- Roman Catholic domination of Spanish life actually increased in the Reformation era. Such events as Henry VIII's treatment of his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, the defeat of the Spanish Armada (1588), and Protestant resistance to Spanish rule in the Netherlands strengthened spaniards in their national-religious identification, which was further solidified by the emergence of a Catholic-oriented reform led by Spaniards such as Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556), founder of the Jesuits, and the mystics St. John of the Cross (1542-91) and St. Theresa of Avila (1515-82).Protestantism was first introduced in the 1830s by Plymouth Brethren and in the mid-1850s by Luis de Usoz y Rio, who began to quietly distribute Bibles and Protestant materials he received from Scottish sources. Several evangelists such as Francisco de Paula Ruet and Manuel Matamoras operated out of a base in British-controlled Gibraltar. The arrest and trial of Mata-moras in 1860 became an issue throughout Europe, as Spain expelled all known Protestant leaders.However, in 1868 Spain passed a constitutional provision that guaranteed religious tolerance. Almost immediately, Protestant groups emerged, primarily in the south, and formed theIglesia Reformade Espanola (later known as the Iglesia Christiana Espanola, and since 1890 the Iglesia Evangélica Espanola). It held its first national assembly the next year. The original organization contained a broad range of Protestant opinions, which the leadership tried to reconcile in a confession of faith. However, in 1880 the church split when those favoring an Anglican stance formed the Iglesia Espanola Reformada Episcopal. Plymouth Brethren and Baptists also formed visible organizations at the end of the 1860s.The status of Protestant groups waxed and waned as periods of secularization alternated with reaffirmations of special ties to Rome. Protestant churches operated under a set of discriminatory regulations. Several groups, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, which came into the country following World War I, carried on a completely clandestine operation. Nevertheless, the community expanded slowly and new groups were introduced, most notably the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Pentecostals (from Sweden).In 1967, a new Law on Religious Liberty replaced the 1853 Concordat with the Vatican. The new law, which still acknowledged the primacy of the Catholic Church, reflected the decisions of the Second Vatican Council. Liberty was granted to law-abiding groups that showed proper respect for the Catholic Church. Further liberalization occurred in 1978, when the new constitution stated that the country henceforth had no official religion. Marriage was removed from Catholic control, and freedom to change one's faith was guaranteed.Today, there are more than 50 Protestant and Free Church groups, which together constitute less than 3 percent of the population. Some baptized Roman Catholics participate in Protestant groups without becoming formal members. Pen-tecostalism has grown spectacularly in the last generation and more than half of all Protestants can be found in the several larger Pentecostal bodies - the Philadelphia Church, the Assemblies of God, and a spectrum of groups introduced from Latin America.See also Portugal.Further reading:■ Directorate of Religious Affairs (Direcciön General de Asuntos Religiosos), Ministry of Justice, Spain. Available online. URL: http:// HYPERLINK "http://www.mju.es/asuntos_religiosos/index.html"www.mju.es/asuntos_religiosos/index.html■ Quia de Entidades Religiosas de Espana (Iglesias, Confesiones y Comunidades Minoritarias) (Madrid: Direcciön General de Asuntos Religiosos, Ministerio de Justicia, 1998)■ Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo, Historia de los Heterodoxos Espanoles, 3 vols., 3d ed. (Madrid: Con-sejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, 1992)■ D. G. Vought, Protestants in Modern Spain (South Pasadena, Calif.: William Carey Library, 1973).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.