History of Roman Catholicism in Spain: Wikis

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Spain, it has been observed, is a nation-state born out of religious struggle between Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, and (to a lesser extent,) Protestantism. Most of the Iberian Peninsula was first Christianized while still part of the Roman Empire.

Contents

Visigoths

As Rome declined, Germanic tribes invaded most of the lands of the former empire. In the years following 410 Spain was taken over by the Visigoths who had been converted to Arian Christianity around 360. The Visigothic Kingdom established their capital in Toledo, their kingdom reaching its high point during the reign of Leovigild. Visigothic rule led to a brief expansion of Arianism in Spain, however the native population remained staunchly Catholic. In 587, Reccared, the Visigothic king at Toledo, was converted to Catholicism and launched a movement to unify doctrine. The Council of Lerida in 546 constrained the clergy and extended the power of law over them under the blessings of Rome.

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Councils of Toledo

From the fifth to the seventh century, about thirty synods, variously counted, were held at Toledo in what would come to be part of Spain. The earliest, directed against Priscillianism, assembled in 400. The "third" synod of 589 marked the epoch-making conversion of King Reccared from Arianism to orthodox Catholicism. The "fourth", in 633, probably under the presidency of the noted Isidore of Seville, regulated many matters of discipline, decreed uniformity of liturgy throughout the kingdom. The British Celts of Galicia accepted the Latin rite and stringent measures were adopted against baptized Jews who had relapsed into their former faith. The "twelfth" council in 681 assured to the archbishop of Toledo the primacy of Hispania (present Iberian Peninsula). As nearly one hundred early canons of Toledo found a place in the Decretum Gratiani, they exerted an important influence on the development of ecclesiastical law.

The seventh century is sometimes called, by Spanish historians, the Siglo de Concilios, or "Century of Councils".

Muslim Occupation and the Reconquest (8th–15th centuries)

By 711 Arabs and Berbers had converted to Islam, which by the 8th century dominated all the north of Africa. A raiding party led by Tariq ibn-Ziyad was sent to intervene in a civil war in the Visigothic kingdoms in Iberia. Crossing the Strait of Gibraltar, it won a decisive victory in the summer of 711 when the Visigothic king Roderic was defeated and killed on July 19 at the Battle of Guadalete. Tariq's commander, Musa bin Nusair quickly crossed with substantial reinforcements, and by 718 the Muslims dominated most of the peninsula. The advance into Europe was stopped by the Franks under Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in 732.

The rulers of Al-Andalus were granted the rank of Emir by the Umayyad CaliphAl-Walid I in Damascus. After the Umayyads were overthrown by the Abbasids, some of their remaining leaders escaped to Spain under the leadership of Abd-ar-rahman I who challenged the Abbasids by declaring Córdoba an independent emirate. Al-Andalus was rife with internal conflict between the Arab Umayyad rulers and the Visigoth-Roman Christian population.

In the 10th century Abd-ar-rahman III declared the Caliphate of Córdoba, effectively breaking all ties with the Egyptian and Syrian caliphs. The Caliphate was mostly concerned with maintaining its power base in North Africa, but these possessions eventually dwindled to the Ceuta province. Meanwhile, a slow but steady migration of Christian subjects to the northern kingdoms was slowly increasing the power of the northern kingdoms. Even so, Al-Andalus remained vastly superior to all the northern kingdoms combined in population, economy, culture and military might, and internal conflict between the Christian kingdoms contributed to keep them relatively harmless.

Al-Andalus coincided with La Convivencia, an era of religious tolerance and with the Golden age of Jewish culture in the Iberian Peninsula (912, the rule of Abd-ar-Rahman III - 1066, Granada massacre).[1]

Medieval Spain was the scene of almost constant warfare between Muslims and Christians. The Almohads, who had taken control of the Almoravids' Maghribi and Andalusian territories by 1147, far surpassed the Almoravides in fundamentalist outlook, and they treated the dhimmis harshly. Faced with the choice of death, conversion, or emigration, many Jews and Christians left.[2]

Reconquista

Expansion into the Crusades

In the High Middle Ages, the fight against the Moors in the Iberian Peninsula became linked to the fight of the whole of Christendom. The Reconquista was originally a mere war of conquest. It only later underwent a significant shift in meaning toward a religiously justified war of liberation (see the Augustinian concept of a Just War). The papacy and the influential Abbey of Cluny in Burgundy not only justified the anti-Islamic acts of war but actively encouraged Christian knights to seek armed confrontation with Moorish "infidels" instead of with each other. From the 11th century onwards indulgences were granted: In 1064 Pope Alexander II promised the participants of an expedition against Barbastro a collective indulgence 30 years before Pope Urban II called the First Crusade. Not until 1095 and the Council of Clermont did the Reconquista amalgamate the conflicting concepts of a peaceful pilgrimage and armed knight-errantry.

But the papacy left no doubt about the heavenly reward for knights fighting for Christ (militia Christi): in a letter, Urban II tried to persuade the reconquistadores fighting at Tarragona to stay in the Peninsula and not to join the armed pilgrimage to conquer Jerusalem since their contribution for Christianity was equally important. The pope promised them the same rewarding indulgence that awaited the first crusaders.

Inquisition

The seal of the Spanish Inquisition depicts the cross, the branch and the sword.

After centuries of the Reconquista, in which Christian Spaniards fought to drive out the Moors, the Spanish Inquisition was established in 1478 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. to complete the religious purification of the Iberian Peninsula.

It was intended to maintain Catholicorthodoxy in their kingdoms, and to replace the medieval inquisition which had been under papal control. The new body was under the direct control of the Spanish monarchy.

The Inquisition, as an ecclesiastical tribunal, had jurisdiction only over baptized Christians, some of who also practised other forms of faith and at the time were considered heretics according to the Catholic Church and recently formed kingdoms at the time. The Inquisition worked in large part to ensure the orthodoxy of recent converts.

In the centuries that followed Spain saw itself as the bulwark of Catholicism and doctrinal purity.

Alhambra decree

On 31 March 1492, the joint Catholic Monarchs of Spain (Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon) issued the Alhambra decree, accusing Jews of trying "to subvert their holy Catholic faith and trying to draw faithful Christians away from their beliefs" and ordering the expulsion of Jews from the Kingdom of Spain and its territories and possessions by 31 July of that year.

Some Jews were given only four months and ordered to leave the kingdom or convert to Christianity. Under the edict, Jews were promised royal "protection and security" for the effective three-month window before the deadline. They were permitted to take their belongings with them - except "gold or silver or minted money".

The punishment for any Jew who did not leave or convert by the deadline was death. The punishment for a non-Jew who sheltered or hid Jews was the confiscation of all belongings and hereditary privileges.

As a result of this expulsion, Spanish Jews dispersed throughout the region of North Africa known as the Maghreb. They also fled to south-eastern Europe where they were granted safety in the Ottoman Empire and formed flourishing local Jewish communities, the largest being those of Thessaloniki and Sarajevo. In those regions, they often intermingled with the already existing Mizrachi (Eastern Jewish) communities.

Scholars disagree about how many Jews left Spain as a result of the decree; the numbers vary between 130,000 and 800,000. Other Spanish Jews (estimates range between 50,000 and 70,000) chose in the face of the Edict to convert to Christianity and thereby escape expulsion. Their conversion served as poor protection from church hostility after the Spanish Inquisition came into full effect; persecution and expulsion were common.

Many of these "New Christians" were eventually forced to either leave the countries or intermarry with the local populace by the dual Inquisitions of Portugal and Spain. Many settled in North Africa or elsewhere in Europe, most notably in the Netherlands and England.

Spanish empire

Spanish missionaries carried Catholicism to the New World and the Philippines, establishing various missions in the newly colonized lands. The missions served as a base for both administering colonies as well as spreading Christianity.

However, the Spanish kings insisted on these missions maintaining independence from papal "interference"; bishops in Spanish domains were forbidden to report to the Pope except through the Spanish crown.

16th century

Philip II of Spain, who became king on Charles V's abdication in 1556. Spain largely escaped the religious conflicts that were raging throughout the rest of Europe, and remained firmly Roman Catholic. Philip saw himself as a champion of Catholicism, both against the Ottoman Turks and the heretics.

The synod of 1565-1566 held in Toledo was concerned with the execution of the decrees of Trent. The last council of Toledo, that of 1582 and 1583, was so guided in detail by Philip II that the pope ordered the name of the royal commissioner to be expunged from the acts.

In the 1560s, Philip's plans to consolidate control of the Netherlands led to unrest, which gradually led to the Calvinist leadership of the revolt and the Eighty Years' War.

18th century

The Suppression of Jesuits in Spain and in the Spanish colonies, and in the Spanish dependency, the Kingdom of Naples, was carried through in secrecy, and the ministers of Charles III kept their deliberations to themselves, as did the king who acted upon "urgent, just, and necessary reasons, which I reserve in my royal mind;".

The correspondence of Bernardo Tanucci, the anti-clerical minister of Charles III in Naples contains all the ideas which from time to time guided Spanish policy. Charles conducted his government through Count Aranda, a reader of Voltaire, and other liberals. At a council meeting of January 29, 1767, the expulsion of the Society of Jesus was settled. Secret orders, which were to be opened at midnight between the first and second of April, 1767, were sent to the magistrates of every town where a Jesuit resided. The plan worked smoothly. That morning, 6000 Jesuits were marched like convicts to the coast, where they were deported, first to the Papal States, and ultimately to Corsica, which was a dependency of Genoa. Due to the isolation of the Spanish Missions of California, the decree for expulsion did not arrive in June 1767, as in the rest of New Spain, but was delayed until the new governor, Portolà, arrived with the news on November 30. Jesuits from the fourteen operating missions at the moment met in Loreto, whence they left for exile on February 3, 1768. It took until 1768 for the Royal order to reach the Jesuit missions in the south of the Philippines, but by the end of the year, the Jesuits had been dispossessed throughout the Spanish dominions.

The change in the Spanish colonies in the New World was particularly great, as the far-flung settlements were often dominated by missions. Almost overnight in the mission towns of Sonora and Arizona, the "black robes" (as the Jesuits were often known) disappeared and the "gray robes" (Franciscans) replaced them [3].

Tanucci pursued a similar policy in Bourbon Naples. On November 3, 1767, the Jesuits, without a trial or even an accusation, were simply marched across the frontier into the Papal States, and threatened with death if they returned.

19th century

The first instance of anti-clerical violence due to political conflict in 19th century Spain occurred during the First Spanish Civil War (1820–23). During riots in Catalunya 20 clergymen were killed by members of the liberal movement in retaliation for the Church's siding with absolutist supporters of Ferdinand VII.

The Inquisition was finally abolished in the 1830s, but even after that religious freedom was denied in practice, if not in theory.

In 1836 following the First Carlist War, the new regime abolished the major convents and monasteries.[4]

Catholicism became the state religion when the Spanish government signed the Concordat of 1851 with the Vatican.

Second Republic

Spanish anti-clericals turn Church into a "casa del pueblo" (house of the people) during the Spanish Red Terror

The Republican government which came to power in Spain in 1931 was strongly anti-clerical, secularising education, prohibiting religious education in the schools, and expelling the Jesuits from the country. On Pentecost 1932, Pope Pius XI protested against these measures and demanded restitution. He asked the Catholics of Spain to fight with all legal means against the injustices. June 3, 1933 he issued the encyclical Dilectissima Nobis, in which he described the expropriation of all Church buildings, episcopal residences, parish houses, seminaries and monasteries. By law, they were now property of the Spanish State, to which the Church had to pay rent and taxes in order to continuously use these properties. "Thus the Catholic Church is compelled to pay taxes on what was violently taken from her"[5] Religious vestments, liturgical instruments, statues, pictures, vases, gems and similar objects necessary for worship were expropriated as well.[6]

The Civil War in Spain started in 1936, during which thousands of churches were destroyed, thirteen bishops and some 7000 clergy and religious Spaniards were assassinated.[7] After that, Catholics largely supported Franco and the Nationalist forces in the Spanish Civil War of 1936 – 1939. It is estimated that in the course of the Red Terror, 6,832 members of the Catholic clergy were killed.[8] Another source breaks down the figures as follows: Some 283 religious women were killed. Some of them were badly tortured.[9] 13 bishops were killed from the dioceses of Siguenza, Lleida, Cuenca, Barbastro Segorbe, Jaén, Ciudad Real, Almeria, Guadix, Barcelona, Teruel and the auxiliary of Tarragona.[9] Aware of the dangers, they all decided to remain in their cities. I cannot go, only here is my responsibility, whatever may happen, said the Bishop of Cuenca[9] In addition 4172 diocesan priests, 2364 monks and friars, among them 259  Clarentians, 226 Franciscans, 204 Piarists, 176 Brothers of Mary, 165 Christian Brothers, 155 Augustinians, 132 Dominicans, and 114 Jesuits were killed.[10] In some dioceses, the number of secular priests killed are overwhelming:

  • In Barbastro 123 of 140 priests were killed.[9] about 88 percent of the secular clergy were murdered, 66 percent
  • In Lleida, 270 of 410 priests were killed.[9] about 62 percent
  • In Tortosa, 44 percent of the secular priests were killed.[8]
  • In Toledo 286 of 600 priests priests were killed.[9]
  • In the dioceses of Málaga, Menorca and Segorbe, about half of the priests were killed"[8][9]

Franco regime

In the early years of the Franco regime, church and state had a close and mutually beneficial association. The loyalty of the Roman Catholic Church to the Francoist state lent legitimacy to the dictatorship, which in turn restored and enhanced the church's traditional privileges.[11]

Franco's political system was virtually the antithesis of the final government of the republican era—the Popular Front government. In contrast to the anticlericalism of the Popular Front, the Francoist regime established policies that were highly favorable to the Catholic Church, which was restored to its previous status as the official religion of Spain. In addition to receiving government subsidies, the church regained its dominant position in the education system, and laws conformed to Catholic dogma.[11]

During the Franco years, Roman Catholicism was the only religion to have legal status; other worship services could not be advertised, and only the Roman Catholic Church could own property or publish books. The government not only paid priests' salaries and subsidized the church, but it also assisted in the reconstruction of church buildings damaged by the war. Laws were passed abolishing divorce and banning the sale of contraceptives. Catholic religious instruction was mandatory, even in public schools.[11]

In return, Franco secured the right to name Roman Catholic bishops in Spain, as well as veto power over appointments of clergy down to the parish priest level.[11]

Concordat of 1953

In 1953 this close cooperation between the Catholic Church and the Franco regime was formalized in a new Concordat with the Vatican that granted the church an extraordinary set of privileges:

  • mandatory canonical marriages for all Catholics;
  • exemption from government taxation;
  • subsidies for new building construction;
  • censorship of materials the church deemed offensive;
  • the right to establish universities;
  • the right to operate radio stations, and to publish newspapers and magazines;
  • protection from police intrusion into church properties; and
  • exemption of clergy from military service.[11]

Post Vatican II

After the Second Vatican Council in 1965 set forth the church's stand on human rights, the Catholic Church in Spain moved from a position of unswerving support for Franco's rule to one of guarded criticism.

During the final years of the dictatorship, the church withdrew its support from the regime and became one of its harshest critics.

The Joint Assembly of Bishops and Priests held in 1971 marked a significant phase in the distancing of the church from the Spanish state. This group affirmed the progressive spirit of the Second Vatican Council and adopted a resolution asking the pardon of the Spanish people for the hierarchy's partisanship in the Civil War.

At the Episcopal Conference convened in 1973, the bishops demanded the separation of church and state, and they called for a revision of the 1953 Concordat. Subsequent negotiations for such a revision broke down because Franco refused to relinquish the power to veto Vatican appointments.

This evolution in the church's position divided Spanish Catholics. Within the institution, right-wing sentiment, opposed to any form of democratic change, was typified by the Brotherhood of Spanish Priests, the members of which published vitriolic attacks on church reformers. Opposition took a more violent form in such groups as the rightist Catholic terrorist organization known as the Warriors of Christ the King, which assaulted progressive priests and their churches.

Whereas this reactionary faction was vociferous in its resistance to any change within the church, other Spanish Catholics were frustrated at the slow pace of reform in the church and in society, and they became involved in various leftist organizations. In between these extreme positions, a small, but influential, group of Catholics—who had been involved in lay Catholic organizations such as Catholic Action—favored liberalization in both the church and the regime, but they did not enter the opposition forces. They formed a study group called Tacito, which urged a gradual transition to a democratic monarchy. The group's members published articles advocating a Christian democratic Spain.

Transition to democracy

Because the church had already begun its transformation into a modern institution a decade before the advent of democracy to Spain, it was able to assume an influential role during the transition period that followed Franco's death. Furthermore, although disagreements over church-state relations and over political issues of particular interest to the Roman Catholic Church remained, these questions could be dealt with in a less adversarial manner under the more liberal atmosphere of the constitutional monarchy.

Although church-state relations involved potentially polarizing issues, the church played a basically cooperative and supportive role in the emergence of plural democracy in Spain. Although it no longer had a privileged position in society, its very independence from politics and its visibility made it an influential force.

Revision of the 1953 Concordat

In 1976, King Juan Carlos de Borbon unilaterally renounced the right to name Catholic bishops. In July 1976, the Suarez government and the Vatican signed a new accord that restored to the church its right to name bishops, and the church agreed to a revised Concordat that entailed a gradual financial separation of church and state. Church property not used for religious purposes was henceforth to be subject to taxation, and gradually, over a period of years, the church's reliance on state subsidies was to be reduced.

Negotiations soon followed that resulted in bilateral agreements, delineating the relationship between the Vatican and the new democratic state. The 1978 Constitution confirms the separation of church and state while recognizing the role of the Roman Catholic faith in Spanish society

Church opposition to liberalization

Within this basic framework for the new relationship between the church and the government, divisive issues remained to be resolved in the late 1980s. The church traditionally had exercised considerable influence in the area of education, and it joined conservative opposition parties in mounting a vigorous protest against the education reforms that impinged on its control of the schools. Even more acrimonious debate ensued over the emotionally charged issues of divorce and abortion. The church mobilized its considerable influence in support of a powerful lobbying effort against proposed legislation that was contrary to Roman Catholic doctrine governing these subjects.

The passage of a law in 1981 legalizing civil divorce struck a telling blow against the influence of the church in Spanish society. A law legalizing abortion under certain circumstances was passed in August 1985 and further liberalized in November 1986, over the fierce opposition of the church.

Elimination of government subsidies

Another manifestation of the redefined role of the church was contained in measures aimed at reducing, and ultimately eliminating, direct government subsidies to the church. As part of the agreements reached in 1979, the church concurred with plans for its financial independence, to be achieved during a rather lengthy transitional period. At the end of 1987, the government announced that, after a three-year trial period, the church would receive no further direct state aid but would be dependent on what citizens chose to provide, either through donations or by designating a portion of their income tax for the church. Although the church's exempt status constituted an indirect subsidy, the effect of this new financial status on the church's ability to wield political influence remained to be seen.

Present day

Since it came to power in 2004, the Socialist government of Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has legalized gay marriage and fast-track divorce; it also seeks to loosen laws on abortion and euthanasia. In response, the church and religious Catholics have been pushing back, seeking a greater voice in public life.[12]

See also

References

  1. ^ Granada by Richard Gottheil, Meyer Kayserling, Jewish Encyclopedia. 1906 ed.
  2. ^ The Almohads
  3. ^ See e.g.: Richard F. Pourade, The History of San Diego, Chap. 6: Padres Lead the Way
  4. ^ it:Desamortización di Mendizábal
  5. ^ Dilectissima Nobis, 9-10
  6. ^ Dilectissima Nobis, 12
  7. ^ Franzen 397
  8. ^ a b c de la Cueva 1998, p. 355
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Jedin 617
  10. ^ Beevor 2006, pp. ???
  11. ^ a b c d e Eric Solsten and Sandra W. Meditz, editors. Spain: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1988.
  12. ^ Donadio, Rachel (2009-01-05). "Spain Is a Battleground for Church's Future". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/06/world/europe/06church.html?n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/People/B/Pope%20Benedict%20XVI. Retrieved 2009-04-29. 

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