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Revista Brasileira de História

On-line version ISSN 1806-9347

Rev. Bras. Hist. vol.32 no.63 São Paulo  2012 



Republican modernity and diocesanization of the Catholicism in Brazil: the relationship between State and Church in the Brazilian First Republic (1889-1930)1



Maurício de Aquino

Doctoral Student, Unesp-Assis. Colegiado do Curso de História, Universidade Estadual do Norte do Paraná (Uenp), Campus Jacarezinho. Rua Padre Melo, 1200. 86400-000 Jacarezinho – PR – Brasil.




Based on the documentation found in archives of Brazil and of Vatican, this article discusses the relationship between the State and Roman Catholic Church in Brazil in the period 1889-1930. It is considered that the Proclamation of the Republic on 15 November 1889 was associated, in some portions the Brazilian elites of the time, the ideas of progress and civilization, and one of his first tasks extinction the patronage on 07 January 1890. The laicism determined at that time Decree 119-A has proved, however, ambiguous and pragmatic. Freed from the constraints constitutionals of patronage, the State established a new field of the relations with the different religions according to their own institutional interests. In this context, the Roman Catholic Church, in turn, initiated a process of reform and reorganization ecclesiastical whose core consisted of the creation of dioceses and similar jurisdictions – a broad and complex territorial,  political and discursive process which can be called diocesanization.

Keywords: State and Church in Brazil; republican modernity; diocesanization.


Partindo da análise de documentação consultada em arquivos do Brasil e do Vaticano, o artigo discute as relações entre Estado e Igreja Católica Apostólica Romana (ICAR) no período da Primeira República brasileira. Considera-se que a Proclamação da República em 15 de novembro de 1889 foi associada, por algumas parcelas das elites brasileiras da época, ao ideário do progresso e da civilização, sendo uma de suas primeiras tarefas a extinção do padroado em 7 de janeiro de 1890. O laicismo determinado nessa ocasião pelo Decreto 119-A revelou-se, entretanto, ambíguo e pragmático. Livre das amarras constitucionais do padroado, o Estado criou um novo campo de relações com as diferentes confissões religiosas, segundo os seus próprios interesses institucionais. Nesse contexto, a ICAR, por sua vez, empreendeu um processo de reforma e reorganização eclesiástica cujo fulcro consistiu na criação de dioceses e jurisdições similares –  um amplo e complexo processo territorial, político e discursivo ao qual se pode denominar diocesanização.

Palavras-chave: Estado e Igreja no Brasil; modernidade republicana; diocesanização.




The legitimacy of the Republic proclaimed in Brazil on 15 November 1889 principally consisted of the diffuse idea that it would be a bearer of progress and civilization – notions associated with modernity. Current historiography of the First Republic corroborates this, especially by demonstrating that Brazilian modernity, in its belle époque version, became a pressing question among the intellectual, political, military and ecclesiastic elites, defining the agenda of achievements at all the principal levels of the Brazilian state which was remade in the era of nationalisms.2

When the Republic was proclaimed these ideals of progress, desires of modernity and projects of civility were already part of the commitments of Brazilian elites, largely due to the dedication and passion of the second Emperor of Brazil to science and letters. Pedro II was actually responsible for the introduction of manuals of good manners in the Court, for the fight against carnival, for the constant Brazilian participation in scientific exhibitions and fairs, and for the creation 'in the name of science' of the Mining School of Ouro Preto. Pedro II also financed Brazilian students abroad, with the famous 'pensions,' some of the best known of whom were the lawyer Perdigão Malheiros, the painter Pedro Américo and the engineer Guilherme Schüch Capanema. Pedro II also regularly attended the Brazilian Historical and Geographical Institute (Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro – IHGB), of which he was a patron, going to public conferences, participating in public competitions by orally examining the candidates. In all his travels, both in Brazil and abroad, he visited schools and cultural institutes, as well as participating in the 1889 Universal Exhibition which commemorated the centenary of the French Revolution, breaking the boycott organized by the monarchies of the time of this exhibition. Ironically this was the last international public presentation of Pedro II as Emperor of Brazil.3

The public image of a man of letters and of sciences constructed by Pedro II did not undo the fact that Brazil was still a slaveocracy monarchy at the end of the nineteenth century. The adversaries of the Empire emphasized this primitive Brazilian condition. For the historian Maria Tereza Chaves de Mello, in the 1870s republicans initiated the task of associating the republic and progress to undermine the ideological basis of the monarchist regime personified in Pedro II. In the 1880s the republican movement undertook to spread their ideas through the popular abolitionist campaign. The republicans sought to convince the elites, but also the poorer parts of society, resorting to comic images and direct phrases presented in marches and popular demonstrations (Mello, 2009, p.27).

In this context the abstract desires for civility and progress, associated with the concept of the republic, gained content in the corporative demands of the first military tenentismo based on the interventionist ideology of the 'soldier-citizen,' in the campaigns of the most radical republican advocates, such as Silva Jardim and Lopes Trovão, in the politico-economic interests of the Partido Republicano Paulista (PRP), in the preaching and positivist projects of Benjamin Constant and the Positivist Group of the Positivist Church of Brazil and in the many voices of liberals – such as those of the 'English of Senhor Dantas' –, former slaveholders frightened by the weakening of the social order – such as the 'republicans of 14 May' – who denounced, from different perspectives, the 'brainless power' or the 'macrocephaly' in Brazilian Empire, due to the progressive absence of Pedro II in public questions and in the constant changes of ministries, which compromised the centralizing imperial administration, considered incompatible at that moment with the new socio-political conditions of final quarter of the nineteenth century in a peripheral region of the capitalist economy.4

The Republic was not a historic fatality, nor was it limited to the superficiality of a putsch or a military parade. In turn, the image of the 'bestial people' before the Proclamation of the Republic described by Aristides Lobo, a historic republican who seemed to look to the streets of Rio de Janeiro in search of the people who had stormed the Bastille, did not establish a definitive interpretation of the social participation of the lower classes, the nature of the new regime or even the scope and socio-political repercussion of the republican era. In the form of a military coup d'état it was an authoritarian response to the socio-political agitations of a period marked by transformations in the rhythm of life and by the utopias of progress which only seem to be achieved with the end of the monarchy (Janotti, 2005; Neves, 2008, p.15-44).



Wrapped in the ideals of progress, the Republic became a tangible reality for the Catholic Church on 7 January 1890, when Decree 119-A determined the end of padroado (patronage) and established freedom of religion in Brazil.5 A week later, through Decree 155-B, dated 14 January, the first republican calendar was endorsed in which there were no holidays of a religious nature, including Christmas.6 These decrees indicated the nature of the socio-political transformation which republican modernity wanted to imprint on the new regime, discursively sustained on scientific and technological foundations. It was the beginning of the Post-Patronage Era in relations between the state and the Catholic Church in Brazil.

For approximately four centuries the Catholic Church had been the official religious institution of the state in Portuguese America, afterwards Brazil. In the times of the 'altar on the throne,' the Catholic Church had been part of the Portuguese imperial administration and afterwards the Brazilian imperial one, enjoying certain prerogatives typical of the ancien regime, but also institutionally surrounded by royal rights of placet and exequatur7 which determined the presentation of names for the episcopacy, the validation of documents from the Roman See in imperial territory, the creation of dioceses, seminaries, convents, the receipt of the ecclesiastic tithe, which in theory was to be used to pay the côngruas (subsidies) for bishops and priests, as well as the general maintenance of the ecclesiastic organization submitted at different times to the Table of Conscience and Orders, and to the Judge of the Chapel.

Since 1872, with the beginning of the so-called 'Religious Question,' relations between the state and the Catholic Church quivered with the imprisonment of the bishops D. Vital Maria Gonçalves de Oliveira and D. Antônio de Macedo Costa. The amnesty granted to them by Pedro II on 17 September 1875, did not really bring an end to the 'Question,' and the nuclear problem of the conflicts between royalists, masons, and Jacobins versus Ultramontane Catholics persisted until the coup led by Marshal Deodoro on 15 November 1889. On 7 January 1890 this chapter of the history of the patronage in America reached a definitive end. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that this rupture had been considered by the final Imperial Cabinet and was one of the slogans of the republicans, in whose most exalted discourses about progress and modernity the figure of the deceiving cleric, the Machiavellian Jesuits and Romans stood out, as they were considered responsible for keeping the conscience of the masses in ignorance and backwards. For this reason the Catholic Church, seen at that moment as a representative of the past, was to lose its universality, giving way to 'Science.'8

Decree119-A, a republican attempt to neutralize conflicts of value with an ethical and religious nature at the advent of the new regime, imposing the state as the constructor and manager of Brazilian socio-political reality,9 was, however, not drafted without some participation on the part of the ecclesiastic elite – apropos, on the Monday immediately before the Proclamation Minister Quintino Bocaiuva sent a letter to the Apostolic Inter-Nunciate (the diplomatic representative of the Holy See) "assuring that the Provisional Government strongly desires to maintain the friendly relations that exist between the Holy See and Brazil."10 It is known that between 15 November and 7 January, Rui Barbosa, responsible for preparing the decree extinguishing patronage in his position as interim Minister of Justice, and the Bishop of Belém do Pará, D. Antônio de Macedo Costa, corresponded about questions related to the place of the Catholic Church and religion in the incipient Brazilian republican regime. However, D. Macedo Costa was not the only member of the Catholic hierarchy to negotiate this situation directly with Rui Barbosa at the advent of the Republic as a large part of the historiography has confirmed. The inter-nuncio Monsignor Francesco Spolverini also did so, as shown by the correspondence and reports sent by him to the Vatican Secretary of State which are found in the Brazilian Nunciature Section (principally fascicles 330 and 344) of the Vatican Secret Archive, projecting the question to the field of international relations, making Rui Barbosa's task harder, since the Republic of the United States of Brazil also had to obtain international recognition.

D. Antônio de Macedo Costa, in turn, taking advantage of the fact that he had been the teacher of Rui Barbosa in Colégio da Bahia, wrote to him in December 1889 to remind him of his Catholic roots and the promises of important republicans – indications of other negotiations – such as Quintino Bocaiuva and Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca, about the preservation of certain rights of the Catholic Church. D. Macedo Costa asserted, supported by his experience from the north to the south of the country, that "Brazil is not Rua do Ouvidor." A statement that is full of significance, used by the Catholic Bishop to unveil what he considered musing and outbursts of progress restricted to Rua do Ouvidor – in other words to the reduced and most elitist part of the Federal Capital –, cunningly and irresponsibly projected to the whole country. He concludes exhorting: "What is certain, however, is that if they want to have a republic, they should make it Christian."11

It can be evaluated that the solicitations12 of D. Macedo Costa and Monsignor Spolverini13 were only partially incorporated by Rui Barbosa in Decree 119-A, dated 7 January 1890, through which the separation between the state and the Catholic Church was established with the ending of the regime of patronage, emphasizing the secular nature of the nascent Republic, but rights to freedom of worship and the maintenance of ecclesiastic properties were guaranteed, the principal fear of the Brazilian episcopate due to the historic precedents14 of the confiscation of the goods of the Catholic Church which had accompanied the implementation of republican regimes in Europe, as well as in the Americas, in addition to the payment of côngruas and other ecclesiastic expenditures for one year – a type of transitory action on the part of the state in the change of its official relationship with the Catholic Church, taking into account that the notary work of the state had been carried out by clerics due to the regime of patronage.

After the publication of the Decree the Inter-Nunciate acted rapidly, asking Brazilian bishops for their impressions of the new situation inaugurated on 7 January. In a reserved circular letter sent from Monsignor Spolverini to the episcopate the tone used was dramatic and urgent: "I ask Your Excellencies to answer as quickly as possible these questions of interest to the Church in all of Brazil."15 The bishops responded to questions about religious teaching, the conditions of dioceses, the property of religious orders and the number of Catholic schools in relation to what was determined in Decree 119-A. They were also asked to give their impression of the new political and religious situation. D. Lino Deodato's reply, then the Bishop of São Paulo, to the inter-nuncio's request is significant:

In relation to the future, the Decree in its judicial and true interpretation will have a beneficial result, restoring liberty to the Church which until now has been opposed by Cesarism, which not knowing to a great extent the union and independence of the two power – civil and ecclesiastic –, the dogma of wardship and the conserver of all the others, tends to absorb the Church in this country, reducing it to a branch of the administration of the state.16

Publically, however, the episcopate showed itself to be confused about the new reality of the Post-Patronage Era, and even those who agreed with D. Lino, such as the Bishop of Diamantina, D. João Antônio dos Santos, were timid in defending and publically stating their own opinions. On 19 March 1890, the bishops officially adopted a position on the new situation created by Decree  119-A in a document, which was somewhat discursively fragmented, which nonetheless became historic in the sense that it marked the beginning of a new period in the history of the Catholic Church and religion in Brazil, as well as containing the beginnings of ecclesiastic discourses and practices during the First Republic: the first Collective Pastoral letter of the Brazilian episcopate.

Decree 119-A indicated and favored the development of secularization in Brazil with the creation of a lay state which, nonetheless, sought to mediate and accommodate, on the one hand, the anticlerical demands of Jacobins, masons and positivists, and on the other, Catholic demands made by a small, but prestigious, ecclesiastic elite with a national scope, and even international due to the increasingly close relations with the Holy See. However, with this Decree the Provisional Government pleased neither the anti-clericals, the anti-Catholics, or even the Catholics themselves, triggering a period of debates and discussion about religious questions, permeated with conflicts and tensions, which was only terminated in the constitutional sphere on 24 February 1891, with the promulgation of the first republican Constitution of Brazil.

The exhortations of the Brazilian episcopate in the 1890 Pastoral Letter were ambiguous about the separation, moving between the lament for the loss of privileges and jubilation for institutional liberty. The bishops offered support at the same time that they intimidated the Brazilian republican government with apocalyptical threats of social disorder and war which could result in the besieging and persecution of the Catholic Church. They repudiated the liberal motto "Free Church in a Free State" by requesting the union – as distinct entities – of the Catholic Church and the state since they considered Catholicism to be the only true religion, and above all because it was the faith of the majority of the Brazilian people. They did not openly oppose the Republic nor did they defend the monarchy, after all they considered the Church "to be indifferent to all forms of government. It thought that all could achieve the temporal happiness of peoples, provided that they and those who govern do not despise Religion."17 A willingness for conciliation was shown as long as the rights of religion were preserved. 'Catholic Brazil,' in the various senses attributed to this expression, which arises out of a certain type of foundational myth of the nation as Marilena Chauí has analyzed, would hereafter being the distich of the slogan of the Ultramontane struggle in the First Republic.18

For Sérgio Buarque de Holanda, it was undeniable that the 1890 Collective Pastoral Letter demonstrated the political option of the Brazilian episcopate for the Republic. The letter "emerges as almost a frank applause for the republican regime, created four months earlier, notwithstanding the fact that in principle it was almost impossible to approve the ideas of separation between Church and state."19 Anna Maria Moog Rodrigues considers that the idea of separation is equivalent to opposition to the prelates, thus the insistence of the Pastoral Letter on union between the powers. Furthermore, the Brazilian bishops "had already initiated a bitter and systematic fight against the philosophy of secularization established with the Republic."20 Maria Moog emphasizes the paradoxical nature of the posture of the episcopate, on the one hand celebrating the liberty stipulated in the 7 January Decree, and on the other repudiating the separation between state and church which equated Catholicism to the other beliefs.

Thomas Bruneau has argued that this ecclesiastic posture transcribed in the 1890 letter "appears contradictory unless we take into account the historic manner of defining and exercising influence."21 Rather than paradoxical or contradictory, it can be argued that it is better to understand it as ambiguous, concerned with a determined theological and political project of the Church in a contextual relationship between Church and state that belongs to the second half of the nineteenth century, sustained by a balance of tensions between these institutions. Actually the studies of José Carlos de Souza Araújo and Euclides Marchi have proposed that the 1890 Pastoral Collective should be understood as a program of Catholic demands and as an institutional directive of relations between Church and state during the First Republic.22

In this process what calls attention is the meeting of the Episcopal Seminary of São Paulo, from which resulted the Pastoral Letter, having been convoked by the inter-nuncio, Monsignor Francesco Spolverini, whom became the go-between between the bishops, the Holy See and the ministers of the Provisional Government. The actions of Monsignor Spolverini highlighted the consistent ecclesiastical organizational network which linked the Church in Brazil to the Roman See at the advent of the Brazilian Republic. A man of the times of Pius IX, Monsignor Spolverini sought to accompany everything from close up, though always with much prudence in relation to the government, as can be seen in this extract from a letter sent to Cardinal Rampolla:

the goods of the Orders are secure for now, or at least at the moment when the Marshal is at the head of the government. Certainly, his expressions in favor of these goods have been very clear and decisive. In reality, however, it is not so clear: the more or less latent danger always exists.23

This extract from the correspondence allows us reflect on at least two points: one, the instability and precariousness of relations between the state and the Catholic Church in the period; the other the non-existence of an acephalic administration of the Catholic Church in Brazil in that context. Aware of the transitory nature of the 7 January Decree, valid until the new constitution was enacted, Monsignor Spolverini assumed a vigilant posture.

After Decree 119-A the Inter-Nunciate came to coordinate all the nominations and successions of bishops, though now there was no need to present the names to the Emperor. In the middle of the 1890s, in a consistory held in Rome there occurred the first designation and nomination of bishops to the Brazilian Church in the Post Patronage Era: D. Macedo Costa was promoted to the Archibishop Primate in Bahia, D. Cláudio Ponce de León was moved from Goiás to Porto Alegre, and the first bishops were appointed under the Republic, Manuel dos Santos Pereira, Silvério Gomes Pimenta, João Tiago Esberard, Jerônimo Tomé da Silva and Joaquim Arcoverde.

At the end of the 1890s, the inter-nuncio thought it wise to consult the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Quintino Bocaiuva, about the possible change of the prelacy in the Federal Capital, in order not to displease the government, especially because a confessed monarchist, D. João Tiago Esberard, was going to be appointed. In a confidential dispatch, dated 31 December 1890, Bocaiuva stated that he was thankful for the consultation ordered by Cardinal Rampolla, Secretary of State of the Vatican, but abstained on answering the question, stating that "since Church and state have been separated, the nomination of bishops is a matter of exclusive competence of the Holy See."24

This meeting determined the new directions of the Catholic Church in Brazil and the discourse, strategies and practices of the Brazilian episcopate in the new republican environment. Bocaiuva's consultation was part of this project. It marked the respect of the Holy See for the government of the Republic, officially recognized by the Roman See, and its intensions of consecrating friendly relations between the two governments. The response of the Minster of Foreign Affairs, equally polite, outlined the republican historical vision of the independence of the state and religious confession, at the same time that it acknowledged the competence of the Vatican in Brazilian ecclesiastic questions. Furthermore, Bocaiuva's position was considered by the episcopacy as a gesture of unity between the civil and ecclesiastic societies, and of the independence of powers. Furthermore, this letter was later used by the Roman See whenever the Brazilian government tried to interfere too much in the designation and nomination of any bishop. Drawing on Norbert Elias, in this social figuration which was being created, the state and the Catholic Church from the beginning sought to maintain a certain equilibrium of tensions.25

The heated debates and conflicts involving the religious question were closed on the constitutional level by the promulgation of the first republican constitution on 24 February 1891.26 The articles related to the religious question bore the marks of Decree 119-A. The liberal principle of separation of church and state was preserved, as well as the determination of the secularization of cemeteries, state recognition of only civil marriage, freedom of worship once republican laws were respected, lay teaching in public schools, ineligibility of non-enlistable citizens, prohibition of the vote to those who swore oaths of obedience, prohibition of the subsidizing of worship or religious works by the Union or the states. Although the Catholic bishops did not obtain greater privileges for the Catholic Church, anti-clerical proposals, such as the confiscation of the goods of orders and congregations by the right of the state to mortmain, or the prohibition of the entrance of new foreign congregations, as well as the expulsion of the Jesuits, did not appear in the 1891 constitutional text.

The Brazilian republican state that emerged was, nonetheless, secular, and wanted to establish itself as a modern state, with the results that disputes were unavoidable with the Catholic Church over the production and transmission of the meanings of the world through ritualistic and discursive resources.27 However the nature of its laicité expressed in the 1891 Constitution was not anti-religious or confessional, nor was it similar to the French or US laicité of that time. Roughly speaking, it can be called 'pragmatic laicité' (pragmatic involves here the notions of utility and practicality, but also implies the set of rules or formulas for Court and Church ceremonies), since the Brazilian state, by guaranteeing its own civil independence in relation to the ecclesiastic, created with Decree 119-A a large relational space with the different religious confessions to advantage of alliances, omissions, negotiations and persecutions, according to the state's own interests, or better of those who controlled it.

Promulgated in the name of the representatives of the Brazilian people and not in the name of 'God,' the first republican constitution responded to the conflicts and results arising out of the Brazilian historic process, establishing in the country a type of laicité characterized by the judicial recognition of religious confessions which, among other reasons, accommodated a large part of the social tensions inherent to the prelude to the republican regime in Brazil. Considering the observations of Valerio Zanone, this type of laicité became possible because:

The theory of the lay state was based on a secular and not sacred conception of political power, seen as an autonomous activity in relation to the religious confessions. These confessions, however, placed on the same sphere and with equal liberty, could influence politics, in direct proportion to their social weight. The lay state, when correctly perceived, did not thus profess an ideology of 'laicité,' if we understand by this an irreligious or anti-religious ideology.28

This 'pragmatic laicité' assumed by the Brazilian republican state allowed the social and legal recognition of various religious confessions in the country, at the same time that it favored the action of the owners of power with ecclesiastic institutions in special circumstances for republican projects. This was what happened, for example, in relation to the missions in the north of the country, a region that demanded enormous administrative attention and revealed the challenges and limits of the new political regime. The Provisional Government already considered indispensible the work of the missionaries in those sites far from the Federal Capital. In 1891 the first constitutional republican government, following policies put into action during the Empire, contacted Monsignor Spolverini to officially request the aid of the Capuchins in the north of the Amazon, assuring full support and all means necessary to carry out the project. In 1895 the same would happen in Mato Grosso involving the Salesians who created their missionary center in that state.29

In the first republican decade, in times of civil war and economic recession, state and Catholic Church – notwithstanding the significant presence of masons and Protestants in the official political means and of Catholic monarchists in the direct and indirect resistance to the Republic – drew close on more than one occasion to maintain social order and the stability of their institutions, such as during the Federalist and Navy Revolts (1893-1895), but above all, in the outcome of the Canudos War (1893-1897), a socio-religious movement in the Brazilian Northeast, led by Antônio Conselheiro, which put in check the legitimacy of the republican government and the moral conduct of the Brazilian ecclesiastic hierarchy.

In the ad intra dimension, the Catholic Church in Brazil set out on a process of reform and reorganization based on the guidelines in the document entitled Instruções, dated 14 June 1890, and signed by Cardinal Rampolla, Secretary of State for the Vatican. The document determined certain central points for the Brazilian episcopate:

1. Unity between bishops; 2. Reform of clergy; 3. Reform of religious orders and congregation in Brazil; 4. Control of brotherhoods and fraternities; 5. Missionary action in the interior of Brazil; 6. Introduction of European devotions, especially that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Holy Family; 7. Intensification of catechism; 8. Formation of new dioceses; 9. Search for new sources of funding.30

These points were presented and discussed between 10 and 20 August 1890 in the first large conference of the Brazilian in São Paulo. On this occasion D. Macedo Costa prepared based on Cardinal Rampolla's Instruções a document entitled Alguns pontos de reforma na Egreja do Brasil – Memória para servir às discussões e resoluções nas Conferencias dos Snrs. Bispos (Some points for the reform of the Church in Brazil – Memorial to serve for discussion and resolutions in the Conferences of Bishops), dated 2 August 1890. The first chapter of the document dealt with the purpose of the conferences and the need for the union of the Brazilian episcopate (an old wound with D. Macedo Costa, who had complained many times about the lack of support from bishops during the 'Religious Question') in times considered adverse to the Church:

In the extremely serious situation of religious affairs in Brazil, all of us Bishops are meeting in accordance with the wishes manifested by the Apostolic Holy See, so that as brothers we can discuss and decide on practical measures that shall now be put into action uniformly in all the dioceses, in order to restore the discipline of the Clergy, to resolve evils, reform abuses, give all decorum and luster to the worship of God, so that in this way we can make the faith, piety and good customs flourish once again among the believers who trust in our pastoral care.31

Chapter IX covered what D. Macedo Costa considered in this document as the "point so important for the prosperity of Religion in our country," that related to dioceses:

The argument that the dioceses in proportion to the vastness of the country, with numerous populations distant from the center, was always a desire manifested often to the government, on whom the respective approval was dependent. Now the Holy See is free to create new dioceses, without any interference from any part of the state, I think it the only difficulty is the lack of a convenient allocation, so that the new Sees can be created on the foundations of the Tridentine Conc.32

D. Macedo Costa also highlighted the need of continuing catechetical work with the Indians, a clear claim of the civilizing character of Christianity. In Chapter V, about Mission, he presented his ideas about the theme in "Article II – The savages":

Also these Missions we have to be very open to expand in Brazil the kingdom of God. The Holy See expects that the state will recognize that only religion can propagate civilization, as proved by the history of the patria and universal history, will furnish, with always more of less faith, the means for this catechism, and that the zeal of the Bishops to seek Missionaries for the poor Indians will not go without effect.33

The work with the indigenous population continued to be for D. Macedo Costa the link capable of somehow keeping the state and the Catholic Church together. At the end of the discussion, it was proposed to hold a National Council in 1891, but this was not done due to the death of D. Antônio de Macedo Costa during that year, as well as articulations against it on the part of the republican government and even the Roman Curia. In fact, this council would only be held much later, in 1939.



Based on the Instruções of Cardinal Rampolla, and Alguns pontos de reforma da Egreja, by D. Macedo Costa, it can be stated that the creation of dioceses was the strategy par excellence of the Ultramontane project of the making the presence of the Catholic Church ubiquitous in Brazil under the auspices of the self-comprehension of the 'perfect society' outlined in the 1890 Pastoral Letter. Dioceses were advanced units of socio-political and religious action for the Catholic Church in whose territorial limits the ecclesiastic reforms substantially outlined by Cardinal Rampolla and by D. Macedo Costa were carried out.

Under the analytical inspiration of Michel de Certeau, strategy is understood as the act of creating a place that is considered legitimate and specific for a subject to want and have in the space of another, and through this specific place relations can be managed with an exterior of targets or threats. In Michel de Certeau's words:

Strategies are thus actions which thanks to the postulate of a place of power (the property of a specific person), theoretical places are prepared (totalizing discourses and systems), capable of linking a set of physical places where the forces are distributed. These combine three types of place and aim to dominate them, some by the others. Spatial relations are thus privileged.34

Diocesanization as a strategy was the solution found by the Catholic Church in the second half of the nineteenth century in Europe to compensate the loss of ecclesiastical territories in the Italian peninsula and other places. A religious territoriality35 was created which in principle subjected the whole world to ecclesiastic jurisdictional interventions. The world could be divided into dioceses, prefectures, prelacies, parishes, etc. In this way, it can be considered that this strategy preserved and expanded in the spiritual arena and in the sphere of religious control, the old dominions of the Church, transposing for this new territoriality the symbolic capital and the institutional might acquired by Roman Catholicism during its millenary history.

In Brazil before 1890 the creation of these ecclesiastic circumstances depended on the state, which did not build them, above all, for financial reasons, though at the end of the Empire political reasons had predominated. After 1890, the Holy See took the responsibility for the founding of new dioceses and "the Brazilian bishops deemed that the moment had arrived to expand these organisms of ecclesiastic power."36

The first results of the evaluations and discussions about the creation of new dioceses in Brazil took place in 1892 when Pope Leo XIII created through the bull Ad universas orbis ecclesias,37 dated 27 April, the dioceses of Amazonas, Curitiba, Niterói and Paraíba,38 in addition to elevating Rio de Janeiro to an Archdiocese and dividing Brazil into two Ecclesiastic Provinces: the Northern, with a seat in Salvador; and the Southern with a seat in the city of Rio de Janeiro. This was the first effective action in the process of diocesanization, with the increase of the number of dioceses from 12 to 16.

In fact, the question of bishoprics was the object of increased attention of the Catholic Church during the Plenary Latin-American Council held in Rome in 1899. The Decrees of this Council, in particular articles 179 to 203, associated bishops with dioceses. In addition, these were defined, above all, as territories governed by bishops. It can even be said that at that time the notion of diocese (territory delimited by the pastoral action of the bishop) was absorbed by the notion of bishopric (area of dominion of the bishop). In general, an elevation in the ecclesiastic hierarchy also occurred within this bishop-dioceserelational field, since, for example, to become an archbishop or cardinal a bishop had to be given an archdiocese, a metropolitan see. Years later, the 1917 Canon Law Code confirmed this territorial emphasis of the diocese and the personal dominion of the bishop over it, principally in articles 215-217.39

The need to increase the number of bishops, with the tangential resource to appoint auxiliary bishops or coadjutors, propelled the creation of new dioceses. In the 1894 encyclical Litteras a vobis, Pope Leo XIII wrote that among the many causes of the decline of Catholicism in Brazil, especially important was the small number of bishops for such vast regions, preventing the necessary vigilance over the behavior of priests and believers in order to ensure the dignity of Catholicism. It can be understood from this text that for Pope Leo XIII the absence of bishops was responsible for the fragility of Catholicism in Brazil and for the consequent separation between the state and the Catholic Church at the advent of the Republic. For this reason he took advantage of the occasion of the creation of new provinces and dioceses in 1892, to exhort the authority of the bishop in his diocesan territory, as well as respect for their responsibilities in the education of new priests in seminaries in Brazil and in the Pio Latino-Americano college in Rome, and in the assiduous vigilance of the behavior of clerics and the laity.40

With the Republic the old imperial provinces assumed the status of federations, implying considerable judicial and administrative freedom for the states. Each state, for example, had its own constitution, making efforts to distinguish itself from the other federative units in the Republic. This reality demanded a certain adjustment of their administration from the Brazilian episcopate and the Nunciate in Brazil in order to deal in a particular manner with each state. In this environment the creation of dioceses in these new territories became preeminent for ecclesiastic projects.

However, this does not signify that the dioceses were created in the wake of the establishment o federal capitals and regional districts. In other words, the diocesanization of Catholicism in Brazil occurred at the Catholic Church's own rhythm, in a time of widespread institutional restructuring and not simply in the wake of events in republican politics as Sérgio Miceli insinuates in A elite eclesiástica Brazileira,41 apparently reducing ecclesiastic efforts to the construction of an oligarchic pact.

It has to be emphasized that the creation of a diocese on the threshold of the republican order established a new space of socio-political reference, and its acceptance by the civil authorities furthermore legitimated a determined ecclesiastic space in society juxtaposed on lay space. After all, the official recognition of a diocese was in effect the recognition of the legitimacy of the institutional action of the Catholic Church which, however, was interpreted by the Republic of Councilors as extremely favorable to the Brazilian intentions of internal progress and leadership in South America in the search for a leading role in the window of international capitalism.

In 1903-1904 the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the prestigious Baron Rio Branco, after the successful negotiation which resulted in the consolidation of the Brazilian Embassy in the Vatican and the raising of the Inter-Nunciature to an Apostolic Nunciature in Brazil, made efforts to obtain from the Roman See a cardinalate for a Brazilian bishop, which in Rio Branco's words, cited by Magnoli, "help to consolidate and increase the prestige of Brazil in the world, particularly among our neighbors."42 The prestige was obtained, since in 1905 the archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, D. Joaquim Arcoverde de Albuquerque Cavalcanti, was graced with the cardinal's purple.

Rio Branco and Rodrigues Alves, leading names in the Republic of Councilors, approximated the Catholic Church due to its institutional power and international prestige it enjoyed. At this moment in the second decade of republican government, the preeminent need to consolidate national frontiers with the South American countries sealed once and for all the good relations between these Councilors and the Roman Curia. For a young republic the definition of territorial borders was a basilar question of the sovereignty of the state and fulcrum of the civilizing project which it was supposed to carry out in the age of nationalisms, as Benedict Anderson and Eric Hobsbawm have asserted. In addition, in those times constant vacant territories could attract the greed of imperialist powers, which concerned the Brazilian government.43

The secular presence of Brazilian Catholic missions in the frontier regions was favorable to Brazil during the arbitration of territorial litigations to the extent that the principle of uti possidetis44 underpinned the verdicts. In 1904 the participation of the Nunciature in these processes was direct. The nuncio in Brazil, Giulio Tonti, was chosen by the Brazilian and Peruvian governments to lead the arbitration tribunal responsible for defining the borders between the two countries. The work was long, only being completed in 1910, with Brazil acquiring a large part of the contested territories, but it had to pay Peru £52,240.00 sterling and 180 contos de réis. The result left Baron Rio Branco very happy, who he publically showed his gratitude for the work of the Nunciature and the Holy See.45

In this way the diocesanization of Catholicism in Brazil, as part of an international movement of the reorganization of the Catholic Church, was presented as a fundamental ecclesiastic strategy to expand the ecclesiastic presence in Brazilian society, responding to the demands of the Roman Curia and to the specific socio-political and religious needs in each federative unit of the Brazilian Republic. Diocesanization also indicated the ambiguous and tense relation of the Catholic Church with modernity, after all, it incorporated many of its new scientific and technological novelties, but combated its moral and religious repercussions.

Inscribed in these contexts and processes, the diocesanization of Brazilian Catholicism during the First Republic was responsible for creating a network of dioceses, prelacies and prefectures which gave an unprecedented territorial capillarity to the Catholic Church in its history in Brazil, especially because of its institutional incursion into the 'sertões.' This phenomenon is what is most emphasized in the historiography of Catholicism during this period, seen by some as the result of a successful movement of institutional construction which provided the necessary support for the implementation of ultramontane Catholicism, following European patterns and for a new type of collaborative relationship between Church and state denominated 'Neo-Christianity.'46 For other analysts, this phenomenon of the creation of ecclesiastic jurisdictions and of Catholic colleges did not lead to a real connection between the Catholic Church and society, and notwithstanding the expressive number of circumscriptions created in this movement, Catholicism was physically and doctrinally, very distant from the problems and the lives of the majority of the Brazilian population.47

In relation to this, the geographers Roberto Lobato Correa and Zeny Rosendahl have analyzed the process of the spatial diffusion of the Catholic Church in Brazil through its dioceses and prelacies between 1551 and 1930. They emphasize that this analysis should take religious territory to be "a demarcated territory in which access is controlled and within which authority is exercised by a religious professional. It has its specific structures, including a mode of spatial distribution and the management of the sacred" (Correa; Rosendahl, 2006, p.7). The set of practices developed by groups or institutions to control the territory is called territoriality. Correa and Rosendahl evaluate that until 1890 Catholic territoriality aimed to guarantee the appropriate of the vast territory for the official state religion, under the system of Patronage. After Decree 119-A, "the process of creating dioceses was accelerated... 68 new dioceses were created in forty years." In a new institutional phase, the Church had to proceed in such a way that its symbolic power was territorially materialized. Correa and Rosendahl state that the spatial concentration of seats of these Catholic territories reproduces in general terms the pattern of settlement in Brazil through complex patterns of diffusion, reflecting and conditioning the actual territorial dynamics of the country (ibidem, p.7).

With the aim of exploring these considerations, Figure 1 expresses the movement of the creation of archdioceses, dioceses and prelacies in Brazil between 1551, the year of the first diocese (in Salvador), the situation in 1889, the occasion of the Proclamation of the Republic, and in 1930, the end of the First Republic. What stands out is the quantity of ecclesiastic circumscriptions created between 1890 and 1930, the time of the real diocesanization in Brazil, the phenomenon of the historic rupture and the structuring of the later actions of the Catholic Church in Brazilian society.



Archdioceses, dioceses and prelacies correspond to the most usual Catholic jurisdictions of the period, with vicarages and apostolic prefectures also existing. These circumscriptions established a hierarchization of space, as can be noted in the reading of articles related to the theme in the 1917 Code of Canon Law.48 Archdioceses and dioceses were founded in territories considered to be civilized and worthy of holding a bishopric. The archdioceses were a step above dioceses to the extent that they were the metropolitan seats of an ecclesiastic province formed of a set of dioceses, usually created in the old territory of an archdiocese, maintaining a territorial link with the latter. The bishop of an archdiocese was differentiated from his diocesan homonym, receiving the title of metropolitan archbishop, and in some cases was directly graced by the pope with the title of Cardinal, which put him in the Sacred College and qualified him for the Conclave.

Prelacies, in turn, were recognized by the 1917 Code of Canon Law as dioceses, but in practice were directed by a male religious congregation, whose abbot, or prior, or superior was the ordinary of the prelacy, a circumscription created in regions close to mission lands. In the lands considered to belong to missions, the Catholic Church established vicarages and apostolic prefectures, not always directed by bishops and under the control of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (Congregatio Propaganda Fide).49 Vicarages and apostolic prefectures were created in lands of savages and those uncivilized from the European Christian perspective.

At the beginning of the twentieth century Brazil was administratively organized in twenty states and the Federal District. In 1913 the first territorial division of the country into five Brazils was proposed: Northern Brazil or Amazonian including Acre, Amazonas and Pará. Maranhão, Piauí, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Pernambuco and Alagoas formed Northeastern Brazil. Eastern Brazil grouped Sergipe, Bahia, Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro – where the Federal District, the seat of Brazilian government was based – and Minas Gerais. São Paulo, Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul were part of Southern Brazil. Finally, Goiás and Mato Grosso, constituted Central Brazil. Diocesanization affected the Brazils of the First Republic in an unequal manner, as can be seen in Figure 2, giving the regional percentage of dioceses created in the period, confirming the hierarchization between the regions and states do Brazil based on two cores: Salvador and Rio de Janeiro.



In the first 20 years of the Republic 25 dioceses were created, while in the final 20 years another 31 new dioceses were. Between 1908 and 1922 alone, 32 of the 56 dioceses founded in the First Republic were created. The Southern and Eastern Brazils were those in which new dioceses were most concentrated in the period, accumulating 72% of the total. The Northern and Central Brazil, with the lowest percentages of dioceses created, were, nevertheless, were the areas with the highest number of prelacies and apostolic prefectures, as can be seen in Figure 3. Northern or Amazonian Brazil housed more than half of the 18 prelacies and three apostolic prefectures during the period.



From what has been discussed it can be stated that the diocesanization of Catholicism, in other words, the territorial and institutional expansion of the Catholic Church in Brazil during the First Republic, re-dimensioning physical, political and discursive places, was assumed by the Roman Curia and the Brazilian episcopate as the basilar strategy (in the Certeaunian sense) for the Ultramontane reform of Catholicism and the renovation of the presence of the Catholic Church in society, as can be perceived in the analysis of the principal ecclesiastic documents from the period.

It was in the reference space created by the diocese/prelacy/prefecture that Ultramontane Catholicism gained legitimacy and was able to develop. An institution which considered itself as a 'perfect society,' holder of spiritual power, the Catholic Church consolidated a concept of religious territoriality which tied territorial questions to spirituals, civil to ecclesiastic, nonetheless, emphasizing the supremacy of the spiritual and ecclesiastic under its control, recog nized, by historic vicissitudes and socio-political needs as the geographic reality with a judicial personality by the Brazilian state itself, whose leaders adopted an ambiguous and pragmatic conception of laicité which was well accepted by the Catholic hierarchy, despite the discourses made in favor of the prerogatives of the Catholic Church, which put an end to the idea of a Catholic party – whose experiences in Brazil were always unsuccessful – and established a tense, but continuous, articulation between the state and Catholic Church in the First Brazilian Republic, with profound effects on the forms and dynamics of the control of national territory.



1 Este artigo contém parte dos resultados obtidos em pesquisa de doutoramento sobre a criação de dioceses no Brasil da Primeira República, desenvolvida na FCL-Assis-Unesp desde 2009, sob a orientação do prof. dr. Ivan Esperança Rocha, com bolsa de doutorado do CNPq. Dedico este trabalho ao saudoso mestre prof. dr. Eduardo Basto de Albuquerque, que faleceu em 24 de junho de 2009.         [ Links ]

2 COSTA, Angela Marques da; SCHWARCZ, Lilia Moritz. 1890-1914: no tempo das certezas. 2.reimpr. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2007. p.15 passim; HEIZER, Alda; VIDEIRA, Antonio Augusto Passos (Org.) Ciência, civilização e República nos trópicos. Rio de Janeiro: Mauad; Faperj, 2010. p.7 passim; SEVCENKO, Nicolau. Introdução. O prelúdio republicano, astúcias da ordem e as ilusões do progresso.         [ Links ] In: _______. (Org. Vol.) República: da Belle Époque à Era do Rádio. 8.reimpr. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2008. v.3, p.7-48 (História da Vida Privada no Brasil, v.3); HARDMANN, Francisco Foot. Trem-fantasma: a ferrovia Madeira-Mamoré e a modernidade na selva. 2.ed. rev. ampl. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2005. p.63 passim; NEVES, Margarida de Souza. Os cenários da República: o Brasil na virada do século XIX para o século XX.         [ Links ] In: FERREIRA, Jorge; DELGADO, Lucilia de Almeida Neves (Org.) O tempo do liberalismo excludente: da Proclamação da República à Revolução de 1930. 3.ed. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 2008. p.13-44 (O Brasil Republicano, v.1); RAGO, Margareth. Os prazeres da noite. 2.ed. rev. ampl. São Paulo: Paz e Terra, 2008. p.21-33; MELLO, Maria Tereza Chaves de. A modernidade republicana.         [ Links ] Revista Tempo, Rio de Janeiro: Universidade Federal Fluminense, v.13, n.26, p.15-31, 2009; JANOTTI, Maria de Lourdes Mônaco. O diálogo convergente: políticos e historiadores no início da República. In: FREITAS, Marcos C. (Org.) Historiografia brasileira em perspectiva. 6.ed. São Paulo: Contexto, 2005. p.119-144; LUCA, Tania Regina de. República Velha: temas, interpretações, abordagens.         [ Links ] In: SILVA, Fernando Teixeira da; NAXARA, Márcia R. Capelari; CAMILOTTI, Virginia C. (Org.) República, liberalismo, cidadania. Piracicaba (SP): Unimep, 2003. p.33-49; FALCON, Francisco J. C. Historiografia republicana e historiografia da República.         [ Links ] In: HOMEM, Amadeu Carvalho; SILVA, Armando Malheiro da; ISAÍA, Artur César (Coord.) Progresso e religião: a República no Brasil e em Portugal 1889-1910. Coimbra: Ed. UC; Uberlândia (MG): Ed. UFU, 2007. p.389-410; GOMES, Ângela de Castro; FERREIRA, Marieta de Moraes. Primeira República: um balanço historiográfico.         [ Links ] Estudos Históricos, Rio de Janeiro, v.2, n.4, 1989. p.244-280.         [ Links ]

3 SCHWARCZ, Lilia Moritz. As barbas do imperador: D. Pedro II, um monarca nos trópicos. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1998. p.315-350; CARVALHO, José Murilo de. A Escola de Minas de Ouro Preto: o peso da glória. 2.ed. rev. Belo Horizonte: Ed. UFMG, 2002. p.29-86; CARVALHO, José Murilo de. D. Pedro II. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2007. p.98 e 227; COSTA; SCHWARCZ, 2007, p.127.         [ Links ]

4 CARVALHO, José Murilo de. Forças Armadas e Política no Brasil. 2.ed. Rio de Janeiro: Jorge Zahar, 2006. p.38; CARVALHO, José Murilo de. Os Bestializados: o Rio de Janeiro e a República que não foi. 3.ed. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2009. p.11; CASALECCHI, José Ênio. O Partido Republicano Paulista: política e poder (1889-1926). São Paulo: Brasiliense, 1987. p.56; LEAL, Elisabete da Costa. O calendário republicano e a festa cívica do descobrimento do Brasil em 1890: versões da história e militância positivista.         [ Links ] Revista História, São Paulo, v.5, n.2, 2006. p.64; HOLANDA, Sérgio Buarque de. O Brasil Monárquico: Do Império à República. 8.ed. Rio de Janeiro: Bertrand Brasil, 2008. p.409. (História Geral da Civilização Brasileira; t.2; v.7); CARVALHO, José Murilo de. A construção da ordem: a elite política imperial. Teatro de sombras: a política imperial. 2.ed. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 2006. p.418; VILLA, Marco Antônio. A queda do Império: os últimos momentos da monarquia no Brasil. São Paulo: Ática, 1996. p.96-106.         [ Links ]

5 BRASIL. Decreto 119-A, de 7 jan. 1890. Disponível em:; Acesso em: 12 mar. 2011. O Ius Patronatus (Direito de Padroado) tem origem histórica medieval caracterizando-se por um acordo de recíprocas concessões entre uma instituição ou sujeito ou Estado e a ICAR. Por esse acordo a instituição, sujeito ou Estado, na condição de Patrono, se compromete a fazer do catolicismo religião oficial da região sob seu controle, responsabilizando-se pela criação e manutenção de tudo aquilo que for necessário para a religião; em contrapartida, o Patrono, recebe concessões papais para ereção de santuários e igrejas e apresentação de nomes para o clero, além do direito de coletar o dízimo eclesiástico.         [ Links ]

6 LEAL, 2006, p.64. O domingo não foi mencionado nos decretos permanecendo como dia semanal de guarda religiosa, enquanto o Dia de Finados foi mantido feriado. Urge lembrar que nos anos 1910 os símbolos religiosos foram paulatinamente recolocados nos espaços públicos e nos anos 1920 e 1930 as festas religiosas foram novamente contempladas no calendário civil.         [ Links ]

7 Dispositivos do Ius Patronatus (Direito de Padroado) exercido pelo Monarca sobre a Igreja em seu território, o Placet (sentença, parecer) e o Exequatur (execute-se) validavam ou não determinado documento ou ato eclesiástico.         [ Links ]

8 ROMANO, Roberto. Brasil: Igreja contra Estado. São Paulo: Kairós, 1979. p.115.         [ Links ]

9 Urge lembrar que o Padroado que vigorou no Império do Brasil não se fez a partir de concessões bilaterais oficiais. A Constituição de 1824 estabeleceu o Padroado com base na soberania do Império do Brasil sem considerar qualquer concessão oficial do papa. Pedro I chegou a enviar, após a emancipação política, monsenhor Francisco Correia Vidigal para negociar o reconhecimento da independência do Brasil por meio de uma Concordata. Por conta de pressões lusitanas contrárias a tal acordo, a Santa Sé só reconheceu a legitimidade do Império do Brasil em 1826, e não em forma de Concordata, mas de transmissão dos antigos direitos de padroado da Coroa Portuguesa para o monarca do Império do Brasil em seu território. Assim, as comissões da Câmara dos Deputados encarregadas de julgar o mérito do beneplácito aos artigos correspondentes ao padroado nas bulas Solicita Catholicas Gregis cura (15 jul. 1826) e Praeclara Portugaliae (30 maio 1827) de Leão XII (1760-1829) não tiveram dificuldade política em desconsiderar as concessões papais negando o placet a esses artigos. O Padroado no Império do Brasil emanou do poder soberano do Estado – princípio regalista que sustentou também a promulgação do Decreto 119-A de 1890 no que diz respeito ao poder reivindicado pelo Estado na instauração (jurídica) da realidade sociopolítica brasileira. Entende-se grosso modo o regalismo como o controle exercido pelas instituições monárquicas brasileiras sobre a ICAR em execução sui generis do padroado; já o ultramontanismo designou, no século XIX e albores do seguinte, um conjunto de ideias e práticas assumidas paulatinamente pelo episcopado brasileiro com ênfase na autoridade teocrática do papa em matéria espiritual e temporal. Cf. SANTIROCCHI, Ítalo. O ultramontanismo no Brasil e o regalismo do Segundo Império (1840-1889). Tese (Doutorado em História Eclesiástica) – Pontifícia Universidade Gregoriana. Roma, 2010. p.72-74;         [ Links ] VIEIRA, Dilermando Ramos. O processo de reforma e reorganização da Igreja no Brasil (1844-1926). Aparecida (SP): Ed. Santuário, 2007. p.48-57.         [ Links ]

10 MINISTRO QUINTINO BOCAIUVA. Carta ao internúncio apostólico do Brasil, monsenhor Francesco Spolverini. Rio de Janeiro, 18 nov. 1889. In: CALAZANS, Mylène Mitaini. A Missão de Monsenhor Francesco Spolverini na Internunciatura do Brasil (1887-1891), segundo a documentação Vaticana. Tese (Doutorado em Teologia) – Pontificium Athenaeum Sanctae Crucis. Roma, 1997. p.408-409.         [ Links ]

11 D. ANTÔNIO DE MACEDO COSTA. Carta a Rui Barbosa. Paineiras, 22 dez. 1889. Arquivo Secreto Vaticano – Nunciatura do Brasil, n.68, fasc. 330.         [ Links ]

12 Em dezembro de 1889, d. Antônio de Macedo Costa elaborou uma proposta para o decreto de extinção do padroado em sete artigos. Estes garantiam a liberdade de todos os cultos, mas determinavam que o Estado reconhecesse a Religião Católica Apostólica Romana como aquela da maioria do povo brasileiro e mantivesse o pagamento regular das côngruas para o sustento dos funcionários do culto católico. Cf. CALAZANS, 1997, p.81-82.         [ Links ]

13 Sublinha-se aqui a atuação de monsenhor Spolverini nesse processo de negociação junto a Rui Barbosa que resultou no Decreto 119-A. Os pesquisadores Oscar Lustosa e Ivan Manoel não mencionaram em seus trabalhos, por conta de seus objetivos e das fontes examinadas, a ação da Internunciatura, na pessoa de monsenhor Francesco Spolverini, no processo de negociação e pressão sobre o Governo Provisório Republicano em defesa das prerrogativas católicas. Afirma-se aqui que a presença do internúncio lançou de vez essas negociações para o plano das relações internacionais exigindo do jurista Rui Barbosa muito mais cuidado em suas deliberações tendo, finalmente, influenciado em sua decisão conciliatória entre as partes em litígio nesse processo que poderia ser denominado de "A Questão Religiosa da Primeira República" e que só foi concluído com a Constituição de 1891. Conforme análise da correspondência reunida no fundo Arquivo da Nunciatura Brasileira (principalmente os fascículos 330 e 344), do Arquivo Secreto Vaticano, foram intensos os contatos entre Rui Barbosa e monsenhor Spolverini, muitas vezes mediados por d. Macedo Costa, mantendo o internúncio a Secretaria de Estado da Santa Sé bem informada sobre o que se passava no Brasil. Para conferir e confrontar: LUSTOSA, Oscar de Figueiredo. Separação da Igreja e do Estado no Brasil (1890): uma passagem para a libertação.         [ Links ] Revista Eclesiástica Brasileira, Petrópolis (RJ), v.35, fasc. 139, set. 1975. p.631; MANOEL, Ivan Aparecido. D. Antônio de Macedo Costa e Rui Barbosa: a Igreja Católica na ordem republicana. Pós-História, Assis (SP): FCL-Unesp, v.5, p.67-81, 1997; Arquivo Secreto Vaticano – Nunciatura do Brasil, n.68, fasc. 330.         [ Links ]

14 CARTA PASTORAL COLETIVA DO EPISCOPADO BRASILEIRO (19 mar. 1890). In: RODRIGUES, Anna M. Moog (Sel. Org.). A Igreja na República. Brasília: Ed. UnB, 1981. p.43. Vale lembrar que o direito de enfiteuse da Igreja Católica não foi mencionado nem no decreto de 7 jan. 1890, nem no texto da Constituição de 24 fev. 1891. Todavia, a hierarquia eclesiástica brasileira ver-se-á envolvida em vários litígios patrimoniais, ora com Ordens Religiosas estrangeiras (como aconteceu ainda em 1890, tendo por epicentro as ações de mons. Spolverini), ora com o Estado, ora com as Irmandades, até pelo menos o ano de 1917, quando as dioceses foram definitivamente reconhecidas como de personalidade jurídica na forma da Justiça Comum, solapando de vez os antigos direitos de enfiteuse.         [ Links ]

15 MONSENHOR FRANCESCO SPOLVERINI. Carta Circular ao episcopado brasileiro. S. Paulo, Mosteiro de S. Bento, 12 jan. 1890. Arquivo Secreto Vaticano – Nunciatura do Brasil, n.68, fasc. 330.         [ Links ]

16 D. LINO DEODATO. Carta ao internúncio do Brasil, monsenhor Francesco Spolverini. São Paulo, 21 jan. 1890. Arquivo Secreto Vaticano – Nunciatura do Brasil, n.68, fasc. 330.         [ Links ]

17 CARTA PASTORAL COLETIVA DO EPISCOPADO BRASILEIRO (19 mar. 1890). In: RODRIGUES, 1981, p.54.         [ Links ]

18 CARTA PASTORAL COLETIVA DO EPISCOPADO BRASILEIRO (19.03.1890). In: RODRIGUES, 1981, p.43;         [ Links ] CHAUÍ, Marilena. Brasil: Mito fundador e sociedade autoritária. São Paulo: Perseu Abramo, 2000, p.9-10.         [ Links ]

19 HOLANDA, Sérgio Buarque de. Raízes do Brasil. 26.ed. 4.reimpr. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1995. p.118.         [ Links ]

20 RODRIGUES, Anna M. Moog. Introdução. In:_____., 1981, p.5.         [ Links ]

21 BRUNEAU, Thomas C. Catolicismo brasileiro em época de transição. Trad. Margarida Oliva. São Paulo: Loyola, 1974. p.67. Bruneau serviu-se do conceito de influência de André Vallier, a saber, como capacidade de um indivíduo, grupo ou instituição de gerar engajamento suficiente para impor uma direção à estrutura e, desse modo, mudar uma situação.         [ Links ]

22 ARAÚJO, José Carlos de Souza. Igreja Católica no Brasil: um estudo de mentalidade. São Paulo: Paulinas, 1986. p.84; MARCHI, Euclides. A Igreja e a questão social: o discurso e a práxis do catolicismo no Brasil (1850-1916). Tese (Doutorado em História) – FFLCH, USP. São Paulo, 1989. p.114.         [ Links ]

23 MONSENHOR FRANCESCO SPOLVERINI. Carta ao Cardeal Mariano Rampola del Tindaro – Secretário de Estado da Santa Sé. Rio de Janeiro, 23 abr. 1890. In: CALAZANS, 1997, p.424.         [ Links ]

24 MINISTRO QUINTINO BOCAIUVA. Carta ao monsenhor Francesco Spolverini, internúncio apostólico do Brasil. Rio de Janeiro, 31 dez. 1890. In: ALMEIDA, Alceste Pinheiro de. O Cardeal Arcoverde e a reorganização eclesiástica. Tese (Doutorado em História) – FFLCH, USP. São Paulo, 2003. p.112. Fato semelhante aconteceu nos Estados Unidos logo após a independência das Treze Colônias. O embaixador Benjamin Franklin foi consultado pelo núncio papal em Paris sobre a possibilidade da criação de uma diocese nos Estados Unidos. Consultado o Congresso, este manifestou que tal questão estava fora da jurisdição do governo. Satisfatoriamente surpresa com a resposta, a Cúria Romana procedeu à criação da diocese de Baltimore cujo primeiro bispo, John Carroll, era de importante família de Maryland que apoiou a Revolução Americana. O primo do bispo John, Charles Carroll, foi um dos que assinaram a Declaração de Independência. Cf. REESE, Thomas J. O Vaticano por dentro. Trad. Magda Lopes. Bauru (SP): Edusc, 1999. p.319.         [ Links ]

25 ELIAS, Norbert. A sociedade de corte. Trad. Pedro Süssekind. Rio de Janeiro: Jorge Zahar, 2001. p.158;         [ Links ] ELIAS, Norbert. A sociedade dos indivíduos. Trad. Vera Ribeiro. Rio de Janeiro: Jorge Zahar, 1994. p.121. Esse equilíbrio móvel das tensões Estado-Igreja leva em conta, sem dúvida, grupos e instituições que se apresentaram como terceiro polo dessas relações. A título de exemplo, vale citar a crítica anarquista à política de aproximação Estado-Igreja no ano de 1910: "Segundo parece está reunido em S. Paulo uma monumental assembleia de todos os bispos e também, ao que nos consta, do Arco-Amarello. Magnos assumptos deverá resolver esse Concilio. Entre elles: o projecto de transferencia do Vaticano para o Brasil, a nomeação para cardeaes e bispos de diversos republicanos e governantes brasileiros ... a transferencia do Governo para a igreja da Sé, a compra de um altar para a Camara dos Deputados...". CONCILIO de S. Paulo. A Lanterna: folha anti-clerical de combate, Ano IV, n.51, p.1, 1 out. 1910. Centro de Documentação e Apoio à Pesquisa – Cedap-Unesp.         [ Links ]

26 BRASIL. Constituição da República dos Estados Unidos do Brasil (24 fev. 1891). Disponível em:; Acesso em: 15 maio 2011. Cf. IGLÉSIAS, Francisco. Constituintes e Constituições Brasileiras. 4.ed. São Paulo: Brasiliense, 1987.         [ Links ]

27 Cf. ROMANO, 1979, p.99. Romano considerou que a secularização do casamento e dos cemitérios não foi vinculada simplesmente aos interesses econômicos em tempos de imigração e internacionalização do capital, mas, sobretudo, à própria essência do Estado moderno em afirmação.         [ Links ]

28 ZANONE, Valerio. Laicismo. In: BOBBIO, Norberto; MATTEUCCI, Nicola; PASQUINO, Gianfranco (Org.) Dicionário de política. Trad. Carmen C. Varriale et al. 5.ed. Brasília: Ed. UnB; São Paulo: Imprensa Oficial, 2000. p.670. Acerca dos quadros gerais dessas relações entre laicismo e religião na virada do século XIX para o século XX, ver: HERVIEU-LÉGER, Danièle;         [ Links ] CHAMPION, Françoise. Vers un nouveau christianisme? Introduction à la sociologie du christianisme occidental. Paris: Cerf, 1986; FILORAMO, Giovanni. Che cos'è la religione: temi, metodi, problemi. Torino: Einaudi, 2004.         [ Links ]

29 VIEIRA, 2007, p.380-383; BEOZZO, José Oscar. Entrevista. In: DINES, Alberto; FERNANDES JR., Florestan; SALOMÃO, Nelma (Org.) História do poder: 100 anos de política no Brasil, v.1: Militares, Igreja e Sociedade Civil. São Paulo: Ed. 34, 2000. p.39-65.         [ Links ]

30 CARDEAL MARIANO RAMPOLLA DEL TINDARO. Instrucções da Santa Sé ao Internúncio Apostólico para as conferencias dos bispos brasileiros. Roma, 14 jun. 1890. In: CALAZANS, 1997, p.453-457.         [ Links ]

31 D. ANTÔNIO DE MACEDO COSTA. Alguns pontos de reforma da Egreja do Brasil – Memoria para servir às discussões e resoluções nas Conferencias dos Snrs. Bispos. Rio de Janeiro, 2 ago. 1890. Arquivo Secreto Vaticano – Nunciatura do Brasil, n.71, fasc. 346. p.1.         [ Links ]

32 D. ANTÔNIO DE MACEDO COSTA. Alguns pontos de reforma..., n.71, fasc. 346. p.23.         [ Links ]

33 D. ANTÔNIO DE MACEDO COSTA. Alguns pontos de reforma..., n.71, fasc. 346. p.17-18.         [ Links ]

34 CERTEAU, Michel de. A invenção do cotidiano: 1. Artes de Fazer. Tradução de Ephraim Ferreira Alves. 11.ed. Petrópolis (RJ): Vozes, 2005. p.102.         [ Links ]

35 Concebe-se territorialidade, segundo Zeny Rosendhal, como: "o conjunto de práticas desenvolvido por instituições ou grupos, no sentido de controlar um dado território. É nesta poderosa estratégia geográfica de controle de pessoas e coisas, ampliando muitas vezes o controle sobre espaços, que a religião se estrutura enquanto instituição, criando territórios seus". ROSENDHAL, Zeny. Espaço e religião: uma abordagem geográfica. 2.ed. Rio de Janeiro: Eduerj, 2002. p.59. Percebe-se que o conceito certeauniano de estratégia envolve a noção de territorialidade (lugar físico) inscrevendo-a nas relações políticas (lugar de poder) e nos discursos totalizantes (lugares teóricos). A abordagem da diocese a partir dos conceitos de espaços, representações e poderes já tem um livro referencial, trata-se de: CHAIX, Gérald (Dir.) Le diocèse: espaces, représentations, pouvoirs – France, XVe-XXe siècle. Paris: Cerf, 2002.         [ Links ]

36 AZZI, Riolando. Presença da Igreja na sociedade brasileira e formação das dioceses no período republicano. In: SOUZA, Rogério Luiz de; OTTO, Clarícia (Org.) Faces do catolicismo. Florianópolis: Insular, 2008. p.18.         [ Links ]

37 LEÃO XIII. Ad universas orbis ecclesias. (27 abr. 1892). Disponível em:; Acesso em: 25 maio 2011.         [ Links ]

38 Em setembro de 1890, d. Macedo Costa apresentou ao cardeal Rampolla um projeto para criação imediata de dez novas dioceses de modo que todos os vinte estados brasileiros tivessem, pelo menos, uma diocese. No início de 1891, contudo, o próprio d. Macedo tratou, até sua morte no mês de março, da ereção das quatro primeiras dioceses do período republicano da história brasileira. Cf. CALAZANS, 1997, p.144.         [ Links ]

39 ACTAS Y DECRETOS DEL CONCILIO PLENARIO DE LA AMÉRICA LATINA. Roma: Tip. Vaticana, 1906;         [ Links ] CÓDIGO DE DERECHO CANÓNICO Y LEGISLACIÓN COMPLEMENTARIA. Texto latino e versión castellana, con jurisprudencia y comentarios. Madrid: La Editorial Catolica, 1957. Biblioteca D. José Gaspar, Faculdade de Teologia, PUC-SP. Pode-se afirmar que o Código de Direito Canônico de 1917 enfatizou a noção de bispado (território de domínio do bispo) enquanto o Código de Direito Canônico de 1983 enfatizou a noção de diocese (território pastoral de ação episcopal). Entretanto, o uso linguístico que torna comuns os sentidos de bispado e diocese ajuda a pensar as interdependências das realidades apontadas por essas duas noções.         [ Links ]

40 LEÃO XIII. Litteras a vobis. (02 jul. 1894). Disponível em:; Acesso em: 23 maio 2011.         [ Links ]

41 MICELI, Sérgio. A elite eclesiástica brasileira (1890-1930). São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2009. p.65.         [ Links ]

42 MAGNOLI, Demétrio. O corpo da pátria: imaginação geográfica e política externa no Brasil (1808-1912). São Paulo: Ed. Unesp; Moderna, 1997. p.221. A necessidade de manter, nos termos de N. Elias, o equilíbrio das tensões naquela configuração social da Primeira República, constitucionalmente laica, fez que as autoridades civis não participassem (ainda que a tenham parcialmente financiado) da grande festa de recepção ao cardeal Arcoverde, causando muita estranheza ao secretário de Estado da Santa Sé, o cardeal Merry Del Val, que em correspondência ao núncio brasileiro da época, d. Giulio Tonti, mostrou-se surpreso e descontente com a ação dos governantes em permanecerem apenas nos bastidores, depois de tanta insistência junto à Santa Sé e da honra concedida ao Brasil da primeira púrpura da América Latina. CARDEAL MERRY DEL VAL. Carta ao núncio apostólico do Brasil, D. Giulio Tonti. Roma, 28 abr. 1906. Arquivo Secreto Vaticano – Nunciatura do Brasil, n.106, fasc. 521.         [ Links ]

43 Urge considerar que a definição de nação brasileira operada na segunda metade do século XIX e nas primeiras décadas do século XX pelas elites políticas não estabelece uma ruptura com a antiga metrópole, ou melhor, com o ideário europeu, afinal, como asseverou com propriedade o historiador Manoel Salgado, "a nova Nação brasileira se reconhece enquanto continuadora de certa tarefa civilizadora iniciada pela colonização portuguesa". GUIMARÃES, Manoel L. S. Nação e civilização nos trópicos: O IHGB e o projeto de uma história nacional.         [ Links ] Estudos Históricos, Rio de Janeiro, n.1, p.5, 1988. Sobre nação, nacionalismo e território: ANDERSON, Benedict. Comunidades imaginadas: reflexões sobre a origem e a difusão do nacionalismo. Trad. Denise Bottman. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2008. p.239;         [ Links ] HOBSBAWM, Eric J. Nações e nacionalismos desde 1780: programa, mito e realidade. Trad. Maria Celia Paoli e Anna Maria Quirino. 5.ed. São Paulo: Paz e Terra, 2008. p.126;         [ Links ] SEVCENKO, Nicolau. Literatura como missão: tensões sociais e criação cultural na Primeira República. 2.ed. rev. ampl. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2003. p.144-145;         [ Links ] QUEIROZ, Paulo Roberto Cimó. As curvas do trem e os meandros do poder: o nascimento da estrada de ferro Noroeste do Brasil (1904-1908). Campo Grande (MS): Ed. UFMS, 1997. p.104.         [ Links ]

44 O princípio do uti possidetis estabelece, na Diplomacia, o direito de um país a determinado território com base em sua ocupação efetiva e prolongada. Segundo Demétrio Magnoli, o Império do Brasil adotou o princípio do uti possidetis de facto e não o de juris, isto é, de antigos tratados. Essa posição foi mantida e explorada pelo barão do Rio Branco no início do século XX com a aceitação de grande parte das Repúblicas sul-americanas. Cf. MAGNOLI, 1997, p.253.         [ Links ]

45 A atuação da nunciatura no arbitramento dessas questões territoriais com desfecho apreciado por Rio Branco, que agradeceu muitíssimo o trabalho dos representantes da Santa Sé, foi lembrada pela Secretaria de Estado do Vaticano nas instruções ao monsenhor Angelo Scapardini por ocasião de sua posse na nunciatura brasileira em 1917. SEGRETERIA DI STATO DAL VATICANO. Istruzioni per Mons. Angelo Scapardini Arcivescovo Tit. Di Damasco Nunzio Apostolico in Brasile. Gennaio 1917. Arquivo Secreto Vaticano – Nunciatura do Brasil, n.163, fasc. 816, p.7-9.         [ Links ]

46 Cf. MICELI, 2009, p.29; VIEIRA, 2007, p.513; MAINWARING, Scott. Igreja Católica e política no Brasil (1916-1985). Trad. Heloísa Braz de Oliveira Prieto. 1.reimpr. São Paulo: Brasiliense, 2004. p.41.         [ Links ]

47 Cf. MOURA, Sérgio Lobo de; ALMEIDA, José Maria Gouvêa de. A Igreja na Primeira República. In: FAUSTO, Bóris (dir.) O Brasil Republicano: sociedade e instituições (1889-1930). 8.ed. Rio de Janeiro: Bertrand Brasil, 2006. p.357. (História Geral da Civilização Brasileira; t.3; v.9);         [ Links ] CORREA, R. L.; ROSENDAHL, Z. Difusão e territórios diocesanos no Brasil, 1551-1930. Scripta Nova – Revista Eletronica de Geografia y Ciencias Sociales, Barcelona: Universidad de Barcelona, v.X, n.218, ago. 2006. p.7. Disponível em: www.Ub.Es/geocrit/sn/sn-218-65.htm; Acesso em: 30 out. 2008.         [ Links ]

48 CÓDIGO DE DERECHO CANÓNICO Y LEGISLACIÓN COMPLEMENTARIA. Texto latino e versión castellana, con jurisprudencia y comentarios. Madrid: La Editorial Catolica, 1957, art. 215, 337-339, p.88, 134-136. Biblioteca D. José Gaspar, Faculdade de Teologia, PUC-SP.         [ Links ]

49 CÓDIGO DE DERECHO CANÓNICO Y LEGISLACIÓN COMPLEMENTARIA. Texto latino e versión castellana, con jurisprudencia y comentarios. Madrid: La Editorial Catolica, 1957, art. 215, p.88. Biblioteca D. José Gaspar, Faculdade de Teologia, PUC-SP.         [ Links ]

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