Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/685

This page needs to be proofread.


BOHEMIA


615


BOHEMIA


pecially since the time of Joseph II, the Catholic Church in Austria has suffered from state inter- ference. According to existing laws, the State at present guarantees to the recognized denominations freedom from molestation in the management of their internal affairs. The State avoids every interference in matters of faith, of ritual, and of ecclesiastical discipline, but it also claims that the religious associations, like all other associations, are subject to the general state laws in their "out- ward legal relations". The sore point in this condition of r^ffairs is this: that the State assumes for itself the right to define the boundary between internal and external legal relations. At present state control shows itself in the appointment of ecclesiastical officials, in the co-operation of the State in determining and collecting church dues and taxes, in measures for the protection of the property of the Church, and in a certain super\'ision of the church press, which is hardly perceptible. The legal position of the Catholic Church in Austria rests on the Imperial Patent of 8 April, 1861, and the Law of 7 May, 1874.

Incorporation of Churches. — In the Archdiocese of Prague there arc 32 parishes incorporated with the Premonstratensian foundation at Tepl, the other orders in the diocese have 28 parishes incorpo- rated with them; in the Diocese of Leitmeritz the Cistercians at Osseg control 11 parishes, the other orders for men, 12; in the Diocese of Koniggratz there are 10 parishes united with the Benedictine houses, and 6 with the Premonstratensian; in the Diocese of Budweis the IMonastery of Hohenfurt controls 16 parishes, the other orders have 13 in- corporated with their foundations.

Taxation of Churches. — Churches, public chapels, and cemeteries are exempt from the income-tax, ground- and dwelling-tax.

Privileges of the Clergy. — Theological students are exempt, both in war and in peace, from all forms of military service, from military training, exercise with weapons, and reserve service; but after they have been ordained they can be called upon to serve as army chaplains in ease of the mobilization of the whole army. Parish priests are exempt from paying the direct and the local taxes, and from jurj' duty. Parish priests have the right to accept an election to community and district boards of commissioners. Regularly in- stalled ecclesiastics have the right of legal residence in that community in which they live permanently. Without regard to the actual paj-ment of tyxes they are entitled to vote for the local boards, for the provincial diet and for the imperial parliament (Reichstag); as a rule they are included in the first class of the electoral body. Only one-third of the fees of a parish priest can be attached for debt; besides this, his income cannot be reduced below 1,600 kronen (.S320), nor the income of a retired priest below 1,000 kronen ($200). According to the law of 1898, which was intended to equalize clerical salaries, the salary of a parish priest at Prague was set at 2,400 kronen (.f480); in the sub- urbs, up to a distance of over nine miles from the capital, and in cities with over 5,000 inhabitants, at 1,800 kronen (S360); in other places at 1,600 kronen ($320) or 1,400 kronen ($280). In Prague the salary of an assistant priest was set at 800 kronen ($160) or 700 kronen ($140).

Mauriage and Divorce. — Marriage, for Catholics, rests on the Law of 25 May, 1868, with which the second main section of the civil code, treating of the law of marriage, came again into force. Ac- cording to this anyone can enter into a marriage contract when there is no legal impediment. Apart from the impediments arising from the duties of certain positions and those due to the army laws,


these impediments rest on: (1) lack of consent;

(2) lack of ability for the married state, and (3) lack of the necessary formalities. Under the first head are (a) impediments from inability to give consent, as mental disease (violent mania, lunacy, imbecility); minority, and control of guardians, or lack of free choice; (b) impediments resting on lack of actual consent, as compulsion through well- grounded fear, seduction, mistake in the identity of the future consort, pregnancy of the woman before marriage by another person. L'nder (2) belong (a) the impediment of impotency and (b) impediment from the lack of moral ability, such as an unexpired sentence of imprisonment for felony; a still existing previous marriage; consecration to Holy orders, or a solemn vow of celibacy; difference in religion (e. g. the marriage of a Christian and a non-Christian); relationship in the ascending and descending line, or close family connexion (as brothers and sisters, cousins, uncle and niece, aunt and nephew); degrees of affinity parallel to the forbidden degrees of consanguinity; adultery proved before the contracting of the new marriage; and murder or attempted murder of a consort. In

(3) are (a) the impediments arising from the lack of publication of the banns, and (b) those from lack of the prescribed formalities of a marriage contract. Lastly, there should also be mentioned the impediments, enacted by the Catholic Church (for Catholics), of participation in the cause of divorce, and the impediment caused by the lack of a certificate of birth. A temporary impediment exists for widows, who are not allowed, as a rule, to marry again before the expiration of six months after the death of the husband. Some of these ecclesiastical impediments to marriage can be set aside; others are irremovable. Among the latter are all those which would give an appearance of guilt to a marriage contracted under the existing circumstances. Dispensation from these impedi- ments are granted by the civil authorities. Catholic married couples can be separated from bed and board. A dissolution of the bond of marriage does not take place; that is, no married Catholic, either husband or wife, can enter upon a new valid marriage before the death of the consort.

Testamentary Laws. — A secular cleric has the right to free disposal of his property both in life and at death. The bishop of a diocese has no testamentary control over those objects which belong to his office, and which by law descend to his successor, such as mitres, vestments intended to be worn during Mass, etc. In consequence of the vow of poverty, members of religious orders are incapable of inheriting or disposing of property. Large legacies to a church, a religious or charitable foundation, or a public institution must be announced at once by the court to the governor or president of the province. A half-yearly list of smaller lega- cies must be sent to these authorities. Legacies for the benefit of the poor, those intended for religious or charitable foundations, for churches, schools, parishes, public institutions, or other religious and benevolent purposes must be paid over or secured before the heirs can inherit the property. ,

Burial Laws. — Old graveyards are ordinarily regarded as dependencies of the parish church, and as such are considered, even by the Law of 30 April, 1870, as being ecclesiastical institutions. But in sanitary regards, as places of burial, they are controlled by the police regulations of the com- munity. Denominational cemeteries can be en- larged or laid out anew. For this, however, the consent of the civil authorities and of the parties interested is necessary, although, if the parish community refuses to enlarge the cemetery, the