Llorente, Juan Antonio

views updated


Spanish historian; b. Rincón del Soto, Aragon, March 30, 1756; d. Madrid, Spain, Feb. 5, 1823. Llorente was educated in Tarragona and continued his studies in Roman law and Canon Law at Zaragoza. He was ordained in 1779, and in 1781 became an advocate at the Council of Castile. The following year the bishop of Calahorra appointed him vicar-general of that diocese. Although in his religious views Llorente was already strongly influenced by jansenism and the ideas of the Enlightenment, he was appointed a commissioner of the Inquisition. In 1794 his plan for a reform of the Holy Office was used by the royal minister, Gaspar Jovellanos, and later Manuel de Godoy used it for the initial steps in the establishment of a schismatic church. Llorente's program envisaged the restoration of the Spanish Church to conditions that had prevailed in the sixth and seventh centuries, and this was set forth in his Collección diplomatica de varios papeles antiguos y modernos sobre dispensas matrimoniales y otros puntos de disciplina ecclesiástica. During the French occupation of Spain, he gave his allegiance to Joseph Bonaparte and was finally put in charge of the property confiscated from the Church by the French regime. The French defeat in Spain forced Llorente to go to France, and he took with him a good part of the archives of the Aragonese Inquisition. Although he wrote many books, a major part of them polemical in character, his most valuable work is his Histoire critique de l'Inquisition d'Espagne (4 v. Paris 181718).

[s. j. t. miller]