New Advent
 Home   Encyclopedia   Summa   Fathers   Bible   Library 
 A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z 
New Advent
Home > Catholic Encyclopedia > B > Baden


Please help support the mission of New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download. Includes the Catholic Encyclopedia, Church Fathers, Summa, Bible and more — all for only $19.99...

The Grand Duchy of Baden is situated in the southwestern part of the German Empire, bounded by Switzerland, Alsace, the Palatinate, Hesse, Bavaria, and Wurtemberg, covering an area of 5,821 square miles. According to the census of 1 December 1905, the population numbered 2,010,728, including 1,198,511 Catholics, 762,826 Evangelicals, 8,006 Old Catholics, 2,060 Lutherans, 2,823 Reformed, 2,157 of various Evangelical denominations, 7,449 of other Christian beliefs, 25,893 Jews, and 600 others of various religious persuasions.


The Middle Ages

The present Grand duchy has been formed from the territories of various ecclesiastical and secular rulers. At the beginning of the Christian Era the Baden of today was a part of the so-called tithe lands (agri decumates) which were protected by a wall against the barbarian Germans. From this point the Alemanni made repeated incursions into the Roman territory, and after the death of the Emperor Aurelius Probus (282) they took possession of the southern part of the tithe lands. The victories of 496 and 536 made the Franks masters of this region, and Pepin the Short set aside the old form of government by tribal dukedoms in 748, introducing the form of organization of the Frankish Empire. The rise of the Frankish power brought Christianity into the province. The southern part of the country received the Faith about 610 from St. Columbanus and his pupil St. Gall, who were followed a hundred years later by St. Pirminius. St. Trudpert labored in the Breisgau, and St. Kilian in the north-eastern part of the territory. The valley of the Rhine was evangelized from Mainz. Much of the credit for having converted the land belongs to the many monasteries that were founded in the course of these centuries: Reichenau, Honau near Kehl, St. Trudpert, Ettenheimmunster, Gengenbach, Schwarzach, St. Michael near Heidelberg, Petershausen near Constance, and St. Blasien; also monasteries for women, as Sackingen, Waldkirch, Sulzburg, and others.

Under the weak rule of the last Carlovingians and after the extinction of the dynasty, the old form of government by tribal dukedoms again prevailed, and only powerful kings like Otto I, Henry II, and Henry III were able to maintain their authority. The natural allies of the kings against the dukes of the different tribes were the ecclesiastical authorities, the bishops and abbots, who thereby obtained great influence and large possessions. Ecclesiastically the territory of the present Baden was divided into six dioceses: Constance, Speyer, Strasburg, Worms, Mainz, and Wurzburg; moreover the Bishops of Bamberg were wealthy landed proprietors Henry II having bestowed on them Crown-lands in the Ortenau, as well as placing the abbeys of Ettenheimmunster, Gengenbach, and Schuttern under their jurisdiction. The monasteries of Reichenau and St. Blasien, in particular, became possessed of large temporalities. Among secular rulers great prominence was attained by Count Berthold (d. 1078), who claimed descent from the old Allemannian dukes and in 1061 became Duke of Carinthia and Margrave of Verona. In the struggle between the papacy and Emperor Henry IV, Berthold remained faithful to the Church. The youngest of his three sons, Salomon, was Bishop of Constance (1084-1110), and the other two, Berthold II (d. 1111) and Hermann I (d. 1074), were the ancestors of the dukes and margraves of the Zahringen line. The ducal line of descendants received in fief from the Empire a part of Burgundy and central and western Switzerland, with Zürich as capital. Of these rulers Berthold II founded Freiburg in the Breisgau, Berthold IV, Fribourg in Switzerland; and Berthold V, Berne. At the death of Berthold V in 1218 this branch of the family became extinct, and its freehold estates passed on to the margraves of the other branch, whose descendants are still the reigning family of Baden. The first of the line of margraves of this branch was Hermann I, who died a monk in the Abbey of Cluny. Many of his descendants distinguished themselves in the affairs of the Empire, as, for instance, Hermann V (1190-1242), who fought against the Mongols, Rudolf I (1243-88), who was first the enemy and then the friend of Rudolph of Hapsburg; Bernhard I (1372-1431), a generous patron of the monasteries of Gottesaue and Schwarzach; and James I (1431-53), who endowed the collegiate foundation in the city of Baden-Baden. Others, however, lessened the family influence by the repeated partitions of their estates, thus contributing to the territorial subdivisions of what is now Baden.

Among the neighboring rulers those with the largest landed possessions were the Counts of the Rhine Palatinate (Heidelberg etc.), the Hapsburg dynasty, which in the fourteenth century obtained the whole of the Breisgau, together with the cities of Freiburg, Breisach, Waldkirch, and other places; the Counts of Fürstenberg, whose domains lay chiefly in the region of the Baar (such as the town of Donaueschingen); and the Counts of Wertheim. There were, besides, numerous rulers of smaller secular principalities, knights of the Empire, and free cities. To all these must be added the ecclesiastical rulers, the six bishops, some 160 monasteries, and a few estates held in commendation by Knights of St. John and the German Knights Templars. The intellectual, spiritual, and economic life which flourished at this time on the Upper Rhine was as varied as the territorial divisions of the land. Evidences of the zeal with which the arts and learning were cultivated not only in the monasteries, but also in the cities, are to be found in the many buildings dating from that period, as, for instance, those at Constance, Freiburg, Ueberlingen, etc., in monastic libraries, in the large attendance at the Universities of Heidelberg, and Freiburg, in the intermediate schools, among which the one at Pforzheim won a high reputation, in the diffusion of the art of printing etc. on account of the undeniable abuses which had crept into ecclesiastical life, many fell under the influence of certain intellectual movements which prepared the way for the Reformation, such as secret religious associations, and the Pseudo-mystics, the Hussites, the Flagellants, and especially Humanism, which was in great favor at the court of the Electors Palatine.

From the Reformation to the formation of the present State

The first impulse to revolutionary religious ideas in Baden came from Luther himself, who in 1518 spent some time in Heidelberg, where he appeared as a public speaker and soon gained adherents. The Reformation first took firm root in the Countship of Wertheim, in Constance (1530), in the Countship of Hanau-Lichtenberg (1530), and in the electoral palatinate (1546). Free territories under ecclesiastical rulers and the House of Hapsburg remained true to the Catholic Faith. The progress of the Reformation in the Margravate of Baden was far from being uniform. Margrave Christopher I of Baden (1475-1527) had in 1503 united all the family territory, but the division in 1533 between his two sons Bernhard III and Ernest separated the margravate into two parts which were not reunited until 1771. Bernhard received the Margravate of Baden-Baden, and his brother the Margravate of Baden-Durlach. A part of the population of Baden-Baden had already adopted the new teachings, but at the death of Bernhard III (1536), Duke Albert V of Bavaria, the guardian of Bernhard's son, Philip II, brought the country back to the Catholic Faith. Philip himself (1569-88), who had been educated by the Jesuits at Ingolstadt, was a vigorous opponent of the new teaching.

The Baden-Durlach branch of the family laid claim to Baden-Baden during the reign of Philip's successor, Edward Fortunatus, (1588-1600), occupied a part of the country until 1622, and introduced the Reformation. Margrave William (1622-77), however, after many reverses, succeeded with the aid of the Catholic party in the Empire in gaining the undisputed mastery of the margravate. Aided in an especial manner by the Jesuits and Capuchins, for whom he established houses, he brought the Protestant part of the country back to the Catholic Faith. His successor, Louis William (1677-1707), rendered many services to the Church and the Empire in fighting against the Turks (1683) and the French. Louis William, his wife, Augusta Sibylla, as regent for their son Louis George (1707-61), and the last named in his turn notably furthered the interests of the Church of Baden. With the death of Augustus George (1761-71), who by papal dispensation had left the ecclesiastical state, and who founded many religious institutions, the line of Baden-Baden became extinct, and the succession fell to the Baden-Durlach branch. Margrave Ernest (1527-53) of Baden-Durlach had favored the Reformation, and his son Charles II (1553-77) soon established the Reformation in his domains. After this time the Protestant religion remained dominant in the land of Baden-Durlach and its supremacy was not affected even by the reconciliation to the Church of James III, third son of Charles II, as James's death followed soon upon his conversion (1690). The most noted of the Baden-Durlach rulers were: Frederick V (1622-59), who founded many schools; Frederick VI (1659-77), who distinguished himself by his devotion to the emperor and the Empire; Charles William (1709-38), who in 1715 established the present capital of Karlsruhe, greatly improved the finances and the administration of justice, and zealously promoted the interests of the schools. His grandson Charles Frederick (1738-1811), during is long reign introduced salutary reforms in all parts of his territory, thus raising his country from the level of a petty principality to the rank of one of the greater central states of the German Empire. The extinction of the Baden-Baden branch greatly increased his possessions, which were still further enlarged by the political changes resulting from the French Revolution. In 1796 Charles Frederick was forced to surrender to France his possessions on the left bank of the Rhine, but was amply compensated by the Imperial Delegates' Enactment (1803). He received the Diocese of Constance, that part of the Rhine Palatinate lying on the right bank of the river, including the cities of Heidelberg, Mannheim, etc., parts of the Dioceses of Strasburg and Speyer, eleven religious houses and abbeys, and seven cities of the empire. By the Peace of Pressburg (1805), and the accession of Baden to the Confederation of the Rhine (1806), Baden was still further enlarged by the former possessions of Austria in the Breisgau, the city of Constance, and other territories, whereby substantially the present boundaries were established. On 13 August, 1806, Baden was proclaimed a Grand duchy. The enforced participation of the duchy in the campaigns of Napoleon resulted in heavy loss of life and property.

Recent history

In 1818 Grand Duke Charles (1811-18), the successor of Charles Frederick, gave the country a fairly liberal constitution. The first Landtag, however, came into conflict with the government of Grand Duke Louis (1818-30), who had been trained in the ideas of absolutism, and was able at times to rule almost despotically. Despite the introduction of many timely reforms during the reign of Grand Duke Leopold (1830-52), there were often bitter contentions between the Government and the representatives of the people. In the course of these difficulties, the opponents of the Government became constantly more inflamed until a leading party of opposition was formed, which, influenced by the prevailing political tendencies, gave evidence of a strong inclination towards radical principles. Radicalism obtained a strong footing not only in the Landtag, but also throughout the country. The revolutionary movement of 1848, which began in France, found, therefore, in Baden a most favorable soil. Although the Government granted many of the demands of the people for more liberal administration, outbreaks occurred. In the beginning these were suppressed, but a mutiny of the troops in Rastatt and Karlsruhe brought victory to the Revolutionists. In May, 1849, the insurgents took possession of Karlsruhe, proclaimed a republic, and established a provisional government. It was only through the aid of Prussia and the German Confederation that the revolution in Baden was repressed, and the Grand duke could reestablish his authority. Severe punishment was meted out to the guilty, especially to the mutinous soldiers.

Ecclesiastical conflicts

During the reign of Grand Duke Louis II (1852-56), whose brother Frederick held the regency until 1856, when he himself succeeded to the title, the Government and the representatives of the Catholic Church, who had been at odds for a long time, came into open conflict. The revolutions of the Napoleonic period had shaken the organization of the Church in Germany to its very foundations. In the modern Grand duchy of Baden, as it existed at the beginning of the nineteenth century, two-thirds of the population professed the Catholic religion. They constituted 728 parishes divided among six different diocese (Constance, Strasburg, Speyer, Worms, Mainz, and Wurzburg. A reconstruction of ecclesiastical affairs was manifestly necessary and was made, so far as the State was concerned, by the organization decrees of 1803 and the constitutional decrees of 1807, regulating the position of the State with regard to the Church. Although the first of these decrees guaranteed to Catholics a continuance of their diocesan system, the free exercise of their religion, and the possession and use of church property, shortly after their promulgation a large number of monasteries and charitable institutions were entirely abolished, others confiscated, and still others converted into secular educational institutions. In place of being organized into dioceses as formerly, Catholics were placed under two vicariates (Bruchsal and Constance). A special board was appointed for the administration of the temporal affairs of the Church, first known as the Catholic Kirchensektion (Church Section), and later as the Catholic Oberkirchenrat (Supreme Ecclesiastical Council). Despite the personal good will of Grand Duke Charles Frederick, the spirit of these decrees was unfavorable to the Catholic Church; the rights of the State were unduly extended, to the prejudice of the Church. Worse than the ordinances themselves was the way in which they were put into execution by the Liberal officials of Old Baden, who viewed the Catholic Church with open hostility. The unjust treatment of Catholics in the new Grand duchy and the indignities put upon them were so pronounced that even Napoleon, as Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine, in two notes to the Government of Baden (February and March, 1810) protested against it. Unfortunately a large part of the Catholic clergy, who had either been reared in the tenets of Josephinism, or had fallen into the religious indifferentism of the times, failed to rally to the necessary defense of the rights of the Church. Even the highest ecclesiastical dignitaries of the land, as, for example, Vicar General Wessenberg, favored the tenets of Febronianism and warmly encouraged the project of a German National Church independent of Rome. This state of affairs prolonged for years the negotiations which had been begun with the Holy See for the reorganization of the Church in Baden. Finally the Bull "Provida solersque" (16 August 1821) established the province of the Upper Rhine (Oberrheinische Kirchenprovinz), defined the boundaries of the five dioceses therein comprised (Freiburg, Fulda, Limburg, Mainz, and Rottenburg), and assigned Freiburg as the seat of the metropolitan. In Baden, by the order of the Grand duke, the candidate for the archiepiscopal see was elected by free vote of the assembled deans (1822), but their choice of Wanker, a professor of theology in Freiburg, was condemned by the pope as canonically invalid. It was only after lengthy negotiations that an agreement was reached; and on 11 April, 1827, Leo XII promulgated the Bull of erection "Ad Dominici greys custodian"; on 16 October, 1827, the deed of foundation was signed; and on 21 October the first archbishop, Bernhard Boll, was consecrated and installed.

Nevertheless a satisfactory adjustment of affairs had not been found. The deed of foundation contained many provisions contrary to the spirit of the papal Bull. In marked contrast to the agreement made with Rome was the church law passed by the Government 30 January, 1830. True, it ensures to Catholics the free profession of faith and public exercise of religion, but, on the other hand, to the State is given an undue amount of power over the Church; all orders and enactments of any importance proceeding from spiritual authorities must, according to this law, be submitted to the approval of the civil powers; it requires that even decrees and dispensations of a general nature issued by the Church, although concerning matters purely spiritual, must be first inspected by the public authorities. It subjects papal Bulls, Briefs, and dispensations to the placet of the sovereign, does away with the canonical court of appeal grants to clergy and laity, by a usurpation of spiritual authority, recourse to the civil courts instead of the higher ecclesiastical courts, etc. The pope as well as the archbishop entered a protest against the provisions of, this law, so permeated with the spirit of a national church, but without success. Although the first archbishops, Bernhard Boll (1827-36) and his successor, Ignaz Demeter (1836-42), acceded to the wishes of the Government as far as their position as Catholic prelates permitted, all their remonstrances against the interference of the State and their appeals for a more liberal treatment of the Church were useless. On the contrary, the Government openly favored movements of a rationalistic and irreligious nature, even on the part of professors of theology in the university of Freiburg; it allowed the just demands of the archbishop for adequate disciplinary powers to pass unnoticed, gave protection to unworthy clerics and those who had been insubordinate to their ecclesiastical superiors, almost entirely excluded the co-operation of the Church in the management of Catholic schools and in the administration of Catholic church property, permitted insults to be leveled against the Church by the Radicals in the Landtag, favored Rongeanism, etc. In spite of this unjust treatment, however, when, in 1848, the flames of the revolution broke out, the Archbishop, Hermann von Vicari (1842-68), and the majority of the Catholic clergy remained loyal to the rightful sovereign and refused to take the oath required by the revolutionary regime. In consideration of this attitude, the Government, after the victory over the revolutionary forces, seemed disposed to change its policy; it permitted the Jesuits to hold missions among the people and allowed the archbishop greater freedom in the ad- ministration of church discipline. The change, however, was not of long duration; soon the old system of state guardianship was again in force.

The four suffragan bishops of the province of the Upper Rhine also came into conflict with their respective governments in securing freedom for the Catholic Church. To obtain unity of action Archbishop Vicari, in compliance with the regulations of the plenary council of the German Catholic episcopate held at Wurzburg (1848) summoned his suffragans to Freiburg in the spring of 1851. In a memorial addressed to their respective sovereigns, they demanded the privilege of training their priests and appointing them without outside interference, the free exercise of ecclesiastical discipline among priests and laymen, and the privilege of conducting Catholic schools, of establishing religious societies and associations, and of administering church property without hindrance. Having waited in vain for a reply from the Government, the bishops addressed a reminder to the authorities (February, 1852), renewing the demand for the abolition of the state supremacy. Not until 5 March, 1853, did they receive a decision; this contained trivial concessions, but was adverse on the principal points. The old system of state tutelage was to remain unconditionally in force. Thereupon the five bishops reconvened (April, 1853) in Freiburg and embodied their demands in a second memorial dated 18 June, setting forth the inadequacy of the concessions granted 5 March, and reserving to themselves the right of taking further measures. While four of the bishops received from their respective authorities more or less far-reaching concessions, a bitter struggle was precipitated in Baden.

Meanwhile, an occurrence in Baden had increased the estrangement to an open rupture between the civil authorities and the archbishop. After the death of Grand Duke Leopold (24 April 1852), the Government i.e. the Oberkirchenrat, which in 1845 had taken the place of the Kirchensektion, ordered the archbishop to have services held for the deceased. sovereign. In conformity with the laws of the Church the archbishop prohibited the celebration of requiem Masses for Protestant princes and ordered other, appropriate services instead. The authorities, however persisted in their demand, declared the services ordered by the archbishop inadequate, and attempted to induce pastors to celebrate requiem Masses in defiance of the archiepiscopal mandate. Only about sixty out of the 800 priests complied, whereupon the archbishop decreed that the clergy who had disregarded his command should, in expiation, attend certain exercises of five days conducted by the Jesuit Father Roh, at the theological seminary of St. Peter. Although the civil authorities promised their protection to those priests who should resist this sentence, the clergy to a man obeyed the order of the archbishop, ensuring him a victory so complete as to give him the power of resistance in further conflicts.

In response to the second memorial from the bishops of the province of the Upper Rhine, the representatives of the State of Baden refused to make a single concession to the Catholic Church. The archbishop then informed the Government that he would take steps to secure the rights that were his, but were unjustly withheld by the civil authorities. He held competitive examinations for parish appointments and for admittance into the theological seminary, without the presence of a government commissioner; he filled parishes to which the Government could not establish a canonical right of patronage, demanded from the Oberkirchenrat an administration of church property strictly in accordance with canon law, threatening excommunication in case of disobedience. Thereupon the Government placed the official actions of the archbishop under police surveillance, banished the Jesuits from Freiburg, and threatened the clergy who submitted to the Church with the loss of their incomes, and with civil punishment. Two priests of Karlsruhe and Freiburg, who had proclaimed the sentence of excommunication pronounced upon the Oberkirchenrat by the archbishop were actually placed under arrest. On still more unwarrantable interference by the Government, the archbishop issued a circular letter to be read from the pulpits, ordering an independent administration of ecclesiastical institutions without regard for civil mandates, and prohibiting the clergy from having any connection with state officials. The Government, seeing in this enactment an instigation against civil authority, forbade its promulgation in the churches and attempted to seize all copies of the letter, in some cases succeeding by force. A judicial inquiry was instituted against the archbishop (18 May, 1854), charging him with disturbing and endangering the public peace. On 22 May he was placed under arrest, and confined to his room under a guard of gendarmes until 31 May. At the command of the archbishop the diocesan court continued to transact all business, and sent a dispatch to Rome asking the pope to make provisions for the administration of the diocese. All churches were to be draped in mourning, church bells were silent, alters were stripped of their adornments, and everywhere the faithful assembled for public prayer. The pope, in a note dated 8 June, addressed to the civil authorities of Baden took the archbishop under his protection. The government then proposed to enter into negotiations with the Holy See, and a peaceful arrangement was made, which created a tolerable modus vivendi. The proceedings against the archbishop and clergy were stopped and gradually the way was opened, for amicable relations between the civil authorities and the archbishop.

The lengthy negotiations with Rome were brought to a close by the signing of the Concordat of 8 June, 1859, which went far towards meeting the just claims of the Church and accorded practically all the demands of the archbishop, in particular the right of appointment to parishes, religious instruction, participation in the management of church property, the right of decision in questions concerning marriage, etc. Thereupon the Liberals and Democrats rose in opposition to the Concordat; everywhere meetings of protest were held, resulting in 1861 in the dismissal of the Conservative and the formation of a Liberal ministry. The latter, on 29 October, without consulting the Holy See, arbitrarily declared the Concordat null and void and substituted a law quite inimical to the Church, which received the approbation of the Landtag. On 20 November, 1861, the Government and the archbishop came to an agreement concerning the filling of benefices and the administration of church property.

After a short respite, now conflicts arose between the two authorities with reference to the school system (1864). The Government, now entirely under the control of the Liberals, proposed a bill for a school law which almost entirely nullified the influence of the Church on education, conceding to the Church only the supervision of religious instruction. Although Catholic clergy exerted every effort to bring about the failure of this scheme, and the archbishop in a pastoral letter opposed it, the bill in a somewhat aggravated form became a law, and the opposition of the Catholic population expressed in numerous mass meetings and addresses to the duke was completely disregarded. The Liberals, who were in the majority in the Landtag, and had control of the Government, hesitated at nothing to make still more practically effective their principles of hostility to the Church. In 1867 the Government instituted state examinations for theological students, to be held before a civil commissioner on the completion of the university course. The Curia protested, and forbade the theological students to submit to this examination. As a result the clergy in the parishes subject to the appointment of the Grand duke received, instead of their stipends and appointments as pastors, only those of parish administrators. After the death of the archbishop (15 April, 1868), the Government, by refusing to consider seven out of eight candidates, made the choice of an archbishop practically impossible, and the see remained vacant for eighteen years. In 1869 civil marriage was made obligatory. In 1870 all Catholic institutions not purely ecclesiastical, but devoted to education or to charity, were secularized, withdrawn from the control of the Church, and large endowments left for Catholic purposes were thus alienated from their appointed use. In 1872 the members of religious orders and congregations were forbidden to give elementary instruction, to assist in the work of the ministry, or to conduct missions. In 1873 the Old Catholics were placed on an equal footing with the Catholic Church; several Catholic churches were turned over to them, and their Bishop Reinkens was recognized by the Government as a Catholic national bishop (Landesbischof). In 1874 admission to any ecclesiastical office was made to depend on proof of a general scientific training, meaning thereby a three years' course at a German university, excluding all Jesuit institutions. The archiepiscopal seminaries and boarding schools for boys were closed. In 1875 undenominational schools were introduced and made obligatory, the Catholic corporation schools were made unsectarian, and several monastic educational institutions were suppressed. Not until after the retirement of the Liberal minister, Jolly, the soul of the anti-Catholic legislation, i.e. since 1876, were measures taken for the re-establishment of peace with the Catholic Church. In 1880 state examinations for theological students were dispensed with; in 1882 the archiepiscopal see was filled by the appointment of Johann Baptist Orbin, who ruled until 1886; his successors were Johann Christian Roos, until 1896; George Ignaz Komp, who died as archbishop elect on the journey to his see (1896), and Thomas Norber from 1896. In 1888 the boarding schools for boys and the seminaries were reopened, and members of religious orders were once more allowed to preach.

Meanwhile the political development of Baden had been undisturbed. In 1866, it is true, the Grand duke had been forced against his will to fight on the side of Austria and the German Confederation against Prussia; but as early as 28 July he arranged a truce and proclaimed his withdrawal from the German Confederation. On 17 August he concluded peace, and an offensive and defensive alliance with Prussia. The military forces of Baden were organized on Prussian lines, and when, in 1870, Baden openly took sides with Prussia, they fought with distinction in many battles. On 25 November Baden entered the North German Confederation, which was strengthened by the accession of the other South German States to the new German Empire (1871). The internal administration was now conducted along Liberal lines. The Liberal majority of the Chamber was not disturbed until 1893. In 1904 a more impartial election law was introduced. The Government, however, still holds to its Liberal tendencies, and refuses the just demands of Catholics for the admission of religious orders of men. Unfriendliness towards the Catholic Church seems again to be gaining ground, as is shown by ordinances requiring an investigation among the whole body of the Catholic clergy on account of alleged abuses of electoral influence and other charges.

State and Church in Baden

The relations between the Catholic Church and the Government are not entirely satisfactory, as is evident from the historical account, the State often exercising an excessive control. According to the legislation now in force, the Roman Catholic Church in Baden possesses the right of a public corporation with the formation of religious societies. The Church conducts its affairs freely and independently. The clergy are not restricted in their communication with ecclesiastical superiors. The highest spiritual authority of Catholic Baden is the Archbishop of Freiburg, who is also Metropolitan of the province of the Upper Rhine; he is a member of the First Chamber of Baden, ranks immediately after the ministers of state, and enjoys the title of Excellency. Ecclesiastical offices are filled by the church authorities, but are granted only to those who are citizens of Baden and can give proof of having had a general scientific training. No exemption from a regular three years' course at a German university is granted to anyone who has completed the same course at a Jesuit institution. Every priest on entering the work of the ministry in Baden must take the constitutional oath. The public exercise of church functions is permitted to priests coming from outside of Baden only under certain conditions. Without government authorization no religious order may be brought into Baden, nor may a new foundation be made by an order already established. Moreover, this authorization is subject to revocation. The holding of missions and the work of the ministry by members of religious orders are in general forbidden, unless in case of extreme necessity. By legislation of the German Empire, the obligation of a civil marriage ceremony was introduced, the duty of military service on the part of Catholic theological students abolished, and the Society of Jesus and what the laws call "cognate" orders and congregations excluded from the German Empire.

Church property

The property of the archiepiscopal board, the cathedral chapter, the metropolitan church, and the seminary, as well as the funds under the immediate control of the archbishop or the chapter, are managed by the archbishop and the chapter without interference; that under rural chapters by the chapters themselves under the supervision of the ordinary; local property, i.e. the definite property of a separate parish, is administered by a parish council under the presidency of the clergy, the members being chosen for a period of six years from the Catholics of the parish. The property of the ecclesiastical institutions of a district is managed by a commission, half the members being chosen by the Government, and half by the archbishop from the Catholics of the district. The interealary fund (that is to say, the fiscal department for the collection, management, and lawful expenditure of the incomes of vacant benefices in the Grand Duchy of Baden) is administered by a council known as the Catholic Oberstiftungsrat, consisting of a president and six members, under the joint supervision of the archbishop and Government. The members are Catholics, half being appointed by Government, and half by the archbishop. All must meet the approval of both. The president must also be selected and named with the consent of both. The Oberstiftungsrat also supervises the administration of the local and diocesan institutions and of all benefices, occupied or vacant.

Local associations of the members belonging to the churches recognized in Baden have, as parishes, the rights of public corporations. For the defrayal of expenses incident to public worship, as, for example, the maintenance and repair of parish churches and rectories, the purchase and care of the necessary church furniture, and the salaries of the under employees of the church, the parish can assess certain taxes on its members. There is, in addition, a general church assessment for the common needs of the Catholic Church of Baden, e.g. the expenses of the highest ecclesiastical authorities, the establishment of new church offices, etc. The execution of parochial rights and duties is vested in the parish meeting; in those parishes numbering eighty or more members, the parish is represented by an elective council. The resolution of the parish meeting or parochial council determining the church assessment is subject to the approval of the State. To become legally effective, any change in the formation of a parish by reorganization, dissolution, partition or reunion, needs the sanction of the civil authorities. The administration of ecclesiastical foundations (Stiftungen) is also entirely subject to state supervision. All gifts and bequests in favor of existing foundations, likewise the establishment of new and independent ones, require the approbation of the State. Churches, chapels, hospitals, and other public foundations devoted to the care of the poor and orphans, and to similar charitable purposes, are exempt from the house tax. Homes for the care of the sick and the support of the poor, as well as public educational institutions, are exempt from the income tax on the capital invested. The taxable values of rectories are exempt from any parish assessment.

Church and school

The public educational system is under the direction of the State, the highest authority being the Oberschulrat (Supreme Educational Council), which is directly subject to the Minister of the Interior. The highest ecclesiastical superiors may designate a representative to attend the deliberations of the Oberschulrat whenever there is question of religious instruction and its place in the plan of studies. In the public schools instruction is given simultaneously to all children of school age, regardless of creed, with the exception of religious instruction. The local supervision over the public schools, as well as the supervision of all local school funds, including those of each religious confession, is entrusted to the town council; at the same time each of the creeds represented in the community is represented by its pastor. In the appointment of teachers to public schools all possible respect is had for the religious belief of the children; in schools attended by children of only one creed the teachers are to be of that creed. Religious instruction is provided and supervised by the respective churches and congregations. They may be assisted in this by teachers. The general plan of religious instruction is laid out by the higher spiritual authorities and supervised by their deputies. The establishment of private educational institutions is permitted, but only under certain conditions; these establishments are under state supervision; from time to time the school authorities visit them and hold examinations. Ecclesiastical corporations and institutions may found educational establishments only on the passage of a special law. Members of religious orders or of religious congregations that resemble orders are forbidden to teach in any educational institution in the Grand Duchy of Baden. The Government may grant exemption to individuals, but such exemption is revocable at will. Churches are authorized to maintain institutions for the theological and practical training of young men for the priesthood and to conduct boarding houses (Konvikte) for students who frequent the gymnasia or the university with the intention of preparing themselves for the ecclesiastical state.


Baden, with the Hohenzollern territories belonging to Prussia, forms the Archdiocese of Freiburg. The strong intermixture of creeds throughout Baden is a result of the earlier territorial dismemberment described above. According to the census of 1905, in 34 of the 53 judicial districts, the Catholics are in the majority. They are especially strong in the north-east (the Tauber valley), the farther Odenwald, and the southern half of Baden. Even here, however, predominantly Protestant districts are to be found, e.g. Kehl, Lahr, Emmendingen, the Margravate of Sulzburg as far as Basle, and the valley of the Wiese as far up as Lorrach; in addition to the districts just mentioned, the country on both sides of the Neckar and the Lower Rhine are overwhelmingly Protestant. Ecclesiastically, Baden is divided into 3 city chapters and 36 rural chapters, with about 814 parishes and curacies, 114 chaplaincies, and 259 assistants. The cathedral parish of Freiburg and the parish of St. Peter are exempted from the above-mentioned chapter system. Besides this, there are 3 military and 3 institutional chaplaincies. At the beginning of 1907 Baden had 1,260 Catholic priests, i.e. pastors, assistants, and chaplains. Of the 1187 ecclesiastical benefices of Baden, 295 are in the gift of the Grand duke as patron; 264 are left to the free collation of the archbishop; 145 are filled through presentations by noblemen, landowners, and others; 168 are disposed of by the so called terna, i.e, the archbishop proposes to the Grand duke three candidates for a benefice, and the latter selects one for canonical institution. In the case of 9 benefices, the right of presentation is alternate; in 47 cases it is disputed or unknown. The salary of pastors and beneficed clergy is derived from the temporalities of the living; the income of poorly equipped parishes is supplemented by an annual state appropriation which sometimes amounts to $50,000.

Orders and congregations

Male orders and congregations are prohibited from making any foundations in the Grand Duchy of Baden. In proportion to the population, the number of orders and congregations of women is small, and new foundations are vigorously opposed by the Government. The following teaching orders are represented: the Sisters of the Holy Sepulcher in Baden-Baden, the Dominican Sisters in Constance, Cistercian Sisters in Lichtenthal near Baden-Baden, in Offenburg the Choir Sisters of St. Augustine from the congregation of Notre Dame (with a branch in Rheinburg), the Ursulines in Villingen (with a branch in Breisach); there are in all 5 orders for the education of girls. The following congregations for the care of the sick are represented in Baden: the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul, with mother-house at Freiburg, the Sisters of St. Francis, with mother-house at Gengenbach, the Sisters of the Holy Cross, from Ingenbohl in Switzerland, with mother-house at Hegne, near Constance. In addition there are in Baden the Vincentian Sisters from the mother-house at Strasburg, Sisters of the Most Holy Savior (the so-called Niederbronn Sisters), from the mother-house at Oberbronn, Alsace, Franciscan Sisters from the mother-house at Mallersdorf, Bavaria, Josephite Sisters from St. Marx (Alsace), also Sisters of the Holy Cross from the motherhouse at Strasburg.


As explained above, the school system is entirely under the direction of the State; consequently there are but few purely Catholic educational institutions. For the training of the Catholic clergy there are the archiepiscopal seminary (Priester-seminar) at St. Peter, the home (Konvikt) for theological students at Freiburg, and 4 gymnasial boarding schools at Constance, Freiburg, Rastatt, and Tauberbischofsheim. At the state university (Freiburg) there is a faculty of Catholic theology numbering 11 professors; the number of theological students during the summer semester of 1907 was 226. The 62 Government intermediate schools of Baden (17 classical gymnasia, 3 "real," 4 preparatory, 7 higher gymnasia; 23 Realschulen, 8 high schools) recorded an attendance in 1905 of 5,157 Catholic students. In 17 of the Government intermediate schools religious instruction is given by 26 specially appointed priests (Religionslehrer); in the others religious instruction is cared for by the local clergy. Of the 11 private intermediate schools for boys, the Institute and School of Monsignor Lender in Sasbach (Progymnasium and Realschule) is Catholic in character; in 1905 it had 483 Catholic students, and 8 priests as religious instructors. The 7 government high schools for girls had in 1905 an attendance of 964 Catholic students. Of the 33 private intermediate schools for girls, attended by 1,437 Catholic girls, 5 are distinctly Catholic in character, and have an attendance of 1,132. The Catholic periodicals now published in Baden number 25.

Charitable institutions

In Baden there are 254 institutions for the care of the sick, with 13,800 beds; about 100 of these hospitals, infirmaries, etc. are directed, or are actually served, by Catholic orders and congregations. The Diocese of Freiburg contains 3 orphanages (Riegel, Gurtweil, and Walldurn); in the village of Herthen there is a large institution for the care of imbeciles, with about 400 inmates, under the direction of the Sisters of the Holy Cross; in Heitersheim there is a large institution for the reclamation of girls, directed by a Catholic sisterhood. The Baden non-sectarian Red Cross Society, to which many Catholics belong, has 34 relief centers for men, with about 5,500 members, and 333 unions for women, with 57,600 members; the association maintains 75 stations with about 470 employees. There are in Baden 13 Catholic homes for servant girls.

Catholic societies

Concerning these societies there are no adequate statistics. We may mention, however, the People's Union (Volksverein) for Catholic Germany, with 27,100 members, Catholic working-men's unions (150), Catholic journeymen's unions (53), apprentices' unions and clubs for young men (35), and St. Joseph's unions (2). Freiburg is the center of the associated Charities (Charitasverband) of Catholic Germany. The chief religious societies and confraternities are: the Archconfraternity of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, the Most Pure Heart of Mary, and of Christian Mothers, the League of Prayer for Germany, the Association of the Holy Family, the Association of the Holy Childhood of Jesus, the Boniface Society, the Ludwig Mission Society, St. Michael's Society, the Societies of St. Vincent de Paul for men and women, and others.

The most important Catholic church edifices are the cathedrals of Freiburg and Constance, the churches of Ueberlingen and Breisach, and those of Baden-Baden, Salem, St. Blasien, Reichenau, Gengenbach, Bronnbach, Schwarzach, Ladenburg, Neustadt, Karlsruhe.


A complete bibliography is to be found in KIENITZ AND WAGNER, Badische Bibliothek (Karlsruhe, 1897 and 1900). The more important works, especially those treating of ecclesiastical history, are: SCHOPFLIN, Historia Zaringo-Badensis (7 vols., Karlsruhe 1763-66), DUMGE, Regesta Badensia (Karlsruhe 1836); MONE, Quellensammlung der badischen Landesgesch. (4 vols., Karlsruhe, 1836); PREUSCHEN, Badische Geschichte (Karlsruhe, 1842); MONE, Die katholischen Zustande in Baden (Ratisbon 1841 and 1843); BADER Die katholische Kirche in Baden (Freiburg, 1860); LONGNER, Beitrage zur Geschichte oberrheinischen Kirchenprovinz (Tübingen, 1863); Offizielle Aktenstucke uber die Kirchen und Schulfrage in Baden (7 numbers, Freiburg, 1864-75); VIERORDT, Badische Geschichte bis zum Ende des Mittelalters (Tübingen, 1865); BRUCK, Die oberrheinische Kirchenprovinz (Mainz, 1868); SPOHN, Badisches Staatskirchenrecht (Karlsruhe, 1868); FRIEDBERG, Der Staat und die katholische Kirche im Grossherzogtum Baden (2d ed., Leipzig, 1874); KORBER, Die Ausbreitung des Christentums im sudlichen Baden (Heidelberg, 1878); Das Grossherzogtum Baden (Karlsruhe, 1885); BAUMSTARK, Die kirchenpolitischen Gesetze und Verordnungen fur die romischkatholische Kirche im Grossherzogtum Baden (Karlsruhe 1888); WEECH, Badische Geschichte (Karlsruhe, 1890); HEINER, Gesetze die katholische Kirche (in Baden) betreffend (Freiburg, 1890); MAAS, Geschichte der katholischen Kirche im Grossherzogtum Baden (Freiburg, 1891); HEINER, Die kirchlichen Erlasse, Verordnungen und Bekanntmachungen der Erzdiozese Freiburg (2d ed., Freiburg, 1898); MULLER, Badische Landtagsgesch. (Berlin, 1899-1902), I-IV; FESTER AND WITTE, Regesten der Markqrafen von Baden und Hachberg (2 vols.: Innsbruck, 1900); KRIEGER, Topographisches Worterbuch des Grossherzogtums Baden (2d ed., 2 vols., Heidelrberg, 1903-05); GONNER AND SESTER, Das Kirchenpatronatsrecht im Grossherzogtum Baden (Stuttgart, 1904); Zeitschrift fur Geschichte des Oberrheins (Karlsruhe, 1850-85), I-XXXIX; Id., new series (Freiburg, 1886-92, Karlsruhe, 1893-1904, Heidelberg, 1902, sqg.), I-XXII.

The most important historical periodicals are: Zeitschrift fur Geschichte des Oberrheins (Karlsruhe since 1850); Freiburger Diozesanarchiv (Freiburg, since IS65); ALEMANNIA (Bonn, 1873 sqq.; since 1900 in Freiburg).

About this page

APA citation. Lins, J. (1907). Baden. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Lins, Joseph. "Baden." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Dick Meissner.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.

Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is webmaster at Regrettably, I can't reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback — especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.

Copyright © 2023 by New Advent LLC. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.