While leaving intact the general houses of the various confraternities (except that of the Jesuits), the bill abolished the Religious corporate personality of religious orders, handed over Bill, their schools and hospitals to civil administrators, placed their churches at the disposal of the secular clergy, and provided pensions for nuns and monks, those who had families being sent to reside with their relatives, and those who by reason of age or bereavement had no home but their monasteries being allowed to end their days in religious houses specially set apart for the purpose.
To the pope was made over 16,000 per annum as a contribution to the expense of maintaining in Rome representatives of foreign orders; the Sacred College, however, rejected this endowment, and summoned all the suppressed confraternities to reconstitute themselves under the ordinary Italian law of association.
In France agitation was directed chiefly against the Jesuits, active in the movement to displace ancient local catechisms and liturgies by the Roman texts, to enroll the laity in Roman confraternities, and to induce the bishops to visit Rome more frequently.
The old monastic orders had had attached to their abbeys confraternities of lay men and women, going back in some cases to the 8th century.
The jus episcopale which Luther afterwards claimed for the secular authorities had been practically exercised in Saxony and Brandenburg; cities and districts had framed police regulations which set aside ecclesiastical decrees about holidays and begging; the supervision of charity was passing from the hands of the church into those of laymen; and religious confraternities which did not take their guidance from the clergy were increasing.
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