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
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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