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Suffragan of Munich-Freising. It embraces the greater portion of the administrative district of Oberpfalz, and portions of the districts of Upper and Lower Bavaria, and Upper Franconia (see GERMANY, map), an area of about 5340 square miles. It is divided into the three episcopal commissariates of Ratisbon, Amberg, and Straubing, and into thirty deaneries. In 1910 it numbered 473 parishes, 167 benefices (exclusive of 74 united with other prebends ), 80 expositurships, 371 curacies, and 36 other pastoral offices, 1283 clergy (including 442 pastors and 159 regular priests ), and over 865,000 Catholics. In addition to the ordinary, there is a coadjutor bishop ( consecrated 18 April, 1911); the cathedral chapter consists of a provost, 8 capitulars, 6 cathedral vicars, and a cathedral preacher. There is also a chapter at the collegiate Church of Our Lady "Zur Alten Kapelle" in Ratisbon, with 11 members, and a chapter in the collegiate Church of Sts. John the Baptist and John the Evangelist at Ratisbon, with 7 members. The diocesan institutions include the episcopal seminary for the ecclesiastics at Ratisbon, with four courses in theology and one in philosophy, and the episcopal seminaries for boys at Ratisbon, Metten, and Straubing. For philosophical and theological studies there exists at Ratisbon a state lyceum, in which 10 religious and a few lay professors lecture.

The monasteries and monastic institutions are: for the Benedictines, the Abbey of Metten with a gymnasium and episcopal seminary for boys (43 fathers, 8 clerics, and 15 lay brothers ) and the Priory of Weltenburg (6 fathers, 2 clerics, and 12 lay brothers ); 3 monasteries of the Discalced Carmelites, with 22 fathers, 3 clerics, and 21 brothers; 2 monasteries of the Calced Carmelites, with 13 fathers, and 11 brothers; 5 monasteries of the Franciscans, with 21 fathers, and 46 brothers; 1 Capuchin monastery, with 7 fathers and 7 brothers; 2 hospices of the Minorites, with 4 fathers and 6 brothers; 2 Augustinian priories, with 7 fathers, and 6 brothers; 3 Redemptorist colleges with 27 fathers, and 26 brothers; 4 monasteries of the Brothers of Mercy, with 5 fathers and 100 brothers; 1 brotherhood of hermits, with 30 brothers, in 25 hermitages; 3 convents of the Poor Clares ; 2 of the Dominican Sisters; 2 of the Cistercian Sisters; 1 of the Ursulines ; 1 of the Elizabethines; 1 of the Franciscan Sisters of the Third Order ; 1 of the Ladies of the Good Shepherd; 76 establishments of the Poor School Sisters; 3 of the English Ladies; 23 of the Sisters of Mercy , in 12 townships; 1 mother-house and 67 branches of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Mallersdorf; 5 establishments of the Franciscan Sisters from the mother-house at Dillingen; 1 institute for the Daughters of the Divine Redeemer from the mother-house at Niederbronn in Alsace; 1 convent of Carmelite Sisters. The total number of sisters is 2400. The religious and social societies are highly developed; it will be sufficient to mention here the Confraternity of Perpetual Adoration, the Congregations of Mary for men, boys, and girls, the Catholic associations for workmen, journeymen, and apprentices, the students' associations, the Albertus Magnus association, the Volksverein for Catholic Germany, and the Catholic Press Association for Bavaria.

Among the churches of the diocese may be mentioned: the Gothic cathedral of St. Peter, begun in 1275, but not completed until the nineteenth century; the old cathedral, or St. Stephanskirche (end of tenth century); the Churches of St. Emmeram (eleventh century), St. Jakob (twelfth century), the former Dominican Church of St. Blasius (1273-1400), all at Ratisbon; the churches of Amberg, Straubing, Naabburg; numerous old monastery churches, such as those of Weltenburg, Prüfening, Ober-Alteich etc. Much-frequented places of pilgrimage are: Mariahilf, near Amberg; the Eichelberg, near Hemau; the Kreuzberg, near Schwandorf; and Neukirchen beim hl. Blut.

Ratisbon, the oldest town in Bavaria, had its origin in the Roman camp, Castra Regina , the remains of whose walls exist today. Christianity was introduced during the time of the Romans. In the sixth century Ratisbon was the chief town of Bavaria, and the seat of the apostolic labours of several holy evangelists, such as St. Rupert (about 697), St. Emmeram (about 710), St. Erhard (about 720), and kBlessed 1Albert (about 720). In 739 St. Boniface divided the Duchy of Bavaria into the four dioceses of Ratisbon, Passau, Freising, and Salzburg, and appointed as first Bishop of Ratisbon Blessed Gawibald or Gaubald (739-61). The early bishops were chosen alternately from the canons of the Church of St. Peter and the monks of the Benedictine monastery of St. Emmeram, of which monastery they were simultaneously abbots ; after the elevation of Salzburg to metropolitan rank by Leo III, Ratisbon was placed under it. Through the favour of the native dukes and, after their removal, through that of the Carlovingians and Ottos, the bishops received much property and many gifts for their churches. The possessions of the chapter consisted of the three free imperial domains Donaustauf, Wörth (both on the Danube), and Hohenburg on the River Lautrach, the domain of Pechlarn below the Enns, and the administration of a few places in Lower Bavaria. During the early period the chief care of the bishops was the conversion of the Slavs, Bohemia being for the most part won for Christianity by Ratisbon. Bishop Bahurich (817-48) baptized fourteen Bohemian princes at Ratisbon in 847, and Bohemia long belonged to the diocese. Under Ambricho (864-91) Louis the German built the celebrated "Alte Kapelle" in which his spouse Emma and the last Carlovingian emperors Arnulf and Louis the Child found their resting-places. During the reign of Blessed Tuto (894-931) the see suffered much from the inroads of the Hungarians ; Bishop Michael (942-72) took personal part in the wars against these invaders, especially in the battle of Lechfeld. St. Wolfgang (972-94) agreed to the separation of Bohemia from the diocese of Ratisbon, and also separated the property of the cathedral from the Monastery of St. Emmeram.

The era of the following bishops is characterized by the foundation of numerous monasteries. Gebhard I (995-1035) founded the Abbey of Pruhl; his attempt to annul the separation between the diocese and Emmeram gave rise to much dispute; he received from Otto III the right of coinage. Gebhard III (1036-60) received from Henry III the Abbey of Kempten; during his episcopate the collegiate chapter of Ohringen and the convent of Geisenfeld were founded. Otto of Ritenberg (1061-89) espoused the cause of the emperor in the Conflict of Investitures , while kBlessed 1William, provost of St. Emmeram and later abbot of the renowned monastery of Hirsau, the "hero of monasticism and champion of reform", worked in the spirit of Pope Gregory. Under Gebhard IV, who received neither papal ratification nor consecration, the Benedictine abbey of Oberalteich was founded; under Hartwich I (1105-26) were founded the Scots monastery of St. James at Ratisbon, and the Benedictine monasteries of Mallersdorf, Prüfening, Reichenbach, and Ensdorf; under the zealous Konrad I (1126-32), the Cistercian abbey of Waldsassen, the Benedictine monastery of Biburg; under Heinrich I (1132-55), the Premonstratensian monastery of Windberg and several chapters of Augustinian Canons. Konrad III (1186-1204) took part in Barbarossa's crusade ; Konrad IV again confirmed the dominion of the bishops over the city of Ratisbon, which in the following period gradually acquired independence and developed into a free town of the empire; in 1226 Konrad gave the recently-founded Franciscan Order a residence and chapel in the city. Under Siegfried the Carmelites and Dominicans also established themselves in the diocese. Prominent among the Franciscans was Blessed Bernhard of Ratisbon, one of the most powerful preachers of the Middle Ages ; the Dominicans gave to the diocese the great bishop, Albertus Magnus, on whose voluntary retirement Leo Thundorfer (1262-77), who began the building of the cathedral, was elected. The building was continued vigorously under Heinrich II of Rotteneck (1277-96), who led a truly holy life and proved himself an excellent spiritual and secular prince. Konrad of Luppurg (1296-1313), Nikolaus of Stachowitz (1313-40), and Konrad VI (1368-81) were also distinguished bishops. Albert of Stauf (1409-21), an adherent of the popes of Pisa, devoted himself zealously to the reform of the monasteries and the clergy ; in 1419, at a diocesan synod, he issued an excellent pastoral instruction for his diocese. Albert and his immediate successors — Johann of Streitberg (1421-28) and Konrad VII of Rehlingen (1428-37), a Westphalian — had to take the field against the Hussites, who had made several devastating inroads into the territory of the diocese. Heinrich IV of Absberg (1465-92), an admirable bishop, took energetic measures against the Hussites and other fanatics, against the superstitions of the people, and the incontinency of the clergy ; to the restoration of discipline and order in the monasteries, especially in several convents, he devoted a restless activity. In the same spirit worked Rupprecht II, Count Palatine of Sponheim (1492-1507), under whom the diocese had to suffer much in consequence of the war between the Wittelsbachs concerning the succession in Bavaria-Landshut.

The religious innovations of Luther were on the whole successfully opposed by Johann III of the Wittelsbach family, the administrator of the diocese (1507-38); in 1524 he took part in the assembly of the South-German bishops and princes at Ratisbon, which, under the presidency of the papal legateCampeggio, decreed the execution of the Edict of Worms and the maintenance of the old religion. Under his weak successor Pankraz von Sinzenhofen (1538-48), however, the new doctrines were allowed to spread, and this prelate was unable to prevent the town from accepting the Reformation and demolishing the cathedral. The negotiations at the Diet of Ratisbon in 1541 resulted in the Ratisbon Interim, which went very far towards meeting the wishes of the Protestants, but yet did not find approval with the Protestant princes. The efforts of the zealous Georg Marschalk of Pappenheim (1548-63) and David Kölderer of Burgstall (1567-79) met with especially obstinate resistance from the city. Under Philipp (1579-98), son of Duke William V of Bavaria and afterwards cardinal, the Jesuits were assigned a college at Ratisbon, with which a gymnasium was combined in 1589. Wolfgang II von Hausen (1600-13) was a zealous patron of the Jesuits and promoter of Catholic reform, and joined the Catholic League in 1609. Albert von Törring (1613-59), when the Count Palatine Wolfgang Wilhelm became a Catholic in 1614, brought back under his spiritual jurisdiction a portion of the Protestant parishes, especially in the Upper Palatinate; even the town of Eger with its territory was recovered in 1627 for the Catholic faith.

The Thirty Years' War caused great injury to the diocese ; Duke Bernhard of Weimar, a partisan of the Swedes, captured the town of Ratisbon and a portion of the diocesan territory in 1633, looted the church treasury, exacted from the clergy large contributions, and held the bishop in confinement for fourteen months. Franz Wilhelm von Wartenberg (1649-61), who was also Bishop of Osnabrück, Minden, and Verden, sought to supply the growing need for priests by founding a clerical seminary in 1653. With Albert Siegmund (1668-85) began the series of bishops from the house of Wittelsbach, which for nearly a century occupied the episcopal see. Albert was simultaneously Bishop of Freising, as was Joseph Klemens (1685-1716), who, as Elector of Cologne (from 1688), espoused the cause of Louis XIV in the War of the Spanish Succession, and was for this reason, like his brother Elector Max Emmanuel, placed under the imperial ban. Cardinal Johann Theodor (1719-63) occupied, in addition to Ratisbon, the Dioceses of Freising and Liège, and other benefices. Excellent administrators were the last prince-bishops, Anton Ignaz von Fugger (1769-87), Max Prokop von Törring (1787-89), and Joseph Konrad von Schroffenberg (1790-1803). On the secularization of the German Church in 1803 a portion of the diocese was left undisturbed for a time; then Napoleon named, even during the lifetime of Schroffenberg, as Archbishop of Ratisbon and Prince-Primate of Germany, Karl Theodor von Dalberg, Elector of Mainz, and assigned him a portion of the earlier ecclesiastical territory. It was only on 1805 that Dalberg received the papal consent to the exercise of archiepiscopal power (1805-17). Although Dalberg, in his desire to save his precarious sovereignty, accepted Cardinal Fesch, Napoleon's uncle, as coadjutor, he was compelled to surrender the secular territory of the Diocese of Ratisbon to Bavaria in 1810, whereupon its secularization was finally accomplished. With Dalberg's death the short-lived Archdiocese of Ratisbon came to an end.

The Bavarian Concordat of 1817-18 declared Ratisbon a simple suffragan see in the newly-created ecclesiastical province of Munich-Freising, and assigned to it its present limits. The first bishop of the new diocese was the former coadjutor, Johann Nepomuk von Wolf (1821-29). He was succeeded by the celebrated Michael Sailer (1829-32). George Michael Wittmann, who was named successor to the latter, died before his preconization (1833). Franz Xaver von Schwäbl (1833-41), under whom Diepenbrock (later cardinal ) worked at Ratisbon, restored the cathedral. Valentin Riedel (1842-57) founded the boys' seminary at Metten and the priests' hermitage, and prepared the way for the reform of church music. Ratisbon now possesses the world-renowned school for the special study of Church music, founded by Haberl. Ignatius von Senestréy (1858-1906) completed, with the help of King Louis I, the towers of the cathedral, founded the boys' seminaries at Ratisbon and Straubing, reformed the liturgy in accordance with the Roman model, and greatly promoted the religious life of the diocese by frequent tours of visitation, the establishment of new pastoral offices, the holding of popular missions, and the building of churches and schools. At the Vatican Council he belonged to the Commission on Faith, and was one of the most resolute champions of the dogma of the infallibility of the pope. In the ecclesiastico-political wars in Bavaria, especially since the appearance of the Old Catholic movement and its encouragement by Minister Lutz, von Senestréy always fearlessly and unyieldingly contended for the rights of the Church. The pallium was conferred on him as a mark of distinction by the pope in 1906. He was succeeded in 1906 by Antonius von Henle, who had occupied the See of Passau from 1901 to 1906.

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