Influence Of Maria Theresa's Religious Reforms

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Austria under the Holy Roman Empire was devoutly Roman Catholic. The clergy had vast influence over government policy and the Church received exemptions from taxation. Outside religions received no toleration because Austrian Monarchs believed that religious unity was necessary for peace. Maria Theresa took power in 1745. She implemented significant reforms in all areas in order to insure the strength of the government. In her reforms she focused on many areas of state legislation, including medicine, civil rights, education, and religion. Her desire for reform led her focus on the strengthening of the empire, which consequently had a negative effect on the power of the Church, even though her personal religious devotion prevented her from creating reforms aimed at directly attacking the Church. Her successor and son, Joseph II, did not have the same feeling of dedication and had no objections to weakening the Church for the benefit of his nation. During his tenure, Joseph II implemented many reforms that aimed to lessen the Church’s influence and to increase the toleration of non-Catholic religions, because he did not share the dated belief that national unity requires religious unity.…show more content…
The Austrian Monarch Maria Theresa and Joseph II’s religious reforms in the 1700’s detracted from the power of the Roman Catholic Church in Austria by prioritizing the needs of citizens, allowing and promoting religious toleration, and targeting the church in government
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