University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

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

Page 51

Nineteenth- Century Spanish 
"        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.
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
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
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 

Go up to Top of Page