Incorporation (church)

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Incorporation (incorporation, incorporation) stands in the legal sense for the incorporation of one legal association into another.

In canon law this describes the incorporation or assignment of an ecclesiastical office or an ecclesiastical benefice , usually a parish church , into another ecclesiastical institution. The beneficiary institution was usually a monastery , monastery , cathedral chapter or university . The legal institution of the incorporation usually served the economic supply of the beneficiary institution.

A root for the legal institution of incorporation can be seen in the private church system. It has been demonstrable in northern France since the 11th century, and soon after in England too. After the legalization and legal fixation of the process in canon law at the beginning of the 13th century , it became a widespread practice. Incorporations were made by the bishop or directly by the Pope . The fees that became due for each incorporation process were a sought-after revenue factor, which is why the papacy temporarily tried to reserve the right to undertake incorporations for itself.

Since incorporations were made primarily from an economic point of view - economic interests and needs of those in need of incorporation were accepted as sufficient reasons - this often led to a neglect of the parish churches, in pastoral care as well as in terms of economic security for the parish staff. This problem became one of the causes of the Reformation . The Counter-Reformation Council of Trent ( Tridentinum , 1545–63) largely restricted the practice of incorporation into the church. In Germany, most of the incorporation relationships were abolished by the secularizations of the 19th century, especially by the great secularization of 1803. Since there are hardly any beneficiaries left here, the importance of the incorporation system for these regions has declined. In those places where no corresponding secularizations have been carried out, as in Austria, incorporation relationships are still important. These are mostly so-called half incorporations ( ad temporalia tantum ) in which the incorporation master enjoys the economic benefit of the legal relationship, but does not become the pastor of the incorporated institution himself.

In the older practice, full ecclesiastical incorporation ( pleno iure , etiam quoad spiritualia ) had essentially the effect that the beneficiary of the incorporation became the pastor ( parochus habitualis , pastor) of the incorporated parish church. The pastoral work was then performed by a vicar ( parochus actualis ) presented by the beneficiary institute . In the ecclesiastical code (CIC, 1983) renewed after the Second Vatican Council , this full incorporation was omitted; “A legal person may no longer be a pastor, new incorporations of parishes in cathedral. and pen chapters are no longer possible. ”Half incorporations persist.

Since the disposal of beneficiary property was the main aim of incorporation, the incorporation system brought about a (stronger) separation between beneficiary property and the property of the so-called church factory , which was used to build and maintain the church buildings.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Heribert Schmitz: incorporation . In: Walter Kasper (Ed.): Lexicon for Theology and Church . 3. Edition. tape 5 . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1996, Sp. 503 f . ; CIC c. 520 § 1.


  • Peter Landau:  incorporation . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie (TRE). Volume 16, de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1987, ISBN 3-11-011159-4 , pp. 163-166.
  • Ulrich Rasche: Incorporation . In: Religion Past and Present. Concise dictionary for theology and religious studies. 4., completely reworked. Ed. / Ed. v. HD Betz u. a. - Volume 4, Tübingen 2001, ISBN 3-16-146944-5 , column 143
  • Heribert Schmitz: Incorporation . In: Walter Kasper (Ed.): Lexicon for Theology and Church . 3. Edition. tape 5 . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1996, Sp. 503 f .