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{{short description|Opposition to religious authority}}Anti-clericalism is opposition to religious authority, typically in social or political matters. Historical anti-clericalism has mainly been opposed to the influence of Roman Catholicism. Anti-clericalism is related to secularism, which seeks to remove the church from all aspects of public and political life, and its involvement in the everyday life of the citizen.José Mariano Sánchez, Anticlericalism: a brief history (University of Notre Dame Press, 1972)Some have opposed clergy on the basis of moral corruption, institutional issues and/or disagreements in religious interpretation, such as during the Protestant Reformation. Anti-clericalism became extremely violent during the French Revolution because revolutionaries believed the church had played a pivotal role in the perceived systems of oppression which led to it. Many clerics were killed, and French revolutionary governments tried to control priests by making them state employees.Anti-clericalism appeared in Catholic Europe throughout the 19th century, in various forms, and later in Canada, Cuba, and Latin America.



File:Action cléricale.jpg|thumb|Illustration in the French anti-clerical magazine La CalotteLa Calotte


The Civil Constitution of the Clergy was passed on July 12, 1790, requiring all clerics to swear allegiance to the French government and, by extension, to the increasingly anti-clerical National Constituent Assembly. All but seven of the 160 bishops refused the oath, as did about half of the parish priests.Joes, Anthony James Resisting Rebellion: The History and Politics of Counterinsurgency 2006 University Press of Kentucky {{ISBN|0-8131-2339-9}}. p.51 Persecution of the clergy and of the faithful was the first trigger of the rebellion; the second being conscription. Nonjuring priests were exiled or imprisoned and women on their way to Mass were beaten in the streets.The anti-clericalism during the French Revolution initially began with attacks on church corruption and the wealth of the higher clergy, an action with which even many Christians could identify, since the Roman Catholic church held a dominant role in pre-revolutionary France. During a two-year period known as the Reign of Terror, the episodes of anti-clericalism grew more violent than any in modern European history. The new revolutionary authorities suppressed the church; abolished the Catholic monarchy; nationalized church property; exiled 30,000 priests and killed hundreds more.BOOK, Collins, Michael, Mathew A Price, The Story of Christianity, 1999, Dorling Kindersley, 978-0-7513-0467-1, 176–177, Many churches were converted into "temples of reason," in which {{notatypo|atheistical}} services were held.BOOK, Horne, Thomas Hartwell, Davidson, Samuel, An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, 21 November 2013, Cambridge University Press, English, 978-1-108-06772-0, 30, Latreille, A. FRENCH REVOLUTION, New Catholic Encyclopedia v. 5, pp. 972–973 (Second Ed. 2002 Thompson/Gale) {{ISBN|0-7876-4004-2}}Spielvogel (2005):549.Tallet (1991):1 There has been much scholarly debate over whether the movement was popularly motivated.Tallet, Frank Religion, Society and Politics in France Since 1789 pp. 1-17 1991 Continuum International Publishing As part of the campaign to dechristianize France, in October 1793 the Christian calendar was replaced with one reckoning from the date of the Revolution, and Festivals of Liberty, Reason and the Supreme Being were scheduled. New forms of moral religion emerged, including the deistic Cult of the Supreme Being and France's first established state sponsored atheistic Cult of Reason,Fremont-Barnes, p. 119.BOOK, McGowan, Dale, Voices of Unbelief: Documents from Atheists and Agnostics, 7 September 2012, ABC-CLIO, 9781598849790, 14, 1793 Establishment of the Cult of Reason, an atheistic alternative to Christianity, during the French Revolution. First state-sponsored atheism., BOOK, Fremont-Barnes, Gregory, Encyclopedia of the Age of Political Revolutions and New Ideologies, 1760-1815: A-L, 2007, Greenwood Publishing Group, 9780313334467, 237, The cut was a deliberate attempt to counter the unsuccessful efforts at dechristianization, and the atheistic Cult of Reason, which reached its high point in the winter of the previous year., with all churches not devoted to these being closed.BOOK, harv, Helmstadter, Richard J.,weblink Freedom and religion in the nineteenth century, 251, 1997, Stanford Univ. Press, In April and May 1794, the government mandated the observance of a festival of the Cult of the Supreme Being. When anticlericalism became a clear goal of French revolutionaries, counter-revolutionaries seeking to restore tradition and the Ancien Régime took up arms, particularly in the War in the Vendée (1793 to 1796). Local people often resisted dechristianisation and forced members of the clergy who had resigned to conduct Mass again. Eventually, Maximilien Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety denounced the dechristianization campaign and tried to establish their own religion, without the superstitions of Catholicism.Censer and Hunt, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution, pp. 92–94.When Pope Pius VI took sides against the revolution in the First Coalition (1792–1797), Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Italy (1796).BOOK, Duffy, Eamon, Saints and Sinners, a History of the Popes, 1997, Yale University Press in association with S4C, Library of Congress Catalog card number 97-60897,
French troops imprisoned the Pope in 1797, and he died after six weeks of captivity.
After a change of heart, Napoleon then re-established the Catholic Church in France with the signing of the Concordat of 1801, and banned the Cult of the Supreme Being.Many anti-clerical policies continued. When Napoleonic armies entered a territory, monasteries were often sacked and church property secularized.BOOK,weblink Napoleon's Legacy: Problems of Government in Restoration Europe - Google Books,, 27 July 2013, BOOK,weblink The Churchman - Google Books,, 1985-12-29, 27 July 2013, BOOK,weblink Prosperity and Plunder: European Catholic Monasteries in the Age of ... - Derek Edward Dawson Beales - Google Books,, 2003-07-24, 27 July 2013, WEB,weblink Notes On Monastero San Paolo: Reentering The Vestibule of Paradise - Gordon College,, 27 July 2013,

Third Republic

A further phase of anti-clericalism occurred in the context of the French Third Republic and its dissensions with the Catholic Church. Prior to the 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State, the Catholic Church enjoyed preferential treatment from the French state (formally along with the Jewish, Lutheran and Calvinist minority religions, but in practice with much more influence than those). During the 19th century, public schools employed primarily priests as teachers, and religion was taught in schools (teachers were also obliged to lead the class to Mass). In 1881–1882 Jules Ferry's government passed the Jules Ferry laws, establishing free education (1881) and mandatory and lay education (1882), giving the basis of French public education. The Third Republic (1871–1940) firmly established itself after the 16 May 1877 crisis triggered by the Catholic Legitimists who wished for a return to the Ancien Régime.File:Chartreux expulsion 1903.jpg|thumb|Forcible closure of the Grande ChartreuseGrande ChartreuseIn 1880 and 1882 Benedictine teaching monks were effectively exiled. This was not completed until 1901.WEB,weblink Historique I,, 1941-07-11, 27 July 2013, BOOK,weblink A History of the Popes: 1830 - 1914 - Owen Chadwick - Google Books,, 27 July 2013, CE1913, Benedictine Order, Cyprian, Alston, 2, Wootton and Fishbourne {{webarchive |url= |date=September 14, 2008 }}WEB,weblink RGM 2005 OCSO,, 1947-02-28, 27 July 2013, A law of 7 July 1904 preventing religious congregations from teaching any longer, and the 1905 law on separation of state and church, were enacted under the government of Radical-Socialist Émile Combes. Alsace-Lorraine was not subjected to these laws as it was part of the German Empire then.In the Affaire des Fiches (1904-1905), it was discovered that the anticlerical War Minister of the Combes government, General Louis André, was determining promotions based on the French Masonic Grand Orient's card index on public officials, detailing which were Catholic and who attended Mass, with a view to preventing their promotions.{{harvnb|Franklin|2006|p=9}} (footnote 26) cites BOOK, Larkin, Maurice, Church and State after the Dreyfus Affair, 138–41, : JOURNAL, Freemasonry in France, Austral Light, 6, 1905, 164–72, 241–50, In the years following their relocations, boarding schools of congreganists were accused by some senators of trying to "recruit" French youth from abroad, placing the French Republic "in jeopardy":{{Col-2}}M. [César] Empereur. Je désire parler aussi sur l'enseignement secondaire, en appelant l'attention du Sénat sur le retour de certaines congrégations.M. [Raphaël] Milliès-Lacroix. Mais le chapitre à propos duquel vous auriez dû demander la parole est voté.M. le président. La parole est à M. Empereur, mais je le prie de vouloir renfermer ses explications dans le cadre du chapitre actuellement en discussion, qui est relatif aux bourses de l'enseignement primaire.M. Empereur. Il est intéressant de savoir que certaines congrégations, établies à l'étranger, essayent de recruter en France notre jeunesse pour leurs maisons d'éducation.M. [Léon] Jénouvrier. La République est en danger !M. Empereur. Quelles sont ces congrégations ?M. Jénouvrier. C'est intéressant à savoir.M. Empereur. M. le ministre en connaît certainement le nombre. J'ai pu me procurer le programme d'une de ces congrégations. Je veux parler de la congrégation du pensionnat de Passy, qui est allée s'établir à Froyennes, près de Tournai.M. Jénouvrier. Oui, en Belgique.M. Empereur. En Belgique, tout près...M. Jénouvrier. Tout près de la frontière.M. Empereur. Parfaitement !M. Dominique Delahaye. Ce qui est une grosse perte pour l'enseignement professionnel. Si la République a commis une faute, c'est bien celle-là !M. Empereur. La lecture de ce prospectus est certainement intéressante. Voici le programme. Je prends le chapitre « Historique et situation » : « Le pensionnat de Passy-Froyennes est la continuation de l'ancien pensionnat de Passy-Paris dont il conserve les programmes et les traditions... »{{Col-2}}M. Jénouvrier. Très bien !M. Empereur. Voilà qui est clair, franc et loyal.M. Jénouvrier. Très loyal.M. Empereur. « Le pensionnat de Passy-Paris a été transféré à Froyennes, en octobre 1905 » – l'année qui a suivi celle de la promulgation de la loi – « ... le nouvel établissement est situé en pleine campagne; tout près de la gare de Froyennes, à la bifurcation des lignes de Lille et de Mouscron (Roubaix, Tourcoing) et à cinq minutes de Tournai.« But et esprit du pensionnat :« Le pensionnat de Passy a été fondé pour assurer à la jeunesse le bienfait d'une éducation intellectuelle et morale vraiment chrétienne qui continue et complète celle de la famille.[ »] (Vives protestations sur un très grand nombre de bancs.)M. le rapporteur général de la commission des finances. Cela ne regarde pas le budget de l'instruction publique ni l'ensignement primaire ! (Adhésion générale.)M. Empereur. Cela intéresse l'enseignement secondaire. (Exclamations.)M. le rapporteur général. Mais nous ne sommes pas à l'enseignement secondaire; nous sommes à l'enseignement primaire. (Très bien ! très bien !)De nombreux sénateurs, s'adressant à M. Empereur. Vous interpellerez !M. le président. Je ne puis pas me dispenser, monsieur Empereur, de vous faire remarquer qu'il vous est difficile de parler contre le sentiment unanime de vos collègues. (Très bien ! très bien !)M. Empereur. Il est bien regrettable pourtant qu'on ne me laisse pas parler. Si M. le ministre de l'instruction publique veut accepter que je lui pose une question sur ce sujet demain...{{Col-end}}
DATE=4 JULY 1911VIA=GALLICA.BNF.FR, }}Republicans' anti-clericalism softened after the First World War as the Catholic right-wing began to accept the Republic and secularism. However, the theme of subsidized private schools in France, which are overwhelmingly Catholic but whose teachers draw pay from the state, remains a sensitive issue in French politics.

Austria (Holy Roman Empire)

Emperor Joseph II (emperor 1765-1790) opposed what he called "contemplative" religious institutions — reclusive Catholic institutions that he perceived as doing nothing positive for the community.CE1913, Joseph II, H., Franz, 8, His policy towards them are included in what is called Josephinism.Joseph decreed that Austrian bishops could not communicate directly with the Curia. More than 500 of 1,188 monasteries in Austro-Slav lands (and a hundred more in Hungary) were dissolved, and 60 million florins taken by the state. This wealth was used to create 1,700 new parishes and welfare institutions.{{sfn|Okey|2002|p=44}}The education of priests was taken from the Church as well. Joseph established six state-run "General Seminaries." In 1783, a Marriage Patent treated marriage as a civil contract rather than a religious institution.{{sfn|Berenger|1990|p=102}}Catholic Historians have claimed that there was an alliance between Joseph and anti-clerical Freemasons."In Germany and Austria, Freemasonry during the eighteenth century was a powerful ally of the so-called party, of "Enlightenment" (Aufklaerung), and of Josephinism" {{harv|Gruber|1909}} .


File:Kladderadatsch 1875 - Zwischen Berlin und Rom.png|thumb|"Between Berlin and Rome", with Bismarck on the left and the Pope on the right. KladderadatschKladderadatschThe Kulturkampf, (literally "culture struggle") refers to German policies in reducing the role and power of the Catholic Church in Prussia, enacted from 1871 to 1878 by the Prime Minister of Prussia, Otto von Bismarck.Bismarck accelerated the Kulturkampf, which did not extend to the other German states such as Bavaria (where Catholics were in a majority). As one scholar put it, "the attack on the church included a series of Prussian, discriminatory laws that made Catholics feel understandably persecuted within a predominantly Protestant nation." Jesuits, Franciscans, Dominicans and other orders were expelled in the culmination of twenty years of anti-Jesuit and antimonastic hysteria.Michael B. Gross, The war against Catholicism: liberalism and the anti-Catholic imagination in nineteenth-century Germany, p. 1, University of Michigan Press, 2004In 1871, the Catholic Church comprised 36.5% of the population of the German Empire, including millions of Germans in the west and South, as well as the vast majority of Poles. In this newly founded Empire, Bismarck sought to appeal to liberals and Protestants (62% of the population) by reducing the political and social influence of the Catholic Church.Priests and bishops who resisted the Kulturkampf were arrested or removed from their positions. By the height of anti-Catholic measures, half of the Prussian bishops were in prison or in exile, a quarter of the parishes had no priest, half the monks and nuns had left Prussia, a third of the monasteries and convents were closed, 1800 parish priests were imprisoned or exiled, and thousands of laypeople were imprisoned for helping the priests.Richard J. Helmstadter, Freedom and religion in the nineteenth century (1997), p. 19The Kulturkampf backfired, as it energized the Catholics to become a political force in the Centre party and revitalized Polish resistance. The Kulturkampf ended about 1880 with a new pope Leo XIII willing to negotiate with Bismarck. Bismarck broke with the Liberals over religion and over their opposition to tariffs; He won Centre party support on most of his conservative policy positions, especially his attacks against Socialism.


Anti-clericalism in Italy is connected with reaction against the absolutism of the Papal States, overthrown in 1870. For a long time, the Pope required Catholics not to participate in the public life of the Kingdom of Italy that had invaded the Papal States to complete the unification of Italy, prompting the pope to declare himself a "prisoner" in the Vatican. Some politicians that had played important roles in this process, such as Camillo Benso, conte di Cavour, were known to be hostile to the temporal and political power of the Church. Throughout the history of Liberal Italy, relations between the Italian government and the Church remained acrimonious, and anticlericals maintained a prominent position in the ideological and political debates of the era. Tensions eased between church and state in the 1890s and early 1900s as a result of both sides' mutual hostility toward the burgeoning Socialist movement, but official hostility between the Holy See and the Italian state was finally settled by fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and Pope Pius XI: the Lateran Accords were finalised in 1929.After World War II, anti-clericalism was embodied by the Italian Communist and Italian Socialist parties, in opposition to the Vatican-endorsed party Christian Democracy.The revision of the Lateran treaties during the 1980s by the Socialist Prime Minister of Italy Bettino Craxi, removed the status of "official religion" of the Catholic Church, but still granted a series of provisions in favour of the Church, such as the eight per thousand law, the teaching of religion in schools, and other privileges.Recently, the Catholic Church has been taking a more aggressive stance in Italian politics, in particular through Cardinal Camillo Ruini, who often makes his voice heard commenting the political debate and indicating the official line of the Church on various matters. This interventionism has increased with the papacy of Benedict XVI. Anti-clericalism, however, is not the official stance of most parties (with the exception of the Italian Radicals, who, however identify as laicist), as most party leaders consider it an electoral disadvantage to openly contradict the Church: since the demise of the Christian Democracy as a single party, Catholic votes are often swinging between the right and the left wing, and are considered to be decisive to win an election.


Your Movement is an anti-clerical party founded in 2011 by politician Janusz Palikot. Palikot's Movement won 10% of the national vote at the 2011 Polish parliamentary election.


The fall of the Monarchy in the Republican revolution of 1910 led to another wave of anti-clerical activity. Most church property was put under State control, and the church was not allowed to inherit property. The revolution and the republic which took a "hostile" approach to the issue of church and state separation, like that of the French Revolution, the Spanish Constitution of 1931 and the Mexican Constitution of 1917.BOOK, harv
first=Hans, Jodi Bruhn, 2004,weblink Totalitarianism and Political Religions, 0-7146-8529-1, 106, Routledge, As part of the anticlerical revolution, the bishops were driven from their dioceses, the property of clerics was seized by the state, wearing of the cassock was banned, all minor seminaries were closed and all but five major seminaries.{{sfn|Jedin|Dolan|Adriányi|1981|p=612}} A law of February 22, 1918 permitted only two seminaries in the country, but they had not been given their property back.{{sfn|Jedin|Dolan|Adriányi|1981|p=612}} Religious orders were expelled from the country, including 31 orders comprising members in 164 houses (in 1917 some orders were permitted to form again).{{sfn|Jedin|Dolan|Adriányi|1981|p=612}} Religious education was prohibited in both primary and secondary school.{{sfn|Jedin|Dolan|Adriányi|1981|p=612}} Religious oaths and church taxes were also abolished.


{{See also|Spanish confiscation}}(File:Almanac La Traca 1933.jpg|thumb|Anticlerical cover of a magazine published in Valencia in 1933.)The first instance of anti-clerical violence due to political conflict in 19th century Spain occurred during the Trienio Liberal (Spanish Civil War of 1820–1823). During riots in Catalonia, 20 clergymen were killed by members of the liberal movement in retaliation for the Church's siding with absolutist supporters of Ferdinand VII.In 1836 following the First Carlist War, the Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizábal () promulgated by Juan Álvarez Mendizábal, prime minister of the new regime abolished the major Spanish Convents and Monasteries.Germán Rueda Hernánz, La desamortización en España: un balance, 1766-1924, Arco Libros. 1997. {{ISBN|978-84-7635-270-0}}Many years later the Radical Republican Party leader Alejandro Lerroux would distinguish himself by his inflammatory pieces of opinion.

Second Republic and Civil War (1931-1939)

{{Further|Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War}}The Republican government which came to power in Spain in 1931 was based on secular principles. In the first years some laws were passed 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"Dilectissima Nobis 1933, § 9–10 Religious vestments, liturgical instruments, statues, pictures, vases, gems and other valuable objects were expropriated as well.Dilectissima Nobis 1933, § 12During the Civil War in Spain started in 1936, Catholics largely supported Franco and the Nationalist forces in the Spanish Civil War of 1936–1939. Anti-clerical assaults during what has been termed by the Nationalists Red Terror included sacking and burning monasteries and churches and killing 6,832 members of the clergy.{{Harvard citation no brackets|de la Cueva|1998|p=355}}Prior to the falangists joining Francisco Franco's unified alliance of right-wing parties, the party exhibited anti-clerical tendencies. the party was less ferverent in its support for the catholic church which it saw as an elite being an obstacle for the movement to be able to fully control the state. Despite this, no massacres of Catholics have been caused by falangists, whom supported the church as a result of their alliance to monarchists and other nationalist movements.This number comprises: There are accounts of Catholic faithful being forced to swallow rosary beads, thrown down mine shafts and priests being forced to dig their own graves before being buried alive.{{sfn|Beevor|2006|p={{page needed|date=August 2013}} }}{{sfn|Thomas|1961|p=174}} The Catholic Church has canonized several martyrs of the Spanish Civil War and beatified hundreds more.


In French Canada following the Conquest, much like in Ireland or Poland under foreign rule, the Catholic Church was the sole national institution not under the direct control of the British colonial government. It was also a major marker of social difference from the incoming Anglo-Protestant settlers. French Canadian identity was almost entirely centred around Catholicism, and to a much lesser extent the French language. However, there was a small anti-clerical movement in French Canada in the early nineteenth drawing inspiration from American and French liberal revolutions. This group was one current (but by no means the dominant) one in the Parti canadien its associated Lower Canada Rebellion of 1837. In the more democratic politics that followed the rebellions, the more radical and anti-clerical tendency eventually formed the Parti rouge in 1848.At the same time in English Canada, a related phenomenon occurred where the primarily Nonconformist (mostly Presbyterian and Methodist) Reform movement conflicted with an Anglican establishment. In Upper Canada, The Reform Movement began as protest against the "establishment" of the Anglican church.BOOK, Wilton, Carol, Popular Politics and Political Culture in Upper Canada 1800-1850, 2000, McGill-Queens University Press, Montreal/Kingston, 51–53, The vastly different religious backgrounds of the Reformers and rouges was one of the factors which prevented them from working together well during the era of two-party coalition government in Canada (1840–1867). By 1861, however, the two groups fused to create a united Liberal block.WEB, Federal Parties: The Liberal Party of Canada,weblink, 2011-11-09, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2011-10-10, After 1867, this party added like-minded reformers from the Maritime provinces, but struggled to win power, especially in still strongly-Catholic Quebec.Once Wilfrid Laurier became party leader, however, the party dropped its anti-clerical stance and went on to dominate Canadian politics throughout most of the twentieth century. Since that time, Liberal prime ministers have been overwhelmingly Catholic (St. Laurent, Trudeau, Chrétien, Martin), but since the 1960s Liberals have again had a strained relationship with the Catholic church, and have increasing parted with the Catholic church's teachings on sexual morality, as when Trudeau legalized homosexuality and streamlined divorce (as justice minister under Pearson), and Martin legalized same-sex marriage.In Quebec itself, the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s broke the hold of the church on provincial politics. The Quebec Liberal Party embraced formerly taboo social democratic ideas, and the state intervened in fields once dominated by the church, especially health and education, which were taken over by the provincial government. Quebec is now considered WEB,weblink Canada marching from religion to secularization, The Globe and Mail, Canada's most secular province.

United States

Although anti-clericalism is more often spoken of regarding the history or current politics of Latin countries where the Catholic Church was established and where the clergy had privileges, Philip Jenkins notes in his 2003 book The New Anti-Catholicism that the U.S., despite the lack of Catholic establishments, has always had anti-clericals.Jenkins, Philip, The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice, p. 10, Oxford University Press US, 2004

Latin America

Of the population of Latin America, about 71% acknowledge allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church.Fraser, Barbara J., weblink" title="">In Latin America, Catholics down, church's credibility up, poll says Catholic News Service June 23, 2005Oppenheimer, Andres Fewer Catholics in Latin America San Diego Tribune May 15, 2005 Consequently, about 43% of the world's Catholics inhabit the ‘Latin’ countries of South, Central and North America.The slowness to embrace religious freedom in Latin America is related to its colonial heritage and to its post-colonial history. The Aztec, Maya and Inca cultures made substantial use of religious leaders to ideologically support governing authority and power. This pre-existing role of religion as ideological adjunct to the state in pre-Columbian culture made it relatively easy for the Spanish conquistadors to replace native religious structures with those of a Catholicism that was closely linked to the Spanish throne.JOURNAL, Paul E., Sigmund, 1996, Emory University School of Law, Emory International Law Review, Religious Human Rights in the World Today: A Report on the 1994 Atlanta Conference: Legal Perspectives on Religious Human Rights: Religious Human Rights in Latin America, Anti-clericalism was a common feature of 19th-century liberalism in Latin America. This anti-clericalism was often purportedly based on the idea that the clergy (especially the prelates who ran the administrative offices of the Church) were hindering social progress in areas such as public education and economic development.Beginning in the 1820s, a succession of liberal regimes came to power in Latin America.Stacy, Mexico and the United States (2003), p. 139 Some members of these liberal regimes sought to imitate the Spain of the 1830s (and revolutionary France of a half-century earlier) in expropriating the wealth of the Catholic Church, and in imitating the eighteenth-century benevolent despots in restricting or prohibiting the religious orders. As a result, a number of these liberal regimes expropriated Church property and tried to bring education, marriage and burial under secular authority. The confiscation of Church properties and changes in the scope of religious liberties (in general, increasing the rights of non-Catholics and non-observant Catholics, while licensing or prohibiting the orders) generally accompanied secularist and governmental reforms.Norman, The Roman Catholic Church an Illustrated History (2007), pp. 167–72


{{Expand section|date=September 2018}}The Mexican Constitution of 1824 had required the Republic to prohibit the exercise of any religion other than the Roman Catholic and Apostolic faith.WEB,weblink Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States (1824),, 27 July 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2012-03-18,

Reform War

Starting in 1855, President Benito Juárez issued decrees nationalizing church property, separating church and state, and suppressing religious orders. Church properties were confiscated and basic civil and political rights were denied to religious orders and the clergy.

Cristero War

More severe laws called Calles Law during the rule of Plutarco Elías Calles eventually led to the Cristero War, an armed peasant rebellion against the Mexican government supported by the Catholic Church.Chadwick, A History of Christianity (1995), pp. 264–5Following the Mexican Revolution of 1910, the new Mexican Constitution of 1917 contained further anti-clerical provisions. Article 3 called for secular education in the schools and prohibited the Church from engaging in primary education; Article 5 outlawed monastic orders; Article 24 forbade public worship outside the confines of churches; and Article 27 placed restrictions on the right of religious organizations to hold property. Article 130 deprived clergy members of basic political rights. Many of these laws were resisted, leading to the Cristero Rebellion of 1927–1929. The suppression of the Church included the closing of many churches and the killing of priests. The persecution was most severe in Tabasco under the atheist"Peter Godman, "Graham Greene's Vatican Dossier" The Atlantic Monthly 288.1 (July/August 2001): 85. The church-supported armed rebellion only escalated the violence. US Diplomat Dwight Morrow was brought in to mediate the conflict. But 1928 saw the assassination of President Alvaro Obregón by Catholic radical José de León Toral, gravely damaging the peace process.The war had a profound effect on the Church. Between 1926 and 1934 at least 40 priests were killed.Van Hove, Brian Blood-Drenched Altars Faith & Reason 1994
Between 1926 and 1934, over 3,000 priests were exiled or assassinated.Scheina, Latin America's Wars: The Age of the Caudillo (2003), p. 33WEB, Van Hove, Brian, Blood Drenched Altars, EWTN, 1994,weblink 2008-03-09,
Where 4,500 priests served the people before the rebellion, in 1934 there were only 334 priests licensed by the government to serve fifteen million people, the rest having been eliminated by emigration, expulsion and assassination.Scheina, Robert L. M1 Latin America's Wars: The Age of the Caudillo, 1791–1899 p. 33 (2003 Brassey's) {{ISBN|978-1-57488-452-4}}
It appears that ten states were left without any priests.
The Cristero rebels committed their share of violence, which continued even after formal hostilities had ended. In some of the worst cases, public school teachers were tortured and murdered by the former Cristero rebels.BOOK, The Mexican right: the end of revolutionary reform, 1929–1940, John W. Sherman, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1997, 978-0-275-95736-0, 43–45,weblink BOOK, Setting the Virgin on fire: Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán peasants, and the redemption of the Mexican Revolution, Marjorie Becker, University of California Press, 1995, 978-0-520-08419-3, 124–126,weblink BOOK, Performing the community: representation, ritual and reciprocity in the Totonac Highlands of Mexico, Cora Govers, LIT Verlag Münster, 2006, 978-3-8258-9751-2, 132,weblink It is calculated that almost 300 rural teachers were murdered in this way between 1935 and 1939.BOOK, The reconquest of Mexico: the years of Lázaro Cárdenas, Nathaniel Weyl, Mrs. Sylvia Castleton Weyl, Oxford university press, 1939, 322,weblink


This issue was one of the bases for the lasting dispute between Conservatives, who represented primarily the interests of the Sierra and the church, and the Liberals, who represented those of the Costa and anticlericalism. Tensions came to a head in 1875 when the conservative President Gabriel García Moreno, after being elected to his third term, was allegedly assassinated by anticlerical Freemasons.Berthe, P. Augustine, translated from French by Mary ElizabethHerbert Garcia Moreno, President of Ecuador, 1821–1875 p. 297-300, 1889 Burns and OatesBurke, Edmund Annual Register: A Review of Public Events at Home and Abroad, for the year 1875 p.323 1876 Rivingtons


{{Further|La Violencia}}Colombia enacted anticlerical legislation and its enforcement during more than three decades (1849–84).La Violencia refers to an era of civil conflict in various areas of the Colombian countryside between supporters of the Colombian Liberal Party and the Colombian Conservative Party, a conflict which took place roughly from 1948 to 1958.BOOK, Stokes, Doug,weblink America's Other War : Terrorizing Colombia, Zed Books, 2005, 978-1-84277-547-9, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2016-01-09, p. 68, Both Livingstone and Stokes quote a figure of 200,000 dead between 1948–1953 (Livingstone) and "a decade war" (Stokes)*JOURNAL
, Camilo A.
, Azcarate
, March 1999
, Psychosocial Dynamics of the Armed Conflict in Colombia
, Online Journal of Peace and Conflict Resolution
, dead
,weblink" title="">weblink
, 2008-09-07
, Azcarate quotes a figure of 300,000 dead between 1948–1959*JOURNAL
, Pedro Ruz
, Gutiérrez
, October 31, 1999
, Bullets, Bloodshed And Ballots;For Generations, Violence Has Defined Colombia's Turbulent Political History
, Orlando Sentinel (Florida)
, G1
, dead
,weblink" title="">weblink
, May 31, 2006
, Political violence is not new to that South American nation of 38 million people. In the past 100 years, more than 500,000 Colombians have died in it. From the "War of the Thousand Days," a civil war at the turn of the century that left 100,000 dead, to a partisan clash between 1948 and 1966 that claimed nearly 300,000...WEB
, Charles
, Bergquist
, David J. Robinson
, 1997–2005
, Colombia
, Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2005
, Microsoft Corporation
, April 16, 2006
,weblink" title="">weblink
, 2007-11-11
, dead
, On April 9, 1948, Gaitán was assassinated outside his law offices in downtown Bogotá. The assassination marked the start of a decade of bloodshed, called La Violencia (the violence), which took the lives of an estimated 180,000 Colombians before it subsided in 1958.Across the country, militants attacked churches, convents, and monasteries, killing priests and looking for arms, since the conspiracy theory maintained that the religious had guns, and this despite the fact that not a single serviceable weapon was located in the raids.{{sfn|Williford|2005|p=218}}When their party came to power in 1930, anticlerical Liberals pushed for legislation to end Church influence in public schools. These Liberals held that the Church and its intellectual backwardness were responsible for a lack of spiritual and material progress in Colombia. Liberal-controlled local, departmental and national governments ended contracts with religious communities who operated schools in government-owned buildings, and set up secular schools in their place. These actions were sometimes violent, and were met by a strong opposition from clerics, Conservatives, and even a good number of more moderate Liberals.


The original Argentine Constitution of 1853 provided that all Argentine presidents must be Catholic and stated that the duty of the Argentine congress was to convert the Indians to Catholicism. All of these provisions have been eliminated with the exception of the mandate to "sustain" Catholicism.Liberal anti-clericalists of the 1880s established a new pattern of church-state relations in which the official constitutional status of the Church was preserved while the state assumed control of many functions formerly the province of the Church. Conservative Catholics, asserting their role as definers of national values and morality, responded in part by joining in the rightist religio-political movement known as Catholic Nationalism which formed successive opposition parties. This began a prolonged period of conflict between church and state that persisted until the 1940s when the Church enjoyed a restoration of its former status under the presidency of Colonel Juan Perón. Perón claimed that Peronism was the "true embodiment of Catholic social teaching" – indeed, more the embodiment of Catholicism than the Catholic Church itself.In 1954, Argentina saw extensive destruction of churches, denunciations of clergy and confiscation of Catholic schools as Perón attempted to extend state control over national institutions.Norman, The Roman Catholic Church an Illustrated History (2007), pp. 167–8The renewed rupture in church-state relations was completed when Perón was excommunicated. However, in 1955, he was overthrown by a military general who was a leading member of the Catholic Nationalist movement.


In Venezuela, the government of Antonio Guzmán Blanco (in office from 1870–1877, from 1879–1884, and from 1886–1887) virtually crushed the institutional life of the church, even attempting to legalize the marriage of priests. These anticlerical policies remained in force for decades afterward.


Cuba, under the rule of atheist Fidel Castro, succeeded in reducing the Church's ability to work by deporting the archbishop and 150 Spanish priests, by discriminating against Catholics in public life and education and by refusing to accept them as members of the Communist Party. The subsequent flight of 300,000 people from the island also helped to diminish the Church there.Chadwick, A History of Christianity (1995), p. 266


File:Map of state atheism.svg|thumb|right|400px|{{longitem|World map showing nations that formerly or currently practice state atheism.{{refn|Supporting sources listed as of January 22, 2018 for the world map showing nations that formerly or currently practice state atheism: w:Afghanistan|Afghanistan]]{{R|"Stanton_2012"}};w:Albania|Albania]]{{R|"Hall_1999"}}; w:Angola|Angola]]{{R|Marques de Morais_2014}}; w:Armenia|Armenia]]{{R|"Kowalewski_1980_p426-441"}}; Azerbaijan{{R|"Kowalewski_1980_p426-441"}}; Belarus{{R|"Kowalewski_1980_p426-441"}}; Benin{{R|"Clarke_2009"}}; Bosnia-Herzegovina{{R|"Avramovic_2007_p599"}}{{R|"Kideckel-Halpern_2000"}}; w:Bulgaria|Bulgaria]]{{R|Kalkandjieva_2015}}; Cambodia{{R|"Wessinger_2000"}}; China{{R|"deccanherald_212827"}}; w:Croatia|Croatia]]{{R|"Avramovic_2007_p599"}}{{R|Kideckel-Halpern_2000}}; w:Republic of the Congo|Congo]]{{R|"Clark_2012"}}; w:Cuba|Cuba]]{{R|Mallin_1994}}; w:Czech Republic|Czechia]]{{R|"Ramet_1998"}}; w:East Germany|East Germany]]{{R|"Kellner_2014"}}; w:Eritrea|Eritrea]]{{R|"Ethiopia"}}; w:Estonia|Estonia]]{{R|"Kowalewski_1980_p426-441"}}; w:Ethiopia|Ethiopia]]{{R|"Ethiopia"}}; w:Hungary|Hungary]]{{R|"Zuckerman_2009"}}; w:Kazakhstan|Kazakhstan]]{{R|"Kowalewski_1980_p426-441"}}; w:Kyrgyzstan|Kyrgyzstan]]{{R|"Kowalewski_1980_p426-441"}}; w:Laos|Laos]]{{R|Stiller_2003}}; Latvia{{R|"Kowalewski_1980_p426-441"}}; Lithuania{{R|"Kowalewski_1980_p426-441"}}; Macedonia{{R|"Avramovic_2007_p599"}}{{R|Kideckel-Halpern_2000}}; Mexico{{R|"Haas_2000"}}; Moldova{{R|"Kowalewski_1980_p426-441"}}; Mongolia{{R|"Sanders_2003"}}; Montenegro{{R|"Avramovic_2007_p599"}}{{R|Kideckel-Halpern_2000}}; Mozambique{{R|"Van-den-Bergh-Collier_2007"}}; North Korea{{R|"Temperman_2010_p141-145"}}; Poland{{R|"Walaszek_1986_p118-134"}}; Romania{{R|"Leustean_2009"}}; Serbia{{R|"Avramovic_2007_p599"}}{{R|Kideckel-Halpern_2000}}; Slovakia{{R|"Ramet_1998"}}; Slovenia{{R|"Avramovic_2007_p599"}}{{R|Kideckel-Halpern_2000}}; Tajikistan{{R|"Kowalewski_1980_p426-441"}}; Turkmenistan{{R|"Kowalewski_1980_p426-441"}}; Ukraine{{R|"Kowalewski_1980_p426-441"}}; Uzbekistan{{R|"Kowalewski_1980_p426-441"}}; Vietnam{{R|"Dodd_2003_p571"}}; Yemen, or more specifically, Campbell_2015}}}} State atheism is potentially a form of anti-clericalism.{{legend|#F08080|Countries that formerly practiced state atheism}}{{legend|#DC143C|Countries that currently practice state atheism}} }}In the Soviet Union, anti-clericalism was expressed through the state; in the first five years alone after the Bolshevik revolution, 28 bishops and 1,200 priests were executed.MAGAZINE, Ostling, Richard, Cross meets Kremlin, TIME Magazine, June 24, 2001,weblink 2007-07-03,weblink" title="">weblink 13 August 2007, live,

Anticlericalism in the Islamic world


Molla Nasraddin (magazine)


{{expand section|date=February 2017}}Atatürk


During the fall of Suharto in 1998, a witch hunt in Banyuwangi against alleged sorcerers spiraled into widespread riots and violence. In addition to alleged sorcerers, Islamic clerics were also targeted and killed, Nahdlatul Ulama members were murdered by rioters.WEB,weblink The Banyuwangi murders - Inside Indonesia, WEB,weblink That New Black Magic, DAVID, LIEBHOLD, 19 October 1998,,


In 1925, Rezā Khan proclaimed himself shah of the country. As part of his Westernization program, the traditional role of the ruling clergy was minimized; Islamic schools were secularized, women were forbidden to wear the hijab, sharia law was abolished, and men and women were desegregated in educational and religious environments. All this infuriated the ultraconservative clergy as a class. Rezā Khan's son and heir Mohammad Reza Pahlavi continued such practices. They ultimately contributed to the Islamic Revolution of 1978–79, and the Shah's flight from his country.When Ayatollah Khomeini took power a month after the revolution, the Shah's anticlerical measures were largely overturned, replaced by an Islamic Republic based on the principle of rule by Islamic jurists, (Hokumat-e Islami : Velayat-e faqih (book by Khomeini)|velayat-e faqih), where clerics serve as heads of state and hold many powerful governmental positions. However, by the late 1990s and 2000s, anti-clericalism was reported to be significant in the Islamic Republic of Iran.}}Demonstrators using slogans such as "The clerics live like kings while we live in poverty!" One report claims "Working-class Iranian lamented clerical wealth in the face of their own poverty," and "stories about Swiss bank accounts of leading clerics circulated on Tehran's rumor mill."Molavi, Afshin, The Soul of Iran, Norton, (2005), p.163

Certain branches of Freemasonry

According to the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, Freemasonry was historically viewed by the Catholic Church as being a principal source of anti-Clericalism,"From the official documents of French Masonry contained principally in the official 'Bulletin' and 'Compte-rendu' of the Grand Orient it has been proved that all the anti-clerical measures passed in the French Parliament were decreed beforehand in the Masonic lodges and executed under the direction of the Grand Orient, whose avowed aim is to control everything and everybody in France" ({{harvnb| Gruber|1909}} cites "Que personne ne bougera plus en France en dehors de nous", "Bull. Gr. Or.", 1890, 500 sq.) – especially in, but not limited to,"But in spite of the failure of the official transactions, there are a great many German and not a few American Masons, who evidently favour at least the chief anti-clerical aims of the Grand Orient party" {{harv|Gruber|1909}} historically Catholic countries.

See also

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{{History of the Catholic Church}}{{Religion and politics}}

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