The period after 1770 was one of decline for the Catholic Church in the Philippines. As John Schumacher has argued, this decline was precipitated by events in Europe. In the later eighteenth century, the Bourbon kings, as ' Enlightened despots', increasingly 'saw the Church primarily as an instrument of the Crown to preserve its subjects in their loyalty and direct their activities in accord with royal purposes'. Charles III, in particular, introduced measures that were designed 'to reduce the Church to the role of State servant which were to have especially disastrous consequences in the Philippines'. Particularly significant, according to Schumacher, were: (1) the expulsion of the Jesuits from the Spanish dominions, decreed in Madrid in 1767 but not executed in the Philippines until 1768-69; (2) the subjection of the friars to royal and episcopal
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