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Autobio of St. Anthony Claret > 5. Suppression of the Church in Spain

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message 1: by John (new)

John Seymour | 1807 comments Mod
5. St. Anthony Mary Claret began his vocation during a time of suppression of the Church in Spain and yet met with great success. Does God always raise up great saints for difficult times? Should we expect the same now?


message 2: by Steven R. (new)

Steven R. McEvoy (srmcevoy) | 64 comments I would say yes to both of your questions. Saints do often rise up during the difficult times. And As both Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI often reminded young people, 'Do not be afraid to be saints'. We should all be striving to grow as saints. This is a prayer I have been prauing for 2 years now:
"O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine. From the desire to be esteemed, deliver me. From the desire to be honored, deliver me. From the desire to be praised, deliver me. Teach me to accept humiliation, contempt, rebukes, being slandered, being ignored, being insulted, being wronged, and being belittled. Jesus, grant me the grace that others be admired more than I; that others be praised and I unnoticed; that others be preferred to me in everything; that others be holier than I, provided I become as holy as I should; that I might imitate the patience and obedience of Your mother, Mary. Amen."


message 3: by Manuel (last edited Apr 04, 2019 08:24AM) (new)

Manuel Alfonseca | 1381 comments Mod
I would say that the Church was not suppressed in Spain during those years of the nineteenth century. What happened was the following:

1836-37: The liberal party got the power under Regent María Cristina, and Prime Minister Mendizábal decreed the confiscation of monastic properties (mainly land and monasteries). The political situation in Spain at that time was critical. There was a civil war (the Carlist war) where the two sides differed about who should be the proper successor of Ferdinand VII. The Church was accused of favoring one side of the issue (the Carlists, who wanted Ferdinand's brother to be the successor, rather than his daughter). This first Carlist war ended in 1840.

1841, while Claret was a missionary in Catalonia: The new Regent, Espartero, who had put an end to the first Carlist war, decreed a second confiscation, although his law was repealed three years later.

Claret says the following in paragraph 169: How admirable God's Providence is! He freed me from going to Berga, where my mere presence would have put me in danger because the royalists were in power there. The Royalists is a name for the Carlist side of the war. I suppose if Claret had gone to Berga, which was Carlist territory, and used that village as central point for his missions, he would have been considered to be associated with the Royalists, and the liberals could have arrested him when he had gone into their territory during his missions.

In paragraph 291, he adds: When I started preaching missions, in 1840, we were in the midst of a civil war between the royalists and the constitutionalists, and so I had to be on my guard not to make any political remarks pro or con regarding either party. There were members of each party in all the towns I preached in. I had to be very careful because some people came to the mission only to catch me in some slip of the tongue, like the spies who were sent to Jesus, our Redeemer, "to trap Him in his speech.'' But, thank God, they never succeeded. The Constitucionalists were the Liberals.

In 1851 the Spanish government signed a Concordat with the Pope, which led to the normalization of relations between Church and Government.

In 1855, when the liberals came back to power, there was a new confiscation.

In any case, the Church was never suppressed, although the successive liberal governments took away many of its properties and there were local assassinations of priests, mainly as a consequence of public unrest.


message 4: by Manuel (new)

Manuel Alfonseca | 1381 comments Mod
Paragraph 458 explains quite well the situation in Spain at that time:

General Manzano himself told me later, when we were both in Cuba (I as Archbishop and he as Governor General of the city of Santiago), that he had been commissioned to arrest me, not because the government had any charge against me--since I never meddled in politics--but because they were worried at the crowds that gathered from all over whenever I preached. Furthermore they were afraid that, because of the immense prestige in which I was held, my least insinuation might cause a general uprising. Hence they sought to take me but could never catch me, either because of my strategy of moving so far away or because our Lord didn't want them to--and this was the main reason.


message 5: by John (new)

John Seymour | 1807 comments Mod
Manuel wrote: "I would say that the Church was not suppressed in Spain during those years of the nineteenth century. What happened was the following:

1836-37: The liberal party got the power under Regent María C..."


Thank you. I was going to add a question about Spanish history and how St. Anthony Mary writes as though he, not unreasonably, expects his reader to be familiar with the major events in Spain during his lifetime. A bit of a challenge for most Americans. I understood the reference to the War for Independence to be the Spanish portion of the Napoleonic Wars, but had never heard of the Carlist Civil War and was unfamiliar with the outlines. Perhaps suppressed is the wrong word, but if the church's property is being regularly seized (something that I assume happens with some level of violence) and if Claret was ordained early because of a fear of an impending ban on ordinations (something I read on a Claretian website), then a high level of hostility to the Church seems evident. I knew, of course, that this was a feature of the Spanish Civil War of the 20th century. I hadn't realized it had roots or forebears in the 19th century.


message 6: by Manuel (new)

Manuel Alfonseca | 1381 comments Mod
John wrote: "I knew, of course, that this was a feature of the Spanish Civil War of the 20th century. I hadn't realized it had roots or forebears in the 19th century."

In fact the situation was even more complicated than I sketched in my comment. During the years 1833-1840, the First Carlist War took place, and the Church was accused of favoring the Carlists (patidaries of so-called Carlos V). The other side, the constitutionalists, partidaries of Isabel II, then a child, were also divided in two parties: the liberals (anti-clericals, those who ordered the possessions of the Church to be confiscated) and the conservative, who were more tolerant with the Church. The three confiscations took place during liberal governments. The Concordate was signed during a Conservative government.

Later there were two other Carlist wars, the second (1846-49) reduced to Catalonia (this would have affected Claret until he moved to the Canary Islands), where the Carlist pretender to the throne was the son of the former (so-called Carlos VI). Then there was a third war (1872-76) whose pretender was Carlos VII (son of the preceding one) which was won by king Alfonso XII, the son of Isabel II.

Curiously, the Carlists still existed as a political movement during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), and they supported Franco. When the war ended, Franco made them merge with Falange, the extreme right party.


message 7: by Mariangel (last edited Apr 08, 2019 06:02PM) (new)

Mariangel | 503 comments John wrote: "Thank you. I was going to add a question about Spanish history and how St. Anthony Mary writes as though he, not unreasonably, expects his reader to be familiar with the major events in Spain during his lifetime. A bit of a challenge for most Americans. ."

Unrelated to the book, in a recent conversation with several adults, my son asked the question "did you study the war of 1812?" We all answered yes, but the Americans in the group meant the war between US and Britain, while the Europeans meant Napoleon's war against Russia.


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