The Catholic University of America

Charles Herman Helmsing

An inventory of Charles Herman Helmsing Collection at The American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives


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Mailing Address: The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. 20064

Telephone: 202-319-5065

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Descriptive Summary

Repository: The American Catholic Research Center and University Archives
Creator: Charles Helmsing, 1908-1993
Title: The Charles Helmsing - Vatican II collection
Dates: 1964-1965
Extent: 2 linear feet; 4 boxes
Abstract: This collection contains Helmsing's printer papers on the commission that addressed the issues concerning religious freedom, discussed during the third and fourth sessions at the Second Vatican Council.
Collection Number: 321
Language: Primarily Latin, some English, French, and a little German, Spanish

Biography

Charles Herman Helmsing was born in Shrewsbury, Missouri in 1908. He entered St. Louis Preparatory Seminary and then Kenrick Seminary, and was ordained as a diocesan priest in St. Louis in 1933. His diligent service led to his appointment as papal chamberlain (monsignor) on February 15, 1946, and shortly was after consecrated auxiliary bishop of St. Louis under Cardinal Ritter on April 19, 1949. It appears as if Helmsing was successful as an administrator, as he became secretary and master of ceremonies for Cardinal Ritter and took on a number of other positions including Director of the Diocesan Society for the Propagation of the Faith. In 1956, when Missouri was divided into four dioceses, Helmsing was appointed the first bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. But when a vacancy opened in Kansas City-St. Joseph in 1962, Helmsing was relocated to serve as bishop there, where he took the motto "Servus tuus, filius anciliae" ("O Lord, I am Thy slave and the son of Thy handmaid") from Psalm 115. When he was installed as bishop, Helmsing was already getting ready to attend the Second Vatican Council. While his role in the Council is not exactly clear, some notes from the council indicate during the session on the liturgy (De Sacra Liturgia) that he made an intervention on the role of the homily within the liturgy. Additionally, Helmsing participated in all five sessions of the council, most actively in the composition of the Decree on Ecumenism. In 1968, Bishop Helmsing condemned the National Catholic Reporter, a lay-edited paper in Kansas City, particularly for the paper's strong stance on birth control, priestly celibacy, and criticism in the hierarchy. In his official condemnation, Helmsing wrote "for its disregard and denial of the most sacred values of our Catholic faith" and said that the paper went in direct opposition to the Church's teaching. After Vatican II, he took the changes made in Rome back to his diocese and instituted a series of positive changes for the diocese, including promoting civil rights and easing relations between Catholics and Protestants. He served as bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph until 1977. Helmsing died of a stroke on December 20, 1993 at age 85. In 2006, a new adult faith formation initiative in his diocese was named in his honor, known as the Bishop Helmsing Institute. Bishop Robert Finn, who established the program, said Helmsing "courageously fostered the full implementation of the Second Vatican Council and who was, at the same time, a champion of the integrity of Church teaching."

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Scope and Contents

When submitted to the ACUA, the Helmsing collection was catalogued, page by page, in numerical order. The processing has preserved this system when organizing the collection. The Helmsing collection contains the printed papers from the commission "De Libertate Religiosa," which convened during the third and fourth sessions at the Second Vatican Council in 1964 and 1965, respectively. It was approved by a vote of 2,308-70 Dec. 7, 1965, the last day votes were taken and the day before the council ended. The declaration has its foundation in the dignity of the person as understood through human reason, having its roots in divine revelation, Therefore Christians are called to an even more conscientious respect for religious freedom. The primary language of the collection is Latin, with a smattering of the other languages (see above) in the midst. The collection contains mainly the schema and propositions for the commission. However, it also includes many suggestions from various participants of the commission for ammendations and suggestions. These comments, primarily in boxes 2-4, are in a variety of languages and feature participants from all over the world. This commission spent a great deal of time working how specific expectations for Catholic-Protestant interactions concerning prayer, common worship, uses of churches, weddings, and the sacraments. The commission also appealed for progress in developing ecumenical relations with the Catholic Church and other Christian sects.

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Arrangement

The Charles Helmsing Collection consists of 1 series

Series 1: Subject Files, 1964-1965

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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

None

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Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

The American participants who attended the Second Vatican Council met shortly before its conclusion in 1965 at the North American College in Rome. In this meeting, presided over by Cardinal Joseph Ritter, they authorized a centralized depository. These papers and publications were then shipped to CUA in 1971. The Charles Helmsing papers were then created as a separate collection in February 2009.

Processing Information

Processing completed in March 2012 by Vanessa Taylor. EAD markup completed in March 2012 by Vanessa Taylor.

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Related Material

At the American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives:

Binz, Leo, Vatican Council II Collection

Hallinan, Paul J., Vatican Council II Collection

Ligutti, Luigi, Vatican Council II Collection

Norris, James J., Vatican Council II Collection

North American College in Rome

Primeau, Ernesto, Vatican Council II Collection

Sheen, Fulton, Vatican Council II Collection

Vatican Council II - Documentary Project

Vatican Council II - Miscellany

Vatican Council II - Patrick O'Boyle

Vatican Council II - Martin John O'Connor

Vatican Council II - Rocco Caporale

Vatican Council II - Val J. Peter

First Vatican Council Photo Album

Autographes des cardinaux des XVII, XVIII, et XIX siecles

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Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.


Persons:
Charles Herman Helmsing

Organizations:
Second Vatican Council

Places:
Rome, Italy

Subjects:
Vatican Council (2nd : 1962-1965) Declaration on religious freedom


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Detailed Description of the Collection

                       
Series 1: Subject Files, 1964-1965 (4 Boxes)
Commission for the declaration on religious freedom
Box Folder
1 1 De Oecumenismo Schema Animadversiones Generales, c.1964-65
        pgs.1-100, written in Latin, French
  2 De Oecumenismo Schema Animadversiones Generales, c.1964-65
        pgs. 101-200, written in Latin, French
  3 De Oecumenismo Schema Animadversiones Generales, c.1964-65
        pgs. 201-300, written in Latin
  4 De Oecumenismo Schema Animadversiones Generales, c.1964-65
        pgs. 301-400, written in Latin
  5 De Oecumenismo Schema Animadversiones Generales, c.1964-65
        pgs. 401-500, written in Latin
  6 De Oecumenismo Schema Animadversiones Generales, c.1964-65
        pgs. 501-600, written in Latin
  7 De Oecumenismo Schema Animadversiones Generales, c.1964-65
        pgs. 601-700, written in Latin
Box Folder
2 1 De Oecumenismo Schema Animadversiones Generales, c.1964-65
        pgs. 701-800, written in English, French, Latin. Helmsing's own statement on the commission can be found on page 735
  2 De Oecumenismo Schema Animadversiones Generales, c.1964-65
        pgs. 801-900, written in Latin
  3 De Oecumenismo Schema Animadversiones Generales, c.1964-65
        pgs. 901-938, written in Latin
  4 De Oecumenismo De Schemate in Genere, c.1964-65
        pgs. 939-1000, written in French, Italian, Latin
  5 De Oecumenismo De Schemate in Genere, c.1964-65
        pgs. 1001-1041, written in French, Italian, Latin
  6 De Oecumenismo Schema Animadversiones Generales, 1964
        pgs. 1042-1121, written in Latin. Relator R.D.J. Feiner
  7 Directorium Oecumnicum, Animadversiones Circa Directorium de Motu Oecumenico, 1965
        pgs. 1122-1175, written in German, French, Latin, English. Quaestio IA
  8 Directorium Oecumnicum, Animadversiones Circa Directorium de Motu Oecumenico, 1965
        pgs. 1176-1259, written in German, French, Latin, English. Quaestio II-VIA: passages written by bishops, other clergy. Helmsing's own comments can be found on page 1251.
Box Folder
3 1 Directorium Oecumnicum, Animadversiones Circa Directorium de Motu Oecumenico, 1965
        pgs. 1260-1286, written in German, French, Latin, English. Quaestio VIIA-IXA: passages written by bishops, other clergy.
  2 De Schemate in genere, c.1964-65
        pgs. 1287-1340, De pooemio de capite, modi primo (sections I-II), secundo, tertio. Written in French, Latin.
  3 De Schemate in genere, c.1964-65
        pgs. 1341-1383, Caput Primum III-IV. Written in English, Latin.
  4 De Schemate in genere, c.1964-65
        pgs. 1384-1433, Modi: Caput Secundum - IX-XII, Latin, English. Written in English, Latin. On page 1411, Russell J.McVinney notes concerns about "imprudent communications" with Protestants.
  5 De Schemate in genere, c.1964-65
        pgs. 1434-1450, : Modi: Caput Secundum - IX-XII. Written in English, Latin.
  6 De Schemate in genere, c.1964-65
        pgs. 1451-1508, : Modi: Caput Tertium - All. Written in Latin.
  7 Releve et Projet D'appreciation des "Modi", 1964
        pgs. 1509-1539. Written in Latin, with some handwritten annotations by Helmsing.
  8 De Libertate Religiosa, 1965
        pgs. 1540-1596. Written in Latin: analysis, synthesis of ammendations.
  9 Schema, Relatio, Declarationis of De Libertate Religiosa , 1965
        pgs. 1597-1644. Annotations by Helmsingon doctrina libertatis religiosae sub luce revelationis. Written in Latin, stamped "sub secreto."
  10 Secretariatus ad Christianorum Unitatem Fovendam Schema Decreti, 1964-1965
        pgs. 1645-1696. Includes plea to continue the commission in the fourth session of Vatican II. Written in English, French, Italian, Latin.
  11 Schema of De Libertate Relgiosa, 1964-1965
        pgs. 1697-1743. Observations from various clergy on the schema. Written in English, French, Latin, Spanish.
  12 Comments on De Libertate Religiosa, 1964-1965
        pgs. 1744-1767. Sections I-XII. Written in Latin.
  13 Comments on De Libertate Religiosa, 1964-1965
        pgs. 1768-1803. Sections II-III in detail. Written in Latin.
  14 Comments on De Libertate Religiosa, 1964-1965
        pgs. 1804-1839. Section IV in detail. Written in Latin, with some English.
  15 Comments on De Libertate Religiosa, 1964-1965
        pgs. 1840-1870. Sections V-VII in detail. Written in French, Italian, Latin.
  16 Comments on De Libertate Religiosa, 1964-1965
        pgs. 1871-1906. Sections VIII-XIII in detail. Written in English, French, Latin.
Box Folder
4 1 Declaratio De Libertate Religiosa, 1964-1965
        pgs. 1907-1965. DL 1-25. Written in Latin.
  2 Declaratio De Libertate Religiosa, 1964-1965
        pgs. 1966-2023. DL 26-50. Written in Latin.
  3 Declaratio De Libertate Religiosa, 1964-1965
        pgs. 2024-2081. DL 51-75. Written in French, Latin.
  4 Declaratio De Libertate Religiosa, 1964-1965
        pgs. 2082-2123. DL 76-100. Written in Latin.
  5 Declaratio De Libertate Religiosa, 1964-1965
        pgs. 2124-2181. DL 101-125. Written in Latin.
  6 Declaratio De Libertate Religiosa, 1964-1965
        pgs. 2182-2233. DL 126-150. Written in French, Italian, Latin.
  7 Declaratio De Libertate Religiosa, 1964-1965
        pgs. 2234-2291. DL 151-175. Written in French, German, Latin.
  8 Declaratio De Libertate Religiosa, 1964-1965
        pgs. 2292-2340. DL 176-197. Written in English, French, Latin, Spanish. DL 196 contains comments in Latin by Karol Wojtyla.
  9 Declaratio De Libertate Religiosa, 1964-1965
        pgs. 2341-2408. Modi in Genere: ML-GEN 1-2. Written in Latin.
  10 Declaratio De Libertate Religiosa, 1964-1965
        pgs. 2409-2474. Modi in Genere: ML-GEN 3-7. Written in Latin.
  11 Declaratio De Libertate Religiosa, 1964-1965
        pgs. 2475-2516. Modi in Genere: ML-GEN 8-15. Written in Latin.
  12 Declaratio De Libertate Religiosa, 1964-1965
        pgs. 2517-2546. Related documents, with some annotations. Written in Latin.
  13 Schema on De Libertate Religiosa, 1965
        pgs. 2547-2563. De Iure peronae et communitatum ad libertatem socialiem et civilem in re religiosa. Written in Latin, with some annotations.
  14 Schema on De Libertate Religiosa, 1964
        pgs. 2564-2613. Related submissions. Written in Latin.
  15 Schema on De Libertate Religiosa, 1965
        pgs. 2614-2622. Relatio Finalis. Written in Latin.
  16 Index of Collection, 1965
        Index, plus original title sheets of each section. Written in Latin.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary

Biography

Scope and Contents

Arrangement

Restrictions

Administrative Information

Related Material

Index Terms

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Subject Files, 1964-1965

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