Code of Canon Law
IntraText CT - Text
Art. 2. The Chancellor, Other Notaries, and the Archives
Can.482 §1. In every curia a chancellor is to be appointed whose principal function, unless particular law establishes
otherwise, is to take care that acts of the curia are gathered, arranged, and safeguarded in the archive of the curia.
§2. If it seems necessary, the chancellor can be given an assistant whose title is to be vice-chancellor.
§3. By reason of being chancellor and vice-chancellor they are notaries and secretaries of the curia.
Can.483 §1. Besides the chancellor, other notaries can be appointed whose writing or signature establishes
authenticity for any acts, for judicial acts only, or for acts of a certain case or affair only.
§2. The chancellor and notaries must be of unimpaired reputation and above all suspicion. In cases in which
the reputation of a priest can be called into question, the notary must be a priest.
Can.484 It is the duty of notaries:
1/ to draw up the acts and instruments regarding decrees, dispositions, obligations, or other things which
require their action;
2/ to record faithfully in writing what has taken place and to sign it with a notation of the place, day, month,
3/ having observed what is required, to furnish acts or instruments to one who legitimately requests them from
the records and to declare copies of them to be in conformity with the original.
Can.485 The chancellor and other notaries can be freely removed from office by the diocesan bishop, but not by
a diocesan administrator except with the consent of the college of consultors.
Can.486 §1. All documents which regard the diocese or parishes must be protected with the greatest care.
§2. In every curia there is to be erected in a safe place a diocesan archive, or record storage area, in which
instruments and written documents which pertain to the spiritual and temporal affairs of the diocese are to be
safeguarded after being properly filled and diligently secured.
§3. An inventory, or catalog, of the documents which are contained in the archive is to be kept with a brief
synopsis of each written document.
Can.487 §1. The archive must be locked and only the bishop and chancellor are to have its key. No one is permitted
to enter except with the permission either of the bishop or of both the moderator of the curia and the chancellor.
§2. Interested parties have the right to obtain personally or through a proxy an authentic written copy or
photocopy of documents which by their nature are public and which pertain to their personal status.
Can.488 It is not permitted to remove documents from the archive except for a brief time only and with the consent
either of the bishop or of both the moderator of the curia and the chancellor.
Can.489 §1. In the diocesan curia there is also to be a secret archive, or at least in the common archive there is to
be a safe or cabinet, completely closed and locked, which cannot be removed; in it documents to be kept secret are
to be protected most securely.
§2. Each year documents of criminal cases in matters of morals, in which the accused parties have died or ten
years have elapsed from the condemnatory sentence, are to be destroyed. A brief summary of what occurred along
with the text of the definitive sentence is to be retained.
Can.490 §1. Only the bishop is to have the key to the secret archive.
§2. When a see is vacant, the secret archive or safe is not to be opened except in a case of true necessity by
the diocesan administrator himself.
§3. Documents are not to be removed from the secret archive or safe.
Can.491 §1. A diocesan bishop is to take care that the acts and documents of the archives of cathedral, collegiate,
parochial, and other churches in his territory are also diligently preserved and that inventories or catalogs are made
in duplicate, one of which is to be preserved in the archive of the church and the other in the diocesan archive.
§2. A diocesan bishop is also to take care that there is an historical archive in the diocese and that documents
having historical value are diligently protected and systematically ordered in it.
§3. In order to inspect or remove the acts and documents mentioned in §§1 and 2, the norms established by
the diocesan bishop are to be observed.