Protestantism in Spain

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Protestantism has had a very minor impact on Spanish life since the reformation of the 16th century, owing to the intolerance of the Spanish government towards any non-Catholic religion and the brutality of the Spanish Inquisition. However, it has become more prevalent in modern times.

Recent history[edit]

Francoist persecution[edit]

Protestantism made a comeback following the Glorious Revolution of 1868, which resulted in the granting of greater religious liberties; this was rescinded again during Francisco Franco's dictatorship.

In Franco's authoritarian Spanish State, Protestantism was deliberately marginalised and persecuted. During the Spanish Civil War, the Francoist regime persecuted the country's 30,000[1] Protestants, and forced many pastors to leave the country. Once authoritarian rule was established, non-Catholic translations of the Bible were confiscated by the police and Protestant schools were closed.[2] Although the 1945 Spanish Bill of Rights granted freedom of private worship, Protestants suffered legal discrimination and non-Catholic religious services were forbidden in public, to the extent that they could not be in buildings which had exterior signs indicating it was a house of worship and that public activities were prohibited.[1][3] While the Catholic Church was declared official and enjoyed a close relation to the state, ethnically Basque clergymen harboured nationalist ideas opposed to Spanish centralism and were persecuted and imprisoned in a "Concordate jail" reserved for criminal clergy.

Present status[edit]

At present, the Spanish government observes the 1978 Constitution of Spain and the Law of Religious Freedom of 1980, thus guaranteeing many religious liberties to minorities. As of 2009, there are at least 1.5 million Protestants residing in Spain.[4]

Significant denominations and groups include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Payne, Stanley Spanish Catholicism: An Historical Overview, p. 186 ,1984 University of Wisconsin Press
  2. ^ "Religion: Protestant Persecution". Time. 21 April 1941. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  3. ^ Wood, James Edward Church and State in the Modern World, p. 3, 2005 Greenwood Publishing
  4. ^ "Protestants call for 'equal treatment'", by "El Pais," December 10, 2007