Portugal, The Catholic Church in
PORTUGAL, THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN
The Portuguese Republic is located on the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula of Europe, and is bordered on the north and east by Spain. Mountains and the Douro, Mondego and Tagus Rivers divide the country into east-west regions. The south has a Mediterranean climate while the central and north have an Atlantic climate. Portugal, including the Azores and Madeira islands, possesses natural resources that include cork, tungsten, iron ore, uranium and marble. Among its agricultural products are grains, potatoes, olives, grapes, livestock, poultry and diary products. Earthquakes occur frequently in the Azores.
The region was visited by Celts from the 6th to the 2d century b.c., Romans c. 137 b.c., and Suevi in the 5th century, was invaded by the Moors between the 8th and 13th centuries, and received Jewish and African immigrants between the 15th and 18th centuries. In Roman times the area of modern Portugal covered most of the province of Lusitania and part of Galicia. Barbarian Suevi held the north from 411 to 585, and in the 10th and 11th centuries the county of Porto gradually spread south to include all Portuguese territory freed from the Moors in 1095. Since 1139 Portugal has been independent except for a period under Spanish rule (1580–1640). In 1910 the country adopted a republican form of government, and from 1932 to 1968 it was dominated by António de Oliveira Salazar (1889–1970) who ruled as a virtual dictator. A coup in April of 1974 brought constitutional democracy to the country following initial revolutionary instability. Subsequently, all the Portuguese overseas territories became independent, the last, Macau, returning to China in 1999. The liberation movement in the overseas provinces, especially in Angola, had farreaching demographic and economic consequences because it caused many of Portuguese descent to seek refuge in Portugal. Portugal became a member of the European Union in 1986.
The following essay is in three parts. Part one covers the early church through 1495; part two covers the Church from 1495 to 1900; the third covers the Church through the 20th century.
Ecclesiastical History to 1495
There were Christians in Portugal probably shortly after Apostolic times. The accounts of the early 4th-century martyrs Verissimus, Maxima and Julia in Lisbon and Victor in Braga are of later date. Bishops Liberius of Mérida, Vincent of Ossonoba and Quintianus of Évora attended the Council of elvira c. 304; and Potamius of Lisbon (357) was an important adversary of Arianism. The 4th century was more noteworthy, however, for the lengthy controversy over Pelagianism, which exhibited the attraction of novel doctrines and rigorous asceticism in Galicia and Lusitania, as well as the strong reaction of local Christians against heresy. The monk Baquiarius and two priests of Braga named Avitus distinguished themselves in this controversy. By 400 Braga (Bishop Paternus) joined Ossonoba, Évora and Lisbon as a known Portuguese bishopric (metropolitanate of Galicia).
Barbarian Suevi, Vandals and Alans invaded and occupied the west of the peninsula in 411. While the Vandals and Alans moved on to Africa, the Suevi formed an independent kingdom (411–585) and revived paganism and Priscillianism before King Rechiarius (d. 457) became Catholic; but in 465 they adopted Arianism. Paul orosius had to flee Braga, and in 460 hydatius of Chaves was imprisoned. Religious decline was halted by St. martin of braga, who c. 550 converted the Suevi king to Catholicism and organized the first rural parishes. john of biclaro, a native of Scalabis (Santarém) and Apringius of Beja lived in this period, when Braga was extending its influence south at the expense of mÉrida. Christian prosperity under the Suevi was threatened by the Arian Visigoths conquest of 585, but continued after the conversion to Catholicism of Visigoth King Reccared in 587. With the establishment of the religious center of Spain in Toledo, Galicia became less prominent in the Christian world, but its bishops and those of Lusitania always attended the councils of toledo. Only in 650, however, did Mérida regain the sees made suffragan to Braga in the previous century. St. fructuosus of braga (d.665) is famous for his pastoral and monastic activity under Visigothic rule.
Like Spain, Portugal experienced an Arab invasion from 711 to 713. Christians remaining under Muslim rule continued for the most part to practice their religion, yet little is known of the conditions of their life. Many bishops fled to the north, and used the titles of their sees in exile. Reconquest expeditions of the 9th and 10th centuries
restored the Sees of Porto, Coimbra, Lamego and Viseu, but until the definite reconquests by the Castilians Ferdinand I (1055–64) and Alfonso VI (1093) life remained precarious. Although Braga was restored in 1070, the bishop of Coimbra administered Lamego and Viseu until the 12th century and Lugo retained the metropolitan rights it obtained during the exile of the bishop of Braga. The success of santiago de compostela as a pilgrimage center led its bishop to also claim metropolitan rights. Braga's rights to the pallium were thus not restored until 1101.
Saints froilÁn (d. 905), attilanus (d. 916) and Rosendus (d. 977) restored monasteries and reorganized Christian life throughout Galicia. Those cities abandoned in the face of warfare were slowly restored, especially the important economic and political center of Porto, although they continued as traditional ecclesiastical centers. Of more importance, especially north of the Douro, were the monasteries, strong points in the repopulation of the country and in close dependence on the rural nobility. In the 10th century were founded Guimarães, Cete, Vairão, Lorvão, Arouca, Paço de Sousa and Santo Tirso; in the 11th century, Pedroso, Pendorada, Rio Tinto, Vilar de Frades, pombeiro, Bostelo and others.
The French Influence: 1080–1185. Christian life changed course c. 1080 and became more vigorous after contact with French monks and knights and with pilgrims returning to the peninsula from abroad. Whereas previously the ideal had been to restore Visigothic tradition and institutions, now many influences from beyond the Pyrenees were incorporated with the support of Bishop Cresconius of Coimbra (d. 1098). Dioceses adopted the Roman liturgy and the organization of archdeaconries; monasteries adopted the Benedictine rule and the customs of cluny. In 1095 the county of Porto was granted to Henry of Burgundy, son-in-law of Alfonso VI of Castile. The See of Braga was occupied by St. gerald (d.1108), a monk of moissac; the See of Coimbra by Maurice Burdin, from limoges; and the See of Porto by Hugh, probably also a Frenchman. Cluny had three priories: Rates, S. Justa of Coimbra and Vimieiro. The gregorian reform came into effect; simony, lay patronage, marriages of kinship and other abuses were suppressed.
Before 1150, however, exempt monasteries were extremely rare.
When Alfonso I became king of Portugal in 1139, the prelates supported Portuguese independence from Castile, which was confirmed with the acknowledging of vassalage to the Holy See in 1143. Lisbon was reconquered in 1147 with the help of a Crusader fleet of English, Frisians and Germans, and the see was bestowed on an English crusader. In his domestic policy too, Alfonso relied on close collaboration with the clergy: restoring the Sees of Lisbon, Lamego, Viseu (1147) and Évora (1165), granting charters of immunity to almost all monasteries of any importance, strongly supporting the canonical reform (1131) of Telus and St. theotonius in santa cruz of Coimbra, introducing Cistercians in alcobaÇa with generous grants (1153), supporting the foundation of a military order in Évora (1164) and making concessions to the Templars in thomar (1160). With such royal backing, Cistercians and Augustinians spread widely, Cistercians in Tarouca, Lafões, Salzedas, Sever, Fiães and Aguiar; and Augustinians in Grijó, Moreira, S. Simão da Junqueira, Vilela, Roriz, Cárquere, Refojos de Lima and S. Vincente of Lisbon. The most powerful bishops were those of Braga and Porto, holding exempt lands from 1112 and 1120. The richest Benedictine monasteries had scriptoria to copy manuscripts (almost all lost), but most devoted themselves to a well-organized life of rural work. The military orders, rich in lands, assured the defense and repopulation of central and south Portugal.
Tension between Church and Throne. The prosperity and influence of the Church in Portugal provoked stronger and stronger reactions from the civil authority, beginning with Sancho I (1185–1211), whose conflicts with Bishops Martin Rodrigues of Porto in 1208 and Peter Soares of Coimbra in 1210 were sporadic and personal. Alfonso II (1211–23) made the conflict a legal one, promulgating laws against the mortmain of ecclesiastical goods and ordering inquiries as to whether or not clerical property had been acquired by usurpation. Jurists at court, such as Gonçalo Mendes and Mestre Vicente, followed the spirit of Roman law and supported royal claims. The failure of Sancho II (1223–45) to suppress disorders led to his deposition by Innocent IV after the Council of lyons, at the request of the Portuguese bishops. The throne passed to his brother, Alfonso III (1245–70), count of Bologna, who, seeking to increase royal power, ordered new inquiries into ecclesiastical holdings in 1258 and maintained the struggle against the clergy until his death. The tension ended only under Denis (1279–1325), who established a concordat with the clergy in 1282.
Power struggles between the clergy and the crown were not a symptom of crisis; on the contrary, the secular clergy was growing in prestige and number, and gained official recognition of the privileges that gave them their own courts, military exemption, special jurisdiction with regard to wills and tax exemption. Only the first of these privileges was contested with frequency during this time. The new mendicant orders, Franciscans and Dominicans, favored by the royal family and the people, served as mediators in Church-State disputes. The military orders kept their powerful organizations, but after the reconquest of Portugal was completed in 1249, the king regarded them as a standing army to defend the country, and they turned to the cultivation of their extensive farm lands.
The 1282 concordat of Denis with the clergy began for the Church a period of peace and submission to the State. In 1361 King Peter I (1357–67) required that papal bulls be published only with royal approval. During the western schism King Ferdinand I (1367–83) decided first to support the Roman claimant Urban VI (1378–89), then to observe neutrality (1379), then to follow Clement VII (1380) and finally to recognize Urban again (1381).
The bishops were also undecided; some sees had two prelates, one named by Rome and one by Avignon. The Church's political decline showed itself in other ways, and by 1345 the immunity of the powerful bishop of Porto was suppressed. Benedictine, Cistercian and Augustinian monasteries, at odds with the ruling nobility and unable to keep pace with the urbanization of society, suffered in revenue and discipline. Dominicans and Franciscans multiplied, but were divided into conventuals and observants. The military orders organized their possessions into grants, which were distributed to their knights. Many instances of witchcraft and superstition occurred. Bishop alvaro pelayo of silves (d. 1352) vehemently denounced the religious deterioration. Despite the decline, King Denis, on the initiative of several abbots and priors, founded in 1290 the University of Lisbon, which
moved to coimbra in 1308. The military order of christ was created in 1319 and endowed with the possessions of the Templars.
From Decline to Revivial: 1385–1495. The Aviz dynasty (1385–1580) in the person of John I (1385–1433) gained the throne of Portugal as the national hero Nuno Álvares Pereira defeated the Castilian attempt at succession in the battle of Aljubarrota (1385). The ensuing political renaissance was accompanied by a religious resurgence and conflicts between king and clergy arose in 1426, 1436 and 1455. Alfonso V (1438–81) again required royal approval of papal bulls, but King John II's repeal of the order in 1487 showed the strength of the revived Church, a strength that derived from the new spirit characteristic of the expansion overseas after the 1415 conquest of Ceuta. The expeditions sent along the coast of Africa by Prince Henry the Navigator almost always
carried Franciscan and Augustinian missionaries who evangelized the natives.
Many events figured in the religious renaissance. A new metropolitan see was created in Lisbon in 1393 with Évora, Lamego, Guarda and Silves as suffragans. Portuguese sees incorporated territory hitherto subject to Spanish bishops. The Order of Christ assumed spiritual jurisdiction for overseas territories in 1456. The Holy See created the Portuguese nunciature and in 1460 gave the king the title "Most Faithful." John Álvares and Gomes Anes of Florença reformed the Benedictines in Paço de Sousa and the Augustinians in Santa Cruz. Hieronymites entered Portugal in 1389; Carmelites, Augustinians and Hermits of Serra de Ossa prospered; and houses of strict observance appeared among Dominicans (1399) and Franciscans (1443). The order of Canons of St. John the Evangelist for charitable work was founded in 1420. Saints flourished: Gonçalo de Lagos (d. 1422), Nuno Álvares Pereira (d. 1431), the Infante Blessed ferdinand (d. 1443), Princess Blessed joan (d. 1490) and Beatrice da Silva (d. 1490) foundress of the Conceptionists. However, by 1450 decline began to spread rapidly, especially in the old monastic orders and the secular clergy, among whom there were several unworthy bishops. The changes in society caused by overseas discoveries were becoming evident.
Ecclesiastical History since 1495
In 1415 Portugal began the conquest of morocco and the exploration and colonization of the west coast of Africa: the Madeira Islands (1418–20), the Azores (c. 1430), the congo (1482), and the Cape of Good Hope (1487). In approximately 1497 Vasco da Gama reached India by an all-sea route, and in 1500 Pedro Álvares Cabral reached Brazil. Because of the 1494 Peace of Tordesillas with Spain, Portugal's empire extended from Brazil to the East Indies. A maritime empire was organized with centers in Ormuz, Goa and Singapore that evolved into a royal monopoly of the spice trade. In 1551 the king became grand master of the Order of Christ, which had ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the overseas possessions.
Missionary work was done by several orders. Missions to the Congo began in 1490–91 and had success under the native King Alfonso, whose son Henry was consecrated bishop in 1518; but after Alfonso's death (1543) the activity declined as Portugal directed her efforts to the East. The mission to Mozambique in 1560 had quick and spectacular success but failed almost as quickly and spectacularly, probably due to the opposition of Islam. The mission to Angola in 1560 failed, but another in 1578 succeeded, and in 1596 a bishopric was established at Massangano. An elaborately prepared mission to Christian Ethiopia (1545–56) came to nothing. The weakness of Portuguese missions was that the personnel were too few and far between to deal with continental areas and only a peripheral effort on the coasts could be made. The greatest success came in brazil, where Jesuits expanded rapidly south from Bahia after 1549, and with only 63 missionaries, covered the coast by 1600. Missionaries exercised considerable civil authority in organizing the nomadic natives of Brazil, but their efforts were hindered by the disrupting practice of slavery pursued by Portuguese colonists. Missionary activity in the Portuguese empire declined after 1600; and in the 18th century, when the religious orders were expelled from Portugal, it dwindled further.
The Decline of the State: 1495–1580. The strong reign of Manuel I (1495–1521) was followed by a period of political decline that culminated in 1580 when Spain ended Portuguese independence. The Church then reformed herself for a new period of splendor. Sometimes brutal steps were taken to purify the faith, one of which was the expulsion of thousands of Jews and Muslims in 1496, an action that was motivated by Manuel's desire to marry a Spanish princess (deporting the Jews was a condition of marriage imposed by King Ferdinand and
Queen Isabella, who had done the same in Spain four years earlier). Rather than lose a valuable segment of society, Manuel forced many Jews to convert to Christianity, the threat of prison, torture or death at the stake serving as an inducement to many. Other steps to purify the faith included the initiation of the inquisition in 1536 by John III (1521–57) and its extension overseas. The Scot George Buchanan, who taught at Coimbra (1547–50), was imprisoned by the Inquisition (1550–52) and Damião de Goes, brought to trial for contact with Luther and Melanchthon, was abjured (1572). The Inquisition served mostly to increase royal authority.
More effective in raising the religious level were the Jesuits, established in 1540; the appointment of zealous bishops such as Jerónimo Osório of Silves (d. 1580), Baltasar Limpo of Porto and Braga (d. 1558) and Bartolomeu dos Mártires of Braga (d. 1590); the provincial synods of Lisbon, Braga and Évora (1566–67) to enforce the Council of trent; the creation of new dioceses in Leiria, Miranda, Portalegre and Elvas, and the new metropolitanate in Évora; the 18 new dioceses established outside the country, including Funchal (1514), which at first embraced all overseas possessions; the reorganization of the University of Lisbon and the creation of that of Évora in 1559; the building of seminaries in Lisbon and Braga; and the gradual suppression of commendatory abbots in Benedictine, Cistercian and Augustinian monasteries. Such measures as these reinvigorated spiritual and intellectual life. The monastic orders were reformed through the influence of the Hieronymites, Augustinians, Arrábidos and Jesuits. There were saints, such as St. john of god (d. 1550) and the overseas martyrs. In recognition of the missionary endeavor, the Holy See in 1514 granted the king of Portugal the padroado over the metropolitanate and all overseas possessions, a right of patronage that lasted in India until 1950.
The Intellectual Age: The 17th-18th Century Church. After King Sebastian (1557–78) was slain in an attempt to conquer Morocco, the aged and feeble Henry II (1578–80) was unable to prevent the annexation of Portugal by philip ii of spain. John IV (1640–56) restored Portuguese independence, which continued under the Bragança dynasty from 1640 to 1853. This dynasty was characterized by a period of religious stability characterized by a constant defense against heretics and an isolation that slowly drained the practice of the faith of vigor and originality. Several orders entered the country—Hospitallers in 1606, Capuchins in 1647, Theatines in 1650, Discalced Augustinians in 1663 and Apostolic Missionaries in 1679—but their influence was limited, and most attention was devoted to speculative theology, Canon Law, history and to sacred oratory. More serious was the refusal of the Holy See, on the request of Spain, to name bishops to Portuguese dioceses between 1640–70. One bishop served in Portugal and its overseas possessions from 1658 to 1668, and none in 1669. This attitude of Rome promoted a tendency to regalism. Only Oratorians (1659) were important, because of their educational work; their college in Lisbon (1750) became famous for studies in natural science and philosophy.
King John V (1706–50), titled "Most Faithful" by the Holy See in 1748, began a policy of regalism with Church support. In return for aiding Pope Clement XI against the Turks he received extraordinary powers for the archbishop of Lisbon (made a patriarch in 1716). While also presenting the pope with lavish gifts and constructing impressive monasteries at Mafra and Vila do Conde, John broke relations with Rome from 1728–31 and in 1728 made royal approval of papal acts necessary in Portugal.
John's successor, Joseph I (1750–77), influenced by the enlightenment and by his minister the Marques de pombal, pushed regalism further. He expelled the Jesuits from Portugal and its vast colonial holdings, closed the University of Évora (1759), severed relations with Rome (1760–69), promulgated decrees against the Oratorians, turned the Inquisition into a royal tribunal, suppressed several Augustinian monasteries, secularized education (1772), favored the spread of gallicanism and jansenism, and interfered in a number of religious congregations on the pretext of investigating the Jacobeu and Sigilista fanatical movements. Inevitably Christian life declined. The religious orders that entered Portugal—Camillians, Vincentians, Minims and Ursulines—were unable to turn the tide, and the traditionalist movement that followed the fall of Pombal had no lasting results.
The invasion by the French from 1807–11 ended the spread of revolutionary ideas in Portugal. The monarchy fled to Brazil from 1807 to 1820 until that region gained independence in 1822. Meanwhile, the revolution of 1820 in Portugal installed a liberal regime and suppressed clerical privileges, which the traditionalist and absolutist government of Michael I (1828–34) did not restore. In the struggle between liberals and absolutists the clergy were divided. In 1834 liberalism suppressed male religious orders and closed women's novitiates, expelled the papal nuncio and regarded as invalid the nominations of bishops by Michael I. Relations with Rome were restored in 1841, but property that had been confiscated was not restored to the Church. Gradually religious returned, but their presence was barely tolerated in an atmosphere wherein the Church was without prestige or social influence. Instead, it was subjected to constant attacks by the intelligentsia, ridiculed in the press and restricted in its activity by some public officials (see anticlericalism). The number of dioceses in Portugal was reduced in 1881, and apostolic life was evidenced only by the foundation of the National Center in 1874 and the Academic Center of Christian Democracy (CADC) in 1903; by the holding of several congresses; and by the beginning of a Catholic daily newspaper, A Palavra, in 1872.
Bibliography: Sources. c. erdmann, Papsturkunden in Portugal (Berlin 1927); Das Papsttum und Portugal im ersten Jahrhundert der portugiesischen Geschichte (Berlin 1928). j. dos santos abranches, Summa do bullario portuguez (Coimbra 1895). l. a. rebelo da silva et al., Corpo diplomático portuguez: Relações com a curia romana, 16 v. (Lisbon 1862–1958). a. da silva rÊgo, Documentção para a história das missões do padroado português do Oriente, 12 v. (Lisbon 1947–58). a. garcia ribeiro de vasconcelos, Nota chronologico-bibliographica das constituições diocesanas impressas (Coimbra 1911). General works. f. de almeida, História da Igreja em Portugal, 4 v. (Coimbra 1910–22); História de Portugal, 6 v. (Coimbra 1922–29). História de Portugal, ed. d. peres, 8 v. (Barcelos 1928–37). r. konetzke, Geschichte des spanischen und portugiesischen Volkes (Leipzig 1939). h. livermore, A History of Portugal (London 1947). m. a. de oliveira, História eclesiástica de Portugal (3d ed. Lisbon 1958); As paróquias rurais portuguesas: Sua origem e formação (Lisbon 1950); Lenda e história: Estudos hagiográficos (Lisbon 1964). b. j. wenzel, Portugal und der Heilige Stuhl (Lisbon 1958). a. brÁsio, Monumenta missionaria africana, 12 v. (Lisbon 1952–64). l. m. jordÃo, Bullarium Patronatus Portugalliae regum in ecclesiis Africae, Asiae atque Oceaniae bullas, 5 v. (Lisbon 1868–79). Early period. p. david, Études historiques sur la Galice et le Portugal du VI e au XII e siècle (Lisbon 1947). m. martins, Correntes da filosofia religiosa em Braga dos s. iv a vii (Porto 1950); Estudos de literatura medieval (Braga 1956). b. x. da costa coutinho, Acção do papado na fundação e independência de Portugal (2d ed. Porto 1940). e. a. o'malley, Tello and Theotonio: The 12th-Century Founders of the Monastery of Santa Cruz in Coimbra (Washington 1954). a. e. reuter, Königtum und Episkopat in Portugal im 13. Jahrhundert (Berlin 1928). a. domingues de sousa costa, "Mestre Silvestre e Mestre Vicente, juristas da contenda entre D. Afonso II e suas irmãs," Itinerarium, 8 (1962) 87–136; 9 (1963) 249–311; 11 (1965) 54–97. j. c. baptista, "Portugal e o cisma do ocidente," Lusitania sacra, 1 (1956) 65–203. a. de j. da costa, O bispo D. Pedro e a organização da diocese de Braga, 2 v. (Coimbra 1959).
The Modern Church
Following the assassination of King Charles I in 1890, the republican revolution of 1910 expelled the papal nuncio, confiscated seminaries and episcopal residences, dispersed religious, forbade processions and the wearing of clerical garb, appointed lay committees to regulate church services, and tried, imprisoned and exiled priests and bishops. However, instead of destroying Christian life, it generated a reaction. The episcopacy united. New associations appeared, such as the Catholic Union (1913). In Coimbra an elite group of Catholic intellectuals formed, among them António de Oliveira Salazar, then a professor of economics at the University of Coimbra. In 1917 a military coup installed Sidonio Pais, who restored relations with the Holy See in 1918 and ended the harassment of the Church. The military coup of 1926 that brought Salazar to power six years later stabilized politics and finances and inaugurated a period of cooperation with the Church, during which the State gave special protection to missionary congregations. The concordat confirmed this cooperation with the Holy See in 1940, that among other things, permitted the government to veto the appointment of bishops nominated by the Church, upheld the denial of divorce in cases of Catholic marriage, provided that morality be taught in schools and gave the Church responsibility for religious education in public schools.
Salazar and the New State. While the "New State" introduced in 1933 by Prime Minister Salazar represented a welcome reaction against the anti-clericalism of the Republic of 1910–26, there remained some dissatisfaction among a minority of Catholics with the social and political shortcomings of the regime. The Portuguese hierarchy, led until 1971 by Manuel Gonçalves Cardinal Cerejeira, a student friend of Salazar, generally shared the government's vision of an orderly and stable regime well disposed toward the Church, whose social principles it claimed to follow, with overseas territories constitutionally incorporated into the state in 1951. Cerejeira naturally defended the Church's interests but usually accepted the regime's version of events. Opposed to totalitarianism, a category from which he excluded the "New State," he warned his flock against collaboration with communists.
One episcopal exception to the general harmony was António Ferreira Gomes, bishop of Oporto, who in 1958 sent Salazar a letter, which became public knowledge, in which he advocated political pluralism and criticized the regime's social and labor policies. A year later, after Catholic activists in Lisbon had been arrested for conspiring to overthrow the regime, the bishop was refused entry when returning from Rome, being allowed back only in 1969 by Marcello Caetano, who succeeded Salazar as premier (1968–74). Other critics included Sebastião Soares de Resende, bishop of Beira in Mozambique, who clashed with the secular authorities over publication of his defense of human rights in that territory in 1965, and Manuel Vieira Pinto, bishop of Nampula (Mozambique), who was removed from his diocese in 1974 by Caetano's administration for criticism of colonial policies and opposing the expulsion of priests denouncing atrocities committed by Portuguese forces.
Church-state relations were also troubled by Pope Paul VI's visit to the Bombay Eucharistic Congress in 1964. Portugal's foreign minister called it a gratuitous insult, for by visiting India the pope was seen as condoning that country's forcible incorporation of Portugal's Indian territories (chiefly Goa) in 1961. The censorship of the visit in the Portuguese media led to the removal from state radio of António Ribeiro for opposing the government's line. The state then objected to Ribeiro's appointment to the see of Beira in 1967, the only known instance of a state veto under the terms of the Concordat of 1940. Ribeiro succeeded Cerejeira as patriarch of Lisbon in 1971 and was named a cardinal by Paul VI in 1973.
Effects of Vatican II. Forty-nine Portuguese bishops attended the Second Vatican Council in 1962–65. In the short term, the Council resulted in Mass in Portuguese, and the bishops formally acknowledged the Council's decrees, decisions and declarations. The majority of the Portuguese clergy and laity, however, were unenthusiastic about change, and debate was confined to members of the clergy and the (generally urban) lay elite. Differences of opinion on implementation of conciliar recommendations often overlapped with the widening divisions of opinion in Catholic circles from 1958 regarding the authoritarian practices of the "New State" regime and the colonial wars of 1961–74. Although the majority of the laity, like the older bishops and clergy, generally remained conservative in attitude, the application of Vatican II's recommendations made gradual but steady progress after the revolutionary disorientation of the mid-1970s.
The influence of Vatican II eventually found its way into a number of state-funded organizations. One success was the foundation of the Portuguese Catholic University in 1967 on the basis of the Faculty of Philosophy in Braga. It achieved juridical recognition in 1971 and by 1988 had 6,000 students in Faculties of Theology, Philosophy and Human Sciences in Lisbon, Braga, Oporto and Viseu. Prominent charitable institutions include diocesan Caritas Portuguesa and the Santas Casas da Misericórdia. Over 380 of these traditional welfare institutions, running hospitals, hospices, orphanages, homes for the elderly and disabled, and canteens, often with state support, were reorganized in 1976 into the Union of Portuguese Misericórdias. The Lisbon Misericórdia, under the Franciscan Vítor Melícias, funded by the state, was responsible for most welfare services in the capital. The Union of Private Institutions of Social Solidarity that oversaw social centers, youth clubs and crèches were also state supported.
A Radicalized Clergy. By 1974 Portugal contained a minority of activist clergy and lay persons among such groups as Portuguese Catholic Action, Catholic Workers' Youth, Catholic Workers' League, and in the male and female Catholic University Youth, caught up in campus protests. Battles for independence in Portugal's many colonies waged, sparking differences of opinion regarding many aspects of government and society. The relaxation of authoritarianism during Caetano's regime highlighted the increased diversity of Catholic opinion. In the elections of 1969 prominent Catholic laymen ran as candidates for the state's National Union as independents, as monarchists and in alliance with communists. After a military coup and the granting of independence to all of Portugal's African colonies in 1975, the minority of progressive Catholics channeled their energies into leftist parties, notably the Portuguese Democratic Movement (PSD) and Socialist Left Movement. Free Assemblies of Christians and radicalized priests called for the resignation of some or all of their "collaborationist" bishops. The bishops responded by exhorting Catholics to aid in building a pluralist system based on the Christian conception of democracy. Marxism was condemned, as was extreme capitalist individualism, but moderate socialism was specifically deemed within the parameters of political acceptability.
Constitutional Democracy Forms. As Portugal struggled through several years of political unrest, the revision of the concordat of 1940 was agreed by negotiation with the Holy See. The 1971 Law on Religious Freedom granted the Church favored status through tax exemptions and control over the naming of chaplains. Divorce was legalized for Catholic spouses. In 1975 the episcopacy expressed its growing concern over the nationalization of charitable institutions and the occupations of Catholic educational establishments and highlighted the need for freedom of education.
Following the election of President Antonio Eanes in 1976, a new constitution was promulgated that specified freedom of religion and freedom of education. A 1979 law ensured parity of treatment for Catholic schools. The bishops continued to condemn Communism and pure economic liberalism. The PSD, which governed either in coalition or alone from 1980, upheld "Religion and Morality" classes in the school curriculum, supported the Catholic University, subsidized the building of Braganza cathedral, allowed the clergy tax exemptions and awarded a television channel to a church consortium. The most serious clash between church and state occurred over abortion. A draft law for its decriminalization proposed in 1982 was denounced as immoral by the episcopacy. Despite Catholic street demonstrations, a law permitting certain abortions in cases of rape, when the mother's health was endangered or when the fetus was deformed, was passed in 1984. Legislation to legalize abortion was reintroduced in 1997 but was defeated by a single vote.
During the last decades of the 20th century Portuguese bishops voiced continuing concern over abortion, Catholic schooling, family life and values, housing, health care, the renewal of the Church, the role of the laity, the Church's cultural and historical patrimony, the problems of immigrants and the unemployed, corruption and social degradation, immorality, environmental conservation, the campaign against AIDS and such international issues as human rights in the former Portuguese colony of East Timor, China and elsewhere. Throughout the 1990s Manuel da Silva Martins, bishop of Setúbal, was a leading critic of social injustice and poverty.
A major obstacle to the fulfillment of the Church's mission continued to be a shortage of clergy. While the north and the Atlantic islands were relatively well provided with priests, numbers were lacking in the south. Vocations, never plentiful in Portugal, fell off dramatically in the 1960s and 1970s. By the early 1990s two-thirds of the clergy were over 56 and nearly a quarter over 70 years of age.
Despite the shortage felt among the clergy, popular religiosity continued to be impressively seen in the continuing pilgrimages of hundreds of thousands of Portuguese to fÁtima on May 13, the date of the first apparition of the Virgin before three children in 1917. Crediting the lady with saving his life during an assassination attempt on her feast day, Pope John Paul II paid three visits to Fátima. During the first, in 1982, he was assailed by the Spanish priest Juan Fernández Krohn, but visits in 1991 and 2000 were peaceful. Popular religiosity also survived in other pilgrimages, in traditional festivals such as those of St. Antony in Lisbon and St. John in Oporto and Braga, in veneration of local saints and village festivals and in romarias (often noisy outings to destinations of religious significance).
Into the 21st Century. By 2000 there were 4,359 parishes tended by 3,273 diocesan and 976 religious priests. Other religious included approximately 345 brothers and 7,000 sisters, many of whom attended to the operation of Portugal's primary and secondary Catholic schools. By 2000 the socialist government was attempting to diminish the privileged status of the Church through a bill that would fund religious education through the voluntary allocation of money from taxpayers rather than through a state payment. Discussion was also underway regarding renegotiation of the Concordat of 1940 with the Vatican.
Issues of continued concern to the Church into the next millennium included the migration from countryside to city, the changing role of women in society and the increased influence of the mass media on culture. In addition, the increased prosperity and the quest for upward social mobility continued to exacerbate materialism, individualism and hedonism, which Church leaders saw as corrosive to traditional and family values.
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[r. a. h. robinson/eds.]
"Portugal, The Catholic Church in." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 19, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/portugal-catholic-church
"Portugal, The Catholic Church in." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved December 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/portugal-catholic-church