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The doctrinal formulas agreed upon by a commission of theologians and adopted as a temporary (ad interim ) solution for the religious disunity within the Empire of Charles V.


This enactment resulted from the failure of the Diet of Regensburg, which had opened on April 7, 1541, with high hopes of a religious settlement. From April 27 to May 22 an imperial committee of three Catholics (Johann eck, Julius von pflug, and Johann Gropper) and three Protestants (Philipp melanchthon, Martin bucer, and Johannes Pistorius) deliberated on a schema drawn up probably by Gropper. In spite of genuine effort to reach unanimity and the conciliatory manner of the papal legate, Gasparo contarini, the conference collapsed. This was attributable to the political interests of Johann Friedrich of Saxony and Francis I, King of France, who feared the power of a united Hapsburg Empire, and also to the influence of the conservative Lutheran Nikolaus von amsdorf, who opposed any acceptance of transubstantiation or auricular confession. As a result, the Interim of Regensburg was published on July 29, 1541, postponing religious settlement until the next diet, suspending juridical processes in religious matters, forbidding Protestants to widen their political influence, upholding the provisions of the Peace of Nuremberg (1532) and the Confession of augsburg (1530), and exhorting ecclesiastical reforms. It legislated further, on the one hand, that monasteries and prelates who had accepted the Confession of Augsburg were not to be deprived of their property; nor, on the other hand, were Protestants to force Catholic subjects to embrace their faith.


This Interim of 26 chapters appeared at the end of the Diet of Augsburg, June 30, 1548, and was called "A Declaration of His Imperial Majesty on how things are to be managed in the Holy Roman Empire, touching the question of religion, until the General Council can be held." Johann von Pflug, Michael Helding, suffragan bishop of Mainz, Eberhard Billick, Pedro de Soto, and Johannes Agricola worked out a formula that phrased Catholic theology in terms as indefinite as possible, often employing Protestant modes of expression, and conceded Communion under both species as well as permission for married Protestant clergy to retain their wives. Though looked upon by Charles as an ingenious solution, it pleased few others. Elector Joachim of Brandenburg (called "Father of the Interim"), Margrave Albrecht of Brandenburg-Culmbach, and the Elector of Mainz accepted it; but the princes of other Catholic Estates, even after assurance that the Interim was directed to the Protestants, submitted without enthusiasm. It was not endorsed by Paul III until August 1549. Among the Protestants who opposed it were Duke Johann Frederich of Saxony, Margrave Hans von Cüstrin, Count Palatine Wolfgang Johann Zweibrücken, Duke Ulrich of Württenburg, Elector Maurice of Saxony, and Landgrave Philip of Hesse, who as a captive of Charles later signed it to hasten his release. The center of Protestant opposition was Magdeburg, where Matthias flacius illyricus and Nikolaus von Amsdorf fought its adoption (see gnesiolutheranism). In general the Catholic clergy refused to become Interim priests and distribute the Sacrament under both species; the Protestant clergy looked upon the formula as "revived papistry." A Frankfort delegate to the Diet reported that the Interim was regarded as interitum (disaster).

LEIPZIG (1548)

In an attempt to make the reintroduction of Catholic ceremonial acceptable to Protestants, Maurice of Saxony, Melanchthon, and George III of Anhalt-Dessau met at Alt-Zella in November 1548. There a new document was drawn up, declaring that Catholic ceremonials, images of saints, etc., were neither good nor bad but indifferent things (adiaphora ) and therefore not in opposition to Scripture. This was accepted by Saxony at the Diet of Leipzig in December, but elsewhere it led to renewed controversy.

See Also: philippism; crypto-calvinism; confessions of faith, protestant.

Bibliography: b. j. kidd, ed., Documents Illustrative of the Continental Reformation (Oxford 1911) 340346 (on Regensberg), 359362 (on Augsburg). p. schaff, Bibliotheca symbolica ecclesiae universalis: The Creeds of Christendom, 3 v. (6th ed. New York 1919) v.3. Janssen-Pastor 6:395420. h. holborn, A History of Modern Germany, 3 v. (New York 1959) v.1 The Reformation. k. brandi, The Emperor Charles V: The Growth and Destiny of a Man and of a World Empire, tr. c. v. wedgwood (New York 1939). l. pastor, The History of the Popes from the Close of the Middle Ages (London-St. Louis 193861) 12:409439.

[e. d. mc shane]

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