out between 1837 and 1850, when 203 of the country's approximately 4,000 parishes were closed, fell short of what liberal ecclesiastical reformers had in mind. The long quest for a diocesan reorganisation finally produced results in 1882 when the government and Pope Leo XIII agreed to suppress five of the kingdom's nineteen dioceses.9
The regalism of liberal governments proved especially disruptive for the church between 1834 and 1843 in Spain and between 1833 and 1840 in Portugal. For the first time in Spain, a violent urban anticlericalism moved by hostility towards the religious orders emerged during the summer of 1834. In Madrid, crowds murdered seventy-eight religious, some of whom were stabbed to death, while others were hanged and still others hurled from the rooftops of their residences.10 The anticlerical wave hit Barcelona a year later when religious houses were set ablaze, although the number of victims was less than in Madrid during the previous year. The civil authorities lamented the violence but did little to stop it, seeing the matanza de los frailes primarily as a regrettable but understandable lapse from the norms of civilised behaviour.
Popular hostility directed against the regulars in the cities arose in part from the belief, largely inaccurate, that monks and friars stood in the front line of the movements to restore absolutism by working on behalf of Fernando VII's reactionary brother, Don Carlos, against the king's young daughter, Queen Isabella II (1833-68), who enjoyed liberal support.11 The movement known as Carlism remained a nagging danger for liberal governments until the 1870s, but it was at its most threatening during the mid-1830s. In fact, disoriented and disorganised priests and religious were in no position to provide effective support to Carlism, but a few did so, thereby provoking reprisals. In 1836-7, the authorities deprived bishops absent from their dioceses for 'political' motives of their incomes and regarded priests accused of Carlist sympathies as conspirators against the state. In 1837, the government prohibited ordinations, while it prepared a radical reorganisation of the diocesan clergy. Bishops either fled into exile or abandoned their dioceses. By 1840, only eleven of the kingdom's sixty dioceses were being administered by their prelates. In the archdiocese of Tarragona, where battle raged between the supporters of liberalism and Carlism, nearly half of the clergy had abandoned their parishes by 1840.12
9 Neto, OEstado, algreja, p. 55; Almeida, Historia da Igreja, vol. iii, p. 14.
10 Revuelta Gonzalez, La exclaustración, pp. 207-21.
11 Revuelta Gonzalez, La exclaustración, p. 132, maintains that, although sympathetic to Carlism, 'the great majority' of religious were 'resigned and silent' when it came to practical support for the movement.
12 Callahan, Church, politics and society in Spain, p. 165.
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