Nuremberg, Diets of

Nuremberg, Diets Of.

The most important of the Church councils convened here during the Reformation, and of special interest, are the diets held in 1522 and 1523. After Soliman the Turk had made a successful invasion into Hungary, Charles V convened a diet at Nuremberg March 22, 1522, to devise means for the defeat of the Turks, and also to settle internal, i.e. religious difficulties. The diet decided that the moneys previously sent to Rome by the archbishops, bishops, and priests should be applied to the war; that the tithes should for four years be used for the same purpose; and that the convents of the mendicant orders should contribute, as also half of the other convents, priests, etc. The assembly was dismissed May 7, but with orders to convene again at Nuremberg "on St. AEgidius's day" for further action. In the mean time the emperor went to Spain, giving his brother Ferdinand the presidency of the diet. He wrote also to pope Adrian VI to get him to confirm the decisions of the diet, and represented to him that the heresy of Luther had made such progress that he would probably have to use his money to uproot it. This was Adrian's great object, and would have made him approve of any decision of the diet. He sent his chamberlain, Jerome Prorarius, with a brief to the elector Frederick of Saxony, inviting him in the next diet to "protect and maintain the dignity and majesty of the apostolic see, and with it the peace of Christendom, as his ancestors had done." Frederick, in his answer (Corp. Reform. 1:585 sq.), declared that the glory of Christ and the peace of the empire were his principal aims, but that it was evident that Luther and his adherents should be opposed by reason, and not by force. Adrian now instructed his legate at Nuremberg, Francis Chieregati, to insist on the repression of Luther and his adherents, not only as heretics, but as politically dangerous persons, as "attacking all authority under the plea of evangelical liberty." In another brief he addressed the elector as the friend of the most dangerous heresy, and even declared that he alone was answerable for the many who were falling away from the union of the Church; reminding him that his family owed their elevation to pope Gregory V. He also forbade him, under penalty of ecclesiastical and temporal punishment, to continue his protection to Luther. 'Adrian addressed similar briefs to duke Henry of Mecklenburg, and to the cities of Costnitz. Breslau, Bamberg, etc. Frederick was not present at the diet, but was represented by his chancellor, Hans von Plaunitz (Planitz), a friend of Luther, who acquired great influence over the diet, which opened Dec. 13, 1522. Chieregati presented to the diet a papal brief full of invectives against Luther. He demanded the forcible repression of heresy, and fiercely denounced the Lutheran preachers of Nuremberg, demanding not only their arrest, but their' transfer to Rome, to be judged there. This, however, he found the diet unwilling to grant; and the assembly having moreover returned a firm and spirited answer to the papal brief, the legate professed early in 1523 to have received new instructions from Rome. He now appeared again before the diet, this time insisting on the enforcement of the decrees of the Diet of Worms for the suppression of Luther's heresy but declaring, on the other hand, that the bad state of the Church was the result of the laxity of discipline in the clergy, confessing that bad example had been given sometimes by popes themselves, which had been eagerly followed by their subordinates. The pope himself freely acknowledged the need of reformation in the Church, and declared his willingness to effect all he could. The princes complained of the violation of the concordats, but he, Adrian, could not consider himself liable for the faults of his predecessors, and would keep-all the engagements he contracted himself. These declarations of the papal legate dissatisfied both parties. The Romanists were angered at the pope for confessing the evil state of the Church, and denouncing his predecessors as faithless. The evangelical party, on the other hand, scoffed at the reforms which Adrian would be likely to introduce. The legate gave his instructions to the state, which appointed a committee to draw up an answer to Chieregati. On Jan. 13, 1523, the reply was submitted to the diet, and by it amended. As a whole it was strikingly opposed to the views of the pope, and seemed to favor the Protestant principles. The complaints of the Romanists on account of the non-repression of Luther were answered by complaints on the conduct of the Roman court, whose abuses had only been fully shown up by Luther, the immorality of the clergy, high and low, the violation of the concordats, etc.: altogether it made eighty-one different points. It was further demanded that a free council should be held within a year at Strasburg, Cologne, Mayence, Metz, or some other city of Germany, engaging that neither Luther nor his adherents should create any disturbance, either by preaching or writing. To these remonstrances Chieregati answered by pointing out the necessity of holding up the dignity of the papal see for the welfare of Christianity, and insisted on the execution of the terms of the Edict of the Diet of Worms. As the states wished to have him attend to their list of grievances, he suddenly left (Feb. 28), and these had to be sent after him; and the states now declared that should this not be attended to they would be obliged to take the matter into their own hands. These articles were declared to be the decisions of the diet March 6, 1523; yet Philip on Feilitzsch, the envoy of the elector of Saxony, protested against the stipulation that Luther and his adherents should publish nothing more until then. This regulation he considered as directed against the Reformation, although the diet had, in fact, silently canceled by its resolutions the effect of the Edict of Worms. Luther himself wrote to elector Frederick. representing to him that he should ask for the same freedom to defend himself as the opposite party had to attack him; that the stipulation not to publish anything until the settlement of the difficulties could not apply to the publishing of the Bible nor the preaching of the Gospel, as the Word of God could not be thus bound. The diet had completely disappointed the hopes of the pope; his appeals to the emperor remained without effect, the latter being angry at-the pope's interference in his affairs with France, and Adrian himself died of grief at the failure of his efforts Sept. 14,1523. (See Planck, Gesch. d. Entstehung unseres protest. Lehrbegr. 2:160 sq.; Salig, Vollstand. Hist. d. Augsb. Conf. 1:65 sq.)

The state of things in Germany, the relation of the emperor to the empire and to foreign countries, and the change which had just occurred in the papal see, led to another diet, which convened at Nuremberg Nov. 11, 1523. The members were along time assembling, and Frederick was only prevailed upon by Ferdinand himself to be present. Here the elector received a brief from the new, pope, Clement VII, recommending to him cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio as his legate to the diet. The cardinal was the worthy tool of his master, who, far from wishing to effect any reform in the Church sought only to uphold the polver of the see of Rome, and to use temporal power for personal or political purposes. The diet was finally opened January 14, 1524 Campeggio had not yet arrived. On his journey he had ample occasion to observe what progress the Reformation was making, and how slight was the hold the Romish Church yet retained among the people; but this only made him more resolute in abating nothing from his demands of the diet. He reached Nuremberg February 14, and presented another brief of Clement VII to the elector of Saxony, requesting him to serve the interests of the see of Rome. On his arrival Campeggio was not received by the states, but only by the clergy, and in the name of the assembly of the bishops at Bamberg and Treves. From the first, the majority in the diet showed itself opposed to the pope. They discussed the necessity of furnishing assistance to the king of Hungary, of contributing to the war against the Turks, and of removing the seat of government from Nuremberg to Esslingen. On this point the majority went as much against the wishes of the emperor as on others against those of the pope. The orator of the imperial party, Haunart, announced clearly that his master wished the diet to dissolve, and Gampeggio seconded him, as under the circumstances it was also the interest of the pope to have the diet dissolved. Finally it was declared that those who had served in the preceding diet could not take part in this, and thus the opposition majority was broken. Frederick foresaw what the result of such a measure would be, and left the diet February 24, Philip von Feilitzsch remaining as his representative. Campeggio now represented again to the diet the danger there would be for the empire in any departure from their ancient faith; the states answered by referring him to the grievances complained of in the former diet, the redress of which was necessary for the welfare of the country. To this he answered that the pope had received no official communication of these grievances: that indeed three copies purporting to be the resolutions of the late diet had been received by private persons at Rome, and that he himself had read one, but that the charges in them were so absurd that they had been considered merely as the productions of private individuals venting their spite against the Church in that manner. That, besides, these charges were accompanied by requests the granting of which would only damage the papal authority, and which were even heretical. so that he would not treat of that question with the diet. but rather advise the carrying out of the Edict of Worms. Haunart seconded Campeggio for the emperor hoped in this way to obtain certain political advantages. The opposition, however, held fast. Frederick's representative declared in his name that he had received no official communication of the Edict of Worms, that the late diet had not forbidden evangelical preaching, and that its decisions could not be laid aside without discussion. The diet dissolved on April 18. The seat. of government was removed to Esslingen, aid was given to the king of Hungary and to the war against the Turks, and the states recognized themselves bound by the Edict of Worms, but only that they "would see it executed as far as they could." It was further decided that the pope would cause, with the assent of the emperor, a free council to be held in Germany as soon as possible; but that in the mean time another diet assembled at Spires should decide on the grievances of the princes against the pope and the clergy, and — a very remarkable feature — decide on the manner in which the aforementioned council should be held. Until then the princes were to exercise a severe censorship over all new doctrines and books, but at the same time see that the Gospel be freely and peaceably preached and explained in the manner generally received by the Church. The decisions did not mention Luther by name; on the other hand, the address of the emperor to the Diet of Spires expressly mentions the Lutheran and other new doctrines as making great progress among the lower classes, leading them to insubordination, in religion, etc. He insisted on the Edict of Worms being strictly carried out. Feilitzsch, count Bernard of Solms, and count George of Wertheim protested; but the emperor, who found it for his advantage to please the pope, sent direct orders to the states; he was, however, prevented, by complications with France, from injuring the Reformation as deeply as had at first been feared. The states being thus at liberty to execute the Edict of Worms "so far as they could" in their own way, did not prove very strict, and the pope complaint bitterly of it to the emperor and to the kings of France and of England. He even threatened to excommunicate Frederick as a heretic. His legate was in the meantime seeking to organize a so-called Catholic league in opposition to the evangelical princes and states, and even attempted, but in vain, to gain Melancthon to his side (Corp. Reform. 1:657-672).

The Reformation all this time was rapidly gaining ground. In 1542 and 1543 two other diets were held at Nuremberg, but they were of less importance, both in a political and in a religious point of view. In 1542 the emperor was in a very critical position, being at war with the Turks and with France, while at home the war of Brunswick was on the eve of breaking out, on account of the encroachments of duke Henry of Wolfenbuttel against Brunswick, which had called to its assistance John Frederick of Saxony and the landgrave of Hesse. It was feared at one time that all the princes belonging to the league of Smalcald would unite and make war on the Roman Catholic states, but they proved that their only object was to defend Brunswick, without reference to religious questions. All these difficulties, together with the dissatisfaction arising from promised reforms not having been carried out, led to another diet being summoned for Nov. 14, 1542; it was afterwards postponed to December 14, and finally assembled on January 31, 1543 (according to Sleidan, lib. 15:483; Ranke, 4:285; but according to Seckendorf [p. 416] in the early part of February). King Ferdinand came, on January 17, to take part in it. Charles V was represented by Frederick of the Palatinate, John of Nanves, and Christopher, bishop of Augsburg, all persons at least distasteful to the evangelical party. Bishop Christopher died suddenly during the conference, and was replaced by Otto of Truchses. King Ferdinand had repeatedly invited the elector of Saxony, through Dr. Andreas Coneritz, to be personally present at the diet; but he declined. Circumstances now compelled the emperor and his brother to act as leniently as possible towards the evangelical states. Still the Roman Catholics clearly evinced their old opposition to all reform, and thus the other party was obliged to act with vigor. At the opening of the diet king Ferdinand pointed out the necessity of carrying on the war against the Turks with increased energy, and of protecting Hungary and the neighboring regions; after that, assistance was asked against the French, who had invaded the Netherlands. On February 5 Granvelle addressed the diet, representing the exigencies of the war against the Turks, praised the emperor for all he had done for the country, and promised in his name that he would devote his life, if need be, to overcome the enemies of Christianity. if the states would help him in the war against France. The evangelical princes and states in the mean time presented to the king and to the imperial commissioners a list of their grievances. They complained of the peace of Nuremberg having been broken by the imperial chamber of justice, and of the promised reforms not having been. carried out. They declared that they had protested against the oppression of that court, and that they rejected its arbitrary decisions, for instance, in the case of the affairs of Brunswick, etc. They also required religious liberty, which was incompatible with that tribunal. All the questions started by both parties gave rise to numerous debates. Duke Ulric of Wurtemberg sought to uphold the views of the imperial commissioners against the evangelical party by means of political considerations. He attached himself especially to the affair of Brunswick, and sought to organize a league of Saxony, Bavaria, and Hesse. Leonard Eck drew up the articles of the bond, into which other states were to be afterwards admitted. These articles did not suit either the landgrave of Hesse or the elector of Saxony, and they both demanded first of all that Bavaria should be pledged to render no assistance to duke Henry, and this put an end to the plan. The mistrust of the evangelical party was greatly increased by letters of duke Henry having been discovered, in which he spoke of the emperor intending soon to restore him in his government, while Granvelle had declared that the emperor would not take Henry's part. To this was added that Ferdinand and the imperial commissioners commenced agitating the question of the forthcoming council which was to be held at Trent; that they insisted that duke Henry, who was claiming his estates back should not be denied his rights, etc. The evangelical party answered that they did not accept this council, nor would they attend it, and declined, since they were given no sure guarantees of peace, to take any further share in the proceedings of the diet. The resolutions of the. diet were therefore drawn up, April 28, without the participation of the evangelical states. They repeated the demand for a reform, postponed the settlement of the Brunswick affair until the return of the emperor, and renewed the assurance given by the Diet of Spires, in 1542. of a peace of five years. The evangelical states declined recognizing these decisions, as they had been drawn up without their participation, and also because they did not receive sufficient guarantees of the promised peace being kept. They at the same time declared themselves unwilling to take any part in the Turkish war, and announced their intention of sending a deputation to the emperor, to present him their propositions. The resolutions were never acted upon, but gave rise to numerous conferences between the two parties, in which all the questions at issue were repeatedly discussed. See Seckendorf, Hist. Luther. p. 416; Sleidan, De statu Relig. lib. 15:483-486;. Neudeclkr, Urkuniden, p. 661 sq.; id. Merkw. Aktenstucke, p. 323 sq.

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