Bishop Accountability

Canons Cited in Thomas Doyle's Davenport Affidavit

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 filed 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

1395 - §1. A cleric who lives in concubinage, other than the case mentioned in can. 1394 [on "a cleric who attempts marriage"], and a cleric who persists with scandal in another external sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue is to be punished by a suspension. If he persists in the delict after a warning, other penalties can gradually be added, including dismissal from the clerical state.
§2. A cleric who in another way has committed an offense against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue, if the delict was committed by force or threats or publicly or with a minor below the age of sisteen years, is to be punished with just penalties, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state if the case so warrants.

1717 - §1. Whenever an ordinary has knowledge, which at least seems true, of a delict, he is carefully to inquire personally or through another suitable person about the facts, circumstances, and imputability, unless such an inquiry seems entirely superfluous.
§2. Care must be taken so that the good name of anyone is not endangered from this investigation.
§3. The person who conducts the investigation has the same powers and obligations as an auditor in the process; the same person cannot act as a judge in the matter if a judicial process is initiated later.

1719 - The acts of the investigation, the decrees of the ordinary which initiated and concluded the investigation, and everything which preceded the investigation are to be kept in the secret archive of the curia if they are not necessary for the penal process.

Text from John P. Beal, James A. Coriden, and Thomas J. Green, eds., New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law (New York: Paulist Press, 2000).


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