What Is Anti-clericalism, What Does It Mean?

What Is Anti-clericalism, What Does It Mean?

June 29, 2021 Off By Felso

It is possible to answer the question of what is anti-clericalism as follows: Anticlericalism or Anticlericalism is a historical movement opposed to institutional religious forces and influences existing in public and political life or on a person’s daily life. In this context, all of the practices to oppose the political influence of the Church and the clergy and to keep them away from politics are Anti-clericalism practices.

Clericalism, a word of English origin, means the influence/law of the church. It takes its origin from the word clergy, which means clergy. From this point of view, Anticlericalism, as can be understood from its name, means anti-church.

Anti-clericalism is a policy implemented by certain political parties, especially in countries where the Catholic Church is involved in politics. Based on this, although it is perceived as an anti-Christian and anti-church movement, today it has gained the quality of being a movement against all kinds of religious oppression.

Anticlericalism, a political and religious movement that developed on the basis of religious indifference in the 18th century, opposed the dogmas, privileges, property, and political influence of the Church. In this respect, he played an active role in the French Revolution of 1789. After the French Revolution, it spread to Portugal, Spain and Italy.

The ideas of Diderot, Voltaire, Montesquieu, and many other enlightened philosophers are ancient. The thoughts of these philosophers were also reflected in real politics and were influential in Portugal, France and Russia. So much so that the Anti-clerical ideas of these philosophers were influential in many issues such as confiscating the property of the churches, expelling the Jesuits, limiting the power of the Orthodox church, and strengthening the monarchs. In a way, this can be called the construction of secularism.


Due to the nature of the age, it was not necessary to be irreligious to rebel against the limp, rotten and rotten aspects of the Church. Namely, the Lollards (lowly murmurers) of English social history of the 14th and 15th centuries hung a kind of pamphlet or proclamation containing twelve colloquial English church denunciations on the gates of Westminster during a session of parliament. Here, the Lollards introduced themselves as “poor people who were the treasurers of Jesus and his apostles” and imposed the “blind and leper” conditions of the church on “the arrogant great priests who multiplied to be a great and expensive burden to the English people”.

In this process, the obvious flaws of the Church, the contradiction between the sermons and lifestyles of many monks, priests and nuns have not been the only source of criticism. People were also surprised at how God had allowed all this, and they saw it as a miracle that his judgment had not yet come to the church.

The Church, on the other hand, rarely used force to resist such criticism, and instead of doing this often, it tried to create a system of special and different ideas to deflect dissatisfaction and channel it.

Compiled by: Sociologist Ömer Yıldırım