The German Imperial Territory so known, and divided for State purposes into three civil districts. Lower and Upper Alsace and Lorraine include the two bishoprics of Strasburg and Metz, which are immediately subject to the Holy See.
Christianity penetrated this region at an early period, partly owing to the presence of the Roman Legions, whose duty it was to guard the boundaries of the Empire against the attacks of the German hordes, partly through Roman merchants who traded with the Germans on the right bank of the Rhine. The first Bishop of Strasburg of whose name we are historically certain is St. Amandus (commemorated 26 October), who was present at the Councils of Sardica (343) and of Cologne (346). The Lombard, Paul the Deacon, a contemporary of Charlemagne, names St. Clement I, one of St. Peter's immediate successors at Rome, as first Bishop of Metz. Prior to the French Revolution the northern part of Alsace belonged to the diocese of Speier, certain villages in the west to that of Metz, most of Upper Alsace to Basel, and the neighbourhood of Belfort to the Archdiocese of Besancon. The Diocese of Strasburg embraced the rest of Alsace, but extended to the right bank of the Rhine, including outside of Alsace the deaneries of Lahr or Ettenheim, Offenburg and Ottersweier. The Diocese of Metz included districts now belonging to German and French Lorraine, to the Grand Duchies of Luxembourg and Hesse, to the Bavarian Palatinate, and to Lower Alsace. After the Revolution the provisions of the Concordat assigned the whole district between the Queich and Lake Biehler, with the Departments of Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin and the greater part of Mont Terrible (Pruntrut) to the Diocese of Strasburg, and those of Moselle, Forets, and Ardennes to the Diocese of Metz. During the nineteenth century great changes were brought about in the boundaries of both dioceses by agreement arrived at between the civil and ecclesiastical authorities. The civil districts of Upper and Lower Alsace have belonged to the Diocese of Strasburg since 1874, and that of Lorraine to Metz.
The census of 1 December, 1900, distributes the population as follows:
These figures, however, do not include the 34,367 soldiers in the Diocese of Strasburg; and the 44,491 in the Diocese of Metz, who are under the jurisdiction of the Army Bishop in Berlin.
There is a Cathedral chapter in each of these two dioceses, which consists in Strasburg of nine, and in Metz of eight actual irremovable canons (canonici titulares), whose appointment must be confirmed by the State. Several bishops of other dioceses, moreover, nominated by the Bishops of Metz and Strasburg alone, belong to the chapters as canonici honoris causâ, as well as certain canonici honorarii living in the dioceses, thirty-eight in Strasburg at the present time, and twenty-one in Metz. Four priests, also, not belonging to the diocese, but who have been of service to it, have been made honorary canons by the Bishop of Strasburg.
In the administration of the respective dioceses the bishops are assisted by three vicars-general in that of Strasburg, and by two in that of Metz (who can only be appointed with the consent of the civil authorities), and by seven secretaries in the former diocese and three in the latter.
The parishes of Alsace-Lorraine, since the Concordat of 1901, have been divided into two classes: regular parishes, whose incumbents must receive the approval of the Government, and are irremovable, and subordinate parishes, whose incumbents are appointed by the bishop only, and may be removed by him. The regular parishes, again, fall into two classes, according to their respective importance and revenues. In the Diocese of Strasburg there are thirty-eight parishes of the first, and thirty-four of the second class. In Metz there are sixteen of the first and thirty-nine of the second class. There are 617 subordinate parishes in the Diocese of Strasburg, and 518 in the Diocese of Metz. In many parishes the priests are assisted by curates, who, almost without exception, live in the presbytery, the cost being paid to the parish priest by the parish. The curates themselves are paid either by the State as are 221 in the Diocese of Strasburg and 118 in the Diocese of Metz, or by towns and church-corporations (Kirchenfabriken), 73 in the former diocese, and 31 in the latter. Six holders of curacies in Strasburg, and three in Metz have houses of their own, and enjoy all the rights of parish priests, with the title of resident vicars. On 1 January, 1906, there were in the Diocese of Strasburg, besides the Bishop of Strasburg, the titular Bishop of Paphos (former Coadjutor of Strasburg), the present Coadjutor (titular Bishop of Erythraea), 1,245 priests, all but eleven of whom were born in the diocese; in the Diocese of Metz, besides the bishop, 869 priests, 793 of whom were born in the diocese, and 76 elsewhere.
Prior to the French Revolution there were about 100 monasteries in Alsace, in addition to the canons regular of Strasburg Cathedral, three houses of canonesses and nine collegiate churches. The following orders laboured in the country: Augustinians, Benedictines (monks and nuns), Celestines, Cistercians (monks and nuns), Poor Clares, the Teutonic Order, Dominicans (friar and nuns), Franciscans (friars and nuns), Jesuits (until the suppression of the Society), Johannites, Capuchins, Carthusians, Premonstratensians, the Congregation of Our Lady, Sisters of St. Joseph, Sisters of the Visitation. In the Diocese of Metz there were, besides the cathedral chapter, eleven collegiate churches, three Augustinian canonries, nine Benedictine, four Cistercian, and three Premonstratensian abbeys. There are now in the Diocese of Strasburg seven orders of men and twenty-one of women; Trappists at Ölenberg, near Reiningen, since 1825; Capuchins at Koenigshofen and Sidgolsheim (1888); Redemptorists at Bischenberg and Riedisheim (1896); Fathers of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at Zabern (1900); Marist Brothers at St. Pilt (as home for the emeriti); Brothers of Christian Doctrine at Matzenheim, Zelsheim, and Ehl (1821); Brothers of Mercy at Strasburg (1900); Trappist nuns at Ergersheim; Congregation of Our Lady (of St. Peter Fourier) at Strasburg and Molsheim; Carmelite nuns at Marienthal; Congregation of Maria Reparatrix at Strasburg; Benedictine nuns of the Perpetual Adoration at Ottmarsheim; Benedictine nuns of the Blessed Sacrament at Rosheim; Dominican nuns at Colmar, Sisters of the Good Shepherd at Strasburg and Mülhausen; Sisters of the Mostt Sacred Heart of Jesus at Kienzheim; Sisters of Divine Providence at Rappoltsweiler; Sisters of Christian Doctrine at Strasburg; Sisters of Providence at St. John of Bassel; Sisters of Perpetual Adoration at Baronsweiler; Sisters of Mercy at Strasburg (mother-house), and in many hospitals; Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer at Oberbronn (mother-house), and in many hospitals and individual foundations; Sisters of the Holy Cross at Strasburg (four houses), Colmar, Sennheim, and Still; Sisters of St. Joseph at St. Marx near Geberschweier, and at Ebersmuenster; Little Sisters at Strasburg and Colmar; Institute of St. Anthony at Strasburg; Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at Dauendorf; Franciscan nuns at Rheinackern and Thal.
In the Diocese of Metz there are now five orders of men and twenty-one of women; Franciscans at Metz and Lubeln (1888); Redemptorists at Teterchen; Oblates of the Immaculate Conception of Mary at St. Ulrich; Fathers of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost, and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at Neuscheuern (1904); the Brothers of Christian Doctrine (of St. John Baptist de La Salle) at Metz; Sisters of Mercy (from Strasburg) in many hospitals; Benedictine nuns at Oriocourt; Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo at Metz; Sisters of St. Christiana at Metz; Sisters of Christian Doctrine at Chateau-Salins; Dominican nuns at Rettel; Franciscan nuns at Metz; Sisters of the Good Shepherd at Metz; Servants of the Sacred Heart at Scy; Sisters of the Sacred Heart at Pépinville; Sisters of the Visitation at Metz; Little Sisters at Borny; Sisters of the Holy Redeemer (from Niederbronn) in hospitals; Sisters of Hope at Metz; Sisters of Christian Mercy at Metz; Sisters of the Divine Motherhood at Metz; Sisters of the Poor Child Jesus at Plappeville; Carmelite nuns at Metz; Sisters of the Heart of Mary at Vic; Sisters of the Divine Providence at St. John of Bassel; Vincentian Sisters (of Metz) at Metz. These orders of women devote themselves chiefly to the education of girls, the care of the sick and to a contemplative life of penance.
The Episcopal Seminary, together with the Episcopal University of Strasburg, consisting of faculties of theology and canon law, with power to confer academic degrees, were closed at the French Revolution. When, however, Napoleon, by Article XI of the Concordat, granted each bishop permission to establish a seminary in his diocese, Bishop Laurine, who was made Bishop of Strasburg in 1802, immediately proceeded to open a seminary in his cathedral city in the following year (1803), in which young clerics were educated during the course of the nineteenth century. On the 5th of December, 1902, Cardinal Rampolla, Secretary of State, and the Prussian envoy to the Holy See, Freiherr von Rotenhahn, came to an agreement concerning the erection of a Catholic theological faculty at the Kaiser-Wilhelm University of Strasburg, which was accordingly opened in October, 1903, and in which the following subjects are taught: Preparatory instruction in philosophy and theology, dogmatics, moral theology, apologetics, church history, Old and New Testament exegesis, canon law, pastoral theology, ecclesiastical archeology. The professors are chosen by the bishop and confirmed in their appointment by the Emperor; they are obliged to make a profession of faith according to the forms and rules of the Church, in the presence of the Dean, before entering on their duties. The rules which govern the Catholic theological faculties at Bonn and at Breslau apply to the Strasburg faculty and its members, in their relations with the Church. If the ecclesiastical authorities submit evidence that a professor is unfit to continue his functions as teacher either because of lack of orthodoxy or because of conduct unbecoming a clergyman, the State immediately provides a successor, and takes measures to terminate the offender's connection with the faculty. Alongside of this theological faculty the Episcopal Seminary continues to exist and gives the young students a parochial training and education in all branches pertaining to the exercise of the priestly office. The seminary, at the present time, is managed by a superior, a director, and three professors. The cost of maintenance for the faculty falls exclusively on the State; the seven ordinary and one extraordinary, professors who lecture before it, received in 1906, $11,875 (47,500 marks) among them, and $725 (2,900 marks) as extras. The clergy of the Diocese of Metz are trained in the seminary at Metz by professors of the Bishop's nomination.
Bishop Raess having refused to acknowledge the State supervision of the Preparatory Seminaries at Strasburg (Lower Alsace) and Zillisheim (Upper Alsace), which, up to then, had been wholly subject to the diocesan authorities, the two institutions were respectively closed, by Ober-President Möller, on the 24th of June and the 17th of July, 1874. They have since been reopened (the one at Zillisheim on the 20th of April, 1880; the one at Strasburg on the 5th of April, 1883), and are now known as "episcopal gymnasia." Both institutions follow the curriculum of the higher government schools under the supervision of the highest educational council of Alsace-Lorraine. The teachers are appointed by the bishop, subject to the approval of the council of education, and must have passed an examination pro facultate docendi before the State commission. Both have the right to grant the certificates required to be admitted to the one-year military service as volunteers, to such of their students as have successfully completed their "lower second" class, that is to say, a six-years' high school course. In both seminaries the final examinations of the students of the graduating class are conducted by the class-instructors under the supervision of the State school commission. They enjoy, there- fore the same rights as the State gymnasia. The seminaries are maintained by the bishop from fees amounting to $20 (80 marks) yearly from scholars in the preparatory classes (without Latin); and $30 (120 marks) for those of the gymnasium classes, as also from alms received during Lent. The Bishop of Strasburg, in virtue of extraordinary powers, grants an individual dispensation from abstinence during Lent and on all the fast days during the year, except Good Friday, "on the express condition that all who avail themselves of it shall make a special offering on behalf of diocesan institutions." These alms amounted to $12,863 (51,453 marks) for the year 1902-3; and $13,455 (53,818 marks) for the year 1903-4. During the school year 1904-5 thirty-nine teachers lectured at the Episcopal Gymnasium in Strasburg, and twenty-one at Zillisheim, to 565 and 271 scholars respectively. The Episcopal Gymnasium in the Diocese of Metz, at Montigny, enjoys all the rights of a State gymnasium, which are not possessed by the higher episcopal school at Bitsch or by the cathedral school of St. Arnulf at Metz.
COLLECTIONS AMONG THE FAITHFUL
Six church collections have been made obligatory by the Bishop of Strasburg: on the Sunday after the Epiphany, for the African missions; on Good Friday, for the Christians of the East; at Easter and Pentecost, for the Peter's Pence; on the feast of the consecration of a church, for the abolition of alternate, or common, use of church edifices by Catholics and non-Catholics; on the Sunday after the feast of St. Odilia, for the blind asylum at Still. In addition to these, collections are made for the work of the Childhood of Jesus (the ransom of heathen children); for the spread of the Faith; for home missions (Society of St. Francis de Sales); and for the assistance of Catholic students. Moreover, since State pensions for retired priests are not sufficient, the priests of the Diocese of Strasburg have established a supplementary fund which amounted in 1902 to $4,096 (16,384 marks; in 1903, to $6079 (24,315 marks) to $4,667 (18,667 marks) in 1904, and to $5,271 (21,085 marks) in 1905.
An ordinance, dated 18 April, 1871, and issued by Count von Bismarck-Bohlen, Governor-General of Alsace, obliges every child, on reaching the age of six, to attend either a public or a private school, unless equivalent provision shall be made in the family itself. School attendance continues to be obligatory until the final examination, which, for boys, takes place at the age of fourteen, for girls at thirteen. The law of 12 February placed all lower and higher education under the supervision and control of the State authorities. "In all schools," so runs the ordinance of the Imperial Statthalter (Governor), dated 16 November, 1887 "religion, morality, respect for the State and the laws shall be inculcated by means of teaching and education." The normal curriculum of elementary schools comprises religion, German, arithmetic, geometry, drawing, history, geography, natural history, natural science, singing, carpentry, and feminine handicrafts. The following are charged with the local supervision of each elementary school: the burgomaster, the Catholic priest, the Protestant pastor, the delegate of the Jewish religion and, in parishes of more than 2,000 souls, one or more residents appointed thereto by the President of the district. The clergy are especially charged with the supervision of the religious instruction given by the teachers in the schools; they have, besides, the right of entering the schools at all times. The greater number of public elementary schools are denominational. Most of the masters are laymen; most of the mistresses, sisters of some teaching order. These communities, whose members teach in public, State, and municipal schools, also maintain private elementary, intermediate, and higher girls' schools.
Alsace-Lorraine is rich in important art monuments, the two principal being the world-famous minster of Strasburg and the cathedral of Metz. The first was begun in 1015, and finished in July, 1439, and whereas the cathedral at Cologne presents an example of one style Gothic work, the minster at Strasburg bears traces of many styles. The crypt is early Romanesque, the choir and part of the transept late Romanesque, the nave and southern portion show the highest triumph of Gothic architecture. It is 110 metres (361 feet) long, and 47 metres (154 feet) wide; the tower is 142 metres (466 feet) high. The Gothic cathedral of Metz was begun under Bishop Conrad von Scharfenberg (1212-20), but was not consecrated until 1546. In the eighteenth century an Italian porch was built at the west end, but was replaced at the beginning of the twentieth century by one corresponding to the style of the building itself. The cathedral is 122 metres (400 feet) long, 30 metres (98.4 feet) wide in the nave, and 47 metres (154 feet) at the transepts. The two towers are unfinished. The oldest church in Strasburg is the Romanesque church of St. Stephen, said to have been built in the twelfth century; the oldest in Alsace, St Peter's collegiate church at Avolsheim, which dates to the eleventh.
INSTITUTIONS OF CHARITY
In October, 1899, a charity organization was founded at Strasburg, in connection with the Charity Society for Catholic Germany (headquarters at Freiburg im Breisgau). It has central offices at Paris and Nancy, and is connected with the Oeuvre Internationale de la protection de la jeune fille of Switzerland. This organization is the centre of all the Catholic benevolent societies and institutions of Alsace-Lorraine. Its object is to make inquiries into actual and prospective causes of destitution, and to take special steps for their amelioration, to impart information relating to the poor, and to charitable institutions and undertakings, and to disseminate the true principles of Christian charity by means of lectures and pamphlets. The sphere of these charitable societies includes: (1) Crêches for infants, with protection and care of school children of both sexes during play hours. Of these there are two at Colmar, two at Muelhausen, one at Rappoltsweiler, five at Strasburg, and one at Thann. (2) Orphanages and training schools for orphan, deserted, or unprotected children; 22 establishments with 3,000 children. (3) Institutions for the reform of fallen women or of those exposed to moral dangers; one at Muelhausen and two at Strasburg. (4) The sheltering of unprotected or orphan children, one society at Colmar, three at Strasburg. (5) The providing of holiday colonies for delicate children, and the fitting out of poor children on special occasions, such as First Communion; 17 societies. (6) Homes for the care of the sick and infirm; 45 with 4,421 inmates. (7) Asylums for idiots, epileptics, and insane; 7 with 2,330 inmates. (8) Asylums for the blind and for deaf mutes; three with more than 200 inmates. (9) Lying-in hospitals for poor women at Colmar, Masmuenster, Muelhausen, Rappoltsweiler, Strasburg, and Thann. (10) Out-of-door care of the sick and Poor: (a) By 32 Societies of St. Vincent de Paul with 661 members, who support 1,300 families. A branch of the St. Vincent de Paul Society is the Society of St. Francis Regis, which provides needy persons with the documents required for civil and religious marriage, and effects the legitimation of children. It exists in all the parishes of Colmar and Muelhausen and in Strasburg, where, between 1894 and 1897, it brought about 152 marriages between Catholics, 48 between Catholics and Protestants, and 12 between Protestants. (b) By 16 ladies' societies. (c) By Sisters of the Divine Redeemer in 23 districts; Sisters of St. Joseph in 13, Sisters of the Cross in 10, Sisters of Mercy in 4, and Franciscan nuns in 1. (d) By means of soup establishments and peoples' kitchens in 11 places. (11) Care of destitute prisoners at Colmar and Strasburg. (12) Employment agencies in various places. (13) A peoples' bureau at Strasburg, founded in connection with the Peoples' Society for Catholic Germany, which distributed without pay in one year (1904) information in 2805 pamphlets; 113 on old age and disablement insurance, 288 on accident insurance, 62 on sick insurance, 308 on collections, 437 on other civil matters, 280 on penal matters, 63 on matters of trusteeship, 51 on taxation, 24 on military matters, 42 on matters relating to domestic service, 308 on the relations of landlord and tenant, 241 on matters relating to inheritance, 220 on the duties of directors, 61 on prices, 307 on various matters. (14) Protection of girls. This society is connected with the International Catholic Society for the Protection of Girls; its object is to assist with advice and help unprotected, grown-up girls, house servants, factory girls, shop girls, teachers, and others, those, especially, who are away from home, and to shield them from dangers to faith and morals. Thirty-six visits were made to such girls during 1905, 561 letters received, and 765 written; 1,101 domestic servants were lodged in St. Arbogast's Home, 86 free, for 919 days, and 57 at a reduced price for 1,012 days. (15) Young ladies' societies, twenty-four in number. The members have use of libraries, are advised as to savings banks and insurance companies; they receive instruction in sewing, mending, ironing, French, singing, and are directed to situations. (16) Women's and mothers' societies, nine in number. These provide assistance for the poorer members in case of sickness, and defray the burial fees in cases of death. (17) Societies with social objects in eleven places. The members receive free medical attendance and medicine, sick pay, and death pay, and Masses are said for them after death. (18) There are Homes for workmen and workwomen, and students at Colmar, Erstein, Gebweiler, Muelhausen, Müllerhof near Urmatt, Regisheim, and three at Strasburg. (19) Higher instruction for boys and girls in 23 schools. (20) Women's Union; an organization for women for religious, social, scientific, and charitable purposes. There were as many as 600 members in 1906 in the Women's Union, the second year after its foundation. (21) The aim of the youths' and men's societies, some of which were founded 200 years ago, but most of which were established within the last twenty years, is not merely to protect and strengthen the faith of their members, but to assist them in their material interests. The first is attained by means of common worship and general communion; the second, in the case of young men, by means of social intercourse, lectures, the use of libraries, athletics, music, and shooting contests, instruction in German, French, arithmetic, drawing, bookkeeping, and short hand; dramatic performances, savings and insurance funds, assistance to the sick and those doing military service, and finding situations; for older men by social intercourse, lectures, savings, loans, insurance for sickness and death funds, employment agencies, legal protection, and co-operative societies. According to the latest returns published, there were 40 such youths' societies, in 1904, with 15,300, and 32 older men's societies with 18,346 members. These do not include the three Catholic "Casinos" in Strasburg, or those in Hazenau, Colmar, and Schlettstadt, or the Catholic students' societies at the University of Strasburg. These last are Franconia, Merovingia, Staufia (Catholic Students' Union of the S.K.V.); Badenia, Rappolstein (Catholic Students' Association of S.C.V.); Erwinia (Catholic Students' Association of the S.C.V.); Unitas, Catholic Science Students' Union, the Academic Society of St. Boniface, the Academic Marian Congregation and the Academic Conference of St. Vincent de Paul.
The following societies, which are gradually becoming firmly established in Alsace-Lorraine, should also be mentioned: the Society of the Supporters of the Centrum (Zentrumsverein), the Peoples' Union for Catholic Germany, the Branch Unions for Catholic schoolmasters and mistresses. On 11 March, 1906, representatives of all the "Centre Societies" in Alsace-Lorraine met at Strasburg and agreed unanimously on the foundation of a local Centre Party. Statutes of incorporation were drawn up and the working programme for the immediate future decided on. (The Union in Strasburg has 1,650 members, the one in Muelhausen 2,000.) The Peoples' Union, known as a legacy of Windthorst, whose object is to guard the common people against the dangerous and disturbing influence of Social Democracy, had 42,000 members, in Alsace-Lorraine, in 1906, 22,000 of whom were Alsatians, 15,000 German-speaking, and 5,000 French-speaking Lorrainers. Some 600 schoolmasters are members of the Catholic Masters' Society, and some 490 women-teachers of the Catholic Schoolmistresses' Society.
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume I
Copyright © 1907 by Robert Appleton Company
Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight
Nihil Obstat, March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor
Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York