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Bunk, Brian D., 1968-; Pack, Sasha D.; Scott, Carl-Gustaf (ed.) / Nation and conflict in modern Spain: essays in honor of Stanley G. Payne
(2008)

Sanabria, Enrique A.
Nineteenth-century Spanish anticlericalism,   pp. 51-64


Page 53

Nineteenth-Century Spanish Anticlericalism 
by dominating nineteenth-century ideologies such as liberalism, secularism,
nationalism, 
and socialism, which demanded allegiance to institutions or groupings that
clashed with 
traditional ties to the Church and clergy.8 More directly, modern anticlericalism
is a response 
to an increased presence and intensity of clericalism or the "ascendancy
of an institution with 
a deeply antiliberal policy that to critics appeared increasingly aggressive
in its efforts to force 
its values on an entire society."9 Indeed, the Western Europe of the
early nineteenth century 
was rapidly changing and becoming secular, causing great concern among the
forces of 
clericalism. While modern anticlericalism and secularism are not necessarily
the same thing, 
they are very much related because the latter also affected religious forms
and practices. 
The process of secularization constitutes a context, an impersonal social
force that created 
responses to that context: clericalism and anticlericalism."' In the
struggle for secularism, 
anticlericalism cannot simply be considered a negative ideology, but often
a negative and 
violent expression of the broader positive ideology of secularism."
Modern anticlericalism 
was a militant attitude that either rightfully or erroneously perceived clericalism
as a threat 
to secularization and progress, and as an even bigger threat to the construction
of a modern 
liberal Spain. 
A number of brief examples from the Peninsular War of 1808-14 and the subsequent
liberal revolution illustrate the relationship between secularization, clericalism,
and anticleri- 
calism. Religious leaders throughout the country revived the traditional
Spanish identity as 
a divine bulwark of Catholicism and used the pulpit to call for resistance
against the French. 
Stanley G. Payne asserts that "not a single province in all of Spain
[failed to] produce at least 
one guerrilla band led by a priest or monk" during the Napoleonic War.12
Perhaps the most 
notorious of these was Jer6nimo Merino, whose ruthlessness and exploits against
the French 
earned him a canonry in Palencia from Ferdinand VII, and who was immortalized
in the 
novels of Pfo Baroja.11 
Nothing of this type of clerical leadership and mobilization had ever been
seen be- 
fore in Spain, and it set the tone for clerical resistance to not only liberalism
emerging 
from France, but also that which persisted through the Caidiz Cortes, the
First Fernandine 
Reaction (1814-20), and the Liberal Triennium (1820-23). Juan Sinisio Perez
Garz6n lists 
a number of clerical publications that were published and distributed in
this period that pro- 
posed "Holy Cruelty (Santa Crueldad) against the liberals for their
foreign nature which 
made them enemies of the Catholic fatherland (patria catilica)."'4 
Conspiracies against the liberal state surfaced throughout Spain within days
of the 
Cortes's adoption of the ley de monacles, which reformed and at times eliminated
convents 
with less than a minimum number of residents and established new rules for
the remainder 
of convents and monasteries.'5 In early January 1821, an absolutist conspiracy
uncovered 
in Madrid vindicated the liberal project as it was masterminded by the King's
chaplain Fr. 
M. Vinuesa. Although liberals hoped for the death penalty for Vinuesa, he
was sentenced to 
a mere ten years in prison, prompting a mob of approximately 150 people to
overtake the 
5 3 


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