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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/169

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AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN
AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN
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islation. To remedy this four bills were introduced January, 1874, for regulating the legal status of the Catholic Church, the taxing of the fund for the support of religion, the legal status of monasteries, and the recognition of new religious societies. The pope expressed, on the 7th of March, his grief at the attack on the rights of the Church, implied in the assertion that the supreme power in all matters concerning the external life belonged to the State. The bishops assembled again at Vienna and sent this statement to the Ministry and the Upper House: "We repeat that we are ready to agree to the demands which the State makes on us in the bill concerning the legal status of the Catholic Church as far as these demands are in harmony with the Concordat concerning these matters. We cannot and will not acquiesce in a proposition the consummation of which would endanger the welfare of the Church."

One of the chief causes of the scarcity of priests which now began to be marked was the new law of national defence. By this law youths in their twentieth year during their course at a gymnasium were subject to military duty. The bishops again and again begged for a relaxation of the provisions of the law. But they had, for the time being, no redress except to appeal in individual cases to the indulgence of the emperor. When the bills reached the upper house the bishops defended themselves bravely. Rauscher closed his address of 10 April with these words: "So-called progress no longer considers it necessary to conceal its real aim, and has unmasked its hate against God and eternal truth. But Providence has set a natural limit to all things. The destruction of Christianity is impossible, but Austria may be destroyed if the war against religion is not checked in good time." Yet, for all this, the first two bills became law, 7 May, 1874. Among other things, the law concerning the legal status of the Church declares that: In order to obtain any ecclesiastical appointment or living, a candidate's record of past conduct must be blameless when judged by the standard of the civil law (§1); if the Government finds that an ecclesiastical regulation respecting a public church service is not consistent with the public interest, the Government shall then forbid it (§17); the total number of Catholics living in the district of a parish form the parish community (§35); in order to cover the expenses of a parish a tax is to be laid on its members (§36); the ministry of public worship and instruction is authorized to oversee the management of the funds of the churches and church instituitions (§38); the ministry of public workship and instruction is to take care that the ecclesiastical journals do not go beyond the sphere of their proper activity (§60). The law concerning contributions to the fund for the support of religion declares that: Assessments shall be made on incumbents of livings and the communities of the regular orders for the fund for the support of religion in order to meet the expenses of Catholic worship and especially in order to increase the incomes of pastors which have been until now very small (§1); the value of the entire property of the living or of the community shall be taken as the basis (of the assessment) (§2); the amount of the assessments shall be fixed every ten years for the next ten years (§9); and they were to be "one-half of one per cent on amounts up to 10,000 florins [$4,000], one-and-a-half per cent on amounts from 10,000 florins to 20,000 florins [$4,000 to $8,000], and 10 per cent on all amounts over 90,000 florins [$36,000]". The law (signed 20 May) in regard to the legal recognition of religious societies "accepts in full" the principle of religious equality.

Since the passage of these three laws no further enactments have so far been made, with regard to the status of the various denominations in Austria. In the year following their passage Cardinal Rauscher died (24 Nov., 1875). It was due to his wise moderation and caution that Austria escaped the evils of a Kulturkampf (religious conflict). In 1874, von Stremayr offered four projects for bills in the House of Deputies, one of which dealt with the legal status of monastic communities. Rauscher said that it "bore on its forehead unusual marks of mistrust, arbitrariness, and harshness. According to its provisions, the authority of the minister of worship of the time being would be sufficient to sweep from the earth a monastic house which had existed for a thousand years and to enforce the sequestration of its property." The bill reached the Upper House by the middle of January, 1876. But Cardinal Schwarzenberg succeeded, by means of a memorial of the Austrian archbishops and bishops, in inducing the emperor not to sign it, and the bill has not yet become law.

The parliamentary election of 1879 increased the number of conservative members so that the Right (hohenwart) Party was in the majority. In 1882, the Karl Ferdinand University, at Prague, was divided into a German and a Czech university. Cardinal Schwarzenberg, however, would not consent to a division of the theological faculty. He wrote to the minister, Conrad von Eybesfeld: "The Church does not wish the separation of the nations, but their union in one body, the head of which is Christ. She dedicates the blessings of her activity to all nations, she recognizes the right of every people to independence, she respects and supports the demands of a people for its own language and its own form of instruction. But the Church cannot give to the claims of nationality the first place, they must always be for her a secondary interest. The theological faculty must impress this idea upon their pupils and must not, therefore, drive them apart. They should not deepen and embitter the national differences by a separation; they should strive rather to compose these differences. This duty is above all necessaryl among the various nationalities of Bohemia. In this country it is a special duty of the priesthood to seek to soothe and unify." The separation took place, however, directly after Schwarzenberg's death.

An amendment to the school law which somewhat improved matters was laid before the Upper House in 1883. This amendment was the result of numerous memorials from the bishops to the Government and much effort of other kinds. During the debate on the amendment Cardinal Schwarzenberg said: "The bishops for whom I speak to-day recognize the value of the amendment and are ready to work for its passage. But this does not justify the presumption that we consider the amendment as remedying all defects of the school laws, and that our votes are a corroberation of these laws. Only a denominational system of common schools can satisfy the claims of the Church and of the Christian community. The present system is unsatisfactory. While we now give our support, we reserve the right to press our just demands by way of legislation in the future." The amendment made certain concessions to children who had attended school for six years, and permitted only such persons to be made the principals of schools as were competent to give instruction in the faith to which the majority of the scholars belonged.

Cardinal Schwarzenberg had presided over every meeting of the Austrian bishops since 1849, and had always fulfilled faithfully the duties of the cardinalate. At the meeting of the bishops at Vienna in 1885 he was unable, through illness, to preside at the 8th session. The next day he appeared, although unfit to attend. He was not able to be present again and died of pneumonia 27 March.

A bill called the Prince Alfred Liechtenstein school bill was introduced in October, 1888. It was in-