Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

C. Hollis, The Jesuits: A History ( New York, 1968), pp. 135-156.

New Cambridge Modern History ( Cambridge, 1957- 1970), VII, 122-126.

F. Nielsen, The History of the Papacy in the Nineteenth Century ( London, 1908), I, 56-87.

R. R. Palmer, Catholics and Unbelievers in Eighteenth Century France ( Princeton, 1939).

L. von Pastor, The History of the Popes from the Close of the Middle Ages ( London, 1899- 1953), XXXVIII, 216-345.


9
Austrian Edict of Toleration (Extracts) October 13, 1781

Probably the most earnest -- and incautious -- of the reforming rulers of the Enlightenment, Emperor Joseph II ( 1780-1790), attempted sweeping alterations in Austrian Catholicism. Despite objections from some Catholics at home and from Rome, "Josephinism" eventually embraced bureaucratic control of seminaries and religious orders, secularization of some church property, attenuation of the connection between bishops and papacy, manipulation of bishoprics and parishes, and generally centralization of church administration under imperial control. The Toleration Edict, a product of the same rationalist perspective, granted limited rights to Lutherans, Reformed, and Orthodox in the Hapsburg dominions. (It did not apply to non-Hapsburg parts of the Holy Roman Empire.) Full toleration had to await the Protestant Patent of 1861.

Convinced, on the one hand, of the perniciousness of all constraint of conscience and, on the other hand, of the great profit to religion and the state which arises from a truly Christian tolerance, We have come to the decision to permit the followers of the Augsburg and Helvetic religions and the non-Uniate Greeks to worship privately everywhere according to their religion. . . . The privilege of public religious worship shall be preserved to the Catholic religion alone. . . .

First: Where there are 100 families of non-Catholic subjects, they may erect a prayer house of their own as well as a school, even if they do not all live in the vicinity of the prayer house or of their minister, but a part of them live a few hours distant. Those from a greater distance may go to the nearest prayer house as often as they please, so long as it is located within the imperial-royal domains. Also ministers from these domains may visit coreligionists and assist them, as well as the sick, with necessary instruction and comfort of body and soul. However, under strictest accountability, they must never hinder a Catholic priest, asked for by any of the sick, from being called in.

Unless it has already been done in another manner, We expressly order concerning the prayer house that it have no chimes, bells, steeples, or public entrance from the street so as to simulate a church. However, in other respects they may build it of whatever material they please. Also they are entirely free to administer their sacra-

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