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"May the last king be strangled in the bowels of the last priest" --Denis Diderot [...]

See also blasphemy, libertinism, atheism, materialism, heresy, profanity, counterculture, freethought

Traité des trois imposteurs by anonymous (date unknown, edition shown 1777)
Traité des trois imposteurs by anonymous (date unknown, edition shown 1777)

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Anti-clericalism is a historical movement that opposes religious (generally Catholic) institutional power and influence in all aspects of public and political life, and the encroachment of religion in the everyday life of the citizen. It suggests a more active and partisan role than mere laïcité. The goal of anti-clericalism is to reduce religion to a purely private belief-system with no public profile or influence.

Anti-clericalism has at times been violent, leading to attacks and seizure of church property.

Anti-clericalism in one form or another has existed through most of Christian history, and is considered to be one of the major popular forces underlying the sixteenth century reformation. Some philosophers of the Enlightenment, including Voltaire, attacked the Catholic Church, its leadership and priests claiming moral corruption of many of its clergy. These assaults in part led to the Suppression of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), and played a major part in the wholesale attacks on the very existence of the Church during the French Revolution. With the reaction against the excesses of the Revolution, especially after 1815, the Catholic church began to play a more welcome role in official European life once more, and nation by nation the Jesuits made their way back.


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