While leaving intact the general houses of the various confraternities (except that of the Jesuits), the bill abolished the Religious corporate personality of religious orders, handed over Bill, their schools and hospitals to civil administrators, placed their churches at the disposal of the secular clergy, and provided pensions for nuns and monks, those who had families being sent to reside with their relatives, and those who by reason of age or bereavement had no home but their monasteries being allowed to end their days in religious houses specially set apart for the purpose.
They were Fraticelli, Beghards, Lollards or other confraternities unrecognized by the church and in steady opposition to her government.
The jus episcopale which Luther afterwards claimed for the secular authorities had been practically exercised in Saxony and Brandenburg; cities and districts had framed police regulations which set aside ecclesiastical decrees about holidays and begging; the supervision of charity was passing from the hands of the church into those of laymen; and religious confraternities which did not take their guidance from the clergy were increasing.
To the pope was made over 16,000 per annum as a contribution to the expense of maintaining in Rome representatives of foreign orders; the Sacred College, however, rejected this endowment, and summoned all the suppressed confraternities to reconstitute themselves under the ordinary Italian law of association.
The old monastic orders had had attached to their abbeys confraternities of lay men and women, going back in some cases to the 8th century.
Catholic propaganda, revived by the monks and the Jesuits, and backed by the armed confraternities and by Catherines favorite son, the duke of Anjou, now entrusted with a prominent part by the cardinal of Lorraine; Catherines complicity in the duke of Alvas terrible persecution in the Netherlands; and her attempt to capture Coligny and Cond at Noyers all combined to cause a fresh outbreak of hostilities in the west.