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The Reformation Defined – The Diet of Augsburg (1530)

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§ 58. Since much evil has been caused by irregular printing, We order [ . . . ] that each elector, prince, and estate of the Empire, spiritual or temporal, shall ensure that until the future Council, printers and booksellers shall produce or sell nothing new, and especially no polemical work, whether openly or secretly composed, unless it has been previously examined by persons appointed for this task by the spiritual or temporal authority. Every book shall contain the printer's surname and given name, and the city in which it was printed shall also be named. If anything is missing, the book shall not be printed or offered for sale. Polemics and similar works already printed shall not be offered for sale or sold. If the author, the printer, or the bookseller shall disobey this ordinance and command, the ruler of that place shall, where possible, punish him physically or take his property. Any ruler, whoever he may be, who is found lax in this matter shall be cited and proceeded against by Our Imperial Fiscal (8) and shall be punished, with the punishment to be determined by Our Imperial Chamber Court according to his status and the severity of his failure to enforce the law.

§ 59. Since We issued Our Imperial edict [of Worms], many bishoprics, higher and lesser ecclesiastical foundations, and monasteries have been illegally deprived of their autonomy and administration and laid waste. Bishops, prelates, pastors, monks, and nuns have been expelled without due legal proceedings; and their dioceses, monasteries, foundations, castles, properties, rents, dues, furniture, and treasures have been confiscated and partly sold, appropriated, and taken from them. Divine, ecclesiastical, Imperial law forbids anyone to deprive someone of what is his arbitrarily, improperly, or illegally, and it especially forbids the seizure and robbery of properties given to the churches and to God, and even more the abolition or liquidation of the pious foundations donated for the glory of God. Therefore, We order that the bishoprics, foundations, and monasteries and their properties, which have been unjustly confiscated, whether by clerical or by lay persons, or were taken during the peasants' rebellion (9), shall be returned to their rightful owners. [ . . . ] All this by pain of the ban of outlawry established by Our Imperial public peace (10), about which more details are contained in Our mandate on the criminal law (11).

§ 60. There is no doubt In Our Imperial mind that there are still many stalwart Christians who adhere to the old, true Christian faith and oppose the rebellious, seducing, and already condemned teachings. So that such people may maintain their honorable, firm attitude, as is proper, and are not deterred therefrom by any coercion, We [ . . . ] wish that those who reside in territories, cities, villages, and hamlets that have not accepted Our Recess, shall, so long as they maintain their Christian attitude and are obedient to this Recess, enjoy the Holy Empire's special protection and defense of themselves, their properties, wives, and children – just as Our and the Holy Empire's special wards do (12). Further, We decreed by virtue of Our Imperial authority that the same burghers, male and female, and residents who confess and hold to the old Christian faith shall, if need be, be allowed free emigration for themselves and their goods from such territories, cities, villages, and hamlets, and they shall not be burdened by any exit fine or payment.

(8) The Fiscal was the executive branch of the Imperial Chamber Court and was charged with the execution of the court's judgments – trans.
(9) An allusion to the Peasants’ War of 1525 – trans.
(10) Refers to the Public Peace of 1495. The Imperial ban meant outlawry, the secular equivalent of excommunication. A banned person could be expropriated or killed by anyone with impunity – trans.
(11) Refers to the Imperial Criminal Code [Constitutio Criminalis Carolina] issued during this same Diet – trans.
(12) Refers to the groups who stood under special royal protection, such as the Jews and the Imperial monasteries – trans.

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