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Home > Catholic Encyclopedia > P > Periodical Literature — Portugal

Periodical Literature (Portugal)

An ephemeral news-sheet appeared in 1625, and a monthly gazette relating the progress of the War of Independence commenced in 1641, but Portuguese periodical literature really begins with the "Gazetade Lisboa", founded by José Freire de Monterroyo Mascarenhas, which lasted from 1715 until 1760. Until the end of the eighteenth century any differences of opinion in matters of faith which might exist were not discussed in print, but, notwithstanding the censorship, French ideas began to filter into Portugal, and early in the nineteenth century the press began to be divided between Liberal and Absolutist; the former advocating radical changes in State and Church, the latter defending Absolutism in politics, and Catholic orthodoxy. In 1798 appeared the "Mercurio" to combat the French Revolution, and this was followed by other anti-French journals, among them the "Observador Portuguez". On the Liberal side came the "Investigador Portuguez" in 1811 and the "Portuguez" in 1814, both published in London, from which city the Liberal exiles directed their assaults on the old regime. These attacks were met by the "Expectador Portuguez". The Revolution of 1820 gave a great stimulus to journalism, and the "Diario do Governo" began to be issued in that year. At first the Liberal papers were rather anti-Absolutist than anti-Catholic, but the Civil War led to the formation of two political camps, and Liberalism in politics came to mean Liberalism in religion. The activity of Freemasonry and the unprogressive ideas of the Absolutists were the causes. As early as 1823 the "Archivo da Religião Christã" was founded "to combat error and impiety", but the papers of this period were devoted almost entirely to politics, all being very violent. Among those which argued for a constitution, the "Portuguez", directed by Garrett, showed the greatest literary skill. The year 1827 saw the issue of an avowedly anti-clerical print, while the defence of Throne and Altar was carried on by the redoubtable Father José Agostinho de Macedo in the "Besta Esfolada" (Flayed Beast) and many other periodicals of a most bellicose character. From 1829 to 1833 the "Defensor dos Jesuitas" was issued to defend the Society, which fell with the other orders when the Liberals triumphed and Dom Miguel lost his throne.

The constitutional monarchy had an anti-clerical character from the first, and most of the papers took on the same tone. A Catholic Press became an absolute necessity, but as its supporters were mostly Miguelists, it was too political, and never exercised much religious influence over the nation. "The Peninsula", organ of the Miguelist exiles, supported the Catholic Absolutist cause until 1872, and the "Nação", of the same party, still exists. From 1840 to 1892 the chief Radical paper was the "Revolução de Septembro". The purely religious organs included the "Annaes da Propagação da Fé" (1838); the "Cruz", an Oporto weekly; and the "Atalaia Catholica", printed at Braga; but the other Catholic papers had a short life, though the "Bem Publico" (Public Weal) lasted from 1859 to 1877. In 1863 came the "Boletim do Clero e do Professorado", a pedagogic paper, in 1866 the "União Catholica", a religious and literary weekly, and in 1871 the "Fé". The "Palavra" of Oporto was founded in 1872, and in 1874 the "Mensageiro do Coração de Jesus", the monthly organ of the Apostleship of Prayer, which in 1881 slightly changed its title. In 1883 was founded the "Instituições Christãs", a fortnightly religious and scientific review, which, however, ceased in 1893; in 1885 the "Clero Portuguez", a weekly ecclesiastical review; and in 1889 the "Voz do Evangelho", a monthly. While the Catholic papers lacked support, the secular press was expanding rapidly, and developed a more and more irreligious, or at least indifferentist, character. This is even more true of the Republican papers. It would take too much space even to name the principal secular newspapers, but it is enough to say that they favoured the subjection of Church to State and defended the laws of Aguiar ("Kill-friars") which suppressed the religious orders. This attitude has become more marked since the Revolution, nearly all the Monarchical papers having ceased publication, or passed over to the Republicans, who are mostly anti-Catholic.

The present Catholic Press consists of the following papers:

If the Catholic Press limits itself in future to religious and social action, and lays aside the old methods in which it identified religion with the monarchy, it may regain some influence over those who have not altogether lost Christian sentiments. For some years before the Revolution it was too political and fought the enemies of the Church with their own arms.

About this page

APA citation. Prestage, E. (1911). Periodical Literature (Portugal). In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11688a.htm

MLA citation. Prestage, Edgar. "Periodical Literature (Portugal)." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11688a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Douglas J. Potter. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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