In the spring of 1776, the Catholic pastor for the small town of Munster in Upper Alsace, Antoine Maurer, petitioned his religious superior, the bishop of Basel, to pressure Maurer’s patron, the Benedictine abbot at Munster, for an increase in wages. Maurer served Munster and a half-dozen hamlets peppering the surrounding ridges. The petition listed the religious services that the priest performed to meet the spiritual needs of his flock. One duty was to bring the consecrated host (the viaticum) to sick and dying parishioners day or night in all weather. Maurer would ride a donkey while the churchwarden preceded him with an illuminated lantern and a handbell. When they encountered someone on the road, the churchwarden rang the bell to let the mountain folk know that they should kneel to honour the real presence of Christ as it passed. Maurer commented that, because it was a new practice, Lutherans needed to be told what it was about and that he had ‘not yet met a single one who has refused to [kneel] after having been instructed’.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
Peter G. Wallace
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number