INTERIM: The name of three provisional and temporary arrangements between the Protestants of Germany and the Roman Catholic Church in the time of the Reformation, intended to be valid only for the interval pending a final settlement of religious differences by a general council (whence the name, from Lat. interim, "meanwhile").
1. The Regensburg Interim: The outcome of the Conference of Regensburg in 1541. See REGENSBURG, CONFERENCE OF.
2. The Augsburg Interim: Adopted at the diet at Augsburg June 30, 1548. After the Schmalkald War, Charles V. thought of reestablishing religious unity in Germany; and at the diet in session in Augsburg in 1547 it was agreed that a provisional arrangement should be made until the Council of Trent had completed its work. In Feb., 1548, Charles chose a commission from both communions to devise an arrangement; this commission could not reach an agreement, and several states proposed that the matter be turned over to the theologians. Consequently, at the command of the emperor, Julius Pflug, bishop of Naumburg, Michael Helding, suffragan bishop of Mainz, and Johann Agricola, court preacher to the elector of Brandenburg, prepared a draft, which was then revised by certain Spanish monks and was secretly submitted by the emperor to the Protestant electors and prominent Roman Catholics of the empire. In twenty-six articles it treated of man before and after the fall (i.-ii.), of redemption through Christ (iii.), of justification (iv.-vi.), of love and good works (vii.), of forgiveness of sins (viii.), of the Church (ix.-xii.), of bishops (xiii.), of the sacraments (xiv.-xxi.), of the sacrifice of the mass (xxii.), of the saints (xxiii.), of the commemoration of the dead (xxiv.), of the communion at the mass (xxv.), and of the ceremonies of the sacraments (xxvi.). Although the views of the Protestants were taken into account in a general way, the document revealed the old Church with its faith and worship. In the belief that the Interim applied to all imperial estates, the electors of Brandenburg and the Palatinate approved it. After a long opposition Elector Maurice of Saxony and Margrave Hans of Küstrin promised not to protest openly if all imperial estates should approve and accept it. The Roman Catholics, however, were not willing to make any concessions. On May 15, 1548, Charles assembled the imperial estates and demanded their submission. He admonished the Protestants to return to the old faith or to live in accordance with the Interim, while the Roman Catholics were to remain faithful to the ordinances of their Church. Elector Maurice, Margrave Hans, and their adherents were greatly angered because only the Protestants were to be compelled to accept the Interim, but in accordance with their promise they did not protest. On June 30, 1548, the Interim became imperial law. In South Germany the emperor succeeded in introducing it in some cities and territories by force, but in the rest of Germany his orders were not carried out. In the Palatinate, Brandenburg, Saxony, Weimar, Hesse, Mecklenburg, Pomerania, and other states, as well as in the North German cities, there arose vehement opposition, of which Magdeburg became the center, headed by men like Flacius, Amsdorf, and Gallus, while Agricola and Melanchthon were inclined to compromise.
3. The Leipsic Interim: Adopted by the Saxon diet at Leipsic Dec., 1548. After his return from the diet at Augsburg, Maurice of Saxony assembled his prominent councilors and theologians at Meissen to discuss the imperial Interim. He was resolutely bent upon adhering to the Evangelical doctrine, but was anxious to have a frank and definite statement of what might be accepted and what must be rejected on the ground of Scripture. After a careful and conscientious examination, the theologians flatly rejected the entire Augsburg document. After a royal and imperial admonition to introduce it in Saxony, a new discussion took place in Torgau Oct. 18, 1548. The electoral councilors laid before the theologians a list of the points which in their estimation were acceptable and might lead to a new church order. Melanchthon agreed with most of the points. Deliberations were continued in Altzella Nov. 19-22, and, under stress of the news of the emperors forcible measures in South Germany, an interim was drawn up which, in the doctrine of justification and in other points, upheld the Protestant doctrine, while it conceded as "Adiaphora" (q.v.) such things as extreme unction, the mass, lights, vestments, vessels, images, fasts and festivals, and the like. Maurice and Joachim of Brandenburg came to an agreement and put in writing what they would accept. The Saxon diet met in Leipsic on Dec. 21 and accepted the Altzella resolutions; the bishops of Naumburg and Meissen, however, refused to concur, because in their opinion it was reserved to the emperor alone to make changes in the (Augsburg) Interim. The ultimate outcome was that things remained as before.
At the diet at Augsburg in 1550-51 the majority of the estates advocated the continuation of the Council of Trent and urged the emperor to compel Protestants to accept the Interim. When the imperial invitation to the council arrived in Dresden, Maurice began negotiations with the Protestant estates concerning a general agreement. In Dessau Melanchthon with Prince George of Anhalt drew up the so-called Saxon Confession, which was approved by Maurice, Hans of Küstrin, the dukes of Mecklenburg and Pomerania, and others. It was proposed that certain Saxon theologians should go to Trent under safe protection and defend the pure doctrine. In Jan., 1552, Melanchthon, with two others, started on the journey and got as far as Augsburg; but in March they were called back because the war against the emperor began. The expedition of Maurice to South Germany occasioned the suspension of the Council of Trent. The Treaty of Passau annihilated the Interim and led to the Religious Peace of Augsburg (q.v.).