[map of Portugal] Parlimentary democracy in Europe. Christianity was introduced there during the Roman domination. Alfonso Henriqucs, first King of Portugal (1128 to 1185) offered his kingdom to the Church, placing it under the Blessed Virgin's protection; he founded, among others, the famous Cistercian monastery of Alcobaca. From 1185 to 1280 the Crown and the Holy See were in intermittent conflict over the rights of the clergy. During this period, the Dominicans and Franciscans made foundations in Portugal. In 1279 King Denis brought peace by restoring church properties and former rights and customs, and by prohibiting abuses by the laity, but the Church's position was weakened by the long struggle, as the clergy thus became more dependent on the monarch. Portugal remained loyal to Pope Urban VI in the Great Schism owing to the firmness of the bishops. Only a few of the 33 grievances drawn up by the clergy at the Cortes of Elvas were adjusted. In 1417 the Diocese of Ceuta was the first see erected in a non-Christian country evangelized by the Portuguese. Communication between Portugal and Rome was closed after the battle of Alfarroeira in 1451, but re-opened in 1452. Gradually the number of synods decreased, and ecclesiagtical discipline declined. Many important sees were occupied by non-resident noblemen, who had to be ordered by brief in 1501 to comply with their neglected duty of visitation. Dominican and Franciscan reforms instituted at this time spread rapidly; 23 Observants' convents were established within the century. The Inquisition was introduced into Portugal by Pope John III in 1547. The Jesuits devoted themselves, from their arrival in 1540, to erecting schools and colleges at home and to the missions in Asia and Africa. The period form 1580 to 1640, when the crowns of Spain and Portugal were united, was a disastrous time for the Church. Although Portugal lost most of her eastern possessions, her missions there continued. The Marquis of Pombal, minister to King Joseph, 1750 to 1777, expelled the Jesuits and the papal nuncio, discontinuing relations with the Holy See; caused the Jesuit Father Malagrida to be burned; and destroyed the foreign missions. After the Revolution of 1820, the Liberals suppressed all men's orders, prohibited orders of women from taking novices, confiscated Church property, and bound clergy and hierarchy to the state. By decree in 1901, religious orders were permitted to teach school and convert pagans. Religious institutes were founded by Benedictines, Franciscans, Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, Irish Dominicans, Little Sisters of the Poor, Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Dominic, Franciscan Sisters, Servites, Dorotheans, Sisters of the Missions, Salesians, Sisters of Saint John of God, Sisters of Saint Joseph of Cluny, Marists, Sisters of Saint Vincent de Paul, and Portuguese Sisters of Charity. With the establishing of the republic in 1910, Church and State were entirely separated. There is now absolute freedom of worship in Portugal; nearly 95% of the country is Catholic. Circles of Catholic workingmen have been organized, and the associations of Catholic youth deserve mention. In 1974 a military coup installed the new parlimentary democracy and granted independence to all African colonies; separation of Church and State continued.

Ecclesiastically the country is governed by the archdioceses of the dioceses of and the See also
New Catholic Dictionary

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