The MasonicRevolution (1910)
Since the 18
Century, Freemasonry had been engaged in a struggle to gaincomplete power in Portugal, leaving that country unstable and prone to arevolution. In October of 1910 the Masons finally succeeded in implementing aMasonic government by means of revolution. On the night of October 3, anorganized group of Masons broke into one of the barracks of the infantry regiments.The revolutionaries within the armed forces were assisted by civilians, while themajority of the military remained neutral. The loyalists were disarmed, and on
October 5 Portugal’s constitutional monarchy was defeated in Lisbon and the
Masonic Republic was proclaimed. A provisional government made up of all theleading Freemasons was established, which had the support of the governments of France and England.The revolution immediately targeted the Catholic Church: churches wereplundered, convents were attacked and religious were harassed. Scarcely had theprovisional government been installed when it began devoting its entire attention toan anti-religious policy, in spite of a disastrous economic situation. On October 10
five days after the inauguration of the Republic
the new government decreed thatall convents, monasteries and all religious orders were to be suppressed. Allreligious were expelled and their goods confiscated. The Jesuits were forced toforfeit their Portuguese citizenship.A series of anti-Catholic laws and decrees followed each other in rapidsuccession. On November 3, a law legalizing divorce was passed; then lawsrecognizing the legitimacy of children born outside wedlock, authorizing cremation,secularizing cemeteries, suppressing religious teaching in the schools andprohibiting the wearing of the cassock, were passed. In addition, the ringing of church bells and times of worship were subjected to certain restraints, and thepublic celebration of religious feasts was suppressed. The government eveninterfered with the seminaries, reserving the right to name the professors anddetermine the programs. This whole series of persecution laws culminated in thelaw of Separation of Church and State, which was passed on April 20, 1911.
It appeared that the Freemasons’ victory was complete. Alfonso Costa, the
author of these laws, felt confident enough to declare at that time: "Thanks to thislaw of separation, in two generations Catholicism will be completely eliminated inPortugal."
Yet, due to the firmness of Pope St. Pius X, who rejected all of the Republic’s
attempts at compromise, the Church in Portugal was able to remain united underattack. The faithful supported their bishops, who together resisted the government.
This led to the exile of the majority of the country’s bishops and the imprisonment