Paul Helie Defending the Church
Like Erasmus, Helie was attracted by the evangelical character of Protestantism. He knew the early works of Luther. He was on friendly terms with Matthias Gabler, of Stuttgart, who had acquired a bachelor’s degree in Wittenberg in 1519, and who taught Greek at the university of Copenhagen. Among Helie’s students may have been the German priest, Martin Reinhard, of the diocese of Würzburg, who subsequently became royal chaplain and brought the doctrines of Luther to the court of Denmark. But, no more than Erasmus, was he willing to follow Luther in his radical revision of Catholic belief. On being asked, he left no doubt in the mind of King Christian II as to his opinion of Luther’s teachings. (Neither did he mince words about the King’s relationship with his Dutch mistress, Duveke).
But Christian’s days were numbered. His attempt to limit the power of the nobles and bishops alienated these classes, and his arbitrary and bloodthirsty acts of tyranny gave plausibility to their cause. In April of 1523, he fled to The Netherlands, and the throne was offered to his uncle, the duke of Schleswig-Holstein, who became Frederick I.
“Name, if you can,” Helie wrote to Peter Ivarsen, canon of Lund, November 3, 1524, “among those who with braggart words boast of having done everything, even one who by speech and pen has opposed the King’s violence with such outspokenness as I.” Helie’s activity against Christian included a Latin translation of the complaints against the king, circulated among the bishops, and a lengthy commentary in Danish on the act of deposition. C. T. Engelstoft conjectures that Helie composed in Danish the original list of complaints against Christian which was later incorporated into the electoral charter of Frederick.