First, that the Protestant estates have no cause for complaint or grievance concerning the generals of the orders, abbots, prelates, and other ecclesiastical estates who are mediate to the Empire, since the latter have pursued the requisite suits concerning their confiscated foundations, properties, hospitals, and other pious foundations before our Imperial Chamber Court (5). They have reported to proceed to trial and judgment before the court. The Catholic estates have rightly and justly complained on behalf of the mediate clergy, that their monasteries and ecclesiastical property, plus rents and incomes, which they held at the time of the Treaty of Passau [in 1552] or at some subsequent time, have been confiscated contrary to the clear meaning of the Religious Peace. This was done as though they were not at all covered by the Religious Peace but could be deprived of all rights and claims for justice, as though the properties could be taken over against the intentions and wishes of their pious donors against the clear letter of the Religious Peace.
Second, We also declared that the adherents of the Confession of Augsburg have no grounds for complaint that their fellow religionists, who possess or desire to take over ecclesiastical foundations, bishoprics, and prelacies immediate to the Empire, are not recognized by the Catholic estates as bishops and prelates and so are neither accorded their seat and vote in the Imperial Diet nor awarded the regalia and fiefdoms. Against them the Catholic party, relying on the obvious interpretation of the “Ecclesiastical Reservation,” have justly complained of these [alleged] “grievances,” namely that such clergymen, bishops, and prelacies, who have apostatized from the Catholic religion, may nonetheless continue to enjoy their bishoprics and prelacies with all the rights and privileges they had according to the Catholic religion. Further, on account of [their possession of these] bishoprics and prelacies, they should be regarded as Imperial estates. Further, that those who are not of the Catholic religion, and, further, not of the clerical estate, invaded and are still invading, intending to overthrow the entire Catholic clerical estates and also the Catholic religion, to the degree that it remains.
Third, We find entirely without merit a claim advanced by some Protestant estates, namely, that the Catholic estates should be forbidden to maintain the subjects in their lands to their own religion. Further, that the Catholic estates refuse to allow them to emigrate after paying a reasonable emigration fee and tax and forbid them to attend sermons and other religious services in alien places (6) (which the rulers have every right to do). On the contrary, based on what has already been said, it is clear that the Catholics quite justly feel themselves aggrieved that the other side should set limits on their own religious reforms, should entice and persuade the subjects to defection and apostasy. This grievance among the Catholics is all the more severe, because, regarding such reforms, the adherents of the Confession of Augsburg allege that in this matter the Catholics are not covered by the law that covers themselves. They hold that they are permitted to exercise the right to reform among their own subjects and to expel resisters, but the Catholics do not possess the same right.
Herewith the chief and most pressing complaint, on which the general Peace principally depends, is explained, as noted above, more than fully and sufficiently from the clear text of the Religious Peace, Imperial statutes, and other public acts, which show what cause each party has, or does not have, for complaint. We therefore command our Imperial Chamber Court [ . . . ] that, based on this declaration, in the future it shall hear and pass judgment in such cases, as described in Our mandate, without further litigation. And because the seizures, plundering, and occupation of the foundations and prelacies, which violate the text of the Religious Peace, are in many places notorious and cannot be denied, and also because the law embodied in the text of the Religious Peace and other Imperial recesses is irrefutable, that henceforth in such cases no action is called for beyond the effective enforcement on behalf of the offended party and its subjects.
(5) The Imperial Chamber Court [Reichskammergericht] was one of the Empire’s two supreme courts – trans.
(6) That is, in places under the rule of lords other than their own and (presumably) of the other confession – trans.