monarchy (especially after 1750), often by comparing Charles III's rule to the kingship of David and Solomon. The extraction of powers comparable to those belonging to their cousin, Louis XV, did nothing to encourage anti-Catholic or anticlerical tendencies in either Ferdinand VI or his half-brother, Charles III. The latter had no interest in either toleration or freedom of expression and in 1761 he triumphantly named Mary of the Immaculate Conception the official patroness of Spain. The Inquisition remained in existence and though a 'sleeping dog', it 'often woke and growled and occasionally bit'.5

After 1753, the crown nominated to the eight archbishoprics and fifty-two bishoprics of the kingdoms through a chamber of the Council of Castile, and involved procedures were put in place to ensure the exclusive selection of men of honour and reputation for episcopal office. These arrangements did not prevent wide suspicion that some ecclesiastical appointments were simonical, though such accusations were always hard to prove. The involvement and cooperation of the episcopate was considered essential to the implementation of the regalist programme and to the introduction of good government and sound religious practices into the bishops' jurisdictions. Thus, in 1767, the Council of Castile sent a circular to the bishops ordering them to curb abuses and superstition in their dioceses. Central administration could be ruthless when episcopal policies seemed at odds with what was sought: as when Jose Climent, Bishop of Barcelona, fell under unjustified suspicion of encouraging separatism in Catalonia and was obliged to resign his see.

The Bourbon crown energized those aspects of the Tridentine agenda neglected by the previous dynasty, particularly the production of an educated parochial clergy. Only eight seminaries were created between 1600 and 1747; but the suppression of the Jesuits added opportunity and urgency to the enterprise and eighteen were established between 1747 and 1797. Their curriculum and organization gave them the semblance of quasi-universities, though many were poorly staffed and too small as viable units. Beyond the crown's complicity in the anti-Jesuit policies of most European Catholic monarchies in the 1760s, there was also a serious effort at introducing state control (at the expense of Rome) over the other religious orders, numerically superior to the parish clergy and not known for their pastoral relevance. In 1776, a national vicar was forced on the Franciscans by the crown, which then extended this innovation to the Trinitarians, Carthusians, and Augustinians in the 1780s. There was, however, an unexpected twist to this imposition of royal authority. Monks and nuns developed the habit of appealing to the Council of Castile for resolution of internal conflicts, so that factionalism actually increased, and the crown's hope of reviving the religious motivations of the regulars was pushed aside.

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