Bunk, Brian D., 1968-; Pack, Sasha D.; Scott, Carl-Gustaf (ed.) / Nation and conflict in modern Spain: essays in honor of Stanley G. Payne
Sanabria, Enrique A.
Nineteenth-century Spanish anticlericalism, pp. 51-64
CHAPTER 4 Nineteenth- Century Spanish Anticlericalism ENRIQUE A. SANABRIA " espite claims by some Catholic authors that Spain has always had an anticlerical i i strain (veta) with proclivities toward physical violence,' most Hispanists under- stand that anticlericalism, in its proper definition, cannot exist nor has it existed without clericalism. Indeed the word anticlericalism originates in the nineteenth century as a clerical description for lay resistance to the political power of the Catholic Church2 Europeans have, of course, lived with some form of anticlericalism for generations, and recent research demonstrates that powerful religious institutions targeted by anticlericals need not be Catholic.' In Catholic countries, however, forms of anticlericalism have historically come not from lay or nonbelieving opponents of the Church, but from within the clergy or believers, many of whom harbored serious grievances with ecclesiastical wealth and influence. Conservative medieval anticlericalism, for example, eventually gave way to the radical Protestant critique of clerical status.4 But while most forms of medieval and Early Modern European anti- clericalism were taken up by believers, scholars argue that modern forms of anticlericalism, dating from the late eighteenth century and French Revolution, sought to truly injure the Catholic clergy or were attacks on the faith. It was at that time when anticlericalism arose to challenge clerical attempts to protect the status quo and when anticlericalism transformed into a positive affirmation of human liberty in support of secularism and the desire to sepa- rate the religious realm from the secular or civil society.' This chapter will briefly survey the dramatic battle between clericalism and anticlerical- ism throughout Spain's turbulent nineteenth century, and assert that it was clericalism and even clerical violence responding to both the threat of the process of secularization and the spirit of secularism that begat anticlericalism and anticlerical violence. Although the liberal state and the liberal Spain that emerged in 1840 had made a significant dent into the mate- 5 1
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