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In Portugal, the Braganca monarchy was determined that its status vis-a-vis the Holy See should not be less than that of any other Catholic monarchy, and the award of the title 'Most Faithful Majesty' to John V (1706-50) in 1748 gratified him immensely. Relations between John and the papacy hadbeen constantly fraught over his demand that the office of patriarch of Lisbon (attached to his court chapel at Mafra) should be confirmed. He was ready to break with Rome over this stipulation, and indeed diplomatic relations were severed completely between 1728 and 1732. A concordat finally secured in 1737 brought the office into existence and, by a secret clause, laid down that the holder of the patriarchate would carry assured elevation to the college of cardinals (a point confirmed in 1766). State-church links were consistently tight in Portugal, and under John V the monarchy was happy to spend its wealth for ecclesiastical purposes. Thus Brazilian bullion paid for the great church-monastery of Mafra between 1717 and 1730 as well as church repairs and new buildings in Lisbon after the devastation caused by the earthquake of 1755. With the church a vital part of the national economy, and led by a wealthy, cultivated higher clergy (of 156 bishops in office in 1668-1820 four-fifths belonged to the nobility), the Braganca monarchy could usually rely on the episcopacy for support in any disagreement with the Vatican. Such relations were most valuable to the minister Pombal, who led the way in the Europe-wide campaign to secure the abolition of the Jesuits. The minister's uncompromising stance resulted in the progressive breakdown of diplomatic links with Rome in the 1760s. Pombal also limited clerical privileges generally and transformed the Inquisition into a royal tribunal, though he became in time a figure tending to compromise Portugal's international standing. He was arrested after 1775 and a new concordat was signed with Pius VI. The accession of Maria I in 1777 inaugurated a period of stability in relations between Lisbon and Rome previously unknown in the century.

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