Propaganda, until 1695, the Catholics of Scotland were governed by prefects-apostolic. Then followed vicars-apostolic until 4 March, 1878, when Leo XIII, in the first year of his pontificate, restored the hierarchy of Scotland by the Bull "Ex supremo Apostolatus apice", and Vicar-Apostolic John MacDonald was translated to the restored See of Aberdeen as its first bishop.
The Bull made Aberdeen one of the four suffragan sees of the Archbishopric of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, and defined as its territory "the counties of Aberdeen, Kincardine, Banff, Elgin or Moray, Nairn, Ross (except Lewis in the Hebrides), Cromarty, Sutherland, Caithness, the Orkney and Shetland Islands, and that portion of Inverness which lies to the north of a straight line drawn from the most northerly point of Loch Luing to the eastern boundary of the said county of Inverness, where the counties of Aberdeen and Banff join." In 1906, out of a population of over 800,000 there were nearly 4,000 Catholics; 48 secular priests; 24 regulars; 57 churches, chapels, and stations; 1 college; 1 industrial school for girls; 1 orphanage for boys; 1 orphanage for girls. There are also Benedictine nuns, Poor Sisters of Nazareth, Franciscan Sisters, Religious of the Sacred Heart, and Sisters of Mercy. There have been four Bishops of Aberdeen since the restoration, the present incumbent, the Rt. Rev. Æneas Chisholm, having been consecrated 24 February, 1899. There is a Benedictine Abbey at Fort Augustus, at which the restored hierarchy met in a Provincial Council, August, 1886, under the presidency of the Archbishop of St. Andrews, three hundred and twenty-six years after the downfall of the Faith in Scotland. The Provincial Council of 1 March, 1559, at Edinburgh, under Archbishop Hamilton, was the last council before this, and that had adjourned after appointing Septuagesima Sunday of 1560, for the next meeting of the synod. Fort Augustus was raised to the rank of an abbey, immediately subject to the Holy See, by a brief of Leo XIII, 12 December, 1882. The munificence of Lord Lovat and other liberal benefactors called it into being.
Aberdeen, The University of.—The founder of this, one of the three universities established in Scotland in Catholic times, was William Elphinstone, who was Bishop of Aberdeen from 1483 to 1514. Early in his episcopate a petition had been sent to Rome in the name of King James IV, but probably framed by Elphinstone himself, representing the ignorance which prevailed in the greater part of his diocese, and in the northern districts of the kingdom generally. The Papal Bull for the erection of Aberdeen University was issued 24 February, 1491 (1495 according to our modern way of reckoning). Bishop Elphinstone had been a professor at Paris and at Orleans for nine years, and it was on the University of Paris, both as to form and organization, and also in its wide scope of general mental training, that the new establishment was modelled by its founder. In 1495 Elphinstone procured a royal charter assigning to academic purposes certain ecclesiastical revenues and conceding to the new university all the privileges enjoyed by the universities of Paris, St. Andrews, and Glasgow. Hector Boece, professor of philosophy at Paris, was appointed first principal of the university, which was established in what is now known as Old Aberdeen, near the ancient Cathedral of St. Machar. In 1593, George Keith, fifth Earl Marshal of Scotland, founded a second university (hence called Marischal College) in the new town of Aberdeen, and granted to it the buildings of the dispossessed Black (Dominican), Grey (Franciscan), and White (Carmelite) Friars as endowment. The two universities were united for a time (from 1640 until after the Restoration), and many schemes for their permanent reunion were promulgated in the 18th century; but it was not until 1859 that their fusion was finally affected, after much local opposition. New professorships and lectureships have been recently founded, and at Marischal College, now the seat of the faculties of science, law, and medicine, a scheme of building extension on a great scale is at present (1905) being carried out. The number of students is about 700, and the number of professors 24.
Aberle, Moritz von, Catholic theologian, b. at Rottum, near Biberach, in Swabia, 25 April, 1819; d. at Tübingen, 3 November, 1875. He became professor in the Obergymnasium, at Ehingen, in 1845; director of the Wilhelmstift, in 1848; professor of moral theology and New Testament exegesis in the university at Tübingen, in 1850, a position he retained till the day of his death. He had a considerable number of pupils in both branches, but he was especially devoted to Scriptural studies. He emphasized the activity of the human bearers of revelation, without changing it into a purely natural process. The results of his investigations he published in a series of articles contributed to the "Tübingen theol. Quartalschrift", 1851–72, and to the "Bonner theol. Lit.-Blatt". The main thoughts of these articles were collected and published under the title, "Introduction to the New Testament", by Dr. Paul Schanz (Freiburg, 1877). Aberle's view that the Gospels and the Book of Acts are apologetic writings, meeting certain needs of the Apostolic times, cannot be sustained. He took also an active part in the struggle for ecclesiastical liberty in Würtemberg, and his strong newspaper articles forced the State to arrange Church matters on a tolerable basis.
Himpel, Theologische Quartalschrift, 1876, 177–228; Werner, Geschichte der neuzeitl. christlich-kirchl. Apologetik (Schaffhausen, 1867).
Abgar, The Legend of.—The historian records a tradition (H.E., I, xii), which he himself firmly believes, concerning a correspondence that took place between Our Lord and the local potentate at Edessa. Three documents relate to this correspondence: (1) the letter of Abgar to Our Lord; (2) Our Lord's answer; (3) a picture of Our Lord, painted from life. This legend enjoyed great popularity, both in the East and in the West, during the Middle Ages: Our Lord's letter was copied on parchment, marble, and metal, and used as a talisman or an amulet. In the age of Eusebius the original letters, written in Syriac, were thought to be kept in the archives of Edessa. At the present day we possess not only a Syriac text, but an Armenian translation as well, two independent Greek versions, shorter than the Syriac, and several inscriptions on stone, all of which are discussed in two articles in the "Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgies" cols. 88 sq. and 1807 sq. The only two works to be consulted in regard to this literary problem are the "Ecclesiastical History" of Eusebius, and the "Teaching of Addaï," which professes to belong to the Apostolic age. The legend, according to these two works, runs as follows: Abgar, king of Edessa, afflicted with an incurable sickness, has heard the fame of the power and miracles of Jesus and writes to Him, praying Him to come and heal him. Jesus declines, but promises to send a messenger, endowed with His power, namely Thaddeus (or Addaï), one of the seventy-two Disciples. The letters of Our Lord and of the king of Edessa vary in the version given in Eusebius and