The Catholic University of America

National Council of Catholic Laity

An inventory of the National Council of Catholic Laity Records 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: National Council of Catholic Laity
Title: National Council of Catholic Laity Records
Dates: 1958(1970-1975)n.d.
Extent: 5.5 linear feet; 11 boxes
Abstract: The National Council of Catholic Laity Records consists of administrative records, correspondence, national project notes, publications, and slides.
Collection Number: 10
Language: English

Historical Note

The appropriate role of the laity within the worldwide Roman Catholic Church has challenged its members for much of its recent history. The roots of the Roman Catholic laity in the United States of America, a group referred to as 'The Faithful" in a recent seminal book by historian James O'Toole, goes back to the European colonization beginning in the fifteenth century with Spanish missions in regions such as Florida and the deep south, California and the west coast, and New Mexico and the southwest. The French came later, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with missions in areas that now include Louisiana, Missouri, Illinois, and Michigan. The English, who also came in the seventeenth century, established colonies on the eastern seaboard stretching from New England to Georgia. Their established churches were not Catholic, though Maryland, founded in the 1630s, was the first to tolerate Catholics, although this situation later changed. In fact, it was only in Pennsylvania, founded by the Quaker sect in the 1680s, that Catholics were never officially persecuted. These Catholics of mostly English background generally lived in small and isolated communities and only numbered a modest one percent of the population on the eve of the American Revolution. They practiced their religion as they were able with the occasional help of itinerant priests until a more orderly church of both laity and clerics developed, with the first American bishop, John Carroll of Baltimore, being appointed in 1789. As the nineteenth century progressed, standardized discipline in the American Church was advanced by the convocation of the plenary councils of Baltimore that resulted in the promulgation of the Baltimore Catechism and the establishment of The Catholic University of America.

In the decades before the American Civil War, and continuing thereafter, the numbers of Catholic immigrants, mostly Irish and German, to the United States increased. As they assimilated and became more established, they became eager to emulate the types of charity work being done by their Protestant countrymen. This included such activities as temperance, poor relief, and resettlement by the founding of organizations such as the Ancient Order of Hibernians in NYC in 1836 and the establishment of wings of such existing groups as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in 1845. Catholics also wanted to show that while much Protestant charity, in their view, came from upper class largesse, Catholic efforts were the result of working class sacrifices inspired by faith in time tested papal encyclicals and other old world values. They were, however, desirous to be accepted by American society and to demonstrate that Catholics were not largely foreign and intemperate paupers. They took part in the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, Illinois, with a Columbian Exposition designed to demonstrate the Catholic place in American history (after all America was 'discovered' by the Catholic explorer Christopher Columbus). These lay Catholics efforts also took place at a time when internal conflicts arose among ethnic groups like the Irish and the Germans while new waves of immigrants, primarily Italians and Poles, from southern and Eastern Europe respectively fomented renewed anti-Catholic sentiments among non-Catholic Americans. There was also the Vatican suspicion about American ideas in the Church that resulted in the 1899 condemnation of 'Americanism.' It is not surprising then that the Vatican had special concerns about the United States and formally considered it a mission country until 1908.

As the twentieth century dawned there were increasing efforts at national Catholic unity and a greater role for the laity. This is evidenced by the organization of the American Federation of Catholic Societies in 1901, the Daughters of Isabella (later the Catholic Daughters of America) in 1903, the Catholic Education Association (later the National Catholic Education Association) in 1904, and the National Conference of Catholic Charities (later Catholic Charities USA) in 1910. This trend continued after the outbreak of the First World War, with Catholic leaders, hoping to demonstrate Catholic loyalty, created the National Catholic War Council (NCWC) in 1917, an emergency organization based in Washington, D.C., representing Catholic interests by addressing the needs of soldiers at home and overseas, promoting the Americanization of recent immigrants, and developing a Program for the Social Reconstruction of American society. After the end of hostilities, the War Council was succeeded by the National Catholic Welfare Council (known since 2001 as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) which was composed of the American hierarchy and its standing secretariat. Thereafter, the NCWC blossomed into the single most important national organization in the American Catholic Church through the middle years of the twentieth century. It became the principal lobbying arm for Catholics with the federal government, initially fighting against federal aid to education bills for fear such laws would impose government controls on private schools though later it would fight for funding for parochial schools. The NCWC issued national guidelines and provided training and national coordination for hosts of local Catholic societies.

This was especially true for the Lay Organizations Department that oversaw the activities of the fledgling National Council of Catholic Men (NCCM) and National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW). It served as a channel for the interchange of information and service between the bishops and the laity in their common Church work, especially in promoting Catholic principles and ideals in education, social and civic life. The NCCM was a federation of Catholic men's groups that operated through a committee system on national, diocesan, and parish levels. They operated a New York radio and television office from which The Catholic Hour was produced 1929-1968. The NCCW was a breakthrough for Catholic lay women which coincided with the winning of suffrage for American women. They operated as a federation of Catholic women's organization through a system of national committees having counterparts on the diocesan and parish level. These committees included Immigration, Social Action, and Rural Life. They also held national conventions, assemblies, and regional training. The National Council of Catholic Laity (NCCL) was a brief union of the NCCM and NCCW arising out of celebrations of their joint fiftieth anniversaries in 1970. A joint committee had recommended the merger as a way to promote greater lay unity but the short lived organization went defunct when the NCCM folded in 1975 and the NCCW went its own way thereafter.

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Scope and Contents

The first series, Foundational History, 1960-1972, in boxes 1-3, contains records, meeting minutes, and related materials covering the foundation and expansion of the organization. This series includes records of joint NCCM/NCCW meetings (1960-1970), the official Joint Task Force (1970), Implementing Committee (1971), Founding Assembly (1971), and the Commission Planning Meeting (1972).

The second series, Board of Directors and Executive Minutes and Related Materials, 1970-1975, in boxes 3-7, contains agendas and minutes from the Board of Directors Meetings with the files organized in chronological order. Related correspondence, resource materials, and notes taken by board members are included. This series also contains materials pertaining to the First NCCL National Assembly in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1973. A small collection of slides taken at the National Assembly is included with these materials.

The third series, Financial Records, Dues, and Membership, 1971-1975, in box 8, contains statements, reports, and related materials covering the financial history of NCCL. The related materials include financial statements for NCCM and NCCW, and official NCCL/NCCM/NCCW Reports on Examination of Balance Sheet and Financial Statements completed by a consulting firm.

The fourth series, Bylaws, Organizing Guidelines, and Reference Materials, 1971-1975, and undated, in box 9, contains the various draft and final manifestations of the NCCL Bylaws, and includes notes and reference materials used by the Board of Directors during the development process.

The fifth series, Miscellaneous Materials, 1958-1975, in box 10, contains a collection of records relating to NCCL causes, mailings, and professional staff materials. Additionally, correspondence and related materials generated by NCCM and NCCW are included in this series.

The sixth and final series, Publications, 1972-1975, in box 11, contains a complete run of NCCL's official magazine, PEOPLE (1972-1975).

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Arrangement

The National Council of Catholic Laity Records consists of six series:







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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Twenty-five years or living persons.

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Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

Received in several installments from NCCL and NCCW, 1974-1977.

Processing Information

Processing and EAD markup completed in 2011 by Nicole L. Clery, with additional contributions from William John Shepherd.

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Related Material

National Council of Catholic Men (NCCM) Records

National Council of Catholic Women Records

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Office of the General Secretary Records

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Index Terms

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


Persons:
Claffie, Richard
Herger, Alma
Mealey, Margaret
Piepho, Irma
Pope Paul VII
Rountree, Jim

Organizations:
National Conference of Catholic Bishops
National Council of Catholic Men
National Council of Catholic Women
United States Catholic Conference

Places:
Cincinnati, Ohio
New Orleans, Louisiana
Washington, DC

Subjects:
Laity


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Detailed Description of the Collection

                       
Series 1: Foundational History, 1967-1972, (3 Boxes)
This series contains records, meeting minutes, and related materials covering the foundation and expansion of the organization.
Box Folder
1 1 Joint NCCM/ NCCW Board Meetings, 1960-1966
  Folder
  2 Joint NCCM/ NCCW Board Meetings, 1967-1970
  Folder
  3 Joint NCCM/ NCCW Board Meetings, 1967-1970
  Folder
  4 NCCL Rationale - Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1970-1975
  Folder
  5 NCCM/NCCW Joint Task Force on NCCL, 1970
  Folder
  6 NCCM/NCCW Joint Task Force on NCCL - NCCM/NCCW Memos, 1970
  Folder
  7 NCCM/NCCW Joint Task Force on NCCL - NCCM/NCCW Memos and Related Materials, 1970
  Folder
  8 NCCM/NCCW Joint Task Force on NCCL - NCCM/NCCW Reports and Proposals, 1970
  Folder
  9 Joint NCCL Implementing Committee - Alma Herger's materials, 1971
Box Folder
2 1 NCCL Implementing Committee - Correspondence, 1971
  Folder
  2 NCCL Implementing Committee - Staff Functions, 1971
  Folder
  3 NCCL Implementing Committee - Working Papers, 1971
  Folder
  4 NCCL Implementing Committee - Meeting Minutes and Related Materials, 1971
  Folder
  5 NCCL Founding Assembly - Cincinnati, Ohio, 1971
  Folder
  6 NCCL Founding Assembly - Cincinnati, Ohio, 1971
  Folder
  7 NCCL Commission Planning Meeting, 1972
Box Folder
3 1 NCCL Commission Planning Meeting, 1972
  Folder
  2 NCCL Commission Planning Meeting, 1972
                       
Series 2: Board of Directors' and Executive Minutes and Related Materials, 1970-1975, (5 Boxes)
This series contains agendas and minutes from the Board of Directors Meetings with the files organized in chronological order. Related correspondence, resource materials, notes taken by board members, and materials pertaining to the First NCCL National Assembly in New Orleans.
Box Folder
3 3 NCCL Board of Directors - Miscellaneous, 1970-1974
  Folder
  4 NCCL Board of Directors Rosters, 1971-1973
  Folder
  5 NCCL Board of Directors - Board Appointments, 1973-1974
  Folder
  6 NCCL Board of Directors - Sample Regional Packet, NCCB Regional Meetings, 1973
  Folder
  7 NCCL Board of Directors - November Meeting, 1971
  Folder
  8 NCCL Board of Directors - March Meeting, 1972
  Folder
  9 NCCL Board of Directors - March Meeting, 1972
Box Folder
4 1 NCCL Board of Directors - November Meeting, 1972
  Folder
  2 NCCL Board of Directors - November Meeting, 1972
  Folder
  3 NCCL Board of Directors - November Meeting, 1972
  Folder
  4 NCCL Board of Directors - November Meeting, 1972
  Folder
  5 NCCL Board of Directors - November Meeting, 1972
  Folder
  6 NCCL Board of Directors - November Meeting, 1972
  Folder
  7 NCCL Board of Directors - November Meeting, 1972
Box Folder
5 1 NCCL Board of Directors - March Meeting, 1973
  Folder
  2 NCCL Board of Directors - March Meeting, 1973
  Folder
  3 NCCL Board of Directors - March Meeting, 1973
  Folder
  4 NCCL Board of Directors - March Meeting, 1973
  Folder
  5 NCCL Board of Directors - March Meeting, 1973
Box Folder
6 1 NCCL National Assembly - New Orleans - Slides, 1973
  Folder
  2 NCCL National Assembly - New Orleans, 1973
  Folder
  3 NCCL National Assembly - New Orleans - Delegate Packet, 1973
  Folder
  4 NCCL National Assembly - New Orleans - Delegate Packet Contents, 1973
  Folder
  5 NCCL National Assembly - New Orleans - Official Stenotyped Business Meeting Transcript, Oct. 18-19, 1973
  Folder
  6 NCCL National Assembly - New Orleans - Official Stenotyped Business Meeting Transcript, Oct. 18-19, 1973
  Folder
  7 NCCL National Assembly - New Orleans - Official Stenotyped Business Meeting Transcript, Oct. 18-19, 1973
Box Folder
7 1 NCCL Board of Directors - January Meeting, 1974
  Folder
  2 NCCL Board of Directors - January Meeting, 1974
  Folder
  3 NCCL Board of Directors - January Meeting, 1974
  Folder
  4 NCCL Board of Directors - January Meeting, 1974
  Folder
  5 NCCL Board of Directors - January Meeting, 1974
  Folder
  6 NCCL Board of Directors - January Meeting, 1974
  Folder
  7 NCCL Board of Directors - March Meeting, 1975
                       
Series 3: Financial Records, Dues, and Membership, 1971-1975, (1 Box)
This series contains statements, reports, and related materials covering the financial history of NCCL. Records are arranged first alphabetically and then chronologically.
Box Folder
8 1 NCCL Annual Report Materials, 1973; 1974
  Folder
  2 NCCL Budget Organization Liaison's Folder, (n.d.)
  Folder
  3 NCCL Dues Letter, 1974
  Folder
  4 Financial Reports, 1973
  Folder
  5 Financial Reports, 1974
  Folder
  6 Financial Reports Accounting Period 1/9/71 to 12/31/72 and Calendar Year 1972, 1971-1972
  Folder
  7 NCCL Fiscal Posture and NCCL First-Year Fiscal Problems, 1971
  Folder
  8 NCCL Organization Affiliation Dues, 1971
  Folder
  9 NCCL Organization Affiliation Dues, 1973
  Folder
  10 NCCL Organization Affiliation Dues, 1974
  Folder
  11 NCCL Organization Affiliation Dues, 1975
  Folder
  12 NCCL Organization Membership Application, 1974
  Folder
  13 NCCL/NCCM/NCCW Reports on Examination of Balance Sheet and Financial Statements, 1971
  Folder
  14 NCCL Resource Package for Membership Chairmen, 1974
  Folder
  15 NCCL State Membership Chairmen Rosters, 1974, 1975
                       
Series 4: Bylaws, Organizing Guidelines, and Reference Materials, 1971-1975, n.d. (1 Box)
This series contains the various draft and final manifestations of the NCCL Bylaws, and includes notes and reference materials. Records are arranged chronologically.
Box Folder
9 1 NCCL Provisional Guidelines - Articles of Incorporation, 1971
  Folder
  2 Interim Bylaws of the NCCL - Adopted at Founding Assembly, 1971
  Folder
  3 Bylaws of the NCCL - Adopted by National Assembly, 1973
  Folder
  4 Sample A/DCCL Bylaws, 1973; 1975
  Folder
  5 Parish Council Constitutions - Supplement #1 to Parish Council Report (Complete 1st Draft), n.d.
  Folder
  6 Parish Council Constitutions - Supplement #1 to Parish Council Report (Complete 1st Draft), n.d.
  Folder
  7 How to Set Up a Diocesan Council of Catholic Laity, n.d.
  Folder
  8 NCCL Reference Materials on Lay Apostolate Leadership, n.d.
  Folder
  9 NCCL Reference Materials on Parish Council Leadership, n.d.
  Folder
  10 NCCL Reference Materials on Parish Council Leadership, n.d.
  Folder
  11 NCCL Reference Materials on Proposal for the Expediting of a National Office for the Recruitment and Placement of Volunteer Lay Personnel, 1973
                       
Series 5: Miscellaneous Materials, 1958-1975, (1 Box)
This series contains a collection of records relating to NCCL causes, mailings, professional staff, NCCM, and NCCW. Records are arranged first alphabetically and then chronologically
Box Folder
10 1 NCCL Causes - Committee on Ways and Means/ Catholic Education Tax Credits, 1972
  Folder
  2 NCCL Causes - Farah Manufacturing Co./ Workers' Rights and Boycott, 1973
  Folder
  3 NCCL Mailings, 1974
  Folder
  4 NCCL - Miscellaneous, 1971-1974
  Folder
  5 NCCL Professional Staff - Board/ Staff Relationships, 1963
  Folder
  6 NCCL Professional Staff - Staff Meetings, 1970-1974
  Folder
  7 NCCM - Miscellaneous, 1970-1974
  Folder
  8 NCCM - Voting Rights 1971 General Assembly, 1971
  Folder
  9 NCCW - Miscellaneous, n.d.-1958
  Folder
  10 NCCW - Miscellaneous, 1962-1974; 1979
  Folder
  11 NCCW - Organizational Publications, n.d.
                       
Series 6: Publications, 1972-1975, (1 Box)
This series contains a complete run of NCCL's official magazine, PEOPLE.
Box Folder
11 1 PEOPLE January - March, 1972
  Folder
  2 PEOPLE April - June/July, 1972
  Folder
  3 PEOPLE August/September - December, 1972
  Folder
  4 PEOPLE January/February - May/June, 1973
  Folder
  5 PEOPLE July/August - November/December, 1973
  Folder
  6 PEOPLE January/February - May/June, 1974
  Folder
  7 PEOPLE July/August - November/December, 1974
  Folder
  8 PEOPLE, 1975

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary

Historical Note

Scope and Contents

Arrangement

Restrictions

Administrative Information

Related Material

Index Terms

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Foundational History, 1967-1972,

Series 2: Board of Directors' and Executive Minutes and Related Materials, 1970-1975,

Series 3: Financial Records, Dues, and Membership, 1971-1975,

Series 4: Bylaws, Organizing Guidelines, and Reference Materials, 1971-1975, n.d.

Series 5: Miscellaneous Materials, 1958-1975,

Series 6: Publications, 1972-1975,

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