Rautenstrauch, Franz Stephan

views updated


A key figure of Josephinism; b. Blottendorf, Bömisch-Leipa, July 26, 1734; d. Erlau, Hungary, Sept. 30, 1785. He joined the Benedictines in 1750 and was chosen abbot of his monastery at Břevnov (Braunau, 1773); he was appointed director of the theological faculty in Prague (1774) and later served in the same capacity in Vienna, where he was simultaneously imperial-royal councilor and president of the commission for ecclesiastical affairs. Modern attempts to extenuate his aims and activity in state and Church overlook two facts. In 1769 Empress Maria Theresa, urged by her advisers, forced the archbishop of Prague, who had condemned Rautenstrauch's Prolegomena in jus ecclesiasticum (1769), to decorate the Benedictine monk with a gold medal bestowed upon him by the empress for this very same book. In 1776 the monarch decreed that in the future in all public and private ecclesiastical schools of studies only such theological matters might be taught as were contained in Rautenstrauch's Synopsis juris ecclesiastici publici et privati (1769). Important religious truths of the Catholic deposit of faith, such as papal infallibility and supremacy as well as the Immaculate Conception of Mary, were not contained in this book and thus might not be taught any longer.

Bibliography: b. menzel, Beiträge zum Wirken des Abtes Rautenstrauch (Diss. Prague 1932). j. mÜhlsteiger, Die Wiener Tätigkeit des Abtes Rautenstrauch (Diss. Innsbruck 1960). j. mÜller, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 8:10181019. k. g. steck, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 7 v. (3d ed. Tübingen 195765) 5:805.

[f. maass]