Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Archbishop and Elector of Mainz, b. 1441; d. 21 December, 1504. Having completed his education at the University of Erfurt, he became a canon of the Cathedral of Cologne in 1464. Three years later he came to the imperial court of Frederick III. He was chosen Archbishop of Mainz in 1484 and consecrated 20 May, 1485. When in 1486 Maximilian I was elected Roman King, to rule in union with his father, Frederick III, Berthold, as imperial chancellor, obtained the right of having all royal documents submitted to him for signature. Being heart and soul for a political reform of the tottering empire, he used all his influence to bring about a change in its constitution. How Berthold wished to reform the empire may be gathered from the programme submitted to the emperor at the diet of Worms in 1495. All state affairs were to be managed by an imperial council (Reichsrath) consisting of seventeen members. The councillors were to be chosen by the electors and the estates, while the emperor was to appoint the president of the council. The emperor, of course, justly rejected such a programme which would have changed the empire into an oligarchy, with the emperor a mere figure-head.

Berthold's ecclesiastical reforms, on the other hand, which were even more pressing than political changes, were accompanied with great success. He encouraged and urged the reformation of the clergy and the religious orders, which was already in progress, and was especially solicitous for a better education of the clergy. He courageously resisted the heretical tendencies of many humanists and, though friendly disposed towards the better ones, scathingly rebuked others. To guard against impure literature he established in his diocese, on 4 January, 1486, a censorship of the press, which was the first in history. Berthold had long been dissatisfied with the many pecuniary demands of Rome upon Germany and the improprieties that often accompanied the preaching of indulgences, and shortly before his death he respectfully submitted these grievances of the German nation to Pope Pius III, who had just succeeded Alexander VI. He is buried in the Cathedral of Mainz, where a magnificent monument perpetuates his memory.

More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Will the Chinese Yuan overtake the U.S. Dollar? China moves to ...
  • The shocking amount of control El Chapo's drug cartel has across the ...
  • Your Daily Inspirational Meme: Advent
  • The Miracle Prayer HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Monday, November 30, 2015
  • St. Andrew: Saint of the Day for Monday, November 30, 2015
  • Prayer For Courage HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Romans 10:9-18
9 that if you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and if you ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 19:2-3, 4-5
2 day discourses of it to day, night to night hands on the ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 4:18-22
18 As he was walking by the Lake of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 30th, 2015 Image

St. Andrew
November 30: Andrew, like his brother Simon Peter, was a ... Read More