Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview
Source: Jean B. Duvergier (ed.), Collection compléte des lois, décrets, ordonnances, règlements, avis du conseil d'état ( Paris, 1834-1906), XVI, 250-252.
SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

R. Anchel, Napolion et les juifs ( Paris, 1928).

F. Kobler, Napoleon and the Jews ( New York, 1976).

S. Schwarzfuchs, Napoleon, the Jews, and the Sanhedrin ( London, 1979).


45
Decrees Suppressing the Inquisition and Monastic Orders in Spain December 4,1808

Although the revolutionary upheaval in church-state relations, exported by Bonaparte, was felt in the Low Countries, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, in no country was the impact greater than in conservative Spain. Laws of Charles IV in 1798 and 1805 had sanctioned seizure (with compensation) of some church property, but these measures had been conservatively applied and had produced slight effect. These Napoleonic decrees, issued during the 1808 military campaign, became part of the larger religious reorganization attempted by King Joseph Bonaparte, often with bloodshed. Though anti-French, Spanish liberalism sympathized with this ecclesiastical program and sought to continue it.


Decree Suppressing the Inquisition:
1. The Tribunal of the Inquisition is abolished as prejudicial to civil sovereignty and authority.
2. The property belonging to the Inquisition shall be sequestered and joined to the Spanish domain to serve as security for the vales [government bonds] and all other bills of the public debt.
3. The present decree shall be published and registered in all councils, courts, and tribunals in order that it may be executed as law of the state.

Decree Suppressing Monastic Orders:

Considering that the members of the various monastic orders in Spain are too numerous:

That, if a certain number of them is useful in aiding the ministers of the altar in the administration of the sacraments, the existence of too great a number is harmful to the prosperity of the state;

We have decreed and do decree as follows:

The number of convents presently in existence in Spain shall be reduced to a

-114-

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