interracial justice.

About the Speaker: James Gaffney retired as Professor Emeritus of Ethics in 1999, after 22 years with Loyola's Religious Studies Department. Since retirement, he has taught at Iowa State, the University of Iowa, and the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. He has held visiting professorships in Europe and Africa, as well as Alaska Pacific and Notre Dame, IN. Author of ten books, editor of one, and contributor to five others, he has published more than a hundred articles in various journals.  His present lecture was stimulated by experience and research during a sojourn in the Dominican Republic.

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