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Code of Canon Law
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ARTICLE 2: THE CHANCELLOR, OTHER NOTARIES AND THE ARCHIVES
Can. 482 §1 In each curia a chancellor is to be appointed, whose principal office, unless particular law states otherwise, is to ensure that the acts of the curia are drawn up and dispatched, and that they are kept safe in the archive of the curia.
§2 If it is considered necessary, the chancellor may be given an assistant, who is to be called the vice-chancellor.
§3 The chancellor and vice-chancellor are automatically notaries and secretaries of the curia.
Can. 483 §1 Besides the chancellor, other notaries may be appointed, whose writing or signature authenticates public documents. These notaries may be appointed for all acts, or for judicial acts alone, or only for acts concerning a particular issue or business.
§2 The chancellor and notaries must be of unblemished reputation and above suspicion. In cases which could involve the reputation of a priest, the notary must be a priest.
1° writing acts and documents concerning decrees, arrangements, obligations, and other matters which require their intervention;
2° faithfully recording in writing what is done, and signing the document, with a note of the place, the day, the month and the year;
3° while observing all that must be observed, showing acts or documents from the archives to those who lawfully request them, and verifying that copies conform to the original.
§2 In each curia there is to be established in a safe place a diocesan archive where documents and writings concerning both the spiritual and the temporal affairs of the diocese are to be properly filed and carefully kept under lock and key.
§3 An inventory or catalogue is to be made of documents kept in the archive, with a short synopsis of each document.
Can. 487 §1 The archive must be locked, and only the Bishop and the chancellor are to have the key; no one may be allowed to enter unless with the permission of the Bishop, or with the permission of both the Moderator of the curia and the chancellor. §2 Persons concerned have the right to receive, personally or by proxy, an authentic written or photostat copy of documents which are of their nature public and which concern their own personal status.
Can. 489 §1 In the diocesan curia there is also to be a secret archive, or at least in the ordinary archive there is to be a safe or cabinet, which is securely closed and bolted and which cannot be removed. In this archive documents which are to be kept under secrecy are to be most carefully guarded.
§2 Each year documents of criminal cases concerning moral matters are to be destroyed whenever the guilty parties have died, or ten years have elapsed since a condemnatory sentence concluded the affair. A short summary of the facts is to be kept, together with the text of the definitive judgement.
§2 When the see is vacant, the secret archive or safe is not to be opened except in a case of real necessity, and then by the diocesan Administrator personally.
§3 Documents are not to be removed from the secret archive or safe.
Can. 491 §1 The diocesan Bishop is to ensure that the acts and documents of the archives of cathedral, collegiate, parochial and other churches in his territory are carefully kept and that two copies are made of inventories or catalogues. One of these copies is to remain in its own archive, the other is to be kept in the diocesan archive.
§2 The diocesan Bishop is to ensure that there is an historical archive in the diocese, and that documents which have an historical value are carefully kept in it and systematically filed.
§3 In order that the acts and documents mentioned in §§1 and 2 may be inspected or removed, the norms laid down by the diocesan Bishop are to be observed.
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