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Home > Catholic Encyclopedia > L > Lippe


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One of the Confederate States of the German Empire. The occasional use of the designation "Lippe Detmold" so called after the chief town, to distinguish it from Schaumberg Lippe, is legally inaccurate. It comprises 469 sq. miles and consists of a larger division lying between the Prussian Provinces of Westphalia and Hanover, including the ancient Countships of Lippe, Schwatonberg, and Sternberg and, in addition, of the three exclaves of Grevenhagen, Lipperode, and Cappel, lying in Prussian territory. The principality originated as an immediate suzerainty of the twelfth century, belonging to the lords of Lippe who, in 1529, were counts of the empire. In 1807, by taking part in the Rhenish Confederation the country achieved independence and at the same time became a principality. Since 1815 it had belonged to the German Confederation. In the German War of 1866 Lippe sided with Prussia and became a part of the North German Confederation, and in 1871 of the German Empire. A contest for the throne which had lasted for years was finally settled in 1905, since when Leopold IV (b. 1871) has been reigning prince. In the census of 1 December, 1905, the returns showed 145,577 inhabitants of whom 5,481 were Catholics; 139,127 Protestants; 229 other Christians; 735 Jews, and five members of other religions. The Catholics increased from 2.4% to 3.8% of the population between 1871 and 1905.

From the time of the Reformation the greater part of the country has belonged to the Diocese of Paderborn, smaller portions to Minden and Cologne. The Reformation obtained its first foothold in Lemgo, at that time the most important town in the principality. The ruler, Simon V, in vain endeavoured to suppress the new doctrines. His son and successor, Bernard VIII (1536-63), a minor, was educated a Lutheran. He forced a Lutheran ritual upon the country in 1538. Simon VI (1563-1613) confirmed the reformed doctrines (Calvinism) in 1605, which ever since then have prevailed in the country. Only the city of Lemgo remained Lutheran, in spite of a struggle carried on for ten years with great bitterness between the princes and the city. During the last decade of the nineteenth century, however, the number of Calvinists, even in Lemgo, has exceeded that of the Lutherans. After the Peace of Augsburg in 1555 by which religious matters were settled, the establishment of the Reformation in Lippe was substantially accomplished. In spite of the axiom "cujus regio, ejus religio", and of much persecution and many struggles, there remained a small number of Catholics in Lippe all through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, notably a convent at Falkenhagen established in 1228 and belonging first to the Cistercians, then to the Williamites, and since 1432 to the Knights of the Cross. It was confiscated in 1596, though its possessions fell to the Paderborn Jesuits and only after the Papal suppression of the order, to the reigning house. With the assistance of the Jesuits, particularly Father Tönnemann, the confessor of Charles IV, the reigning count in 1720 obtained the rank of prince, but he did not assume this title because the exchequer could not defray the dues, notwithstanding the fact that, through Father Tönnemann's exertions, they were reduced from 20,000 to 5773 gulden. The letters patent granting the princely title were not redeemed until 1789.

A Catholic community grew up in Lemgo in the eighteenth century. Here in 1774 the Catholics were given the right to practise their religion privately, and in 1786 openly, though under many restrictions. After 1672, when the Catholics of the neighbouring Countship of Ravensburg, which had belonged since 1609 to Brandenburg-Prussia, received their right to public worship, the Franciscans from Bielefeld took charge of the Catholics in Lippe, though able to perform religious duties only in secret. Nominally the Catholics (as well as Lutherans) were allowed free practice of their religion and given full political and civil rights, through their country's participation in the Rhenish (1807) and the German (1815) Confederations. As a matter of fact, the situation remained unchanged. The control of livings exercised by the Calvinists continued in force. In 1821 the Papal Bull "De salute animarum", made over to the See of Paderborn the Lippian parishes of Cappel, Lipperode, and Lippstadt, which had previously belonged to Cologne without producing any ensuing agreement with the State. As a result of this Bull, the Bishop of Paderborn continued as he had formerly done, in spite of numerous protests from the Government, to interest himself in all the Catholics of the country, whose number had greatly increased through immigration.

In the sovereign edict of 9 March, 1854, owing in no small degree to the fairmindedness of the first cabinet minister, Laurenz Hannibal Fischer, the Catholic Church was placed on an equality with the state Calvinist religion. The Lutherans obtained the same status on 15 March, 1854. The diocesan rights of the bishops of Paderborn were recognized. The bishop presented the livings, though the sovereign could reject an unacceptable candidate. The parish priest was obliged to take the oath of allegiance to the prince and his dynasty. In mixed marriages the religion in which children were to be educated was settled by agreement between the parents. Should nothing be discussed or decided in the marriage settlements, the children without regard to sex must be brought up in the father's faith. In order to elucidate this measure beyond doubt, the State passed the ordinance of 7 October, 1857, which decreed that ante-nuptial agreements or promises were, from a legal standpoint, null and void. The mixed marriages have resulted in a larger number of Protestant than of Catholic children. In other respects the legislation concerning marriage corresponds throughout to that in the civil code of German Empire. With regard to sepulture, Catholics are free to use the general cemeteries or open special ones for themselves. If Catholics have obtained right of sepulture in a non-Catholic cemetery, the use of the liturgy of their Church is permitted, but if they have not this right notice must be given to the evangelical ministers, and permission obtained. To the five parishes of Detmold, with the subordinate parishes of Horn, Cappel (founded in 784 by Charlemagne), Falkenhagen, Lemgo, and Schwalenberg, were added in 1888, the three parishes of Lage, Lipperode, and Salzuflen. The entire eight were united in 1892 to the deanery of Detmold, presided over by ten priests.

Over and above its obligations to the parish of Falkenhagen, which are based on civil claims, the State pays 300 marks additional salary from the treasury of the confiscated monasteries and institutions to the Catholic rector at Lemgo only. Catholic church property is regulated by the civil code of the German Empire, and the Lippian common law. The only religious community is that of St. Elizabeth's Institute in Detmold, a combined sewing school and protectory conducted by the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (from Paderborn). Concerning orders and congregations there is no provision made by the State. However, article 13 of the edict of 1854 provides that all cases of doubt concerning the application of the said edict or any conflicts over the bounds of episcopal authority, shall be determined by the definitions of the Prussian Constitution of 31 January, 1850. The Catholic schools are private, but the State furnishes half of the salaries and pensions of the teachers. The people of the eight Catholic school districts are exempt from payment of school assessments (Law of 30 Deccember, 1904). Two free Catholic schools (Falkenhagen and Grevenhagen) enjoy the privileges of public primary schools. That of Cappel is a public school, attended by members of different Churches, yet Catholic in character as long as the majority of the inhabitants of the school district are Catholics.


FALKMANN, Beitriäge zur Geschichte des Fürstentums Lippe (Lemgo and Detmold, 1847-1902); SCHWANOLD, Das Fürstentum Lippe, das Land und seine Bewohner (Detmold, 1899); WOKER, Geschichte der norddeutschen Franziskaner-Mission (Freiburg, 1880), 614 sqq., 627 sqq.; GEMMEKE, Geschichte der katholischen Pfarreien in Lippe (Paderborn, 1895); FREISEN, Staat und katholische Kirche in den deutschen Bundesstaaten, I Stuttgart 1906), 1-282.

About this page

APA citation. Sacher, H. (1910). Lippe. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Sacher, Hermann. "Lippe." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Mario Anello.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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