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Appointed to report the nature and substance of the Laws and Ordinances existing in Foreign States, respecting the Regulation of their Roman Catholic Subjects, in Ecclesiastical matters, and their intercourse with the See of Rome, or any other Foreign Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction.
WITH AN APPENDIX.
Ordered, by The House of Commons, to be Printed,
The SELECT COMMITTEE, to whom the Official Papers relating
AVING examined the various Documents referred to them, and such other Evidence as they were competent to procure, now proceed to state the progress, and result, of their Inquiry.
IN doing this, it appears to Your Committee advisable, in the first place, to state the nature and authority of the various Documents referred to them.
From the evidence of Lord Viscount Castlereagh, one of His Majesty's P. 52. principal Secretaries of State, and a member of this Committee, it appears that in the year 1812, his Lordship gave instructions to several of His Majesty's ministers accredited to Foreign Courts, to obtain the requisite information, on the subject which is now referred to the examination of this Committee.
It also appears that the conclusion of the general peace, further instructions from the Foreign Office were forwarded to the said Ministers; in consequence of which a great mass of information has been obtained ; which, having been transmitted to Your Committee, constitutes a great part of the matter of their Report.
The official dispatches, which accompanied the several documents, will best explain the particular authority by which they are supported; and with that view Your Committee have considered it advisable, that copies, or extracts from them, should have a place in the Appendix to their Report.
And as some of the communications which have been laid before the Committee, though proceeding from His Majesty's ministers at Foreign Courts, have not the ostensible character of being properly official, being addressed to Sir John Hippisley, a member of this Committee, it is necessary to state, that the authority under which those communications were made is that of a Letter, Circular, to His Majesty's ministers at
Appendix I, (B.)-p. 71.
Appendix I, (A.)-p. 71.
Foreign Courts, dated “ Foreign Office, 12th August 1812," from His Majesty's secretary of state for Foreign Affairs, requesting such ministers • to pay every possible attention to the points of this subject, upon which "Sir John Hippisley should ask for information, and to transmit to him, through this office, the result of their inquiries."
Such references as are made in those dispatches to the works of Juridical writers, in confirmation of the particular regulations of the several States, Your Committee have also considered it their duty to examine, and to report to The House the result of their examination; without making any further observation on the works in question, or the passages quoted from them, than appeared necessary to answer the purpose for which they were referred to in the dispatches, in connexion with the points to which the Committee were required to direct their attention.
And in fulfilling this duty, Your Committee have also refrained from adverting to any question of theological controversy, however it might appear to be mixed with points of disciplinary regulation; their object having been strictly to investigate and report facts, as they appeared to be substantiated by documents, or other admissible testimony, in order to present to The House, as distinctly as their materials would allow, a view of that system of polity, which, under different shades of variation, appears to obtain in the various States of Europe, with respect to Ecclesiastical regulation, as it refers to their subjects of the Roman Catholic communion and their intercourse with the See of Rome.
The several documents, or such extracts from them as appeared adequate to the attainment of this object, the Committee have also annexed to their Report.
The same course has been pursued with respect to passages from Juridical or other writers, whose works are referred to in the several dispatches of His Majesty's ministers accredited to Foreign Courts.-Examinations of individuals, to whom it appeared expedient to Your Committee to have recourse, for the purpose of verifying the several documents or other communications, are also stated in the Appendix.
And although the instruction to Your Committee was confined to the regulations obtaining in Foreign States, yet, as the first class of official papers, which have been laid before Parliament, and subsequently referred to Your Committee, comprehends many regulations prevailing in the British Colonies, which, before their conquest, or cession, were under the dominion of one or other of the Continental States, and which still retain, at least, a mixture of their original laws; Your Committee have thought it expedient to comprehend them in their Inquiry and Report.
In accordance with the division generally adopted in the dispatches of His Majesty's ministers, and with a view also to call the attention of The House, with greater facility, to the leading points of contention between the Ecclesiastical and Secular powers, in the external government of the Church; the Committee have chiefly directed their attention to two objects:
FIRST, The appointment or election of the Roman Catholic clergy, and, principally, those of the Episcopal order.
And SECONDLY, The restraints imposed upon the intromission of Papal Rescripts, by submitting them to the inspection of the civil government previous to their publication ;—a right exercised in various countries, under the name of the "REGIUM EXEQUATUR," the "PLACITUM REGIUM," or some similar appellation. With this they have joined the Appellate Jurisdiction, or "Recursus ad Principem," exercised by the supreme
secular magistrate, in cases where the Ecclesiastical judges have exceeded limits of their authority.
Under a THIRD head, they have included such other matters of Ecclesiastical regulation as do not immediately fall within either of the preceeding divisions.
Under each of these heads they have thought it desirable to distinguish between regulations obtaining in those States which are in communion with the See of Rome ;-those of the "non-united Greek," or Russian church;—and those of the Augsburgh and Helvetian confessions, constituting the Lutheran and Calvinistic Churches.
The Empire of Austria.
AT the head of the first class Your Committee have thought it most proper to place the empire of Austria, including not only Austria Proper, but the hereditary dominions of Bohemia and Hungary.
But before they proceed to report the result of their investigation of the regulations prevailing in these states, on the points in question, Your Committee must observe, that their information is principally derived from a manual of the Ecclesiastical law of Austria ("Enchiridion Juris Ecclesiastici Austriaci,") compiled by the jurist Rechberger, chancellor of the bishop of Lintz; which work was transmitted to the Foreign Office by His Majesty's minister plenipotentiary at Vienna, as embracing every point on which information was desired. This work was originally written in German, but afterwards translated by the author into Latin, that it might be taught in the schools and universities, and adopted as an ecclesiastical class book. And although it principally relates to the laws of Austria, the most remarkable points in which those of Hungary differ from the codes of the other parts of the empire, are pointed out.
The Austrian bishops are nominated or appointed by the Emperor, which appointment is in lieu of the election, or postulation of the chapters of their respective cathedrals, and has the same effect; the Papal confirmation being afterwards obtained through the Austrian minister at Rome, To this mode of election the archbishop of Olmutz forms the sole exception; the right of chusing him vesting entirely in the chapter of
As king of Hungary, the Emperor has the sole right of appointing not only the archbishops and bishops, both of the Latin and Greek church, but also titular bishops and prelates for those chapters and monasteries in the Turkish dominions, which once formed a part of that kingdom.
In Hungary, all bishops appointed by the sovereign, immediately perform every part of their functions which relate to jurisdiction, before they have been confirmed by the Pope.
In other parts of the dominions of the Imperial house, the bishops have not the power of performing these functions, or at least do not exercise it, until it is conferred on them at their consecration ;-but that they nevertheless have this right, is inferred from the express declaration of the Austrian laws, that bishops hold their power, as well in respect to orders as to jurisdiction, directly from God." By an Imperial decree of September 4th, 1781, the Austrian bishops were accordingly called upon to