The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Ronge, Johannes

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RONGE, Johannes, yō-hän'nĕs rŏng'ė, German Anti-Catholic religious leader: b. Bischofswalde, Silesia, 16 Oct. 1813; d. Vienna, 26 Oct. 1887. He studied theology at the University of Breslau 1837-39, was ordained to the priesthood in 1840, and in 1841 became chaplain at Grottkau. Having manifested an opposition to the discipline of the Church, he was suspended in 1843. On 1 Oct. 1844 he published a letter against the exhibition of the “holy coat” at Treves, which was soon followed by the organization of the so-called German Catholic congregations. (See German Catholics). He published in succession a number of pamphlets, in which he called on the Roman Catholic laity and the lower clergy to leave the communion of that Church. These were generally understood to be written from the standpoint of deism; and in subsequent years Ronge pronounced himself more and more unreservedly in favor of deistic doctrines. He took part with the radicals in 1848 and was obliged to flee to London, where he signed in 1851, with Ruge, Struve, Kinkel, and others, a democratic manifesto to the German people, and where he became the leader of a free congregation. In consequence of the amnesty granted by the Prussian government, he in 1861 again made his appearance in Breslau. He founded a reform association at Frankfort-on-the-Main in 1863, and from 1873 resided at Darmstadt. Consult the article ‘Deutschkatholiken’ in Wetzer und Welte's ‘Kirchenlexikon.’