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§ 50. The Roman Catholic Reaction.

The Romanists reaped now the full benefit of their victory. They were no longer disturbed by the aggressive movements of Protestant preachers, and they regained much of the lost ground in the bailiwicks.

Romanism was restored in Rapperschwil and Gaster. The abbot of St. Gall regained his convent and heavy damages from the city; Toggenburg had to acknowledge his authority, but a portion of the people remained Reformed. Thurgau and the Rheinthal had to restore the convents. Bremgarten 22 and Mellingen had to pledge themselves to re-introduce the mass and the images. In Glarus, the Roman Catholic minority acquired several churches and preponderating influence in the public affairs of the Canton. In Solothurn, the Reformation was suppressed, in spite of the majority of the population, and about seventy families were compelled to emigrate. In the Diet, the Roman Cantons retained a plurality of votes.

The inhabitants of the Forest Cantons, full of gratitude, made a devout pilgrimage to St. Mary of Einsiedeln, where Zwingli had copied the Epistles of St. Paul from the first printed edition of the Greek Testament in 1516, and where he, Leo Judae, and Myconius had labored in succession for a reformation of abuses, with the consent of Diepold von Geroldseck. That convent has remained ever since a stronghold of Roman Catholic piety and superstition in Switzerland, and attracts as many devout pilgrims as ever to the shrine of the "Black Madonna." It has one of the largest printing establishments, which sends prayer-books, missals, breviaries, diurnals, rituals, pictures, crosses, and crucifixes all over the German-speaking Catholic world.298298    The firm of "Benziger Brothers, Printers to the Holy Apostolic See," Einsiedeln, New York, Cincinnati, and Chicago. The various illustrated catalogues of this establishment give an idea of the immense extent of its operations.

Bullinger, who succeeded Zwingli, closes his "History of the Reformation" mournfully, yet not without resignation and hope. "All manner of tyranny and overbearance," he says, "is restored and strengthened, and an insolent régime is working the ruin of the confederacy. Wonderful are the counsels of the Lord. But he doeth all things well. To him be glory and praise! Amen."


(Comp. § 8, pp. 29 sqq.)

On a visit to Einsiedeln, June 12, 1890, I saw in the church a number of pilgrims kneeling before the wonder-working statue of the Black Madonna. The statue is kept in a special chapel, is coal-black, clothed in a silver garment, crowned with a golden crown, surrounded by gilt ornaments, and holding the Christ-Child in her arms. The black color is derived by some from the smoke of fire which repeatedly consumed the church, while the statue is believed to have miraculously escaped; but the librarian (Mr. Meier) told me that it was from the smoke of candles, and that the face of the Virgin is now painted with oil.

The library of the abbey numbers 40,000 volumes (including 900 incunabula), among them several copies of the first print of Zwingli’s Commentary on the true and false Religion, and other books of his. In the picture-gallery are life-size portraits of King Frederick William IV. of Prussia, his brother, the Prince of Prussia (afterwards Emperor William I. of Germany), of Napoleon III. and Eugenie, of the Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria and his wife, and their unfortunate son who committed suicide in 1889, and of Pope Pius IX. These portraits were presented to the convent on its tenth centenary in 1861. The convent was founded by St. Meinhard, a hermit, in the ninth century, or rather by St. Benno, who died there in 940. The abbey has now nearly 100 Benedictine monks, a gymnasium with 260 pupils of twelve to twenty years, a theological seminary, and two filial institutions in Indiana and Arkansas. The church is an imposing structure, after the model of St. Peter’s in Rome, surrounded by colonnades. The costly chandelier is a present of Napoleon III. (1865).

The modern revival of Romanism, and the railroad from Wädensweil, opened 1877, have greatly increased the number of pilgrims. Goethe says of Einsiedeln: "Es muss ernste Betrachtungen erregen, dass ein einzelner Funke von Sittlichkeit und Gottesfurcht hier ein immerbrennendes und leuchtendes Flämmchen angezündet, zu welchem glaübige Seelen mit grosser Beschwerlichkeit heranpilgern, um an dieser heiligen Flamme auch ihr Kerzlein anzuzünden. Wie dem auch sei, so deutet es auf ein grenzenloses Bedürfniss der Menschheit nach gleichem Lichte, gleicher Wärme, wie es jener Erste im tiefsten Gefühle und sicherster Ueberzengung gehegt und genossen."

For a history of Einsiedeln, see Beschreibung des Klosters und der Wallfahrt Maria-Einsiedeln. Einsiedeln. Benziger & Co. 122 pp.

The wood-cut on p. 197 represents the abbey as it was before and at the time of Zwingli, and is a fair specimen of a rich mediaeval abbey, with church, dwellings for the brethren, library, school, and gardens. Einsiedeln lies in a dreary and sterile district, and derives its sole interest from this remarkable abbey.

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