Changes After the Revolution of 1974
In the Portuguese constitution of 1976, church and
again formally separated. The church continues to have a
place in Portugal, but for the most part it has been
disestablished. Other religions are now free to organize
practice their beliefs.
In addition to constitutional changes, Portugal became
secular society. Traditional Roman Catholicism flourished
Portugal was overwhelmingly poor, rural, and illiterate,
the country became more urban, literate, and secular, the
practice of religion declined. The number of men becoming
fell, as did charitable offerings and attendance at mass.
early 1990s, most Portuguese still considered themselves
Catholic in a vaguely cultural and religious sense, but
about one-third of them attended mass regularly.
religion was most likely among men and young people.
churchgoers were most often women and young children.
The church no longer had its former social influence.
the nineteenth century and on into the Salazar regime, the
was one of the most powerful institutions in the
with the army and the economic elite. In fact, military,
economic, governmental, and religious influences in
closely intertwined and interrelated, often literally so.
Traditionally, the first son of elite families inherited
the second went into the army, and the third became a
the early 1990s, however, the Roman Catholic Church no
enjoyed this preeminence but had fallen to seventh or
place in power among Portuguese interest groups.
By the 1980s, the church seldom tried to influence how
Portuguese voted, knowing such attempts would probably
During the height of the revolutionary turmoil in the
the church urged its communicants to vote for centrist and
conservative candidates and to repudiate communists,
in northern Portugal, but after that the church refrained
such an overt political role. The church was not able to
the enactment of the constitution of 1976, which separated
and state, nor could it block legislation liberalizing
and abortion, issues it regarded as moral and within the
Data as of January 1993