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archbishop remained indeed nominally on the side
of the old Church, but he served her neither by
boldness of faith, nor by priestly conduct and
chastity, nor by care in providing truly spiritual
shepherds for the ministry. ' The prince-bishop Eric
of Paderhorn and Osnabriick did not blush to act
as witness at the marriage of a Count of Tecklenburg
with a nun. The Miinster Bishop, Frederick von
Wied, never received episcopal consecration; Ernest
of Bavaria, Bishop of Passau and Archbishop of
Salzburg, also thought it unnecessary to receive the
higher consecration, and was secretly married to a
young lady of the lower German nobility; Franz von
Waldeck, Bishop of Miinster, Minden and Osnabriick,
was openly and unshamably addicted to drinking and
immorahty.' ^

' The tone of the German bishops,' says a dispatch of
the Papal Nuncio Morone of 1540, * is truly, as His
Majesty says, feminine in things in which it ought
to be manly, such as withstanding the opponents of
our faith, and masculine in matters in which it had
better be feminine, such as drinking and concubinage/
Out of all the bishops the papal diplomat could only
praise the Bishop of Vienna and the Bishop-designate
of Trent. * All the rest show no manner of respect
for the Apostolic Chair. From all quarters I hear

' See present work, vol. v. 307 ff., 453, and vol. vi. 68 f. Concerning
Ernest of Bavaria see Histor. Jahrhuch, 1 894, xv. 583.



GENERAL MORAL AND RELIGIOUS CHAOS 57

that they have only their own interests in view. It
might, indeed, be that the blame of this neghgence
lay with me and my miworthiness ; but I think I
am not mistaken in assuming for certain that it arises
from the lack of inclination on the bishops^ part and
from a desire born of ignorance to free themselves
from the yoke of obedience/ Morone feared the worst,
viz. the secession of all German lands from the Catholic
Church/ The papal legate, Cardinal Gasparo Con-
tarini, also, in the following year, spoke very earnestly
on the necessity of a Church reform in Germany/ The
worst was that numbers of German bishops at that
time considered all means of salvation as inefficacious.
Morone, and rightly so, was of a different opinion.
He had most zealously insisted that the reform
of morals and the removal of abuses should be
unsparingly undertaken by the Council, in order
that ' Judgment shall begin with the House of the
Lord,' and he had personally obtained from the Pope
the commissions relating to the business. Armed with
these, he went to Dillingen, where, at the time, Bishop
Christopher of Stadion resided with his chapter.

Morone's report on his transactions at Dillingen
give a clear insight into the excessively serious evils
in the German Church system. ' Meanwhile," he wrote,
* I have negotiated with the bishop concerning the
reform and the Council, and it was necessary to warn
the chapter, both individually and collectively, most
urgently against the concubines, the banquetings and
the drunkenness, the gambling and hunting, which

' Laemmer, Man. Vat., 27.') sq., 277 sq., 28.5.

- See Pastor, Korrespondenz dcs Kardinals Cuntarini (Miinster, 1880),
pp. 38-39.



58 HISTORY OF THE GERMAN PEOPLE

many of tliem indulged in so heavily, and the ignorance
and lack of spiritual culture which so often characterised
them. They showed themselves well-disposed to attend
to the admonitions and to study to amend their lives.
The bishop is a man of sixty-four, of good capacities,
much experience, and the most learned among the
prince-bishops of Germany. His Grace exonerated
himself from the suspicion entertained of him by
some people, and perhaps also at Eome, of being a
Lutheran ; that, he said, he was not, although he had
been of opinion that for the sake of the peace of
the Fatherland and in order to avert worse evils,
they ought to have made some concessions to the
Lutherans ; for instance, communion in both kinds,
without which the people could not be kept up to
attending the service of God. At my suggestion he
thanked His Holiness for the fatherly admonitions,
which he should endeavour as far as possible to
carry out, although he foresaw serious difficulties in
the remedying of such great errors as those which
had crept in among the clergy in consequence of
the general indifference. If His Hohness, or His
HoHness's predecessors of twenty years, had ad-
dressed themselves to the task, it would have been of
far more use, whereas now, in his estimation, all would
be in vain, because the bishops, even with the best
intentions, could not carry anything out. And here
he counted up numerous hindrances such as the
exemptions of the chapters, the unbridled ways of
the German nobihty, the support which the bad conduct
of the clergy and their carnal transgressions derived
from the Lutheran Hcence, the tjnranny of the secular
princes, the dearth of Catholic preachers. He further



GENERAL MORAL AKD RELIGIOUS CHAOS 59

said that lie could no longer hope, even from a council,
for salvation from such great disorders, unless Germany-
first of all banded together and renounced its chief
offences ; and here he attacked now the Bavarians,
now the Emperor and other princes. To these utter-
ances of His Grace, however much they are based on
truth, I have at various times taken exception, urging
him not to lose heart, and not to behave hke those
embittered and dilatory people who, while bewaihng
the past and conjuring up the future, neglect all
care for the present, and sit with their hands folded
in their laps while the evil goes on increasing.
His Grace, I told him, must not imitate such
persons, but must use his gifts and his learning in
the service of God, and if for the reasons enumer-
ated he cannot reckon on his whole jimsdiction, he
must at least endeavour to purify those few souls
over which he has any power ; for he that
is faithful over a few things will be made ruler
over many." ^ When Morone brought the question of
reform before Cardinal Albert of Mayence, whose
favourable attitude tow^ards the Holy See he greatly
praised, he was again compelled to Hsten to exactly
the same complaints as he had already met with at
Dilhngen. Albert told him (Morone) plainly that he
knew at the outset that all his priests were con-
cubinists and that he had no need to inform himself
in that respect ; it was also equally certain that these
priests, at the first hint that their concubines were
going to be taken from them, would cither become
Lutherans or insist on having wives. At the same

' Letter from Spires of Fcl)ruary 8, 1542, in Laciiimcr, Mo7i. I'uL,
402-403.



60 HISTORY OF THE GERMAN PEOPLE

time tlie cardinal pointed out a hindrance to reform
which was special to Germany, namely, that he, like
all other bishops in Germany, had been obliged
at his election to take several very heavy oaths ;
these must in any case be abolished by authority of
the Holy See, for otherwise he would have no right
to punish even if anyone should commit murder in his
presence.^

How the action of even the best of the chief shepherds
was hampered by the exemptions, especially of the
Mendicant Friars, is shown by a report of the zealous
Vienna Bishop Faber to King Ferdinand. ' The
chiefs of the Mendicant Order,' it says here, ' care
nothing for a bishop ; they band together and write
and threaten me with a complaint at Eome. Those of
Vienna grant certain stipends ; the priest gets from
them only six or ten gulden a year, and whether or no
this priest hves on me and is my beneficiary, is all the
same ; if he dies, he is under the execution of the
authorities in Vienna, and I am a nonentity. The
cathedral chapter, the canons, ought to be subject
to the bishop in spiritual and temporal things,
but they are determined to be exempt and free,
and the bishop is a figure of nought to them. If
only a cleric is inscribed at the university, whether
or no he has delivered or heard a single lecture in
his hfe, still he is exempt and belongs to the
university. If I want to punish such an one on
account of excesses, the university comes to his
help : like her he is exempt. If such an one is in
a parsonage or a chaplaincy, even if ten miles distant
from Vienna, still he is exempt like the university.

' Laemmer, Mon. Vat., 412-413.



GENERAL MORAL AND RELIGIOUS CHAOS 61

If a bishop of Vienna does not wish to be a nonentity,
he must either quarrel and fight with the beggar -
monks, with the Viennese authorities, the university and
the cathedral chapter, or let the evil go on. I have
no power whatever ; I can aboHsh nothing ; religion
does not grow better, but worse ; for much negligence
prevails, and everywhere a great deal goes on which I
am helpless to stop/ ^

A s^^ecial cause of the demoralisation of the people
in the Cathohc parts of Germany is to be found in
the extraordinary dearth of priests which prevailed
after the politico-rehgious revolution.

In the old times of Cathohc faith and life every
family had counted it the highest honour to be able
to contribute a minister to the altar. Great in the
extreme, perhaps even too great, was the number of
those who dedicated themselves to the clerical vocation.
Thus, in the middle of the fifteenth century, Felix
Hemmerlin complains of the ill-considered bestowal
of ordination : in Constance, he says, 200 priests are
ordained every year. ' What will this lead to ? ' he
asks. Now the opposite was the case. The Catholic
clergy, whom the innovators denounced as the source
of all evil, were threatening to die out. Bishop George
of Brixen said in 1529 that for four years not more
than two priests had been ordained in his whole diocese.
' From want of good priests,' wrote Bishop Faber of
Vienna a few years later, ' everything is going to ruin.*
The very same complaint was made by Bishop Gabriel
of Eichstatt.- The evidence of the Bavarian councillor
Albert von Widmanstadt shows that in bishoprics

' Wiedemann, Reformation und Gegenreformation, ii. 2-3.
" See present work, vol. vii. pp. 153 f., 169 f., 247, 252,



62 HISTORY OF THE GERMAN PEOPLE

where forniei-ly fifty to sixty priests had been conse-
crated, towards the cud of the forties of the sixteenth
ceutui-y, there were scarcely three or four, and these
extremely ignorant men.^ A report of the Papal
Nuncio Pietro Paolo Vergerio from Prague, December 28,
1533, gives tridy appalhng data concerning the neglect
of the poor people owing to dearth of priests. ' Hear
how it fares with the Chmch of Christ in this land. In
the whole large kingdom of Bohemia, only six priests
have been ordained, and they are quite poor men, to
whom, on account of their needy condition, I have
granted, gratis, the dispensation to obtain ordination
from any bishop. The Bishop of Passau told me
that in his whole diocese, within four years, only
five priests had received ordination. The Bishop of
Laibach said that in his diocese only seventeen
priests had received Holy Orders in eight years.
The reports concerning parsonages left empty owing
to dearth of priests sound quite incredible. This,
however, is not only the case in schismatic Bohemia,
but in the whole of Austria, in the whole of
Germany.' ~

A few years later Morone reported from Vienna to
Aleander that in the Cathohc districts also incredible
rehgious disorder prevailed. After what he had seen
in the Tyrol, in Bavaria, and in some parts of Austria,
he could speak as an eye-witness. Parsonages were
to a great extent wholly deserted, so that the people,
even if they were still well-minded, were obliged to go

' Paulus, Hoff^neister, 247.

- Nuntiaturberichte, i. 1, 152. Very interesting statistics for the
diocese of Wiirzburg are given by C. Braun in the first part of his Geschichie
der Heranbildung des Klerus in der Diozese Wiirzburg seit ihrer Griindung



' GENERAL MORAL AND RELIGIOUS CHAOS



63



witliout the Sacraments, for which the excuse was made
that ' they were waiting for the decision of the Council' ^
But even some time after the beginning of the Council
no improvement showed itself. In 1548 we find dire
complaints from many parts of Germany of the extreme
dearth of priests.- . ' The clergy/ wrote at that time
the Benedictine abbot, Nicholas Buchner, ' through

his zur Gegemvart {Wiirzburg, 1889). This table shows the numbers of
ordinations in the years from 1520-1545 :



In the years


Secular
clergy


Regular
clergy


Total


1520


55


46


101


1521


74


41


115


1522


39


38


77


1523


31


21


52


1524


23


12


35


1525


7


1


8


1526


11


14


25


1527


6


4


10


1528


3


7


10


1529


5


4


9


1530


2


3


5


1531


4


23


27


1532


2


4


6


1533


12


5


17


1534


5


3


8


1535


3


3


6


1536


9


18


27


1537





6


6


1538


2


15


17


1539


19


12


31


1540


7


12


19


1541


22


32


54


1542


7


23


30


1543


6


27


33


1544


14


14


28


1545


7


15


22



> Nuntiaturberichte, i. 2, 80, 83. See also Pastor, Korrespondenz des
Kardinals Contarini, 27, and Newald, Gcsch. von Gntenstein (Wien, 1870),
i. 209.

- Pastor, Reunionabestrebungen, 414.



64 HISTORY OF rilK (I HUMAN PEOPLE

the long-staiKliiig coulcuipt it lias brought on itself by
well-proven sins, by the death of old clerics and the
non-appointment of young ones, has almost dwindled
to nothing.' ^ Before the advent of the Jesuits more
than 1500 parishes — although far more extensive at that
time than at the present day — were entirely without
spiritual ministration.- The cloisters of the old Order,
in consequence of the general decadence, were not in
a condition to supply this spiritual ministration. Only
too frequently these institutions merited the reproach
of John Eck : ' In the convents the love of many has
waxed cold, Christ no longer reigns in their midst.'
In them also, with scarcely any exception, numbers
increased but very sparely. At Benediktbeuren, for
instance, in 1541, there was not a single priest ; in
Andechs no monks fit for the prelacy ; and in 1558
Duke Albert of Bavaria complained that ' many of
our " God's houses " contain but few monks and these
few are not to be had.' ^

' Paulus, Kaiholische Schriftsteller, 549.

- Riess, Canisius, 19. The Eichstatt coadjutor bishop wrote in 1553 :
' Formerly the mendicant Orders were assigned to the secular priests
as lielpcrs in the teaching and ministry of God's Word, and whoever can
go back in memory for forty years and more will bear true testimony
to the fact that in those years more people fit for j)rocIaiming the Word
of God could have been taken out of one single mendicant convent than
can nowadays be found in a whole university, none whatever excepted, in
our chief and higliest German lands ; for this we have to thank the newly
reformed people.' ' Gnindt und Kundtschaft auss GottUcher Geschrift und
der heihgen Vattern, das Fleisch und Blut Jesu Christi im Ambt der
heihgen Mess durch geweychte Priester warhafftigklich geopfert werde '•
(Ingolstadt, 1553), Bl. H*".

•' Huschberg, Gesch. der Orafschaft Ortenburg, 371-372. Similar com-
plaints concerning lack of ecclesiastics, in Paulus, Hoffmeister, 243 S., 247,
See also Histor. Jahrb. 1894, xv. 587. Concerning the decrease of novices
in Melk see Keibhnger, i. 747 note, 750 &., 765 note, 768 ff. What sort
of spirit prevailed in many of the old monastic institutions is seen from



GENERAL MORAL AND RELIGIOUS CHAOS 65

Under such circumstances it cannot be wondered
at that, even in Catholic Germany, disorder and demora-
Hsation should have continuously increased. There
is no district from which we do not find agonising
complaints and appalhng evidence in this respect. In
a greater or less degree all parts of the land were drawn
into the whirlpool which ' Lutheran licence ' had
created.

Perhaps the saddest conditions were those in the
Austrian lands, although, in this very region, Ferdinand
I. and his wife set a shining example in moral respects, i
An inspection, set on foot by King Ferdinand in 1528
on Faber's advice, laid bare the gravest evils. The new
doctrine had penetrated into the convents. From
Vienna it was reported : ' In St. Dorothy's the dean read
Lutheran books ; in the cell of Father Martin there
were foimd Lutheran writings ; in the Mary Magdalen
nunneries at the Schottentor and St. Laurence's, the
nuns read Lutheran books and disputed over the old
and the new doctrines ; the nims of St. James and
Hinunelpforten read Lutheran books and thought they
were more intelhgible than the breviary ; the Poor
Clares in the convent of St. Anna read Lutheran books
and were very lax about the vow of chastity. In the
" Scottish-monastery " there were only seven monks.
Abbot Michael openly kept a mistress with him in the
convent. The Prior of the Carmehtes was sent to
prison for immorality. At the Corpus Christi pro-
cession there were all sorts of wanton games which
produced more laughter than reverence ; clerical

a report of Vergerio's from Prague in 1534 on Dominicans who wanted
to introduce Lutheranism into one of the nunneries under tliera. See
Niintiaturherichte, i. 1, 226 ; see also i. 2, 145.
' See Baunigarten, Karl V., vol. iii. 302-363.

VOL. XVI. F



66 HISTORY OF THE GERMAN PEOPLE

personages, monks, artisans, burghers had all partaken
of siu'h a bountiful breakfast that they came reehng to
tlio procession, carrying with them flasks or cans of
wino and drank toasts to each other/ ^

Koports of later years show steadily increasing
anarchy and demorahsation among clergy and people.
The dearth of priests, to remedy which King Ferdinand
and Bishop Faber exerted themselves to the utmost,
was then, as before, still extraordinarily great. In 1537
the Koman king told the Nuncio Morone that he could
not find one single good chaplain, for they were all of
them either concubinists, or ignorant men, or drunkards,
or else they had some other great fault.-

A fresh inspectoral visitation inaugurated by King
Ferdinand in 1543 showed that the dearth of priests
was the principal evil. It came out that a considerable
number of livings and benefices had been unoccupied for
years, so that the people were forced ' to five and die
without baptism, confession and the Sacraments of the
Altar.' As a reason for this state of things the inspectors
adduced that ' the feudal lords, partly from contempt
and neglect, partly because they wanted the revenues
for themselves, did not fill the benefices ; then also the
feudal lords exacted rates from the pastors, oppressed
them with socages and took possession by force of all
that they left behind them at death"; besides this the
Hvings and benefices were over-burdened with taxes
too heavy to be paid up. The incorporated livings were
burdened with high rates by the prelates and only sup-
phed with meagre endowments. All this explained the
dearth of priests. In view of the present persecution of

' Wiedemann, Reformation, i. 56-57.
- Nuntiaturberichte, i. 2, 227.



GENERAL MORAL AND RELIGIOUS CHAOS 67

cliurclies, scliism in religion, weakening of clerical im-
munity, contempt and scorn of the priesthood, few men
nowadays aspired to priestly dignity or to professorship
in the pubhc and private schools. The clerical estate and
the clerical schools were declining more and more, and
if no succour came, both would soon be altogether at an
end. That the clerical estate was considered unworthy
and contemptible was not so much the fault of the times
as of the iniquitous hves of the clergy/ ^

How rapidly corruption was increasing was shown
by an inspectoral visitation of cloisters in 1561, at the
close of which the following report was sent to the
Vienna Bishop : * Your Lordship, the whole convent
system is so disordered and so corrupt throughout, that
in my opinion the evil has grown beyond our power to
remedy. All religious and monastic people have di-
gressed so far from their rules, statutes, and canons, that
it is no longer possible to bring them back to the obser-
vance of them. The ordinaries, provincials, vicars, and
prelates, have grown so callous that they trouble them-
selves no whit about the abuses, seek neither help nor
counsel, and indeed would not be pleased if help were
given to the convents.'

' In almost all the monasteries,' so say other docu-
ments, ' the highly venerable Sacrament of the Altar
is administered to the laity in both kinds, and besides,
consecrated without the Mass and not reserved in the
tabernacle ; the canon and the collects in the service of
the Holy Mass are either entirely left out, or else strangely
and arbitrarily altered according to the will of the
officiators, the prayer for the dead is not used and the
children are christened unceremoniously with unblessed

' Wiedemann, Reformation, i. 93-95.

7 2



68 HISTORY OF THE GERMAN PEOPLE

water and without chrism. At the last inspectoral
visitation it came out that concubinage is not only in the
ascendant among the incorporated parishes, but even
in the convents themselves, where many monks, without
the slightest shame, keep and maintain their supposed
wives, or concubines, to the great scandal of the laity
and to the detriment of the impoverished convents and
churches. In many places there are either " regular " or
foreign preachers who preach in an heretical, sectarian
manner, altogether opposed to our Cathohc true
religion, and who turn away from the right path not
only the convent-brothers but also the poor lay-people.' ^
Still more plainly was the case put in a contem-
porary tabular statement respecting 44 monastic
houses, giving the number of monks or nuns, of wives
or concubines, and of children in each of them. We
quote some of the figures : ' In the Klosterneuburg,
13 monks, 2 nuns, 6 wives, 8 children ; in St. Florian,
10 monks, 12 wives or concubines, 18 children ;
in Gottweih, 1 secular priest, 7 wives, 15 children ;
and in 36 monasteries, a total of 182 monks,
135 wives, and 223 children." ~ A ' simimarised
statement of the year 1563 concerning all the convents
in the five Lower Austrian hereditary lands, according
to the latest inspection and reformation ' reports that
in 132 monastic houses and parishes served by them,
there were only 436 monks and 160 nuns. Of the 436
monks, 55 were married, and 199 Hved in concu-
binage. Countless others had deserted their convents.
* Therein lies the horror of it,' says the historian of the
Abbey of St. Florian, ' that to an immense extent it was

' Wiedemann, Reformation, i. 157, 163.

^ Sickel, in the Archiv fiir osterreich. Gesch. xlv. 6-7.



GENERAL MORAL AND RELIGIOUS CHAOS 69

not real conviction which drove people into the arms of
Lutheranism, but the charm of unfettered novelty and
the lusts of the flesh.' ^

No need for further particulars to show that under
such conditions the people in the Austrian lands were
boimd to fall victims to demorahsation and anarchy.
Indeed we may fairly doubt whether at that time Austria
could still be counted among the Cathohc countries.
An observer as accurately informed as Peter Canisius
was of opinion that barely one-eighth of the population
was ' really Catholic' -

Precisely similar conditions were discovered by the
inspectors in Styria. Concerning the nunnery at Admont
it was reported : ' For a space of about fourteen days
no Mass has been said, for they think nothing of it ;
they have had Lutheran books and tracts sent them by
their brothers and friends. Four of them ran away ; one
came back, the other three married.' On the other
hand, the nunnery at Goss and the Canons Regular at
Pollau were found in the best of conditions : ' they are
entirely against the Lutheran and other misleading
sects.' Also the foundations of St. Lambrecht, Seckau,
and Stainz gave no occasion for reproach. The same
cannot be said of most of the country pastorates. The
jJastor at Dechantskirchen said from the pulpit : ' I will
give you another year in which to receive the Sacrament ;
but at the expiration of the year each one of you must
repeat the words hke the priest, for each of you can be a
priest.' He also prayed from the pulpit for the pastors
at Pirkfeld, Friedberg, and Grafendorf that Almighty
God would vouchsafe to turn them to the right Christian

' Bucholtz, viii. 212-213. See also present work, vol. vil. 155-156.
■^ See preaont work, vol. viii. 307.



70 Hisroiiv OK vni: (uokmax people

fait li. It was for tliese reasons that they were not hostile
towards his Lutheran faith. Another Styrian priest



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