D. António Luís da Veiga Cabral da Câmara. Bishop of Bragança and Miranda (1758-1819)

Fernando de Sousa

Município de Bragança / CEPESE

D. António Luís, bishop of Bragança and Miranda at the turn of the 18th century to the 19th century (1793-1819), was one of the most extraordinary and controversial prelates in the entire history of the Church in Portugal, perhaps the one who aroused the most passions and that lasted longer after his death. Revered by numerous ecclesiastics and the people in general as an "apostle of Christian perfection", "prophet" and "just", venerated by the nuns of the gatherings he founded as "a kind of private cult", calling him "father", he was called by others as "heretic", visionary, "misanthrope", "credulous" and even sensitive to the "temptations of the flesh”.

To understand D. António Luís, such a rich and influential personality in Portuguese society in the final years of the Old Regime, who lives in one of the most dramatic periods of the Portuguese History, marked by the impact of the French Revolution (1789) and the French Invasions (1807- 1811), in order to understand the hostility that the royal power and some sectors of the Church showed against him, it is necessary to know the time he was given to live as a bishop, the clash that was then felt between tradition and change/innovation, the combat between the conservative religious mentality and the challenges of Enlightenment/Jansenist rationalism, capturing the social reality of the Kingdom and the Diocese of Bragança and Miranda, understanding the rivalries that existed between secular and ecclesiastical power, between the regular and the secular clergy, among influential families in the Trás-os-Montes context, understand the role of women in rural society and their undeniable emancipation within religious communities, and learn about this bishop's reading of Christian doctrine in the light of the Gospels.

It was taking all these aspects into account that this critical biography of D. António Luís was produced, based on handwritten and printed sources, many of which remained unpublished and therefore were now published in this volume. For the first time, research work seeks to understand the explanatory factors behind the persecution that befell the bishop of Bragança and Miranda, as well as the influence that D. António continued to exert well after his death, allowing us to make our own judgment about this exceptional prelate, who many Portuguese once nicknamed the "Holy Bishop".

Note: Due to publishing rights, we only make the first pages of the work available, which can be consulted in CEPESE's Library.