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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

The concordat satisfied nobody


[Sidenote:

Conflict of the kings with the popes in the first half century of the era.]

The conflict with the papacy began at the outset of the reign of Philip V, for the popes favored the candidacy of the Archduke Charles to the Spanish throne. Philip V expelled the nuncio, suspended the court of the nunciature, and gave orders against the circulation of papal bulls in Spain. These measures were only temporary, during the course of the war. Nevertheless, Alberoni, who restored matters to their former basis, had occasion, even though he was a cardinal himself, to banish the newly appointed nuncio. Finally, an agreement was reached in the concordat of 1737 from which the crown obtained some advantages, such as the suppression of the right of asylum in some cases and its restriction in others, the limitation of the number of churchmen with rights of personal immunity, and the giving of guarantees against false allegations with a view to extending the immunities of church estates, together with the derogation of this right for such properties as the church should acquire in future. The concordat satisfied nobody, and moreover most of its provisions were not observed. When Ferdinand VI ascended the throne, he took steps to procure a more acceptable arrangement, for though an exceedingly devout Catholic he was unbending as concerned matters affecting the royal authority. The result was a fresh concordat with the pope, dated 1753. Several important rights were

gained at this time: in return for a heavy money indemnity Ferdinand obtained a recognition of the royal right of patronage in appointments to all church offices, except some fifty-two dignities and the naming of bishops to benefices vacated in the four "ordinary months"; various kinds of papal taxes were renounced in favor of Spain; the tax of the _cruzada_ was granted in perpetuity to the crown; and the right of exemption from the taxation of lands held in mortmain was abolished. Nevertheless, the partisans of royalty were not yet satisfied.

[Sidenote: Success of Charles III in the conflict with the popes.]

[Sidenote: Subjection of the Spanish church by Charles III.]

Charles III was a pious Catholic, but carried the reform movement against the church further than any of his predecessors. The first step was taken as a result of a papal brief against a book written by Mesenghi, a French theologian. When the Spanish Inquisition was about to publish the condemnatory document, the king issued a decree of prohibition. This was followed by royal orders of 1761 and 1762 making the following enactments: that no papal bull, brief, or other pontifical letter should be allowed to circulate or be obeyed, whatever might be its subject-matter, unless it should previously have been presented to the king, or in certain cases of lesser moment to the _Consejo_, so that a decision might be reached whether it interfered with the royal prerogative, before a license to publish would be granted; that the Inquisition should publish only such edicts as were forwarded to it by the king; and that it should condemn no book without giving the author a chance to defend himself. Through the influence of his mother, Isabel Farnesio, Charles was persuaded to suspend these decrees, but they were put into effect in 1768 when the pope issued a bull censuring the Bourbon Duke of Parma, a relative of Charles III, for his application


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