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Australian Diocesan Archivists. Circular Letter “The Pastoral Function of Church Archives” of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church Feb 2, 1997 Pauline Garland SAA . “…the traces of Christ’s action are revealed… ” 1.2 . MISSION OF CHURCH.

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australian diocesan archivists

Australian Diocesan Archivists

Circular Letter “The Pastoral Function of Church Archives” of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church Feb 2, 1997

Pauline Garland SAA

mission of church

Sole intent of the Church is the announcing of the Gospel

church archives
Church archives
  • Preserve the unique and
  • Spontaneous documentation produced by persons and events
  • Cultivates the memory of life of Church
  • Manifests a sense of tradition
cultural goods of church are created by
Cultural goods of Church are created by:
  • Memory of works
  • Witness of members
  • Continual search of believers
Archives are a cultural good because they record the path followed by the Church through the centuries
1 transmission of documents
  • As a moment of Tradition
  • As memory of evangelisation
  • As a pastoral instrument
1 1 documents of tradition
1.1 Documents of Tradition
  • Enable reconstruction of daily events
  • Represent primary source of history
  • Can be gathered from Apostolic times onwards
  • Express oneness and continuity of Church
  • Record events of salvation
1 2 documents as memory of evangelisation
1.2 Documents as memory of evangelisation
  • Contain history of pastoral work of bishops, pastors, missionaries, religious and lay organisations
  • Consists of reports of ‘ad limina visits’, national councils, diocesan synods, chapters, dispatches of missionaries, correspondence
  • Includes Parish records
1 3 documents as a pastoral instrument
1.3 Documents as a pastoral instrument
  • Are a means of enlightening pastoral action
  • Make more concrete the memory of the facts of Tradition
  • Are a useful source of knowledge of different experiences of the past
  • Provide a forward looking awareness as a means of adaptation to the needs of the faithful
2 concrete plan of action
2. Concrete plan of action
  • Have an effective diocesan historical archive
  • Adapt archives for current affairs
  • Collaborate mutually with civil bodies
  • Adopt common guidelines for Episcopal Conferences
  • Employ qualified personnel
2 1 effective diocesan historical archive can 381 2
2. 1 Effective diocesan historical archive – Can 381.2
  • Need to be adequately conserved
  • Ought to be carefully kept and
  • Systematically organised
2 2 adaptation of archival documents for current affairs
2.2 Adaptation of archival documents for current affairs
  • Be organised according to present day needs with openness to future developments
  • Show awareness of process of changes since Vatican II
  • Collect documentation from restructure of institutions
  • Possess a certain urgency and care for current affairs
  • Set criteria to acquire acts of special initiatives
  • Use modern technical methods of organisation
2 3 mutual collaboration with civil bodies
2.3 Mutual collaboration with civil bodies
  • By awareness of cultural heritage
  • By mutual agreements of Church bodies
  • Through using Norms of ownership, nature and origin
  • By respecting civil laws
  • Through collaboration with political community
2 4 a common guideline for the episcopal conferences
2.4 A. Common guideline for the Episcopal Conferences
  • Respect of Church towards cultures
  • Be efficient instrument of dialogue with contemporary society
  • Preserve acts of concrete life of Church community
  • Draft diaries of local events
  • Care in gathering documents of traditions and initiatives becoming extinct
2 4 b common guideline for the episcopal conferences
2.4 B. Common guideline for the Episcopal Conferences
  • Converge on common practical guidelines that effect particular churches
  • Study ways to recover confiscated archives
  • Remind administrators of responsibilities to protect material documentation
  • Promote current training; membership of professional Associations; conferences
  • Reawaken pastors sensitivity to archives
  • Maintain Parish registers
2 5 employment of qualified personnel
2.5 Employment of qualified personnel
  • Archival direction be given to qualified and properly trained individuals
  • Or combine other archive collections
  • Use management policy
  • Staff be active in archival science
  • Possess professional background
  • Use technical competence
3 conservation of documents of memory
3. Conservation of Documents of Memory
  • Be aware of unique quality of documents
  • Use appropriate storage spaces
  • Utilise inventory and computerised methods
3 1 unique quality of documents
3.1 Unique quality of documents
  • Because unlike library material
  • Are principle sources of historical research
  • Require appropriate access policy
  • Work towards recovery of dispersed material
  • Need of cooperation with other Church archives
  • Choice of paper etc
  • Correct collection management
3 2 appropriate storage spaces
3.2 Appropriate storage spaces
  • Utilise properly equipped spaces
  • Hygiene – lighting, ventilation, temperature
  • Security - fire and burglar alarms
  • Practise vigilence towards collection
  • Use of technical instruments, finding aids, computerised equipment
3 3 inventory and computerised methods
3.3 Inventory and computerised methods
  • Use computer catalogue programs
  • Establish inventory procedure
  • Other useful measures of access
  • Linking of various archive catalogues
  • Copying of important documents for preservation
4 appreciation of patrimony in the historical culture and the mission of the church
4. Appreciation of patrimony in the historical culture and the mission of the Church
  • Universal destination of the archival patrimony
  • Require regulations concerning archives
  • Interpretation of documents within their context
4 1 universal destination
4.1 Universal destination
  • Offered primarily at service of creating community
  • Also heritage of all humanity
  • History of the Christian people
  • All researchers
  • Disinterested openness, kind, competent
4 2 regulations concerning archives
4.2 Regulations concerning archives
  • Make known individual regulations
  • And harmonise with civil regulations
  • Use common guidelines for parish archives
  • Coordination of recording processes and collections
  • Set limits to use of personal files (privacy)
4 3 interpretation of documents within their context
4.3 Interpretation of documents within their context
  • Use specific archival procedures and
  • Bibliographical aids
  • Understand right context – principle of provenance
  • And principle of original order
  • Apply instruments and facilities for use, copy and reproduction of manuscripts
4 4 cultural formation through archival deposit
4.4 Cultural formation through archival deposit
  • By use of archival deposit staff of Archives contribute towards cultural development
  • When they use scientific competence
  • Give access to researchers and foreign scholars, different nationalities
  • Contribute towards understanding, peace and unity of people
4 5 a promotion of historical research
4.5 A. Promotion of historical research
  • Promote cultural importance among civil bodies
  • Make heritage of memory a point of reference and meeting place
  • Can inspire cultural initiatives and historical research, centres of documentation
  • Need to become priviledged places for research the subject of conferences, didactic exhibits
4 5 b promotion of historical research
4.5 B Promotion of historical research
  • Assume a role of cultural agency
  • By promoting critical editions of sources and collections of studies
  • Become ‘tabernacles of memory’