free ebooks

Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 11, Slice 8 "Germany" to "Gibson, William"

Found himself confronted by an Ultramontane majority


the less this was the occasion for the first proceedings against the Catholics, and curiously enough the campaign began in Bavaria. The archbishop of Munich had published the Vatican decrees without the _Regium placetum_, which was required by the constitution, and the government continued to treat Old Catholics as members of the Church. In the controversy which ensued, Lutz, the chief member of the ministry, found himself confronted by an Ultramontane majority, and the priests used their influence to stir up the people. He therefore turned for help to the imperial government, and at his instance a clause was added to the penal code forbidding priests in their official capacity to deal with political matters. (This law, which still exists, is popularly known as the Kanzlei or Pulpit-paragraph.) It was of course opposed by the Centre, who declared that the Reichstag had no right to interfere in what was after all a religious question, and the Bavarian Opposition expressed much indignation that their government should turn for help to the Protestants of the North in order to force upon the Catholics of Bavaria a law which they could not have carried in that state.

For twenty years the Old Catholics continued to be a cause of contention in Bavaria, until the struggle ended in the victory of the Ultramontanes. In 1875 the parliament which had been elected in 1869 for six years came to an end. In order to strengthen their position for the new elections,

the Liberal ministry, who owed their position chiefly to the support of the king, by royal ordinance ordered a redistribution of seats. By the constitution this was within their power, and by clever manipulation of the constituencies they brought it about that the Ultramontane majority was reduced to two. It does not appear that this change represented any change of feeling in the majority of the people. The action of the government, however, caused great indignation, and in a debate on the address an amendment was carried petitioning the king to dismiss his ministry. They offered their resignation, but the king refused to accept it, publicly expressed his confidence in them, and they continued in office during the lifetime of the king, although in 1881 the growing reaction gave a considerable majority to the Ultramontane party. After the death of the king the prince-regent, Luitpold, still retained the old administration, but several concessions were made to the Catholics in regard to the schools and universities, and in 1890 it was decided that the claim of the Old Catholics to be regarded officially as members of the Church should no longer be recognized.

May Laws.

Meanwhile at Berlin petitions to the Reichstag demanded the expulsion of the Jesuits, and in 1872 an imperial law to this effect was carried; this was again a serious interference with the control over religious matters reserved to the states. In Prussia the government, having determined to embark on an anti-Catholic policy, suppressed the Catholic division in the ministry, and appointed a new minister, Falk, a Liberal lawyer of uncompromising character. A law was carried placing the inspection of schools entirely in the hands of the state; hitherto in many provinces it had belonged to the clergy, Catholic or Protestant. This was followed by the measures to which the name _Kulturkampf_ really applied (an expression used first by Virchow to imply that it was a struggle of principle between the teaching of the Church and that of modern society). They were measures in which the state no longer, as in the school inspection law or in the introduction of civil marriage, defended its prerogatives against the Church, but assumed itself a direct control over ecclesiastical matters.

eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us