Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/507

This page needs to be proofread.




lowed by Fontevrault and the Bridgettines, the rule of the former being Benedictine, while the latter ob- served the Rule of St. Bridget. But with the Gilber- tines, whilst the rule of the nuns was substantially Benedictine, the monks adopted that of the Augus- tinian Canons. (See Brigittines; Fontevrault; GiLBERTiNES.) Little is knowB as to the buildings of the earlier double monasteries except that the church usually stood between the two conventual establish- ments, so as to be accessible from both. From exca- vations made on the site of Watton Priory, a Gilber- tine house in Yorkshire, it appears that the separation of nuns from canons was effected by means of a sub- stantial wall, several feet high, which traversed the church lengthways, and it is probable that some simi- lar arrangement was adopted in other double monas- teries. No such communities exist at the present day in the Western Church.

Bateson, Origin and Early History of Double Monasteries in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, XIII (London. 1899) ; EcKENSTEiN, Wonuin under Monasticism (Cambridge. 1896) : TcKER AND Malleson, Handbook to Christian and Ecclesiastical Rome, III (London, 1900) : Butler, Lausic History of Palladius in Tezls and Studies, VI (Cambridge, 1904); Yepes, Chronicon Generate Ord. S. P. N. Benedicti (Cologne, 1603); Mabillon, An- nalesO.S. B. (Paris, 1703-39); VitaS. PachomiimP.L.,l,'KXlU\ Fehr in Diet. Thiol. Calh. (Paris, 1859).

G. Cyprian Alston.

Monasteries, Suppression of. — Under this title will be treated only the suppressions of religious houses (whether monastic in the strict sense or houses of the mendicant orders) since the Reformation. The somewhat more general subject of state encroachments on Church property will be found treated under such titles as Laicization; Commendatory Abbot; In- vestitures, Conflict of. The economic motives of state opposition to the tenure of lands by religious corporations (dating from the thirteenth century) are explained under Mortmain. The countries dealt with in the present article are: I. Germany, the Iberian Peninsula, and Italy; II. England. (For French sup- pressions, see France, especially sub-title, The Third Republic and the Church in France.)

I. Germany, Spain and Portugal, Italy. — A. Germany (including all Austrian Dominions). — The confiscation of religious property following upon the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) had been for the ben- efit of Protestant princes only. More than a hundred monasteries and innumerable pious foundations dis- appeared at this time. Towards the middle of the eighteenth century a new movement tending to the destruction of monastic institutions swept over those portions of the German Empire which had remained attached to the Catholic Faith. " Josephinism", as this political and religious movement was afterwards called, taking its name from its foster-father, the Emperor Josejih II, made the Church .subservient to the State. The supernatural character of the reli- gious life was ignored; abbeys and convents could be permitted to exist only on giving proof of their mate- rial utility. A plan "was formed at this period for the general secularization of monastic and other ecclesiastical i)roperty for the profit of the Catholic Governments in Germany. This was part of a gen- eral plan for a redistribution of territory. Frederick II (the Great) of Prussia had taken the initiative and had won over England and France to his idea. The opposition of Maria Theresa, of the Prince Bishop of Mainz, and of Pope Benedict XIV caused the project to fail. The Holy See kept the diplomacy of Prussia in check for some years. To counteract the action of Rome on public sentiment, the partisans of seculari- zaiion encouraged in Germany the spread of those philosophical errors — Materialism and Rationalism — which were then gaining ground in France (see En- cyclopedists). With this view they .succeeded in withdrawing the universities from Roman influence.

Meanwhile the princes approached the task directly.

The Elector Maximilian (Joseph) III (1745-77) began in Bavaria a work of destruction which was carried on by his successors down to the Elector Maximilian Joseph IV, Napoleon's ally, who became King Maxi- milian I of Bavaria in 1805 (d. 1825). Measures were taken first against the mendicant orders; the secular power began to meddle in the government of the mon- asteries, a commission being appointed by the civil authorities for that purpose. In the meantime (1773) the suppression of the Jesuits was decreed. About the year 1782 the Elector Charies Theodore (1778-99) obtained the assent of Pius VI to a project for the extinction of several religious foundations. The Elector Maximilian Joseph IV (King Maximilian I) of Bavaria completed the work of destruction, in- fluenced by the policy of his ally. Napoleon I, and assisted by the Count de Montgelas, his chief minister. A rescript of 9 September, 1800, deprived the reli- gious orders in Bavaria of all property rights and prohibited them to receive novices. The convents of the mendicant orders (Franciscans, Dominicans, Augustinians, Carmelites) and the religious houses of women were the first to fall. Then came the turn of the Canons Regular and the Benedictines. The cathedral monasteries were not spared. Among the abbeys that disappeared in 1803 may be men- tioned: St. Blaaien of the Black Forest (the commu- nity, however, being admitted, in 1809, to the monas- tery of St. Paul), St. Emmeran of Ratisbon, Andechs, St. Ulrich of Augsburg, Michelsberg, Benedictbeurn, Ertal, Kempten, Metten, Oberaltaich, Ottobeurn, Schcyem, Tegemsee, Wessobriinn.

The monasteries in other parts of North Germany met with the common fate of all church property. On the left bank of the Rhine they were suppressed when that territory was annexed to France by the Peace of Lun^ville, 9 February, 1801. Their prop- erty was disposed of by the Diet of Ratisbon (3 March, 1801 — February, 1803), the deplorable business having been negotiated in Paris with Bonaparte and Talley- rand. Besides her twenty-five ecclesiastical princi- palities and her eighteen universities, Catholic Ger- many lost all her abbeys and her religious houses for men: their property was given to Bavaria, Prussia, and Austria. As to the religious houses for women, the princes were to consult with the bishops before proceeding to expel their inmates. The future re- ception of novices was forbidden. In the Nether- lands, the Principality of Liege, and the portions of Switzerland annexed by France, the religious houses disappeared completely.

In the territories immediately subject to the House of Hapsburg, the secularization of monastic houses had begun more than thirty years before this. In pur- suance of the policy with which his name has been especially associated, the Emperor Joseph II (d. 1790) forbade the teaching of theology in monasteries, even to the young religious, and also the reception of nov- ices. Intercourse with the Holy See w;us placed un- der impcriiil control. It was forbidden to receive foreign religious. The civil authorities interfered in the regular discipline of communities. Commenda- tory abbots were appointed. Monasteries were de- prived of the parishes belonging to them. Superiors had to account to the emperor's representatives for the disposition of their incomes. Theological works printed outside the Empire could not be used. — Such were the principal lines of action of this adminis- tration, of which Kaunitz was the minister. All this, however, was but the prelude to a decree of suppres- sion which was issued on 17 March, 1783.

This decree applied to all monasteries, whether of women or of men, judged useless by the standards of Jo.sephini8m ; their revenues were taken to increase the salaries of the secular priests or for pious establish- ments useful to religion and humanity. The dioceses of the Low Countries (then subject to the House of