1902 Encyclopedia > Concordat


CONCORDAT is an agreement between the Pope, as representing the Catholic Church, and a temporal sovereign, with reference to the rights of the church within the territory of the latter. It must be borne in mind that the pretensions of Hildebrandism (1074 to 1300 A.D.) were very great; they included a power of absolving sovereigns and subjects from their oaths, a large feudal revenue col-lected abroad, a peculiar status for the Catholic clergy. Against these, temporal sovereigns claimed what were called jura majestatiscirca sacra,—viz., jus advocation (Schutzrecht), or the supreme patronage of the national church ; jus cavendi (Becht der Versorge), or right of considering whether ecclesiastical regulations conflict with civil duties ; and jits inspiciendi, or general right of superintending the morals of the church and the administration of its property. The great historical assertions of Papal supremacy were made in the Decretals :—" Venerabilem," sent in 1197 by Innocent III. to the majority of the imperial electors who had chosen Philip of Swabia ; " Ad Apostolical, " by which Innocent IV. in 1245 deposed Frederick II. from the imperial throne on the ground of perjury, sacrilege, and heresy ; " Ctericis Laicos " and " TJnam Sanctam " (1296 and 1302), which dealt with the taxation of church property, and laid down the principle " oportet autem gladium esse sub gladio." The same claims appear in the Extravagant " De Con-suetudine," issued by John XXII. in 1322, and in the fre-quently published Bull "Ln Cosna Domini" (1773). The Encyclical Letter " Quanta Cura," and relative Syllabus of 1864, and the Costituzione "Pastor Aeternus" of 1870

' Several bishops, who refused this oath, were driven from France, and formed in England La Petite Eglise, which existed for some time (see The Guardian, 4 Feb. 1852).

contain the latest expression by the Pope of his inter-national functions. It was after the empire had, by the decree of Frankfort (1338), declared that Papal con-firmation and coronation were unnecessary, and the reforma-tory councils of Constance and Basel had increased the controlling power of the whole church, and diminished the appeals and annates which caused so much discontent, that pragmatic sanctions and concordats began to be used to regu-late the relations between the different European powers and the Papacy. The French Pragmatic of 1268,which defended the local jurisdictions and rights of presentation, and prohibi-ted Papal imports except for pious, rational, and urgent causes, and the Pragmatic Sanction which in 1438 at the Council of Bruges the French clergy composed in imitation of the Basel decrees, were largely modified in favour of Borne by the concordat entered into in 1510 between Francis I. and Leo X. This arrangement left the nomination of bishops with the Crown, which had before merely given a conge d'élire for the election by chapter, but assigned no term within which the Pope must institute. The consequence was that whenever it suited his purpose the Pope delayed institution. After a long period of irritating dispute the French clergy, led by Le Pellier and Bossuet, in their famous declaration of 1682, formally asserted what are now called Cismontane or national church principles. Louis XIV. had considerably enlarged the Crown right of Régale, which included the revenues of vacant churches, but he was now (1693) ignominiously compelled to write a letter to Innocent XL, in which he undertook not to enforce the edict of 1682. The suppression of the Jesuits, in 1773, was a heavy blow to the temporal influence of Rome. It was mainly brought about by the behaviour of Clement XIII. The duke of Parma had prohibited appeals from his territory to Rome in questions about the benefices of Parma, and had also republished the principle, familiar in the common law of Europe, that no Papal rescript should take effect in Parma without receiving the ducal excequatur. Clement then fired off the " Monitorio di Parma," excom-municating in terms of the Bull " In Ccena" all concerned in the Parmesan edict. The indignant reaction which followed in all the courts of Catholic Europe decided the triumph of Ganganelli and the Begalisti party, who were opposed at the Vatican by the Ultramontane party of Zelanti. Under the civil constitution which the French Church received from the Bevolution, the bishops received institution from their metropolitan. In 1801, a concordat was arranged between Napoleon as first consul and Pius VII. Under this the consul nominated and the Pope appointed bishops, who were all required to swear allegiance to the republic1. The much more important matters of the verification of Bulls by Excequatur, Placitum, or Letters of Pareatis, the position of the delegates of the church, the effect to be given to the decrees of councils held out of France, and the Appel comme d'Abus, were all settled by the " Begulations of the Gallican Church," better known as the Organic Articles, with regard to which the Pope was not consulted. Shortly afterwards Napoleon, by the decree of Schônbrunn (1809), annexed the Papal dominions to France, and imprisoned the Pope at Fontainebleau, where the "false" concordat of 1813 was signed. The main provision of this was to devolve the right of institu-tion on the metropolitan bishop, if not exercised by the Pope within six months. In 1817 the Bourbons tried to negotiate a retrograde concordat, but the attempt was for-tunately frustrated. The political attitude of Guizot and Napoleon III. towards Gregory XVI. and Pius IX. was friendly, but in 1870 the Prussian victories brought to an end the French occupation of the Papal States which had begun in the intervention of 1849, and had been continuous from 1864. By the Italian statute of guarantees (13th May 1871) personal inviolability and the honours of a sovereign are secured to the Pope. He has also a large income and several residences, and a private postal and telegraphic service; and he is allowed to receive diplomatic agents from foreign states. The same statute gives com-plete freedom to the church, but deprives it of coercive jurisdiction. The royal Placet is relinquished as unne-cessary, but a stringent penal law (7th June 1871) is directed against seditious words, writings, or acts of the clergy.

In the empire the earliest concordat is the Con-cordatum Calixtinum of 1122, between Henry V. and Pope Calixtus II. The benefits of the Basel Decrees were in great measure lost by the concordat entered into in 1448 between Frederick III. and Nicholas V. The politi-cal position of the Pope was much altered by the Treaty of Westphalia, which, without his consent, and even against his protests, conceded the right to certain nations of freely exercising the Protestant religion.

Early in the 18th century the cause of the national church in Austria, and of the immediate divine right of Episcopacy, was placed on solid foundations of learning and argument by the writings of Van Espen (Jus ecclesiasticum universum hodiernae disciplince, Cologne, 1702; Tractalus de promulgatione legum ecclesiasticarum). The abuses of the permanent Nuntiatura, maintained by the Pope, called forth the Punctation of the four archbishops who met at Ems, 25th August 1786. Joseph II. had already carried out large reforms, but these episcopal resolutions recommended still further changes in the "Kecursus ad Principem," or prohibition of appeals to Rome, the power of dispensation and of granting faculties, the administration of conventual property and charitable funds, the reservation of benefices and their transmission by inheritance, the exaction of annates and pallium, money, &c. Under the decrees of Joseph II. in 1781, no Papal Bulls or rescripts were allowed to be published, except such as had received the Placitum Begium, and had been effected through the intervention of the imperial and royal agency at Rome. In 1850, however, both the bishops and the faithful under their charge were allowed to have recourse to the Pope in spiritual matters, and to receive the decisions of his Holiness without the previous consent of the secular authorities. With the exception of the three archbishoprics of Olmtitz, Salzburg, and Breslau, where the archbishop is elected by the chapter, the practice was, on a bishopric becoming vacant, for the emperor to propose three candidates from whom the Pope selects one— a selection subsequently ratified by the emperor. The same decree of 1850, proceeding on the anti-revolutionary imperial patent of 4th March 1849 (§ 2), permits Catholic bishops to issue admonitions and ordinances, without consent of the civil power, to decree ecclesiastical punish-ments which do not affect purely civil rights, to suspend and remove from ecclesiastical office, and to declare emolu-ments forfeited, and to control education in primary and intermediate schools and in the universities. This arrange-ment was sealed by the concordat of 18th August 1855 (printed fully in Times, 20th November 1855), which, however, was repealed by the series of Church Acts passed by Prince Auersperg in 1874, in imitation of the Falk legislation of Prussia.

The relations of Belgium with Rome were of course at one time determined by the decree of the French National Assembly (1791), and the concordat between Pius VII. and Napoleon (1801). On 18th June 1827, William I., Protestant king of the Netherlands, entered into a concordat with Pope Leo XII., which confirmed and extended the provisions of the earlier concordat relating to the institu-tion of bishops by letters apostolic. The power which the Crown then reserved of striking out objectionable names from the list of candidates prepared by the chapter was entirely renounced by the 16th Article of the Belgian Constitution of 1830, which declares that the state has no right to interfere with the nomination or installation of any religious ministers, or to prevent them from corre-sponding with their superiors or from publishing their Acts. But then the Government has this indirect control, that all the salaries of the Catholic clergy are voted in the annual budget, and do not belong to the church. The concordat of 1827 was never in force in Holland, where the fundamental law of 1848 (§ 65) declares that no Dutch-man can accept titles without the permission of the king, and where public opinion has prevented the creation of Catholic bishops.

Spain, although the most Catholic of powers, has, at least since the accession of the Austrian dynasty, zealously defended its national church rights against the Pope. In 1568, Philip II. claimed as royal prerogative the right to present to all Spanish bishoprics, and created a Board, "Supremo Consejo de la Camara," to preserve the royal jurisdiction, to protect the canons, and to watch over the external policy in ecclesiastical matters. The Pope having sided with Austria in the Succession War, the breach between Spain and Rome widened during the 18th century. The principles that no causes should be carried before a judge outside the kingdom, that benefices should be con-ferred only on natives, that sovereigns are not subject to interdict or spiritual censure, that all Bulls should, before publication, be subject to the royal Cedula, were loudly and angrily proclaimed ; and in 1805 the king attacked the secret influences of the Curia by directing that all applications to Rome for grants and dispensation should receive the Visto Bueno of the royal agent at Rome. The estrangement continued in the 19th century, when till 1848 the Pope refused to recognize the succession of Isabella II. under the Pragmatic Sanction of 1830. From 1753 to 1851, matters had stood on a concordat which the eminent statesman, De Carbajal, persuaded Ferdinand VI. to negotiate with Clement XII. It gave the king the right of presentation to vacant bishoprics (patronatos), and to the Pope 22,000,000 reales as compensation for the loss of annates and fees on briefs. The concordats of 1851 and 1859 are more favourable to Rome ; but the attempt of Canovas del Castillo and the Cardinal Simeoni to procure a recognition of the 1851 concordat, in 1875, was defeated by General Jovellar.

In non-Roman Catholic states, of course, no valid concor-dat could be framed. Accordingly, as in the cases of Prussia (1821) and Hanover (1824), edicts relating to the adjustment of dioceses, or other matters not purely spiritual, were issued by the Pope under the name of Bulla? Circumscriptionis. These were formally sanctioned by the Home Government, and directed to be printed in the col-lection of laws.

The most important sources of information on this subject are the reports presented to Parliament in 1816 and 1851, on the " Regu- lation of Roman Catholic Subjects in Foreign Countries," which have been summarized in the 2d volume of Sir K. Phillimore's Commentaries on International Law. The works of Van Espen and the Enchiridion Juris Ecclesiastici of George Eechberger (1809) are standard works. The French concordats have been elaborately dis- cussed by M. de Pradt, at one time archbishop of Malines, in Les Quatres Concordats, 3 vols., Brussels, 1815, and Suite des Quatre Concordats, 1 vol., Paris, 1820. The works of the eminent jurist Portalis, who took an active part in the discussion of the latteî French concordats, may also be consulted,—Discours, Rapports, el Travaux inédits sur le Concordat de 1801, les Articles Organiques, &c. (W. C. S.)

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