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The ecclesiastical and political history of the popes of Rome during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Volume 2) online

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In order to restore his university of Dillingen to its
original purpose, cardinal Truchsess resolved to
dismiss all the professors who then taught there,
and to commit the institution to the exclusive care
of Jesuits. A formal treaty was accordingly con-
cluded at Botzen between German and Italian com-
missaries of the cardinal and of the order. In the
year 1563 the Jesuits arrived in Dillingen and took
possession of the chairs of the university. They
relate with great complacency how the cardinal,
who, returning shortly afterwards from a journey,
made a solemn entrance into Dillingen, turned
with marked preference to the Jesuits, amidst all
the crowd arrayed to receive him, stretched out
his hand to them to kiss, greeted them as his bre-
thren, visited their cells himself, and dined with
them. He encouraged them to the utmost of his
power, and soon established a mission for them in

This was a most extraordinary progress of the
society in so short a time. As late as the year 1551
they had no firm station in Germany; in 1566 their
influence extended over Bavaria and Tyrol, Fran-
conia and Suabia, a great part of the Rhineland,
and Austria; they had penetrated into Hungary,
Bohemia, and Moravia. The effects of their labours
were already perceptible ; in the year 1561 the papal
nuncio affirms, that " they gain over many souls,
and render great service to the holy see." This

* Sacchinus, pars ii. lib. viii. n. 108.


was the first counteracting impulse, the first anti-
protestant impression, that Germany received.

Above all, they laboured at the improvement of
the universities. They were ambitious of rivalling
the fame of those of the protestants. The educa-
tion of that time being a purely learned one, rested
exclusively on the study of the languages of anti-
quity. These the Jesuits cultivated with great ar-
dour, and in a short time they had among them
teachers who might claim to be ranked with the
restorers of classical learning. They likewise ad-
dicted themselves to the strict sciences ; at Co-
logne, Franz Koster taught astronomy in a manner
equally agreeable and instructive. Theological dis-
cipline however of course continued the principal
object. The Jesuits lectured with the greatest dili-
gence even during the holidays ; they re-introduced
the practice of disputations, without which they said
all instruction was dead. These were held in pub-
lic, and were dignified, decorous, rich in matter, in
short the most brilliant that had ever been wit-
nessed. In Ingolstadt they soon persuaded them-
selves that they had attained to an equality with any
other university in Germany, at least in the faculty
of theology. Ingolstadt acquired (in the contrary
spirit) an influence like that which Wittenberg and
Geneva had possessed.

The Jesuits devoted an equal degree of assiduity to
the direction of the Latin schools. It was one of the
principal maxims of Lainez, that the lower grammar
schools should be provided with good masters. He
maintained that the character and conduct of the



man were mainly determined by the first impressions
he received. With accurate discrimination, he chose
men who, when they had once undertaken this sub-
ordinate branch of teaching, were willing to devote
their whole lives to it ; for it was only with time that
so difficult a business could be learned, or the au-
thority indispensable to a teacher be acquired. Here
the Jesuits succeeded to admiration ; it was found
that their scholars learned more in one year than
those of other masters in two, and even protestants
recalled their children from distant gymnasia and
committed them to their care.

Schools for the poor, modes of instruction suited
to children and catechizing followed. Canisius con-
structed his catechism, which satisfied the mental
wants of the learners by its well-connected ques-
tions and concise answers.

The whole course of instruction was given en-
tirely in that enthusiastic, devout spirit which had
characterized the Jesuits from their earliest institu-
tion. The first rector in Vienna was a Spaniard,
Juan Victoria, a man who distinguished himself at
Rome on his first entrance into the society, by walk-
ing along the Corso clad in sackcloth during the
festivities of the carnival, and by constantly scourg-
ing himself till the blood streamed from his body.
The children who frequented the Jesuits' schools
in Vienna were soon remarkable for the firmness
with which they rejected the forbidden viands on
fast days, while their parents partook of them with-
out scruple. In Cologne it was once more regard-
ed as an honour to wear the rosary, while rehcs,


which no man had dared for years to exhibit pub-
licly, began once more to be held in reverence. In
the year 1560 the youth of the Jesuits' school at
Ingolstadt walked two and two on a pilgrimage to
Eichstadt at the time of their confirmation, in order
that they might be strengthened with the dew which
dropped from the tomb of St. Walpurgis. The
sentiments of which these acts were demonstra-
tions, thus carefully instilled into the schools, were
disseminated through the whole population by
means of preaching and confession.

This is a case perhaps without a parallel in the
history of the world. All the other intellectual
movements which have exercised an extensive in-
fluence on mankind have been caused either by
great quahties in individuals, or by the irresistible
force of new ideas. But in this case the effect was
produced without any striking manifestation of
genius or originality. The Jesuits might be learned
and, in their way, pious ; but no one will affirm
that their acquirements were the result of any free
or vigorous exercise of mind, — that their piety pro-
ceeded from the depth or the ingenuousness of a
single heart. They were just learned enough to
get reputation, to secure confidence, to train and
to attach scholars ; but they attempted nothing
higher. Their piety was sufficient not only to keep
them free from all reproach on the score of morals,
but was positively conspicuous and striking, and
therefore admitted of no question ; — and this was
enough for them. Neither their piety nor their
learning moved in any undefined or untrodden paths.



They had however a quality which distinguished
them in a remarkable degree — rigid method, in
conformity with which everything was calculated,
everything had its definite scope and object. Such
a union of appropriate and sufficing learning with
unwearied zeal, of study and persuasiveness, of
pomp and penance, of wide-spread influence and
unity of a directing principle and aim, never existed
in the world, before or since. They were industrious
and visionary, worldly wise and full of enthusiasm,
well-bred men and agreeable companions, regard-
less of their personal interests and eager for each
other's advancement. No wonder that they wxre

A German writer must add another observation.
The papal theology had, as we have said, fallen
nearly to utter decay. The Jesuits arose to revive
it. Who were the Jesuits that first appeared in Ger-
many? They were Spaniards, Italians, Flemings ;
for a long time the people did not even know the
name of their order ; they called them the Spanish
priests. They got possession of the chairs of uni-
versities, and found pupils who attached them-
selves to their instructions. They acquired nothing
from the Germans, for their doctrine and constitu-
tion were perfected before they came amongst them.
The progress of their institution in Germany may
generally be regarded as a new example of the in-
fluence of the Romance part of Europe on the Ger-

They conquered the Germans on their own soil,
in their very home, and wrested from them a por-


tion of their own country. The cause of this doubt-
less was, that the German theologians had neither
come to an understanding among themselves, nor
had they the magnanimity to tolerate in each other
the less important differences. The extreme points
of opinions were seized upon for discussion ; oppo-
nents attacked each other with reckless violence ;
so that the wavering and the half- convinced were
thrown into perplexity, and the door was opened
to these foreigners, who took captive all minds by a
system of doctrine, prudently constructed, finished
down to its minutest details, and leaving no colour
or occasion for doubt.


Notwithstanding the causes of success which we
have remarked above, it is manifest that the Jesuits
could not so easily have risen to the station they
occupied, without the aid of the secular arm and the
favour of the princes of the empire.

For the destiny of political, had been the same
as that of theological questions ; no measure by
which the essentially hierarchical constitution of
the empire might be brought into harmony with
the new circumstances of religion had yet been de-
vised. The total result of the peace of Augsburg,
as it was at first understood and subsequently ex-
pounded, was a fresh extension of the civil sove-


reignty. The several provinces also acquired a
great degree of independence in respect of religion.
From that time the convictions of the prince, and
his agreement with the Estates of his dominions,
were the sole causes which determined what eccle-
siastical position a country should assume.

This was a consummation which appeared to be
brought about for the express advantage of protest-
antism, but which in the end became far more fa-
vourable to Catholicism. The former was already
established before this result had taken place ; the
revival of the latter may be dated from, and was in-
deed based upon it.

This state of things first obtained in Bavaria, and
the immense influence which it exercised, renders
the mode of its origin well worthy our particular

Looking back on the proceedings of the Bavarian
diets during a considerable period of years, we find
the sovereign continually involved in differences
with his Estates. The duke in continual embar-
rassments, oppressed with debts, compelled to im-
pose new taxes, and constantly forced to claim sub-
sidies from his Estates ; these in return demanding
concessions, chiefly of a religious kind. It seemed
inevitable that a state of things would arise in Ba-
varia similar to that which had long prevailed in
Austria ; a legal opposition of the Estates to the
sovereign, founded at once on religion and on pri-
vileges, unless the prince should himself become a
convert to protestantism.

Without doubt this was the state of things by
which, as we have mentioned, the invitation to the


Jesuits was mainly caused. It is possible that their
doctrine made an impression on the mind of duke
Albert V. ; and indeed he once confessed at a later
period that whatever he understood of God's law he
had learnt from Hoffseus and Canisius, both Jesuits.
Another influence however co-operated : Pius IV.
not only pointed out to the duke that every religi-
ous concession would impair the obedience of his
subjects*, (which in the then situation of the prin-
cipalities of Germany was not to be denied,) but
gave weight to this warning by marks of favour ;
he abandoned to him a tenth of the property of his
clergy. Whilst he thus made him more indepen-
dent of the pleasure of the Estates, he showed him
what advantages he had to expect from a connexion
with the church of Rome.

The main point then was, whether the duke
would be able to eradicate the religious opposition
of his Estates which had already taken root.

He commenced operations at a diet at Ingolstadt
in the year 1563. The prelates were already well
inclined to him ; he next used his endeavours with
the cities. Whether it were that the doctrines of
reviving Catholicism and the activity of the Jesuits,
who insinuated themselves everywhere, had gained
influence in the cities (especially over the leading
members of their assemblies) ; or whether other con-

* Legationes Paparum ad Duces Bavarise, MS. in the library
at Munich, Prima Legatio, 1563 : " Quodsi Sua Celsitudo 111'"'''
absque sedis apostolicse autoritate usum calicis concedat, ipsi prin-
cipi etiam plurimum decederet de ejus apud subditos autoritate."
They complained at the diet of the province, that the prince was
blinded by the claimants.


siderations had weight, it is certain that the cities
on this occasion desisted from the demand for fresh
rchgious concessions, which they had hitherto al-
ways urged with great eagerness, and proceeded
to grant supplies without stipulating for any new
liberties. The nobles were now therefore the only
body which offered resistance. They quitted the
diet in discontent, nay bitterness of mind; threaten-
ing expressions which this or that nobleman had let
fall, were reported to the duke*; at length the most
distinguished of their body, the count of Ortenburg,
whose claim to hold immediately of the empire was
contested by the duke, resolved without delay to
introduce the evangelical confession into the domi-
nions which formed the subject of dispute. But
he thus only placed the most formidable weapons
in the duke's hands. Above all, the discovery in
one of the castles which Albert took, of a corre-
spondence between the Bavarian lords, containing
very offensive expressions, representing him as a
hardened Pharaoh, and his council as bloodthirsty
persecutors of poor Christians, together with hints
which were thought to imply that a conspiracy was
on foot, furnished him with a plausible pretext for
calling to account all the members of the nobility
who were opposed to hiraf. The punishment to
which he condemned them cannot be called severe,
but it sufficed for his purpose. He excluded all the
accused from the Bavarian diet. As they now con-

* Private notice and account of the unbecoming and violent
speeches on this occasion, in Freiberg, Geschichte der baierischen
Landstände, ii. 352.

t Huschberg, Geschichte des Hauses Ortenburg, s. 390.

§ IV.] IN GERMANY. 41.

stituted the only remaining' opposition, he became
absolute master of his Estates, among whom there
has been no further controversy concerning religion
from that time to the present moment.

The importance of this step was immediately
manifest. For a considerable time duke Albert had
urged the pope and the council w^ith great earnest-
ness to grant the cup to the laity ; he seemed to
think that the whole welfare of his country depend-
ed on it. At length, in April 1564, he received it.
The result is hardly credible ; — he did not even
make known that he had it. Circumstances were
altered. A privilege departing from the strictest
rules of Catholicism now seemed to him injurious
rather than profitable*, and he forcibly silenced the
clamours of some villages of Lower Bavaria which
repeated their former demands with violence.

In a short time there was not a more decidedly
catholic prince in all Germany than duke Albert,
and he now addressed himself earnestly to the task
of making his country once more completely or-

The professors at Ingolstadt were compelled to
subscribe the confession of faith which had been
proclaimed in consequence of the council of Trent.
All the persons employed by government were
obUged to bind themselves by oath to a confession
of unquestionable orthodoxy ; if any one refused,
he was dismissed. Nor did duke Albert tolerate
protestantism in the common people. The perse-

* Adlzreitter, Annales Boicae Gentis, ii. xi. n. 22 : " Albertus
earn indulgentiam juris public! in Boica esse noluit."


cution began in Lower Bavaria, whither he had sent
a few Jesuits to convert the inhabitants, and where
not only the preachers but all persons whatsoever
who adhered to the evangelical creed were compelled
to sell their property and to quit the country^. The
same course was pursued with the other part of his
dominions. No magistrate would have ventured to
show toleration to protestants, which would have
drawn vipon himself the severest penalties.

With this revival of Catholicism all its modern
forms were transplanted from Italy to Germany.
An index of forbidden books was framed ; they were
picked out of libraries and burned in heaps, wdiile
on the other hand everything was done to promote
the circulation of those of a strictly catholic tend-
ency, and to encourage their authors. The duke
caused the Sacred History of Surius to be translated
into German and printed at his own cost. The
greatest devotion was paid to relics ; Saint Benno,
of whom in another part of Germany (Meissen) the
people would hear no more, was now formally pro-
claimed the patron of Bavaria. Architecture and
music were first introduced at Munich in the taste
of the restored church ; above all, encouragement
was given to the Jesuits' colleges, by which the edu-
cation of the rising generation was carried on in the
strictly orthodox spirit.

The Jesuits, on the other hand, were unwearied
in their praises of the duke, whom they called a se-
cond Josias, a new Theodosius.

One question alone remained. The more import-
* Agricola, Ps. i. Dec. iii. IIG— 120.


ant was the extension of the temporal sovereignty
which accrued to the protestant princes from the
influence they obtained over the affairs of religion,
the more did the renovated authority of the eccle-
siastical powers seem to impose restraints upon it.

But a remedy was provided for this also. The
popes clearly saw that they could only succeed in
upholding their declining power, or in re-establish-
ing it when fallen, by the aid of the temporal sove-
reigns; they cherished no illusion on the subject,
but made it their whole policy to form a close
union with the princes of Europe.

In the instruction which Gregory gave to the first
nuncio whom he sent to Bavaria, he says without
any circumlocution, that it is the most ardent wish
of his holiness to re-establish the decayed discipline
of the church, but that he sees that for the attain-
ment of so important an end he must unite with tem-
poral princes ; that as through their piety religion
has been upheld, with their help alone could church
discipline and good morals be re-established*. Thus
the pope delegated to the duke the authority to urge
on the negligent bishops ; to execute the decrees of
a synod then sitting in Salzburg; to compel the bi-

* Legatio Gregorii XIII., 1573. " S. S. in earn curam, incum-
bit qua ecclesiastica disciplina jam ferme in Germania coUapsa
aliquo modo instauretur, quod cum antecessores sui aut neglex-
erint aut leviter attigerint, non tam bene quam par erat de re-
publica Christiana meritos esse animadvertit : — adjungendos sibi
ad tale tantumque opus catholicos principes sapientissime statuit."
The ambassador, Bartolomeo count of Porzia, promises expressly :
"Suam Sanctitatem nihil unquam prsetermissuram esse, quod est
e re sua (ducis Bavariee) aut filiorum."


shop of Ratisbon and his chapter to establish a se-
minary ; in short he committed to him a sort of spi-
ritual superintendence. He consulted him whether
it would not be well to found seminaries for the re-
gular, as well as the secular, clergy. The duke as-
sented most cordially to this proposition ; he only
required that the bishops should not encroach on
the rights, whether traditional or newdy-acquired,
of the prince, and that the clergy should be held in
order and discipline by their superiors. There are
edicts in which the prince treats the monasteries as
the property of his treasury, and subjects them to a
secular administration.

If, in the course of the reformation, protestant
princes had usurped ecclesiastical attributes, catho-
lic rulers now successfully imitated their example.
What the former accomplished in opposition to the
papacy, the latter achieved in alliance with it. If
the protestant princes placed their younger sons as
administrators in the neighbouring evangelical en-
dowments, the sons of catholic princes w^ere, as mat-
ter of course, invested with the episcopal dignity in
those which had remained catholic. From the very
first, Gregory had exhorted duke Albert to neglect
nothing which could be of advantage to himself or
his sons, and in a short time we see two of these sons
in possession of the most splendid benefices, and
one of them gradually rising to the highest digni-
ties of the empire*.

* Even Pius V. moderated his stern pi-incijiles in respect to
the duke of Bavaria. Tiepolo, Relatione di Pio IV. e V. : " D'
altri principi secolari di Germania non si sa chi altro veramente


But independently of this, Bavaria acquired great
importance by the position she took up. She was
the champion of a great principle which just then
rose to new power. The lesser German princes of
the same creed long continued to regard Bavaria as
their chief.

For throughout the extent of the duke's domini-
ons he laboured with ardour to restore the catholic
faith. Scarcely had the countship of Haag fallen
into his hands, when he drove out the protestants,
whom the late count had tolerated, and re-esta-
blished the ritual and the doctrines of Catholicism.
Margrave Philip of Baden-Baden had fallen in the
battle of Moncoutour ; his son Philip, scarcely ten
years of age, was brought up at the court of Mu-
nich under the guardianship of duke Albert, and of
course in the catholic faith. But the duke did not
wait^to see what would be the conduct of the young
margrave when he assumed the reins of govern-
ment ; he instantly sent his high steward, count
Schwartzenberg, and the Jesuit George Schorich,
who had been fellow-labourers in the conversions in
Lower Bavaria, into the territory of Baden, with
orders to restore that country to Catholicism by the
same process. The protestant inhabitants brought
forward imperial decrees for their protection, but
no heed was paid to them ; the duke's authorities
proceeded, as the historian of the Jesuits compla-

sia cattolico che il duca di Baviera : perö in gratificatione sua il
pontefice ha concesso che il figliolo, che di gran lunga non ha
ancora I'eta determinata dal concilio, liabbia il vescovato Frisin-
gense : cosa che non e da lui stata concesga ad altri."


cently expresses it, ""to set free the ears and the
spirit of the simple multitude for the reception of
the heavenly doctrine ;" — that is to say, they sent
away the protestant preachers, compelled the monks
who had not remained strictly orthodox to abjure
all deviations from the true faith, filled the schools,
both primary and superior, with catholic masters,
and exiled the laity who refused to conform. In the
space of two years, 1570 and 1571, the wdiole coun-
try was restored to Catholicism*.

While this was going on in the secular principal-
ities, a similar movement arose by a yet more in-
evitable necessity in the ecclesiastical.

At one time the spiritual princes of Germany
were chiefly characterized by their episcopal func-
tions, and the popes neglected not for an instant to
enforce in Germany that increased power over the
bishoprics which accrued to them from the decrees
of the council of Trent.

The first thing w^as to send Canisius with the
copies of these decrees to the several ecclesiastical
courts. He carried them to Mayence, Treves, Co-
logne, Osnaburg and Würzburg, where by his ac-
tivity and address he gave animation and expression
to that official respect with which he was received.

* Sacchinus, pars iii. lib. vi. n. 88, lib. vii. n. 67 ; Agricola,
i. iv. 17, 18. The pope duly prized the duke on this account.
" Mira perfunditur la^titia," it says in the account of that embassy,
*• cum audit, ill. Ser''^ V^"^ opera et industria marchionem Ba-
densem in religione catholica educari, ad quod accedit cura in-
gens, quam adhibuit in comitatu de Hag, ut catholica fides, a qua
turpiter defecerant, restituatur."


The affair of the diet of Augsburg of 1566 then
came under discussion*. Pojdc Pius V. had feared
that protestantism would on this occasion make
new demands and receive new concessions ; he had
already w^arned his nuncio, in case of urgency, to

Online LibraryLeopold von RankeThe ecclesiastical and political history of the popes of Rome during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Volume 2) → online text (page 3 of 39)