Josephinism Under this term we generally understand those ecclesiastical reforms which were introduced by Joseph II, German emperor from 1780 to 1790. It was Joseph's object to form a national Austrian Church, congruent with the territory of the state, closely connected with the strongly centralized secular government, and as far as possible independent of Rome. As, on many points along the boundaries, Austrian dominions ranged under the authority of foreign bishops, a new circumscription of the dioceses was necessary, and it was carried out with little ceremony. A new oath of subjection to the temporal ruler was demanded of the bishops. All imperial decrees were sent to the bishops, and again by them to the pastors, who had to make them known to their flocks from the pulpit. On the other hand, no papal bulls or briefs could be published in the country without an imperial "placet." Connected with this movement was the education of the clergy. The theological students were forbidden to visit the "Collegium Germanico-Hungaricum" in Rome, which institute was replaced by the "Collegium Germanicum et Hungaricum" at Pavia. The philological and theological schools in the monasteries were closed, and diocesan seminaries were opened under the superintendence of an imperial committee. For the divine services the use of the German language was prescribed, and the Latin was abolished. Pilgrimages outside of the country were forbidden. Rules were given in respect to the luxurious ornamentation of the churches, the magnificent processions, the brilliant illuminations.
All religious orders not engaged in preaching, teaching, or nursing the sick, were dissolved. Between 1770 and 1786 the number of monasteries sank from 2136 to 1425, and that of monks and nuns from 64,890 to 44, 280. On October 13, 1781, an edict of religious toleration was promulgated, according to which the Evangelicals of the Augsburg and Helvetic confessions obtained a limited freedom of worship. Civil disqualifications arising from denominational differences were abolished. Even the position of the Jews was improved. Previous to that edict of toleration, on May 4, an imperial decree had enacted that the oath of obedience to the pope, and the "Professio fidei Tridentinte," usual at the distribution of degrees, were abrogated, and that the bulls "In ccena Domini" and "Unigenitus" were to be torn out of the books of the liturgy. The Roman curia became, of course, greatly alarmed at these proceedings, and in January 1782, pope Pius VI went in person to Vienna. He was politely received without effecting any change, and the more so since the emperor had the support of the most influential prelates of Austro- Hungaria. Joseph, however, died February 20, 1790, and his early death prevented his reforms from taking root. During his immediate successors the old order was again revived. See his biographies by Geissler (Halle, 1783,15 volumes); Meusel (Leipsic, 1790); Perzl (Vienna, eod.); Huber (ibid. 1792); Heyne (Leipsic, 1848, 3 volumes); Ramshorn (ibid. 1861); Meynert (Vienna, 1862); Riehl und Reinohl, Kaiser Josef II als Reform. auf kirchlich. Gebiete (ibid. 1881); Frank, Das Toleranz-Patent Kaiser Josef's II (ibid. 1882); Schmidt, Kaiser Josef II (Berlin, 1875); Leistner, Kaiser Josef's II unvergessliche Gedanken, Ausspriiche und Bestrebungen (Vienna, 1878); Beer, Joseph II (in the Neuen Plutarch, Leipsic, 1842, volume 9); also Ranke, Die deutschen Mdachte und der Furstenbund (Leipsic, 1871, volume 1); Plitt, Herzog, Real-Encyklop, s.v.; Lichtenberger, Encyclop. des Sciences Religieuses, s.v. Joseph II. (B.P.)