Archives committee seeks to preserve and research diocesan records


CHARLESTON — A newly formed Archives Advisory Committee for the Diocese of Charleston met for the first time June 24, offering an opportunity for the 14 members to contribute to the world of research and help shape diocesan policy on access and use of sacramental records. Mary Giles, diocesan archivist, gave a presentation encompassing the history, a description and plans for the department.

Committee members discussed ideas to promote the archives including general awareness, opportunities for students, and volunteer support.

The canons relating to the archives from the Code of Canon Law were also discussed while canons 486 to 491, relating to access and inspection of archival materials, were reviewed for committee members.

Discussion shifted to the access and use of sacramental records. Cut-off dates for granting broad access to records were examined, as was the dissemination of sacramental records information.

Recommendations from the Association of Catholic Diocesan Archivists were studied, especially the example of the United States Census Bureau in using the year 1910 as a cut-off date in granting access to sacramental records.

In statements from the organization, records before that date may be made more broadly available to researchers; records after that date should be restricted from use.

The advisory committee’s next meeting was set for Oct. 27.

Committee members include: Father Scott Buchanan, Sacramental Priest for St. Louis Church in Dillon and Church of the Infant Jesus in Marion; Sister Anne Francis Campbell of the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy in Charleston; Cleo Cantey, Chancellor for Administration for the Diocese of Charleston; Father Peter Clarke, Pastor of St. Edward Church in Murphy Village; Harlan Greene of the Charleston County Public Library; Dr. David Heisser from the Daniel Library at The Citadel; Msgr. Thomas X. Hofmann, Adjutant Judicial Vicar for the Diocese of Charleston; Marie Hollings from Special Collections at the College of Charleston; Dr. Alexander Moore from USC Press in Columbia; Dr. Bernard Power from the History Department at the College of Charleston; Sister Susan Schorsten, Assistant to the Vicar General for the Diocese of Charleston; Jordan McMorrough, Editor of The New Catholic Miscellany; and Mary Alma Cole Parker of John’s Island.