Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 16.djvu/38

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CENTRE
CENTRE
22

against. Catholicism and against every positive view of life is gradvially growing in strength. While the Kulturkampf legislation in Prussia, at least in so far as its most oppressive features are concerned, has been long repealed, the Jesuit Law still remains in force, forbidding the members of this order (even though they are subjects of the empire) to settle in Germany. So far the Centre has been able to secure a mitigation of this law (the removal of §2), but not its complete repeal. Vain have been its previous efforts to carry the so-called "Tolerance Law", which aims at securing full religious liberty for Catholics in all the states of the German Empire. The Centre has to wage a constant warfare against the slighting of Catholics in public life. Even to-day complete equality with their Protestant fellow-citizens is with- held from Catholics. This is especially seen in the exclusion of Catholics from the higher offices in the state, for only very rarely is a practical Catholic en- trusted with such an office, although more than one- third of the population of Germany belongs to the Catholic Church. Since the end of the Kulturkampf an additional and most important task of the Centre Party in the Prussian Chamber of Deputies has been the defence of Christian and Catholic principles in public education, while it has also had to fight con- stantly against the difficulties placed in the way of the foundation of religious institutions, etc. The chairmen of the Centre were: (a) in the Reichs- tag: Karl Friedrich von Savigny (1871-75); Freiherr von und zu Franckenstein (1875-90); Franz Graf von Balle.strem (1890-93); Alfred Graf von Hompesch (1893-1909); Freiherr von Hertling (1909-11); Presi- dent of the High Court of Appeal, Dr. Spahn (1911-); (b) in the Prussian Chamber of Deputies: Karl Fried- rich von Savigny (1870-75) ; Freiherr von Schorlemer- Alst (1875-89) ; Freiherr von Heeremann (1889-1901) ; Sheriff (Landrat) Fritzen (1901-03); Councillor of Justice Dr. Porsch (1904 — ). The most celebrated leaders of the Centre were Dr. Ludwig Windthorst and Dr. Ernst Maria Lieber. From 1879 to 1912— with the exception of the Cartel and the Block periods (1887-90; 1907-09)— the Centre was always repre- sented in the presidency of the Reichstag. In the Reichstag elected in 1912 the Centre renounced its claim to a presidential position on account of the alliance between the Liberals and Socialists. In 1879-87 the Centre secured the appointment of Freiherr von Franckenstein as first vice-president; in 1890-93 of Count Ballestrem; in 1893-95 of Freiherr von Buol-Bercnberg. When in 1895 the Conser- vative president resigned because the majority of the Reichstag refused to vote for the official congratulat ion of Prince Bismarck on the occasion of his eightieth birthday, a member of the Centre (Freiherr von Buol- Berenberg) for the first time occupied the presidential chair. This honour remained with the Centre until the dissolution of the Reichstag in 1906, and the ex- ceptional skill with which Count; Bellestrem conducted the business of the Reichstag was universally recog- nized. In 1910-11 the leader of the Centre, Dr. Spahn, was first vice-president. In the Prussian Chamber of Deputies the Centre has appointed the first vice-president since 1882; since 1903 Dr. Porsch has filled this position. An "Imperial Committee of the German Centre Party" (15 members), to deal with all the interests of the party throughout the empire, was founded in 1911. Previous to that date there were only the still existing national com- mittees for the different states. In important affairs representatives of the other states of the confederacy are invited to the sessions of the Prussian national committee. Of the 397 members of the German Reichstag, the Centre (■luime<l (•>3 in 1S71 ; 93 in 1877; 94 in 1878; 100 in ISSl ; 9!) in ISSl; 98 in 1887; 106 in 1890; 96 in 1893; 102 in 1S9S; 100 in 1903; 109 in 1907; 92 in 1912. Of the 433 (since 1906, 443) mem- bers of the Prussian Chamber of Deputies the Centre numbered 54 in 1870, 86 in 1873, and since that date always over 90 (since 1909, 104). (a) Bavakia. — In 1869 the "Bavarian Patriotic Party" was founded in Bavaria. It was called into existence by the strong opposition to the surrender of the Bavarian claims to the sovereignty in favour of Prussia (i. e. of the North German Confederacy), and also for the purpose of opposing the anti-religious policy of Liberahsm, which found ex-pression espe- cially in the Bavarian School Bill of 1868. The first leader of the Patriotic Party was Dr. Edmund Joerg (1819-1901), who performed such valuable service during his long occupancy of the editorial chair (1853-1901) of the Catholic periodical "Historisch- poUtische Blatter." Through their affection for and sympathy with neighbouring Austria, whose peo- ple were descended from the same stock and were kindred in their ideas, and through their dishke and suspicion of Prussia, which was little friendly towards Catholics, Joerg and a section of the Patriotic Party opposed the union of Germany under the leadership of Prussia in 1870-71. They voted against the war appropriation moved by the Bavarian Government on the outbreak of the Franco-German War, sup- ported oidy the armed neutrality of Bavaria, and voted against the Treaty of Versailles. The Patriotic Party, however, later acquiesced in the reorganization of the relations of the German states, and did not refuse its consent to the extension of the competence of the German Empire. From 1871 to 1875 the party waged a vigorous warfare against the Bavarian Government in view of the anti-CathoMc legislation introduced after the Prussian model and of its extensive support of the Old Catholic movement. Even in 1875, when the party had the majority in the Chamber, the Govern- ment cont-nued the Kulturkampf (Minister of Public Worship von Lutz), although now in an underhand manner. Only since 1890 have the Old Catholics no longer been officially considered as Catholics, and in that year was passed the vote for the recall of the Re- demptorist Fathers (expelled in 1872). The attempt of Dr. Johann Sigl (editor of the extravagantly particu- laristic daily paper "Das bayrische Vaterland") to found a "Catholic Popular Party" in 1876, because in the minds of individuals the Patriotic Party had not been sufficiently energetic in ecclesiastical questions, proved unsuccessful. In 1887 the Patriotic Party adopted the name of the "Bavarian Centre Party". In 1890, owing to the gi-owth of the Bavarian Peas- ants' League, the party lost its majority in the diet. The quarrel between Church and State having ceased, the Centre inserted in its programme a sys- tematic policy in favour of agi'iculture and small in- dustries (1893), and in the elections of 1899 again secured a majority. This they still (1912) retain in spite of the attacks of the united Liberal and Social Democratic parties. During this period the Party took the lead in the constitutional development of the Bavarian legislation and administration as regards both education and economics. In 1912 a member of the Centre was for the first time appointed president of the Bavarian Ministry (Freiherr von Hertling). The most celebrated leaders of the party, after the retirement of Joerg, were: Councillor of the High Court of Appeal Geiger (1S33-1912) and Dr. von Daller, gymnasial rector and professor of theology (1835-191 1). The most prominent leaders of to-day (1912) are Dr. von Orterer (b. 1849), gymnasial rector and councillor for higher studies, Dr. Pichler (b. 1852), provost of the cathedral of Passau, and Dr. Heim (b. 1865), leader of the Peasants. The leader of tlie B;ivari;in Centre in the German Reichstag is Dr. S( luidliT (b. 1852), cathedral dean of Bamberg. Of the 159 (since 1905, 163) members of the Bavarian Chamber the Patriotic Party (i. c. the Centre)