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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/168

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AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN
AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN
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filled the modest position of sacristan of St. Ruprecht, the oldest church in Vienna. After a life spent in philosophical study he died in 1876 (life by Knoodt). Günther's chief works are: "Vorschule zur spekulativen Theologie des Christentums"; "Peregrins Gastmal"; "Sud- und Nordlichter am Horizont spekulativer Theologie"; "Janusköpfe für Philosophie und Theologie"; "Möhler der letzte Symboliker"; "Thomas a Scrupulis, zur Transfiguration der Persönlichkeits Pantheismen neuster Zeit"; "Die Justes-Milieux in der deutschen Philosophie gegenwartiger Zeit"; "Eurystheus und Herakles"; "Lydia" (a philosophical annual, in collaboration with Veith). Honestly intending to defend faith against the philosophical doubtings which are constantly arising in modern times, Günther fell into the mistake of making the mysteries of faith dependent on their recognition by the understanding, so that knowledge was substituted for faith. A learned war broke out in Germany, in which Günther's position was damaged by the vagaries of his followers, and at the end of five years' examination the Congregation of the Index condemned his writings. After the first excitement had subsided Günther gave a proof of the honesty of opinion which had characterized his action from the start. The verdict of the Congregation of the Index was sent to him 23 January, 1857; on 10 "February he handed Cardinal Rauscher his submission, to be forwarded to the Holy Father and to Cardinal Andrea, Prefect of the Congregation of the Index. The thought which consoled Günther in these days of trial was that God demanded of every man the sacrifice of his Isaac, and that this sacrifice was what he now made to God.

Goethe says that the subject of profoundest interest in the history of the world is the battle of disbelief against faith. This is still more true of the history of the Church. In 1860 Austria became a constitutional monarchy, and in the next year the foundations of a representative government were laid. The Imperial Parliament was to consist of a House of Peers, to which the archbishops and prince-bishop were to belong, and a House of Deputies. During the first session of the Parliament, Manger, a Protestant deputy, attacked the Concordat and demanded its revision. Upon this the members of the episcopacy in the Upper House and some other bishops met and prepared a memorial which was sent to the emperor. "Of all the party cries", it ran, "which are put to effective use in electioneering, none has so much prominence at present as the word toleration. True toleration is exercised by the Catholic Church while the harshest intolerance is practised on all sides against the Catholic Church. All its ordinances and institutions are slandered and mistrusted, and every exhibition of Catholic conviction is overwhelmed with scorn and derision." The events just noted were merely the forerunners of a terrible storm which broke after the disastrous war of 1866. In July of the next year Deputy Herbst moved the preparation of three bills concerning marriage, schools, and the mutual relations of the different religious denominations. A conference of twenty-four bishops was held at Vienna, and a second memorial was sent to the emperor which contained the following: "A party has arisen which has chosen this time of distress for an attack on the religion to which Your Majesty, the Imperial family, and a great majority of the inhabitants of the land belong. We are in the presence of a spectacle which causes the enemies of Austria to smile derisively, and which fills Austria's sons with shame rather than with anxiety." Marriage without the blessing of the Church, schools without religion were demanded. In order to obtain suitable teachers for these schools it was proposed to found for the training of teachers institutions where contempt for all that is holy should be instilled. It was not possible, however, to resist the liberal pressure. On the 21st of December, 1867, the new fundamental laws received the imperial approval. The first granted full freedom of faith and conscience and freedom in scientific opinion. The second declared: "All jurisdiction in the state is exercised in the name of the emperor". Thereby the Church's exclusive jurisdiction over marriage was impugned. The third law obliged all officials to take an oath to support the constitution. Two professors of dogmatics did not take the oath; these were Schrader, the Jesuit, and Hyacinth Pellgrinetti, the Dominican successor of Guidi. They were obliged to resign their professorships, and their places have not yet been filled.

During the same period the dual constitution was sanctioned, by which the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy as it now exists, was formed "of two distinct co-ordinate States having the same constitutional, legal, and administrative rights". After a long struggle the emperor signed, 25 May, 1808, the laws concerning marriage, schools, and the status of the several denominations. The first of these laws declares marriage to be a civil contract, makes the civil marriage obligatory, and takes from the Church the judicial power pro foro externo in matrimonial suits. The law concerning schools takes from the bishop any control of the management as well as the right of supervision. These powers are given to an official school committee of the district and town, of which committee ecclesiastics can be chosen members. The bishops select the books used by the catechist and instructors in religious doctrine. The third law grants everyone the right to choose his own religion on attaining the age of fourteen years, but a child between seven and fourteen years of age cannot change his or her religion even at the wish of the parents. As these laws infringed the Concordat in essentials, a secret consistory was held at Rome, 22 June, at which the pope declared: "Leges auctoritate Nostrâ apostolicâ reprobamus, damnamus et decreta ipsa irrita proursus nulliusque roboris fuisse ac fore declaramus." ("By the Apostolic authority we reprobate and condemn these laws, and declare that their purport was, and shall be, wholly invalid and of no force.") The bishops upon this issued pastorals. The joint letter of 3 June issued by the Bohemian bishops to the clergy and their joint pastoral of 24 June were condemned by the imperial civil courts of all three instances, on the ground that they were a disturbance of the public peace, and suppressed. Penal proceedings were not brought against Cardinal Schwarzenberg, but Bishop Francis Joseph Rudigier, of Linz, was prosecuted for his pastoral of 7 September. "On account of the misdemeanour committed in the pastoral letter"-of calling the law of 24 May a lie-he was brought before the Supreme Court, found guilty by the jury, and condemned to fourteen days' imprisonment with costs. The pastoral was ordered to be destroyed. Next day the emperor in a decree remitted the punishment and the legal consequences. The bishops disagreed as to whether the clergy should permit themselves to be chosen members of the school committees, but Rauscher and Schwarzenberg, who were for the permission, carried their point.

The definition of the pope's infallibility afforded von Stremayr, the Austrian Minister of Instruction, a pretext to demand the abrogation of the Concordat, on the plea that the pope, one of the contracting parties, had received from the definition a new character, which invalidated the original agreement. Beust, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, addressed to Palomba a note which declared: "The Concordat exists no longer; it is annulled." The abrogation of the Concordat produced a gap in religious leg-