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The opposition to the secular influence of the Church, usually the Roman Catholic Church. It was a major theme in the domestic politics of several European countries during the late nineteenth century, such as in Germany 1871–87 and beyond, Spain in 1873, and the Netherlands and Belgium during the 1880s and 1890s. It proved a central factor in French politics from the French Revolution of 1789, and provided a crucial stimulus for the Radical Party, 1902–6 and beyond. During the twentieth century it was an important issue in Spain, as the powerful Catholic Church was largely hostile to the Republican regime of 1931–9. In a sense, Communist regimes have been anticlerical as they tried to reduce if not eliminate the influence of religion upon society, though this policy often lacked popular support. As European societies became more secular during the twentieth century, anticlericalism largely ceased to be a dominant political issue in the later decades of the century.secularization


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