Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Michael Helding (1506-1561): Ein Bischof Im Dienst Von Kirche Und Reich

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Michael Helding (1506-1561): Ein Bischof Im Dienst Von Kirche Und Reich

Article excerpt

Michael Helding (1506-1561): Ein Bischof im Dienst von Kirche und Reich. By Peter M. Seidel. [Reformationsgeschichtliche Studien und Texte, Band 157.] (Münster: Aschendorff Verlag. 2012. Pp. xviii, 429. euro59,00. ISBN 978-3402-11581-7.)

Prince-bishop of Merseburg during the critical 1550s, Michael Helding had been a participant in the colloquies of Worms (1540-41) and Regensburg (1546), and one of the theological diplomats in the events leading up to the Council of Trent, in which he also participated. In this revision of a Freiburg im Breisgau dissertation we have the first comprehensive assessment of Helding's career since Erich Feifel's (Wiesbaden, 1962). New research on episodes in which Helding was involved, such as the 1548 Interim controversy, has brought the activities of peers and adversaries alike into focus. Peter Seidel's thorough and substantial monograph, based on archival sources in Vienna, Würzburg, and Merseburg as well as the printed record, contextualizes and clarifies the work of an important member of the hierarchy.

As a member of the cathedral chapter in Mainz, Helding was involved in the politics of Empire and Church. Seidel adds Helding to the narratives of Hubert Jedin and Konrad Repgen, revealing him to be a significant partner of Julius Pflug and Pedro Malvenda at Regensburg (1546) and with these two along with Eberhard Billick and Pedro de Soto at Augsburg in the creation of the Interim. The idea of a compromise formula for liturgy, controversial on both sides of the confessional division, had its origin in the 1546 collaboration between Helding and Pflug to produce a "Vergleichsformel." Pfllug's part in the process has been well known, but the story has been incomplete due to scant knowledge of Helding's role.

At Merseburg Helding led a Catholic minority in a Protestant landscape. Merseburg was part of the province of Magdeburg and became Lutheran when George III von Anhalt converted to Protestantism. Helding's appointment as bishop was part of an effort to return Merseburg, along with Pflugs Naumburg, to Catholicism. Strong resistance from the cathedral chapter and from George von Anhalt limited Helding's efforts to restore religious practice to the Roman norm.

After the Religious Peace of Augsburg, Helding became counselor to King Ferdinand and a participant, along with Peter Canisius and others, in the 1557 Colloquy of Worms, contending with Philipp Melanchthon, then under attack from fellow evangelicals. …

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