Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Diocese of Münster

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For works with similar titles, see Münster, Westphalia.

From volume 10 of the work.

104317Catholic Encyclopedia (1913) — Diocese of MünsterJoseph Lins

Diocese of Münster (Monasteriensis).

Diocese in the Prussian Province of Westphalia, suffragan of Cologne.


The earliest name of Münster was Mimegerneford, the later form being Mimigardeford, while from 1076 it was called by the Latin name Monasterium. It is first mentioned in 795, when St. Ludger founded a monastery here, and the place became his see when he was consecrated bishop. Even at this early date it must have been a place of some importance. Among the earliest possessions of the Church at Münster were three large landed estates, apparently the gift of Charlemagne. These lands, at least in part, lay within the area of the later city. They were called the Brockhof, the Kampwordeshof, and the Bispinghof. The last-named belonged to the bishop and, probably for this reason, bore his name. The Brockhof was owned by the cathedral chapter, the Kampwordeshof belonged later to the collegiate church of St. Moritz, to which it was apparently assigned when the church was founded. The fourth great estate, and one that is mentioned from the earliest days, the Judefelderhof, appears to have belonged originally to the Church, by which it was given in fief to a family called Jüdefeld. In 1386 the cathedral chapter obtained it by purchase. Near these four estates were quite a number of farms owned independently by free peasants; many of these in the course of time came into the possession of the Church. The monastery of St. Ludger was placed in the centre of these properties on the ground now surrounding the cathedral. From the beginning the monastery was independent of the jurisdiction of the count. How large a district enjoyed this immunity cannot now be ascertained. Neither, for lack of original authorities, can the extent of the guild in which the free peasants were united be positively settled, nor the earliest state of the community and the legal jurisdiction exercised in it. In regard to the public administration of justice, Münster was from the earliest times under the authority of the Counts of Dreingau until, on account of the privileges granted by Otto I, the rights of the count were transferred to the bishop, who exercised them, especially the higher jurisdiction, through governors. The relation of the bishop to the commune in the early period is not entirely clear, though it is evident that he exercised a certain influence over the affairs of the community.

At first the population was very small: there appears to have been a large increase in the eleventh century, when, in addition to the cathedral, the churches of Ueberwasser (1040), St. Moritz (about 1070), and St. Lambert (after 1085) were built. Münster at this time offered great advantages to merchants and mechanics, besides being the see of a bishop, with a chapter and cathedral school. Thus, close to the episcopal castle, that had been built near the minster, there arose an outlying city in which commerce and trade were fairly prosperous, as early as the twelfth century. In 1115 the castle was provided with walls, gateways, and a moat. In the twelfth century three more parish churches were built, those of St. Ludger, mentioned in 1173, St. Ægidius (1181), and St. Martin (before 1199). By the end of the twelfth century the place was virtually a city, although it cannot be ascertained when the distinctive municipal privileges were secured by it. From not later than 1168 the city formed a separate judicial district, and with this the development into a municipality was essentially complete. Yet Münster was not a free imperial city; it was always dependent on the bishop. In 1173 the right of administering the city passed to the bishop and the cathedral chapter. From the thirteenth century these two powers entrusted the exercise of legal jurisdiction to officials (ministerialen) of the bishop. From the thirteenth century, in addition to the judge appointed by the bishop, there were city judges, who are first mentioned in 1255. They were appointed by the burgomasters from the members of the city council. When court was held they sat by the judge, who was the bishop's appointee in order to guard the interests of the city, but outside of this had not much influence. The city council acted as a board of assessors in the city court. The extensive commerce of the city rapidly increased its importance. As early as 1253 it formed a defensive alliance with the neighboring cities of Osnabrück, Dortmund, Soest, and Lippstadt, and one with the cathedral chapter in 1257. At a later date it joined the confederation of the cities of the Rhine, and about 1368 entered the Hanseatic League. In this period the commercial relations of Münster extended as far as England and Flanders, and eastwards to Livonia and Novgorod.

During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries important changes appeared in the government of the city. In medieval times the population consisted of citizens and non-citizens. The citizen body was divided into the ruling patricians, who from the sixteenth century were also called "hereditary proprietors", and the commonalty. A body of city patricians can be proved to have existed at Münster from the thirteenth century. At least the burgomasters and the members of the city council were chosen from a limited number of families. From the fourteenth century the patricians had control of the court of the city; they maintained themselves in the sole ownership of the city government up into the fifteenth century. The representatives of the city were the burgomasters, first mentioned in 1253, and the assessors, mentioned in 1221. Besides its judicial authority, the body of assessors performed the duties of a city council. It was presided over by the burgomasters, who, from 1268, were not appointed by the bishop, but by those citizens (guden luden) who had the right of voting. Taking advantage of the bishop's pecuniary needs, the municipality gradually obtained large rights and privileges. Thus, besides its own autonomy, it acquired the military authority, the administration of a number of church prebends, and supreme jurisdiction in certain courts in the neighbouring towns and villages. In the fourteenth century it had a court formed from its own council. After 1309 it was represented in the diet of the diocese along with the cathedral chapter and the lower nobility.

Nevertheless, the bishop always appointed the judges and reserved to himself the confirmation of sentence in important cases. He levied the town-taxes which, however, he generally mortgaged; he owned the mint, and claimed certain rights at the death of every citizen. The guilds formed by the leading trades in the fourteenth century (in the sixteenth century seventeen guilds are mentioned) originally exercised no control over the city government; in the second half of that century they formed a confederation. Thus confederated, the guilds were able to influence both the internal and external affairs of the city, working apparently in amicable agreement with the Council. In 1447 the confederated guilds were regarded as a ruling corporation co-ordinate and acting in union with the Council. Their veto could stop any proceedings of the Council, which was still chosen from the patrician body. On the other hand, the Council retained a certain right of supervision over the internal affairs of the guilds. A good understanding between Council and guilds was, therefore, the primary condition for a prosperous development of the city. As a matter of fact the two bodies worked harmoniously together until the outbreak of the diocesan feud which split the city into two armed camps (see below, under II). In 1454, after the close of this feud, it was decided to choose the burgomasters and members of the Council thenceforward from both the patricians and mass of the citizens. This arrangement was maintained until the Anabaptist outbreak. Internal peace promoted prosperity and schools and learning flourished greatly. Münster was regarded as the leading commercial city between the Rhine and the Weser, and the school conducted by the Canon Rudolf of Langen had a great reputation.

In 1533-35, however, Münster was the scene of the wild excesses of the Anabaptists. During the episcopate of Bishop Frederick III, brother of Hermann of Wied, Archbishop of Cologne, the doctrines of Luther spread widely in the Diocese of Münster. In his agreement with the city (14 February, 1533) Bishop Franz of Waldeck ceded to it full religious liberty and granted the six parish churches to the adherents of the new doctrine, in return for which the city promised him obedience and support against the cathedral chapter. From 1533 the city undertook the preparation of new church ordinances. The drawing up of a form of worship was assigned to Bernt Rothmann, a preacher of Anabaptist proclivities. Supported by some preachers from Wassenberg in Jülich and by the Melchiorites (followers of Melchior Hoffmann), he began to spread his views. The strength of the Anabaptist party was steadily increased by accessions from Holland, until, in February, 1534, their leaders, John of Leyden, a tailor, and Jan Matthiesen, a baker, came to Münster from Haarlem, when the sect gained complete control of the city, and the peaceable minority either left the city voluntarily or were expelled. The Anabaptists now indulged in the wildest orgies in "the New Jerusalem", as they called Münster, introducing polygamy and communism, plundering and selling churches and monasteries.

Notwithstanding his inclination to Protestantism, the bishop was now obliged to go to war with the city in order to maintain his secular authority. In alliance with Philip of Hesse, he began (28 February, 1534) a siege of the city in which John of Leyden, as king of the New Zion, had established a reign of terror. After a siege of sixteen months the city was taken in a bloody assault (25 June, 1535). The leaders of the insurrections were executed with horrible tortures and their bodies were exposed in three cages hung on the tower of St. Lambert's Church. The return of the expelled citizens and the restoration of the Catholic Church proceeded slowly. A small Protestant community was still maintained. In 1553 the city regained its old privileges and rights. Trade, commerce, and learning once more flourished. Although disputes now arose between the guilds and the town council, and these two combined against the growing importance of the bishop, Münster enjoyed general peace and prosperity until the Thirty Years' War. Several times during that war the city was obliged to pay heavy contributions, but it was not utterly impoverished like so many other cities.

The peace negotiations carried on at Münster by the Catholic Powers, beginning in 1643, led to the neutralization of the city and its substantial benefit. Thus encouraged, the Council, a few years after the Peace of Westphalia, persuaded the citizens to make a bold attempt to throw off the sovereignty of the bishop and raise Münster to the rank of a free city of the empire. In the struggle with the Prince-Bishop Christopher Bernhard of Galen, Münster was defeated in March, 1661. It lost its privileges, and an episcopal citadel, the Paulsburg, was erected in the western part of the city. Never, while the prince-bishops remained rulers, did Münster regain its full civic liberty. After the Seven years' War, during which Münster was not able to hold out against a second siege, in 1759, the fortifications were turned into promenades, and the citadel razed. In place of the latter a castle was built in 1768 as a residence for the prince-bishop. In 1780 a university was founded with the property of the suppressed Jesuits and of the Abbey of Ueberwasser. A circle of learned men gathered at Münster around the Princess Galitzin, among them being Frederick Leopold Count zu Stolberg and Overbeck.

By the Imperial delegate's enactment, the city of Münster and a part of the diocese fell to Prussia, which had already (23 May, 1802) made an agreement concerning it with the Consul Bonaparte. The Prussian troops under Blücher entered the city, 3 August. A commission accompanied the army to shape the constitution and administration of the newly-acquired district conformably with the Prussian model. Although the president of the commission, Freiherr von Stein, showed a very friendly spirit towards the city, yet the suppression of its independence and the overbearing behaviour of the Prussian officers disgusted the citizens with Prussian supremacy. Münster joyfully welcomed the French, who entered it in 1806, after the defeat of Prussia at Jena and Auerstädt. In 1808 the city was assigned to the Grand Duchy of Berg, in 1810 to Holland, and in 1811 to France, as capital of the Department of Lippe. The old city-government was dissolved and replaced by the French municipal organization. Many good measures of administration were introduced, but the enthusiasm for them was rapidly chilled by the extensive billeting of soldiers upon the citizens, and by arbitrary action, especially in ecclesiastical matters. When, therefore, after the overthrow of the Napoleonic power at the battle of Leipzig, the Prussians again entered Münster, they, in turn, were greeted with great joy. The Prussian Government was wise enough to retain many improvements made by the French, which they further developed, so that the city quickly reached an unprecedented prosperity. In 1836 the Prussian municipal ordinance was applied to Münster. The population, 13,000 at the beginning of the nineteenth century, rapidly increased with the growth of commerce and traffic, and, as capital of the Province of Westphalia, the quiet cathedral city developed into an important centre of traffic for North-Western Germany.

According to the census taken at the close of 1905, Münster had 81,468 inhabitants, of whom 67,221 were Catholics, 13,612 Protestants, and 555 Jews; in 1910 the population was about 87,000, including 72,800 Catholics. The city has 25 Catholic churches and chapels, including 12 parish churches. Catholic institutions of learning are: the theological faculty of the university with (in the summer of 1910) 316 students; the seminary for priests; 2 preparatory seminaries, namely, the Collegium Borromæum and the Collegium Ludgerianum; a Catholic state gymnasium; a seminary for teachers; a high school for girls.


Towards the end of the Saxon War, Charlemagne founded, about 795, several Saxon dioceses, all suffragans of Cologne, among them Münster, or Mimigerneford. The first bishop was Ludger, who, since the year 787, had been a zealous missionary in five Frisian "hundreds", or districts. The territory of the Diocese of Münster was bounded on the west, south, and north-west by the Dioceses of Cologne and Utrecht, on the east and north-east by Osnabrück. The diocese also included districts remote from the bulk of its territory, namely, the five Frisian hundreds on the lower Ems (Hugmerki, Hunusgau, Fivelgau, Federitgau, and Emsgau), also the island of Bant, which has disappeared, leaving behind it the islands of Borkum, Juist, and Norderney. Mention has already been made above (see I) of the earliest landed estates of the see. Most of the territory over which the bishop eventually exercised sovereign rights lay north of the River Lippe, extending as far as the upper Ems and the Teutoburg Forest. The most important accession was in 1252, when the see purchased the Countship of Vechta and the district of Meppen. The country between these new districts was acquired later: in 1403 the district about Cloppenburg and Oyte was gained, in 1406 the manorial domain of Ahaus and the castle of Stromberg with its jurisdiction; and in 1429 Wideshausen in pledge from the Archdiocese of Bremen. This last addition made the new territory, which was entirely separate from the southern part of the diocese, a compact body subsequently known as "the lower diocese"; it remained an integral part of the Diocese of Münster until the Reformation, which somewhat reduced its size; what was left was retained until the secularization.

St. Ludger established his see as Mimegerneford and founded there a monastery, following the rule of Bishop Chrodegang of Metz, bishop and clergy living in community. But the most important monastery founded by St. Ludger was the Benedictine Abbey of Werden, which became a nursery for the clergy of the diocese. He also assisted in founding the convent of Nottuln, under his sister Heriburg. He was succeeded in the administration of the diocese by two nephews, Gerfrid (809-39) and Altfrid (839-49), both of whom also presided over the monastery of Werden. The special connexion of Werden with the diocese ceased on the appointment of the next bishop, Luitbert (849-71), who was not related to the family of the founder. There were even disputes between the bishop and the monastery, which the Synod of Mainz settled in favour of the latter, awarding it the right of freely electing its abbot. Bishop Wulfhelm (875-95) changed the collegiate body founded by Lutger into a cathedral chapter, with which he divided the property till then held in common, the bishop having thenceforth his special residence. Among the religious foundations of the diocese in the ninth century should be mentioned the monasteries for women at Liesborn (814), Vreden (about 839), Freckenhorst (before 857), and Metelen (before 889). The development of religious and intellectual life was checked in the first part of the tenth century by political disquiet. Better days did not begin until the reign of Emperor Otto I (936-73). Under Bishop Duodo (867-93), in 968, the abbey of Borghorst was founded for women; the same bishop built a stone cathedral near the old wooden one. Hermann I (1032-42) founded the Abbey of Our Lady of Ueberwasser; Bishop Frederick I, Count of Wettin (1064-84), established the collegiate church of St. Moritz at Münster; Bishop Erpho (1085-97) built the church of St. Lambert. Both the two just named and Bishop Burchard of Holte (1098-1118) were partisans of the emperor in the investiture conflict. During the episcopate of Dietrich II, Count of Zutphen (1118-27), several Præmonstratensian and Cistercian abbeys arose. Hermann II (1174-1203) founded collegiate churches for the canons of St. Ludger and St. Martin.

The twelfth century was marked by a considerable growth of the bishops' secular power. Bishop Ludwig I, Count of Tecklenburg (1169-73), restored to the see the temporal jurisdiction over its domains previously exercised by the Counts of Tecklenburg. Hermann II, like his immediate predecessors, Frederick II, Count of Are (1152-68), and Ludwig I, was a partisan of Frederick Barbarossa. With the overthrow of Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony, the last obstacle in the way of the complete sovereignty of the bishops was removed, and Hermann appears as a great feudatory of the empire. During the episcopate of his second successor, Dietrich III of Isenburg (1218-26), the position of the bishop as a prince of the empire was formally acknowledged in 1220 by Frederick II. Hermann II was the last bishop directly appointed by the emperor. Dissensions arose about the election of his successor, Otto I, Count of Oldenburg (1204-18), and Emperor Otto IV decreed that thenceforward the cathedral chapter alone should elect the bishop. The See of Cologne retained the right of confirmation, and the emperor that of investiture. The bishop's temporal authority was limited in important matters; particularly in taxation, the consent of representative bodies of his subjects was necessary. Among these, the cathedral chapter appears early in the thirteenth century; later, the lower nobility, and, lastly, the city of Münster. In course of time the cathedral chapter extended its rights by agreements made with bishops before election.

The temporal power of the see increased greatly during the episcopate of Bishop Otto II, Count of Lippe (1247-59). The city, at the same time, struggled to become independent of the bishop, not, however, with complete success, notwithstanding its alliance with the cathedral chapter. Even as early as the eleventh century the bishops all belonged to noble families, generally to those possessing lands in the neighbourhood; only too often the diocese was administered for the benefit rather of the bishop's family than of the Church. The bishops were, in consequence, frequently involved in the quarrels of the nobility; ecclesiastical affairs were neglected and the prosperity of the inhabitants of the prince-bishopric suffered. Conditions were at their worst during what is known as the Münster Diocesan Feud (1450-57). The arbitrary conduct of Bishop Henry II of Mörs (1424-50) had aroused a very bitter feeling in the city. After his death the majority of the cathedral chapter elected Walram of Mörs, brother of Henry and also Archbishop of Cologne, while the city and a minority of the chapter demanded the election of Eric of Hoya, brother of Count John of Hoya. Although the election of Walram was confirmed by the pope, open war for the possession of the see broke out, and Walram was unable to gain possession of the city of Münster. In 1457, after his death, a compact was made by which Eric of Hoya received a life income, and the privileges of the city were confirmed, while both parties recognized the new bishop appointed by the pope, John II, Count Palatine of Simmern (1457-66). After order had been re-established, the ecclesiastical reform of the diocese was taken seriously in hand. Bishop Henry III of Schwarzburg (1466-96), Conrad of Rietberg (1497-1508), and Eric of Saxe-Lauenburg (1508-22) produced excellent results by holding synods and reforming religious foundations. Rudolf of Langen and John Murmellius made the cathedral school a nursery of humanism.

Under the indolent and thoroughly worldly Frederick III (1522-32), brother of the Archbishop of Cologne, Hermann of Wied, Lutheranism spread rapidly after 1524, especially in the city. Scarcely any opposition to the innovation was made by the next bishop, Franz of Waldeck (1532-53), who from the first planned to aid the Reformation in his three dioceses of Münster, Minden, and Osnabrück, in order to form out of these three a secular principality for himself. He was obliged, indeed, for the sake of his endangered authority, to proceed against the Anabaptists in the city of Münster; but he did little for the restoration of the Faith, and at last joined the Smalkaldic League. William of Ketteler (1553-57) was more Protestant than Catholic: although he regarded himself as an administrator of the old Church, and took the Tridentine oath, he refused to comply with the demands of Rome, and resigned in 1557. Bernhard of Raesfeld (1557-66) was genuinely devoted to the Catholic Faith, but he, too, finding himself unequal to the difficulties of his position, resigned. John of Hoya (1566-74), a faithful Catholic, in order to reorganize ecclesiastical affairs, undertook a general visitation of the diocese in the years 1571-73. The visitation revealed shocking conditions among clergy and people, and showed to what extent the Reformation had spread in the diocese under previous bishops. Not only were Protestant ideas predominant in the northern part of the country, or "lower diocese", but the western part as well had been almost entirely lost to the Church. In the cities in other parts of the diocese, too, the Faith had suffered greatly.

The good this bishop accomplished was almost undone after his death. His successor, John William of Cleves (1574-85), inherited the Duchy of Cleves in 1575, married, and gave up the administration of the diocese. A long diplomatic battle as to his successor arose between the Catholic and Protestant powers, during which the diocese was administered by Cleves. The maintenance of Catholicism in the diocese was assured by the victory of Ernst of Bavaria (1585-1612), who was also Bishop of Freising, Hildesheim, and Liège, and Archbishop of Cologne. He zealously undertook the Counter-Reformation, invited the Jesuits to aid him, and encouraged the founding of monasteries of the old orders, although he could not repair all the losses. The western part of the Frisian district under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Münster was transferred, in 1569, to the newly-founded bishoprics of Groningen and Deventer, and with them fell into Protestantism. In the same way the possessions of the Counts of Bentheim-Steinfurt and some other fortified towns passed from the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the bishop. The two immediate successors of Bishop Ernst laboured in the same spirit. Ferdinand of Bavaria (1612-50) was at the same time Elector of Cologne and Bishop of Paderborn, Hildesheim, and Liège. He founded a seminary, which he placed under the direction of the Jesuits. Christopher Bernhard of Galen (1650-78) was equally efficient both as bishop and as secular ruler; he forced the refractory city of Münster, after a long siege, to acknowledge his sovereign rights, succeeded in freeing his territory from foreign troops, gained parts of the Archdiocese of Bremen and of the Diocese of Werden in a war with Sweden, restored church discipline, and established a school system for his territory.

The immediate successors of the three distinguished rulers just mentioned were Ferdinand II of Fürstenberg (1678-83), Maximilian Henry of Bavaria (1683-88), Frederick Christian of Plettenberg (1688-1712), and Francis Arnold of Wolf-Metternich (1708-18). Unfortunately, under these men church discipline declined, and much that was excellent decayed for lack of proper care, or, like the seminary for priests, ceased to exist. The next bishop was the frivolous, vain, and pomp-loving Clement Augustus of Bavaria (1719-61), who was also Elector of Cologne, and Bishop of Paderborn, Hildesheim, and Osnabrück. During his episcopate the diocese suffered terribly, in 1734-35 and during the Seven Years War, being almost ruined financially. The succeeding bishop, Maximilian Frederick of Königsegg-Rottenfels (1761-84), who was also Elector of Cologne, was a weak, though well-meaning man. Happily, he left the administration of the Diocese of Münster to a young cathedral canon, Franz Friedrich Wilhelm von Fürstenberg, during whose administration the diocese attained unexampled prosperity. At the election of an auxiliary bishop, von Fürstenberg was defeated by Maximilian Franz of Austria, who became the last Prince-Bishop of Münster and Elector of Cologne (1774-1801). Upon the death of Maximilian Franz, his nephew, the Archduke Anthony Victor, was elected, but could not enter upon the administration on account of the opposition of Prussia, which had long coveted the domains of the Church in Northern Germany.

In 1803 the diocese was secularized by the Imperial Delegates Enactment and broken up into numerous parts. The larger share was assigned to Prussia, which took possession in March, 1803. The rich treasury of the cathedral was transferred to Magdeburg and has never been returned. Freiherr von Fürstenberg administered as vicar-general the ecclesiastical affairs of the diocese even during the short supremacy of the French (1806-13). After his death, in 1810, the administrator was his former coadjutor, Clement Augustus von Droste-Vischering, later Archbishop of Cologne. In the years 1813-15 the diocese was administered, without the authorization of the pope, by Count Ferdinand Augustus von Spiegel, arbitrarily appointed by Napoleon, and to whom Droste-Vischering had given his faculties by subdelegation. In 1813 the principality was again ceded to Prussia. Upon the ecclesiastical reorganization of Prussia, completed by the Bull of 16 July, 1821, "De salute animarum", the diocese was given its present boundaries (see below). The see had been vacant for twenty years when Ferdinand von Lunninck (1821-25), formerly Prince-Bishop of Corvey, was appointed. On account of illness, he left the administration to Jodok Hermann von Zurmühlen, already an old man, whom he made pro-vicar. The succeeding bishop was Caspar Max, Freiherr von Droste-Vischering (1824-46), who, having been auxiliary bishop of the diocese since 1795, had confirmed many hundreds of thousands and ordained over 2200 priests. His administration was greatly hampered by the petty and far-reaching supervision of the Government. In place of the university, suppressed in 1818, he was able to open, in 1832, an academy with philosophical and theological faculties; in 1902 this academy became a university. Ecclesiastical life in the diocese was in a somewhat unsatisfactory condition, the clergy being largely inclined to Rationalistic and Hermesian opinions.

An intellectual and religious revival throughout Germany followed the events at Cologne in 1837 (see COLOGNE). This revival and the larger freedom granted the Catholic Church of Prussia under King Frederick William IV produced excellent results in the diocese. During the episcopate of John Gregory Müller (1847-70), fruitful popular missions were held in many places, many churches were rebuilt, and a large number of religious houses and benevolent institutions were founded with the active assistance of the laity. His successor, John Bernhard Brinkmann (1870-89), laboured in the same apostolic spirit. During the Kulturkampf he suffered fines, imprisonment, and, from 1875 to 1884, banishment. He was obliged to witness the destruction of much that had been established by his predecessors and by himself. The present bishop is Hermann Dingelstadt, born 2 March, 1835, elected 15 August, 1889, consecrated 24 February, 1890.


The Diocese of Münster includes: the Prussian Department of Münster in Westphalia; the parish of Lette, in the Department of Minden; three enclaves in the Department of Arensberg; the city district of Duisberg; the districts of Dinslaken, Rees, Cleves, Gildern, Kempen, and Mörs in Rhenish Prussia; the city of Wilhelmshaven in the Province of Hanover; the Duchy of Oldenburg. The 408 parishes of the diocese are distributed in 22 deaneries, of which 12 are in Westphalia, 8 in Rhenish Prussia, and 2 in Oldenburg. In 1910 there were in the diocese 1,427,203 Catholics, 664,737 Protestants, 8758 Jews. The diocesan priests numbered 1333, of whom 1259 were engaged in parochial work, teaching, or ecclesiastical administration; 74 were absent on leave or were retired; there were 133 regulars. In addition, 38 ecclesiastics not belonging to the diocese were domiciled in it. There has been an unbroken succession of auxiliary bishops since 1218. The cathedral chapter consists of a provost, dean, 8 canons, and 6 honorary canons. The vicariate-general is composed of the vicar-general, 6 ecclesiastical councillors, a notary Apostolic for the diocese, a justiciary, 3 secretaries, and 7 other officials. Besides the officialité at Münster, there is also one at Vechta for the Oldenburg section of the diocese. The diocesan institutions are: the seminary for priests (36 students who were already deacons in 1910), the Collegium Borromæum for theological students (182 students), the Collegium Ludgerianum (111 pupils), the institute for Church music — all at Münster; at Gaesdonck, near Goch, an episcopal seminary for assistant priests, and the Collegium Augustinianum; 4 episcopal institutions for poor children, and the Maria-Hilf institute at Tilbeck for epileptic women and girls. There are 13 ecclesiastical professors in the theological faculty and one in the philosophical faculty at Münster. Among the state-aided Catholic higher schools are 11 Gymnasia, one Realschule, 6 seminaries for male and 2 for female teachers. There are also a large number of high schools for girls, generally carried on by nuns.

The city of Münster contains 27 houses of religious orders and congregations. The members conduct most of the 25 Catholic institutions for public benefit and charity in the municipality. The male orders and congregations represented in the diocese are: Franciscans, 5 monasteries, 40 fathers, 13 clerical novices, 11 lay brothers; Capuchins, 4 monasteries, 34 fathers, 9 clerics, 23 brothers; Trappists in the colony for men out of work at Maria-Venn, 8 fathers, 12 brothers; Benedictines, an abbey and a priory, 15 fathers, 28 brothers; Dominicans, 2 monasteries, 12 fathers, 7 lay brothers; Society of Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, 1 house, 19 missionaries; Alexian Brothers, 1 institution for the care of insane men, 46 brothers; Brothers of Mercy, 2 houses, 41 brothers; Brothers of St. Francis, 3 houses, 19 brothers. Female religious orders and congregations: Benedictine nuns of the Perpetual Adoration, 3 houses, 151 sisters; Sisters of the Visitation of Mary, 1 house, 35 sisters; Poor Clares, 3 houses, 92 sisters; Ursulines at Dorsten, where they have a higher school for girls, a boarding-school, a seminary for female teachers etc., 60 sisters; Sisters of Mercy, mother-house at Münster, 81 branches in the diocese, 240 sisters; Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, mother-house and branch house, 125 sisters; Sisters of the Divine Providence, a mother-house, 63 filial houses, and 640 sisters who conduct a large number of schools for girls, homes for girls, houses for the needy and helpless, etc.; Nursing Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, a mother-house, 83 branch houses, 894 sisters; Sisters of Our Lady, a mother-house, 41 branch-houses, which carry on boarding schools, day-schools, homes for girls, etc., 590 sisters; Sisters of the Christian Schools of Mercy, who conduct higher schools for girls, day-nurseries, sewing-schools, take care of the sick, etc., 24 houses, 146 sisters; Poor Serving Maids of Jesus Christ, 4 houses, 47 sisters; Poor Franciscans of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary, a hospital with 7 sisters; Sisters of Penitence and Christian Charity of the Third Order of St. Francis, 3 houses, 152 sisters; Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo at Cleves, 13 sisters; Grey Sisters of St. Elizabeth, 1 house, 8 sisters; Daughters of the Holy Cross, 4 houses, 99 sisters; Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a mother-house, 78 sisters; Dominican Nuns from the mother-house at Arenberg in the Diocese of Trier, 3 houses, 10 sisters. Among the religious associations are: the association of priests, young men's associations (84), Marian sodalities for young men (262), journeymen's unions in 81 towns, merchants' associations (36), workmen's unions (134), miners' unions (47), sodalities for men (77), congregations of Catholic young women (250), societies of Christian mothers (325), the Bonifaciusverein, the Societies of St. Vincent, of Blessed Albertus Magnus, etc.

The principal churches are: the cathedral (built for the most part between 1225 and 1265, in the transition period from Romanesque to Gothic architecture, while the great doorway, built in 1516, is late Gothic in style); the Gothic church of St. Lambert, built, on the site of an old parish church, in the second half of the fourteenth century, with a new Gothic tower, about 312 feet high, added in 1887-90, to replace the old one on which had hung the iron cages that held the bodies of the executed Anabaptists; the church of Our Lady, a fine fourteenth-century Gothic building erected on the site of the chapel of the Virgin, built by St. Ludger; the church of St. Ludger, built about 1170, enlarged 1383; the collegiate church of St. Moritz, founded 1070, and enlarged, 1862, in Romanesque style. Besides these, the following deserve particular mention: the Romanesque churches of Freckenhorst and Emmerich; the Gothic churches at Kanten (Cathedral of St. Victor), Lüdinghausen, Cleves, Kalten, Kempen, and Nottuln.

Works on the City of Münster: WILCKENS, Versuch einer allgemeinen Geschichte der Stadt Münster (Münster and Hamm, 1824); NIESERT, Beiträge zu einem münsterischen Urkundenbuch (2 vols., Münster, 1823); IDEM, Münsterische Urkundensammlung (7 vols., Coesfeld, 1826-37); ERHARD, Geschichte Münsters (Munster, 1837); TIBUS, Die Stadt Münster (Münster, 1882); VON DETTEN, Münster in Westfalen, seine Entstehung und das Kulturbild seiner tausendjährigen Entwicklung (Münster, 1887); Quellen und Forschungen zur Geschichte der Stadt Münster, I (Münster, 1889); PIEPER, Die alte Universität Münster (Münster, 1902); SAVELS, Der Dom zu Münster (Münster, 1904); BÖMER, Das literarische Leben in Münster bis zur endgültigen Rezeption des Humanismus (Münster, 1906); HUPPERTZ, Münster im 7-jährigen Krieg (Münster, 1908).

On the Diocese: Westfälisches Urkundenbuch, I-VIII (Münster, 1847-1908) (especially II and VIII); Die Geschichtsquellen des Bistums Münster, I-VI (Münster, 1851-1900); Codex Traditionum Westfalicarum (6 vols., Münster, 1872-1907); TIBUS, Gründungsgeschichte der Stifter, Pfarrkirchen, Klöster und Kapellen im Bereich des alten Bistums Münster (Münster, 1893); BAHLMANN, Der Regierungsbezirk Münster (Münster, 1893); STAPPER, Die älteste Agende des Bistums Münster (Münster, 1906); Schematismus der Diözese (Münster, 1910).

On the Diocesan Feud and the Period of the Counter-Reformation: HANSEN, in Publikationen aus den k. preussischen Staatsarchiven, XLII (Leipzig, 1890); KELLER, ibid., IX, XXXIII (Leipzig, 1881 and 1887).

On the Episcopate of Bishop Galen: TÜCKING, Geschichte des Stifts Münster unter Ch. B. von Galen (Münster, 1865); HÜSING, Fürstbischof Ch. B. von Galen (Münster, 1887).

On the Secularization of the Diocese: VON OLFERS, Beiträge zur Geschichte der Verfassung und der Zerstückelung des Oberstifts Münster (Münster, 1848).

Numerous contributions to the history of the city and diocese of Münster are to be found in the following: Zeitschrift für vaterländische Geschichte und Altertumskunde (Münster) (67 vols. up to 1910); Beiträge zur Geschichte Niedersachsens und Westfalens (Hildesheim) (22 parts up to 1910); Münsterische Beiträge zur Geschichtsforschung (Münster) (26 parts up to 1910). See also ANABAPTISTS; WESTPHALIA.