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Rome, April 10, 1994

275/92/12 Dear Reverend Mother General, Dear Reverend General Superior, Among the concerns in the life of the Church to which the Holy Father John Paul II has directed his attention and of which those in charge of various religious communities of the Church are also aware, You will have noticed a very particular emphasis regarding the Cultural Patrimony of the Church for which special care and vigilant oversight is demanded. For such collections, consisting of figurative and architectural works of art and every other kind of artistic and historic treasures, big and small - from archive documents, manuscripts and printed volumes to museums, archive and library collections - there should be "shown the utmost attention" insofar as they are vehicles of culture and evangelization and thus become eloquent witnesses of the faith of the Church. In 1988 Pope John Paul II had wanted that among the organisms which help him to serve the entire Church there should be one of a universal nature and acting as a promoter dedicated specifically to the above mentioned cultural heritage: The Pontifical Commission for the Conservation of the Artistic and Historic Patrimony of the Church, established by the Apostolic Constitution "Pastor Bonus" (art. 99-104). On March 25th, 1993, through the Motu Proprio "Inde a Pontificatus Nostri initio", the Holy Father decided to transform this first Commission, in order to show how the Cultural Patrimony of the Church should not just be a heritage to be conserved but rather a treasure which should be known and used to carry out the process of new evangelization. To such a task the entire people of God and not just the clergy is called to lend its contribution. It is for this reason that the new Commission, now called the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church, has been set up in the context of the vast work that the Church carries out for culture, giving it juridical and organizational autonomy. This is to re-emphasize the importance of a unified effort of promotion and coordination in the area of artistic and historic collections. To the Very Reverend Mother Generals and Very Reverend Superior Generals Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life The first activity of the Commission has been to establish a cordial relationship with those Church institutions which have a direct responsibility for the protection, appreciation, and formation of such collections, as for example the dioceses, the Episcopal Commissions for the Cultural Patrimony, the various international organizations working in this area.

THE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF THE CHURCH AND RELIGIOUS FAMILIES In this spirit of awareness and collaboration, it seems my worthwhile duty to address myself to all the religious families of the Church, since they are also great promoters of culture and art placed at the service of faith as well as custodians of a very important part of the archives, libraries, as well as the liturgical and artistic collections of the Church. Through this letter I wish to express to Your entire Community my feelings of greatest respect and esteem for what it has done in the past and continues to do today to protect and enhance these collections. This initiative and the text of this circular letter has received the most cordial support and approval on the part of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life. I consider it essential to turn to every religious family in order ideally to summon everyone to reply in an adequate way to the appeal of the Holy Father to "make themselves 'magis magisque', that is, conscious of the importance and the necessity to conserve, evaluate and enhance the artistic and historic heritage of the Church" for our present day and for the future.

I wish, therefore, to remind in an explicit way the responsibilities that religious families have in regard to the Cultural Patrimony of the Church. Thanks to the community structure of consecrated life, members of Institutes for Consecrated Life and of Societies of Apostolic Life offer a significant and an ever-new testimony to the particular charisms of their founders. The life of the community, in its substantial faithfulness to the original plan, knows how to adapt itself to the signs of the times and to the characteristics of the people where it establishes its roots, whether in the country of origin or in far-away lands. The result is that many religious families enjoy a spiritual heritage that has progressively enriched itself and has undergone a harmonious integration of "nova et vetera". In fact, one can observe inside these communities, with ever renewed interest, how the present moment can succeed in amalgamating all sorts of issues: those of the past and present, of local life, of models of other cultures and sensitivities which are all welcomed as a reciprocal gift, tightly joined to the evangelizing mission. The latter has always seen members of Religious Institutes and Societies dynamically and deeply. It is true that some realities have been perceived only in a superficial manner. However one can also be certain that there has been a widespread sensitivity within the religious environments to adapt themselves toward others and to welcome the values of others with the appropriate adaptations. Cultural goods are the privileged witnesses to this catholic and spiritual work. They are to be considered, thus, not only elements of anthropological and social interest, but above all significant expressions of a faith which grows within the Church and finds ever more fitting expressions to manifest its interior vitality. One must "re-read" the cultural heritage of the Church in this perspective: from majestic cathedrals to smaller objects; from the marvelous works of art of the great masters to the smaller expressions of the poorer arts; from the most penetrating literary works to the apparently arid financial registers which follow step by step the life of the people of God. The Christian community knows that from the foundations of new religious families, have derived for the Church not only new expressions of spirituality or evangelization but also new humanistic contributions which have had splendid repercussions on the cultural, artistic, architectural, educational fields. One only needs to think back to those centers of spirituality, culture, and art represented by the abbeys and monasteries. But even those convents, more modest in shape and size, but present in city neighborhoods or city outskirts can become proof of how they have often become not only schools of spiritual life but also points of reference for culture, art, social life, civilization, and urban life. The Church again today calls upon religious families and asks them not to neglect this aspect of their effort and their witness. This might, perhaps, seem secondary, in comparison to the absolute task of carrying on the evangelical life and the work of evangelization. However, we believe this to be an intrinsic corollary of this very task. When a religious community lives intensely its own charisma, it irradiates itself also in the visible forms of culture and art which become as if contaminated with the spiritual intensity of such witness. The widespread diffusion of religious families and their way of life throughout the world which embraces also many generations of faithful who are witnesses of evangelical life, can pose members of Religious Institutes and Societies some questions and can require them to explicitly assume some responsibilities. CHURCHES AND BUILDINGS A careful approach is required today in the complex area of buildings destined for worship and buildings destined for community life. There are many countries where the decrease in vocations requires a new re-grouping of religious. Their diverse distribution, as a result, may lead to the closing down and the abandonment of centers which at one time were particularly important for a religious family and for ecclesial life. On the other hand, there are countries where the sudden growth of consecrated life, unforeseen until a few years ago, finds members of Religious Societies and Institutes confronted with diverse situations. One can recall, for example, the necessity of constructing new churches and buildings for community life from scratch in regions where the Church has been present just recently, or the urgency of re-converting worship places and restoring religious houses in countries where for long decades such spaces were taken away from their legitimate owners, as it occurred in nations of Eastern Europe. Very diverse situations then require appropriate approaches. With regards to the space that is becoming abundant because of the vocational crises, it would be good to plan a program to be put into action, which can take into consideration not only the economic factor (a sale at the best possible price) but, above all, can justify the historical and spiritual significance of the individual constructions. It would seem urgent that some decisions regarding the alienation of the immovable heritage should not be taken in haste. Rather, one should take into account the purposes assigned to each building in an effort to maintain integral its original aim, especially in the case of liturgical centers. The vast constructions found above all in countries of ancient Christian tradition should not be given over to dubious property speculations. They should be made available, if possible, for social and cultural activities in favor of the people with whose help these works were built in the past.

When dealing with recuperating buildings that have fallen for sometime in disuse, one should evaluate the real sense behind such an initiative. It should be conducted with great care according to a clear hierarchy of values that can help to establish the priorities of the interventions and the nature of the necessary effort involved. It is not a question of restoring at all costs what is in disastrous conditions in order to reaffirm a certain prestige within the power structures outside the Church. On the contrary, it should imply knowing how to affirm the primary aim of giving glory to God without forgetting the sufferings of His people that bear the visible scars of violence as seen also in the damaged churches and houses. As wise administrators of the goods of the Spirit, members of Religious Institutes and Societies will know how to find many ways to launch a building and restoration program, which will not provoke any further sufferings in the Christian people. So much more convenient will be the restoration of a building for worship, so much more austere should be the recovery of the living quarters. In the construction of new religious buildings they should know how to invest all the spiritual experience, the social sensitivity, and the aesthetic taste, which have developed in the history of their community. The constructions should carry the mark of the essential, which can bring together simplicity and dignity, the functional, and beauty. The structures should not blur the Gospel message that these same constructions are able to transmit when they are built as witnesses to the spirit of the beatitudes. Difficult economic conditions can at times impose giving up any type of intervention on the buildings under their custody. This condition of poverty should find members of Religious Institutes more trusting in Providence, which never makes anything lack from the necessity of everyday life. As poor people, they should help those who are in a condition of greater or more suffered poverty. This way they can give also a credible witness to the supremacy of God and spiritual values in a world that easily lets itself be run over by other principles. MUSEUM MATERIAL: A challenge to find one's roots once again Worship buildings and religious houses themselves, as time goes on, have become a space where numerous tokens of the faith lived out by the various communities have been gathered: furnishings and musical instruments used for worship, paintings and sculptures, small and big objects of daily life which have gone through alternate events. In many communities, already for sometime, one has proceeded to find an adequate placement of this material in suitable locations. Extremely positive is the effort to insert such things in a didactic context which can help religious themselves and the visitors of such displays to review the history of the religious family through the events of everyday life inside the community and in their apostolic effort. A particular attention should be given to liturgical furnishings. Within limits and at the right opportunity, they should find a periodic use in celebrations. One should show the maximum care to protect them at least as much as it was the care to produce them. All the material making up the museum collection should be gathered and conserved with care. After an initial survey one should proceed to conduct a general and detailed inventory according to the methodological criteria of today's museum related fields, without leaving out any important detail as, for example, a complete photographic documentation. According to the concrete situations presented and with the aim, above all, to prevent irreversible deteriorations and the danger of theft and misplacement, it would be prudent to gather all the material dispersed in the various suburban houses in one single provincial or national center or centers. In this delicate operation one should nevertheless avoid to bring about damage to the suburban houses by taking away those relics particularly significant for their local history. The conservation of museum material does not only imply a prevalent archeological interest, but, more so, it expresses the desire to be better acquainted with the roots of one's own human and religious history. In such a perspective, the care of hand-made objects and works of art makes consciences more aware of confronting today both the complex social conditions and the provoking evangelical needs. Only with a faithfulness towards one's own cultural and spiritual matrix can one open oneself to renewed experiences of humanity and faith which always require a creative contribution of the heart and mind. ARCHIVE MATERIAL: The school of history A lot of material, dispersed among the many religious houses around the world, falls under the category of archive heritage. The nature of this material, because it is made of paper, makes it particularly vulnerable and perishable. So much more, therefore, should be the attention given to this "sphere" which documents the vital history and the expansion of the Church, the mother of innumerable children whom she gathers in the unity of faith. The nature of the material is differentiated from place to place according to the specific physiognomy of the individual communities whether inserted in social centers with particular pastoral functions or situated in a cloistered environment of solitude. It must, however, always be inventoried, gathered, ordered, studied and made accessible to those who want to deepen archive research. From personal documents to register books, from capitular acts to the recounts of individual houses, from financial registers to inventories of the collections, from demographic registers to meticulous and detailed entries of sacramental practices: archive

material offers a lead which permits to follow concretely the events of an individual house and an entire religious family through its growth and its crises, its geographical expansion and its contractions due to various factors. Archive material lends itself, thus, to a whole series of inter-discipline analyses (from paleography to statistics, from sociology to social communications, from demographical studies to economy) which create an historical horizon on which religious life can orient itself today. It is at this school of history where members of Religious Institutes and Societies can re-discover the suggestions of the Spirit, which always calls for the apostolate work of evangelization and silent adoration. Despite a widespread opinion to the contrary, the archive of religious communities is not a place where one takes refuge in the past but rather the space where one opens up to the future. In order that such a program can take place, one needs to examine closely the opportunity to concentrate the material in some appropriate headquarters and make it accessible even at a distance using the procedures of photographic or computerized reproduction. Extremely profitable is the collaboration between various institutions involved in this area. It is a collaboration that embraces an ample range of possibilities: from the exchange of information to the set-up of a common data bank. LIBRARY MATERIAL: The lymph of a new life Another area of interest is the collection of library material of religious families. Such material constitutes another mirror that deeply reflects the religious and cultural efforts of the Church. This area includes a vast section of testimonials: from medieval codices to the more recent printed publications, from old school notes to collections of letters, from manuscript volumes of deep insight in the various fields of theological and scientific research to erudite compiled collections, from drawings and architectural projects to musical scores with music composed for large chapels and for more popular and simple places. Library material, even in its so diversified expressions, can present the opportunity of putting to fruit the talents that God has bestowed upon His children who are in search of His countenance. All of this constitutes a patient and secular work which distills human science to the point of transforming it in the knowledge of the things of God, in a profession of faith illustrated by intellectual speculation and sung by sacred music. Libraries not only gather dusty material destined to be forgotten. In them are hidden treasures of Christian experience lived out and communicated through the written word. It is not so much a matter of filling up shelves but of fulfilling the heart while dipping into the wisdom of the fathers and the mothers of the faith - the lymph of a new life - in an itinerary of cultural deepening which is an integral part of the path of individual and communal updating for the growth of the individual and the entire family. Even library material must thus be adequately identified, inventoried, eventually restored and made accessible. Book collections of the old religious orders need to be kept up to date and integrated with more recent analogous works, which permit having the necessary renovation. One should favor central collections, as in the cases of archive as well as library collections. Even in regards to library material one should favor every form of collaboration between the houses of the same family and between the different ecclesiastical institutions. WORKING GUIDELINES On an immediate practical level, as was already mentioned, various perspectives open up which should become a reality, at least in part within the individual religious families and in part within inter-denominational organizations: 1) It would seem important that the "mutuae relationes" between bishops and members of Religious Institutes and Societies, and thus between Dioceses and religious families, should materialize efficiently in this area of the Cultural Heritage. This can happen by: - searching the maximum convergence and harmony with the norms and the guidelines of the national and regional Episcopal Conferences as well as the individual Dioceses; - cordially offering to the entire Christian community the artistic, historic, cultural collections that are owned by Institutions run by religious, so that these goods might still supply the faith and culture of God's People - filling in a certain detachment which seems to contrast the man of today and the tradition of thought and art which connected him in the past to the Christian faith and culture of entire populations; - inserting in the vital circuit of the promoters of thinking and the arts those members of Religious Institutes and Societies which have a particular tendency in this regard so as to re-build those ideal connections between those who from the faith derive the intonation of their knowledge, as members of Religious Institutes for Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and those searching for the truth in their studies and in their artistic experience. In fact none of us should be allowed to close ourselves up in their particular area without opening ourselves to the total life of the Church and humanity.

2) Thus it seems to us important to resolve the question of persons directly involved in the Cultural Heritage. In this sense one should favor, above all, those artistic and cultural vocations which God arouses for the good of the individual Institutes and the entire Church. The true interest in the Cultural Heritage of the past is witnessed by the care with which today a renovated cultural tradition is promoted within the Church embracing all the areas of the cultural goods known throughout history. One must do everything possible so that faith and cultures of today's Christians and members of Religious Institutes can translate themselves in actual expressions of Christian art and in adequate historical testimonials. 3) In addition, one should professionally train all those individuals who take care of the Cultural Heritage of the past, not simply for an inert conservation, but rather for a conscientious and needed appreciation of this heritage. Such experts in the various sectors of the Cultural Heritage can then intervene in a positive way in the training and in the instruction of young members of Religious Institutes and Societies so that a vivid responsibility might mature in them for all the cultural expressions of the Christian faith. 4) As we had a way to write a couple of years ago to the Superior and Mother Generals whose General Houses are located here in Rome, an Advanced Studies Program for Training in the Cultural Heritage of the Church has been set up at the Gregorian University in Rome with the intention of making available to priests, members of Religious Institutes, and lay people interested a program which can prepare them in this delicate and specific area of the conservation and promotion of the Cultural Heritage. Such a School is already undergoing its third year now. It seems possible to foresee not far in the future its transformation into a proper Faculty for the Cultural Heritage. It is also possible that, following this first experience, other schools similar to this can open up elsewhere in the Church. We would like to ask Religious members not to ignore this opportunity which can allow to send to Rome their Brothers and Sisters in Christ who are intended to be charged with this area of Sacred Art, Archives and Libraries or with the teaching of these fields or with the appreciation of the cultural heritage within their Order. 5) In the economic planning of Religious Institutes one can not ignore the problem of the Cultural Heritage. Its appreciation both on the level of conservation as well as its fruition often constitutes a secure financial investment. But the care of this heritage transcends the confines of economy and makes it participate the events of the works and their creators in a common and renewed experience of faith. 6) On this same level one can place all those programs necessary to give a space over to the Cultural Heritage; the coordination and the agreements within the Church among other diocesan and regional Institutes, as well as eventual accords with competent civil administrations; the common programming between members of religious families and with the local church, on the level of research, protection, conservation and fruition of the heritage of the past and the production for current works. In any case, the collaboration should be seen as an active effort and not as a simple regulation of confines of competencies, jealous of every "interested part." 7) In particular: - we recall the urgency of an up-to-date inventory, especially a photographic one, of everything owned by each individual religious house; - one should draft the necessary documentation for a full understanding of the material owned (origin, provenance, use, socioecclesiastical context); - every religious family should deepen and certify through appropriate means of research, its own historical itinerary in the context of the ample history of the Church and society with particular attention to the work of evangelization and in the presence of prayer which marks the supremacy of God in the life of the Church; - every religious family should have one or more centers of documentation of its own artistic and historic heritage in such a way to make the best use of it and to continue its constant promotion. CONCLUSION As a conclusion to this fraternal letter, we dare ask You, Reverend Mother General and Superior General, as we asked and obtained from the Most Reverend Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences, to reply to us and help this Pontifical Commission, from which the Holy Father expects so much regarding what is being done in this area, the difficulties which are being encountered and what the desires have been as expressed in each religious family in terms of the themes presented here; and, above all, your suggestions, observations so that we can act more and more efficiently and concretely in our effort. As we have done with the replied from the above mentioned Presidents, we can then communicate among ourselves, in the form of a final report, the replies received in order to share together the most significant points emerged.

We hope that this reciprocal communication between the Pontifical Commission and the religious families can mark an opportunity to deepen or to start a constant trustworthy dialogue which can not but influence a return toward a Christian inspired culture and art for which everyone seems to request a renewed effort. In the hope that our considerations and this "appeal" can become object of reflection in Your Community, that our thought can reach a spirit of communion, it seems useful to recall again the words of the Holy Father contained in the Motu Proprio with which He instituted this Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church: "Faith tends by its very nature to express itself in artistic forms and in historical witnesses which have an intrinsic evangelizing force and cultural value, before which the Church is called to lend its utmost attention." With my feelings of personal esteem and heartfelt thanks for Your kind attention, I am Fraternally Yours in Jesus Christ, President Secretary

Source: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_commissions/pcchc/documents/rc_com_pcchc_19940410_religious-families_en.html

Date accessed: June 11, 2011


Vatican City, 15 September 2006

Prot. N. 14/06/4 Reverend Father, Reverend Mother, it is a well established fact that the goods of cultural value in the care of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life constitute a significant share of the remarkable historical-artistic patrimony of the Church. They encompass first of all, the artistic wealth of painting, sculpture, architecture, mosaic and music, placed at the service of the Churchs mission. To these we should then add the wealth of books contained in ecclesiastical libraries and the historical documents preserved in the archives of ecclesiastical communities. Finally, this concept covers the literary, theatrical and cinematographic works produced by the mass media (John Paul II, Address to members of the Pontifical Commission of the Cultural Patrimony of the Church, 12 October 1995, n. 3: LOsservatore Romano. Weekly Edition in English, 25 October 1995, p. 5). From the beginning of its foundation, this Pontifical Commission has made every effort to instill among the Institutes and Societies a sense of responsibility and vigilant attention to their own historical and artistic patrimony; in particular by way of the circular letter The Cultural Heritage of the Church and Religious Families on 10 April 1994. In that letter and in other documents theinventory of goods of cultural value has been singled out as being primary and essential in assisting the work of judicial guardianship, of protection against the crimes of theft; alienation; or expropriation, of maintenance of cultural items, and also for ecclesial improvement. Such an inventory was also the object of a previous document of the Pontifical Commission, The inventory and Catalogue of the Cultural Heritage of the Church: A Necessary and Urgent Task, 8 December 1999, which while being addressed to diocesan Ordinaries, it is also valid for Religious. However, notwithstanding the positive response and collaboration on the part of various Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life some of whom have developed thorough internal provisions many others have not yet been able to take the task in hand because of the lack of suitable personnel and funds intended for this purpose. The risk that arises from such a situation is easy to imagine. If one considers, among other things, the more frequent closure of Religious houses, a dilemma occurs regarding the destination not only of works of art and liturgical furnishings, but of whole libraries and archives. In more than a few cases, this situation is resolved via an irretrievable diffusion of these goods of cultural value on the antique market, which causes great harm to the patrimony of the Church and is in direct violation of both canonical and civil regulations. It is hoped, therefore, that with a sense of responsibility, Major Superiors will in a timely manner take the necessary steps to arrange for an inventory of archival items, libraries and artworks in their possession, located either at the Mother house or in regional houses. Particular attention should be given to goods of cultural value from suppressed Religious houses. The importance of such an inventory is highlighted in can. 1283, 2 CIC and can. 1025 CCEO. For Religious communities with the General house in Italy, it is necessary to follow the directions given by the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI). So as to facilitate communication between these two groups, before writing this letter this Pontifical Commission consulted the CEI, which in collaboration with the Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione (ICCD) initiated, some years ago, a programme of inventory for Ecclesiastical furnishings of artistic and historical value. With reference to the protection of sacred art, the participation of Religious Superiors is expected according to the 1974 norms Tutela e conservazione del patrimonio storico artistico della Chiesa in Italia (cf. n. 6) (Enchiridion della Conferenza Episcopale Italiana, II, Bologna 1985, pp. 448-460). This is outlined further in the agreement between the Minister for Goods and Activities of Cultural value and the President of the CEI (18 April 2000) which pertains to the conservation and consultation of the archives of historical interest and libraries of Ecclesiastical Agencies and Institutions. Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life are included in this agreement (Enchiridion CEI, cit., pp. 1419-1441).

Therefore, on the basis of these directions, the CEI guarantees that the computer software prepared by the Offices and Services of the General Secretary for the purposes of the inventory of Ecclesiastical goods of cultural value is freely at the disposal of those Institutes and Societies who request it. Together with the inventory software for historical and artistic goods and archives, the National Office for Ecclesiastical goods of cultural value, where possible, would like to offer the above-mentioned Institutes and Societies, formation of personnel, technical assistance and the possibility of a continuing renewal by way of the Forum sui beni culturali ecclesiastici. Moreover, a programme relating to Ecclesiastical libraries is already available on the Ufficio Nazionale Beni Culturali Ecclesiastici website. Economic provisions are provided for by the terms of Art. 1, 3, c) of the Disposizioni concernenti la concessione di contributi finanziari della Conferenza Episcopale Italiana per i beni culturali ecclesiastici and Art. 1, 2 of the relative executive Regolamento (Notiziario della Conferenza Episcopale Italiana 9/2003, pp. 279-295). Civilly recognized Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life are able to allocate donations for the conservation and consultation of General and Provincial archives as well as libraries of particular importance that are open to the public. Regarding requests for grants, applications must be made by the Major Superior to the Ordinary of the Diocese in whose territory the Religious house is located. The General Secretary of the CEI, and particularly the Ufficio Nazionale per i Beni Culturali Ecclesiastici are available to the abovementioned Institutes and Societies which may require assistance. For more detailed information contact the Centro Servizi Progetti Informatici dellUfficio Nazionale per i Beni Culturali Ecclesiastici of the CEI on (green number) 848.580.167 (Dott.ssa Francesca M. DAgnelli). The principle contact person is Rev. Don Stefano Russo, Via Aurelia 468, 00165 Roma, e-mail: unbc@chiesacattolica.it In the event that the General house is not located in Italy, but is connected to Italy by way of Provinces or recognized houses, the CEI also offers Institutes and Societies access to computer software. As a rule, it is appropriate to adopt the system of inventory in use in the country in which the General house is located or in which the Institute has a major presence. Taking into consideration, however, that not all countries have an available system of inventory, particularly with reference to computer technology, it would be preferable to resort to those who have reliable and trusted systems. Finally, in the case of insufficient domestic funds or the impossibility of civil grants, it is recommended to apply to International Corporations or Foundations for economic assistance. Thank you for the work you assume in protecting the historical and artistic patrimony of your Institute and for taking into consideration the recommendations in this letter. Reassuring you of the availability of this Pontifical Commission in the event that assistance or clarification is needed, I remain Sincerely yours in Christ, Mauro Piacenza President

Prof. Don Carlo Chenis, SBD Secretary

_______________________ Reverend Major Superiors of the Institutes of Consecrated Life and of Societies of Apostolic Life

Statements by the President H.E. Msgr. Mauro Piacenza Source: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_commissions/pcchc/documents/rc_com_pcchc_20060915_inventariazione_en.html Date accessed: June 11, 2011


Vatican, March 11, 1997 Prot. 274/92/118 Your Eminence (Excellency), I gladly address Your Eminence (Excellency) in order to present the new document prepared by our Pontifical Commission on "The Pastoral Formation of Church Archives" and made public on February 2nd, 1997. As Your Eminence (Excellency) knows well, the Holy Father has wanted to assign to our Decastery the care and enhancement of the Cultural Heritage of the Church strictly in pastoral terms. As he underlined in the address delivered to the Members of the Plenary Assembly on October 12, 1995, the concept of cultural heritage includes "first of all, the artistic wealth of painting, sculpture, architecture, mosaic and music placed at the service of the Church's mission. To these we should then add the wealth of books contained in ecclesiastical libraries and the historical documents preserved in the archives of ecclesial communities. Finally, this concept covers the literary, theatrical and cinematographic works produced by the mass media." We can therefore identify three categories. The first and most important, lists those goods "placed at the service of the Church's mission" which has its focal point in the liturgy. The second group comprises those goods at the service of culture and Church history. The third includes those goods produced by means of mass communications, which can also bear artistic and ecclesial values. Therefore the work of the Commission - as indicated in the address of the Holy Father - moves in various directions. A first in regards to criteria is intended "to clarify the main activities regarding this heritage, identifying it so as to restore, preserve, catalogue and protect it" and to promote new creations. A second in regards to content establishes the concept that the Church has matured regarding the cultural heritage promoting "a greater knowledge and suitable use of it both in catechesis and in the liturgy." A third in regards to training encourages innovative research on the cultural heritage in order to supply artists "with stimulating theological, liturgical and iconographic subjects" and to promote their activity "with new and worthy commissions, deepening a renewed bond between artists and the Church." A last direction looks after the institutional organization committing the Commission to "define the principal agents of the Church's service in this field starting with those who are institutionally involved, such as Episcopal Conferences, diocesan Bishops" and the various Dicasteries of the Roman Curia interested in this area. Thus besides the fruitful and reciprocal capillary contact between our Commission and the Particular Churches we are drafting documents of general interest with the aim of creating a common conscience of respect and congruent use of the huge cultural heritage which the Church has gathered in these two millennia. The Circular Letter addressed to all the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences in the world (April 10, 1989) which introduces the new Commission and requests information on the "cultural heritage", on the institutions working for its conservation, on the relationship with civil authority in a General Survey of 11 questions, gives proof to this. Soon after, a new Circular Letter (March 10, 1992) up-dated all the Episcopal Conferences with the results emerged from the Survey. Given the problems arisen concerning the difficulty of finding adequately trained personnel, the Commission considered useful to send another Circular Letter to all Bishops in the world (October 15, 1992) highlighting the necessity to train future priests in this area of the cultural heritage of the Church. Three years later the Commission addressed once again all the Episcopal Conferences (February 3, 1995) to ask what initiatives have been taken in the meantime for the training of the clergy in the "cultural heritage". Equal attention has been given to the work carried out by the Catholic Universities for the "cultural heritage of the Church" as it formed the subject of a separate Circular (September 10, 1994). Besides the area of training, the Commission looks after the area of protection. On this subject, the Commission addressed the Episcopal Conferences in Europe with a Circular Letter (June 15, 1992) intended to attract the attention on the dangers involved in the opening up of internal frontiers (thefts, etc). On this argument, another letter (May 2, 1994) was sent out in order to invite the above mentioned Episcopal Conferences to carry out an inventory of Church goods. A document will deal with this again in the future. Another area of interest has been the Institutions of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life which have been of fundamental importance for the Church also in regards to culture and the arts. For this reason, we have recalled the attention of all religious families, male and female, in the world with a specific Circular dedicated to the cultural heritage under their care and often produced by them. These Circular letters and the positive and the illuminating comments which followed have focused attention on the most important aspects. We have therefore planned to dedicate some documents on those areas which fall under the natural competence of the Commission: the arts, archives, and libraries. We began with libraries and thanks to the help of various specialists a document was

drafted on this subject (April 10, 1994). Like the other Circulars, it was translated in six languages and sent to all the Bishops in the world. In it, the historical and theological reasons behind the care of these laboratories and conservatories of culture are treated in depth. Now it is the turn for a document on archives. In this case as well, we have asked the assistance of specialists around the world in order to try to define various needs and methodologies. The guiding criteria for drafting this document is a pastoral one because more specific and technical aspects fall under a different competence. It is therefore a Circular of ecclesial nature intended to enhance the heritage of documents within a pastoral context through their material protection, their organization and management, the protection of the collections, congruent access and the promotion of cultural initiatives all aiming at the enhancement of the deposit gathered and being gathered in the Particular Churches and in different Church institutions. The Church retains the transmission of the heritage of documents important because it is a moment of Tradition, it expresses the memory of evangelization, and it represents today a privileged pastoral tool both for Churches of old and young institution. Your Eminence (Excellency) I please ask that the envelopes of the above-mentioned document be delivered to each Diocesan Bishop. I also please ask You to inform that each envelope contains two copies - one for the Bishop and the other for the individual responsible for the diocesan Archive. I would also be grateful if some reference can be made of this document during one of the General Assembly planned by Your Episcopal Conference in order to strengthen the awareness of the Bishops, and through them the Archivists, of the importance of archives and training of individuals for their protection. While I ask You to forgive me if this request will futher burden Your heavy work load, I gladly take this opportunity to express my sentiments of deep devotion and esteem, as I have the honor to be Fraternally Yours in Jesus Christ, Archbishop Francesco Marchisano President Don Carlo Chenis Secretary


Vatican City, February 2, 1997

Your Eminence (Excellency), In the course of her bimillenial history the Church has done her best in manifold pastoral initiatives, within the context of very different cultures, with the sole intent of announcing the Gospel. The memory of works produced confirms the continuous effort of believers to search for those goods which are able to create a culture of Christian inspiration, in order fully to promote man as an indispensable presupposition for his evangelization. Besides the production of such cultural goods, the Church has been interested in their pastoral use and, consequently, in the protection of that which she has produced in order to express and carry out her mission. Part of the latter is the care for conserving the memory of many and different types of pastoral actions through archival documents. In the mind of the Church, archives are places of memory of the Christian community and storehouses of culture for the new evangelization. Thus they themselves are a cultural good of primary importance whose special merit lies in recording the path followed by the Church through the centuries in the various contexts which constitute her very structure. As places of memory archives must systematically gather all the data making up the articulated history of the Church community so that what has been done, the results obtained, including omissions and errors, may be properly evaluated.

A well-documented and unprejudiced study of its own past makes the Church more expert in humanity because it reveals the historical richness which lies behind it and also allows her to identify herself with her essential, continuing and varied mission of inculturation and acculturation. A study such as this, which proceeds from a careful collection of all that which can be documented, helps in planning a future founded on the contributions of Tradition whereby memory is also prophecy. Borrowing an apt image from the school of Chartres, we can consider ourselves as giants if we foster an awareness of resting on the shoulders of generations that have preceded us in the name of the one faith. Indeed historical sources trace the Churchs action in an uninterrupted path of continuity. This begins with Christs message, goes through the writings of the first apostolic communities and all the ecclesial communities which follow unto our present day. It provides a series of images, which document the process of evangelization of each particular church as well as the universal Church. Since, providentially, adverse historical circumstances have not destroyed the memory of major events, we must make a special effort to protect and appreciate surviving documents in order to use them in the hic et nunc of the Church. In terms of specific content, archives preserve the sources describing the historical development of the ecclesial community as well as those relating to the liturgical, sacramental, educational, and charitable activities which the clergy, religious, and lay members of the Church have carried out throughout the centuries up to the present day. Often they preserve documents regarding the achievements of these individuals as well as documents regarding the juridical relationship between communities, institutions, and individuals. Numerous are the efforts sponsored by the Popes dealing with issues related to archives, as we know from the documents kept in an exemplary manner in the old and glorious Scrinium Sanctae Sedis at the Lateran and then in the more recent Vatican Secret Archives collection. Norms have been repeatedly issued by General Councils and diocesan synods. Just as numerous are the examples of the noble archive traditions kept by the particular churches and by religious orders and congregations[1]. The new Code of Canon Law of January 25, 1983[2], as well as the previous one of 1917[3], and the Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches (October 18, 1990)[4] give suitable norms for the diligent conservation and careful management of archival sources. Since 1923 a course in Archival Science has been offered at the Scuola Pontificia di Paleografia e Diplomatica which has led the name of the institution to change to Scuola Vaticana di Paleografia, Diplomatica e Archivistica. Besides this initiative one should also recall that Pope John Paul II established a Pontifical Commission for the Conservation of the Historic and Artistic Heritage on June 28, 1988 within the Congregation of the Clergy[5]. This Commission was later reformed according to the Holy Fathers wishes, and called Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church with an autonomous standing[6]. In addition, Pope John Paul II, in the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus of June 28, 1988 stated that inter bona historica eminent omnia documenta et instrumenta, quae vitam et curam pastoralem necnon iura et obligationes dioecesium, paroeciarum, ecclesiarum aliarumque personarum iuridicarum in Ecclesia conditarum respiciunt et testificantur[7]. The Holy Father commented again on this issue in his address to members of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church at its First Plenary Assembly. On this occasion, as he traced the wide typology of that cultural heritage placed at the service of the Churchs mission he also mentioned historical documents preserved in the archives of ecclesial communities[8]. From the above mentioned authoritative sources and from the increasing scientific and historical literature one can clearly see the Churchs interest in preserving the living good of memory aimed at attracting the attention of Gods people towards its history. The Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church has done its part in communicating regularly to the episcopate the desire of the Holy Father John Paul II that the cultural heritage of the Church be given the due attention it deserves since it stands as a witness to the Christian tradition and represents a means to carry out the work of new evangelization required today. A first circular letter addressed to the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences was issued on April 10, 1989 along with a questionnaire which had the purpose of gathering information regarding the nature and status quo of this heritage, including archive collections and their management. A second letter was sent to the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences of Europe on June 15, 1991, in view of the opening up of European borders, urging the inventorisation and catalogisation of historical and artistic material. Later in the circular letter issued on October 15, 1992 this Commission strongly suggested that future priests be made adequately aware of the importance and necessity of the cultural heritage of the Church as part of the expression and deepening of ones faith, within their program of theological-philosophical studies. Another circular letter was sent on March 19, 1994 in order to call attention to the importance of Church libraries and their role in the mission of the Church. Finally with the present circular, the Commission wishes to arouse interest in archive collections because of their important cultural and pastoral significance. In this way it wants to respond to the wish expressed by the Holy Father to the members of the First Plenary Assembly of this Pontifical Commission to go beyond the concept of mere conservation of the cultural heritage. He underlined that we must systematically and wisely promote it, in order to make it part of the lifeblood of the Churchs cultural and pastoral activity[9].

1. The transmission of documents and its importance for the Church The documents preserved in the archives of the Catholic Church represent an immense and precious heritage. This is shown by the great number of archives that have been instituted by the presence and activity of bishops in their episcopal sees. One should thus mention the archives of bishops and parish records as the oldest type of material making up the collection. The latter documents, in spite of historical events, have in many cases increased with new documents due to the changes in the institutional organization of the Church and the developments in her pastoral and missionary activity. The archives of monasteries of various traditions are in many cases significant because of the age and importance of the documents collected. The coenobitic life has carried out a primary role in the evangelization of the people surrounding religious settlements. It has founded important educational and charitable institutions. It has transmitted ancient culture and, more recently, provided the opportunity of restoring archival documents by setting up specialized laboratories. Besides the archives of monasteries, one should also include those of religious congregations and other institutions of consecrated life, of societies of apostolic life recently instituted with the typical local, provincial, national and international organizations. Thus, this abundant documentation which is an enrichment to the archives collections opens an eloquent chapter in the history of the Church. To these should be added those archives which preserve documents produced by cathedral and collegial chapters; centers for the education of the clergy (for example, seminaries, ecclesiastical universities, study centers of various kinds); those belonging to groups and associations of faithful, past and current ones, like confraternities which played a special role through the ages and for the work of charity; those of hospital and school institutions; those of missionary communities through which the apostolate of Christian charity has materialized. It is truly impossible to describe Church archives in an exhaustive manner since, while observing the canonical regulations, they are autonomous in their management and diverse in their organization because they reflect every institution that has been founded in the course of the bimillenial history of the Church. 1.1. Transmission as a moment of Tradition Church archives while preserving the unique and spontaneous documentation produced by persons and events, cultivate the memory of the life of the Church and manifest the sense of Tradition. In fact, the information stored in archive collections enables the reconstruction of the daily occurrences involved in the evangelization and education to the Christian lifestyle. They represent a primary source for writing the history of the multiple expressions of religious life and Christian charity. The will on the part of the community of faithful and, in particular, of Church institutions to gather from apostolic times onwards the witnesses of faith and cultivate their memory expresses the oneness and the continuity of the Church. The venerated recollection of what was said and done by Jesus, by the first Christian community, by martyrs and Church fathers, by the expansion of Christianity in the world, is sufficient motive to praise the Lord and thank Him for the "great deeds" which have inspired His people. Thus in the mens of the Church, a chronological memory carries with it a spiritual reading of events in the context of the eventum salutis and imposes the urgency of conversion in order to reach ut unum sint. 1.2. Transmission as memory of evangelization Such theological motivations are the inspiration behind the attention and care shown by the Christian community in protecting their archives. Historical sources, whether preserved in old cabinets or on modern shelves, have allowed and favoured the reconstruction of events. They have recorded the history of the pastoral work of bishops in their dioceses, of pastors in their parishes, of missionaries in areas of first evangelization, of religious in their institutions, of lay organizations within society. Let us think of the records of pastoral visits, of the reports of ad limina visits, the reports drawn up by nuncios and apostolic delegates; documents concerning national councils and diocesan synods, the dispatches of missionaries, the minutes of chapters of institutions of consecrated life and apostolic societies, etc. Parish records that register the celebration of sacraments and make note of the deceased, as well as the curial records that report sacred ordinations, reveal the history of the sanctification of the Christian people in its institutional and social dynamics. Documents concerning religious professions enable us to understand the development of spiritual movements in the historical terms in which thesequela Christi has expressed itself. Even the papers regarding the administration of Church goods reflect the effort of individuals and the economic activity of institutions, thus providing an important source of information. The documents collected in an archive underline the religious, cultural, and charitable activity of the many institutions within the Church. They favour an historical understanding of the artistic works that have been produced throughout the centuries in order to express the cult, popular piety, and works of mercy. Thus, Church archives deserve attention both for their historical as well as for their spiritual meaning. They enable us to understand the intrinsic tie between these two aspects in the life of the Church. In fact, through the diversified history of the community as recorded in the documents, the traces of Christs action are revealed, an action that nourishes His Church as a universal instrument of salvation and inspires her on the path of mankind. In Church archives, as Pope Paul VI loved to say, are kept the traces of the transitus Domini in human history[10].

1.3. Transmission as a pastoral instrument Christian institutions have encompassed through their activity the characteristics and ways of diverse cultures and historical realities and, at the same time, they have become an important cultural agency. As we approach the third Christian millennium, it is very useful to rediscover this multifaceted inculturation of the Gospel which has taken place in past centuries and is still a current phenomenon in the measure in which the Word of God becomes announced, believed, and lived out by the community of faithful through numerous local customs and diverse pastoral practices. Historical memory constitutes an integral part of the life of every community. The knowledge of all that which witnesses the succession of generations, their know-how and their actions, creates a sense of continuity between past and present. Therefore, if documents are known and communicated, archives can become useful instruments for an enlightening pastoral action because through a memory of the facts Tradition becomes more concrete. In addition, they can offer to pastors and lay people, who are equally involved in the work of evangelization, useful information on different experiences of the distant and recent past. A forward-looking awareness of the historic action of the Church, as understood through archival sources, offers the possibility of an adequate adaptation of Church institutions to the needs of the faithful and men of our times. Through the research of historical, cultural, and social aspects, these centers of documentation allow the studying of past experiences within the life of the Church and the identification of any faults committed as well as encourage the renewal of beneficial experiences adapted to changed historical conditions. An institution that forgets its own past will hardly be able to design its function among men in any social, cultural, or religious context. In this sense, archives, while preserving the witnesses to religious traditions and pastoral practices, have their own intrinsic vitality and validity. They contribute efficiently towards the growth of a sense of ecclesial belonging in every generation and they show the Churchs effort in a certain territory. One can understand, then, the care that many local communities have devoted in the past and continue to do so in favour of these centers of culture and Church action. 2. The outline of a concrete plan of action Archives are places of Church memory, which must be preserved, transmitted, renewed, appreciated because they represent the most direct connection with the heritage of the ecclesial community. The prospects for re-launching them are favourable, due to the sensitivity which has developed in many particular churches for the cultural heritage and, in particular, for the memory of local events. Initiatives in this regard have been many and significant not only within the Church but also in the civil community. In many nations there is a growing attention given to the cultural heritage of the Church, considering the role that the Catholic Church has had in their history. Even in countries of recent evangelization and profound social turnovers, the protection of archives is assuming a relevant social and cultural significance. On the whole, the situation of archive collections is very diversified. Consequently, this Pontifical Commission considers it appropriate to point out to Your Eminence (Excellency) just some general guidelines for the formulation of a specific plan of action aimed at the conservation and promotion of the archival heritage of the Particular Churches with respect to their diverse situations. In the context of ecclesiastical typology, archives are distinguished into various categories which include diocesan archives, parish archives, archives of the other entities not subject to the diocesan bishop, archives of juridical persons. In terms of their function, we find archival records for current affairs (documents regarding the daily life and management of a particular entity), historical archives (documents of historical value), diocesan secret archives (documents on criminal causes, attestations of marriages of conscience, dispensations from occult impediments etc.). The responsibility for documentary material is assigned primarily to individual Church entities. This makes it necessary to establish suitable criteria in loco regarding the set-up and good management of historic archives, the protection and conservation of the secret archive, the correct organization of archives for current affairs, an adequate computerization of data, the employment of qualified personnel and the assistance of technical experts, the circulation of information among various archive collections, the participation in national and international Archive associations, the promotion of the availability of this material for consultation and research. In addition, it is desirable to establish special commissions, whenever possible, composed of those responsible for the diocesan archive collections as well as experts in the field. In organizing archives and their management one can adopt different methodologies which are based on certain basic archival theories and which can respond to special needs using the concrete operative means available. It is impossible to come up with one organic plan equal for all Church archives. However, it is necessary to come up with a coherent plan, which is open to future developments, including technological ones, and to the exchange of information. In this sense, some operative guidelines are suggested in order better to contextualize the archive issue. 2.1. Establishing or making effective a diocesan historical archive One should underline the primary responsibility of the particular churches in terms of their own historical memory. Accordingly, the Code of Canon Law specifically charges the diocesan bishop, and consequently his equivalent according to can.381.2, to have careful care that "archive records and documents of cathedral, collegial, parochial, and other churches that are present on his territory be adequately conserved"[11]. To this must be added the duty to establish within the diocese "a diocesan historical archive

and to see that documents of historical value be carefully kept there and be systematically organized"[12]. The diocesan bishop must, in addition, according to can. 491.3[13], provide such an archive collection with specific regulations, which may ensure its correct function in relation to its specific goals. The correct organization of the diocesan historical archive can set an example to other Church entities and organizations present in the territory. More specifically it can constitute a useful paradigm for institutions of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life, where there is often an abundant archival deposit, so that the latter institutions historical archives can be established following similar criteria. A Church historical archive can find itself in the situation of receiving private archival material (either from individual faithful or from a private ecclesiastical juridical person). These types of archives remain the property of the faithful or entity which has deposited the material, with due regard for rights acquired at the time of the concession of this material (as for example regarding the protection of the material in its integrity, the regulations for the conservation in a specific place, access criteria). In receiving this material into the Church archive collection it is necessary to include in the official act of agreement clauses regarding the exact fulfilment of the conditions of the hosting archive. If this material falls under the competence of the civil realm, the norms in force in that place must be followed. With due respect for canonical and civil competence, one should foresee the possibility of gathering together certain smaller archival collections which are not sufficiently protected, under whatever title may apply (deposit, extinction or suppression of an ecclesiastical juridical person, etc.). This concentration is done for the purpose of guaranteeing the conservation of the material for both its use and its protection. Diocesan bishops and others who are legitimately responsible for such matters must take such measures whenever there is a danger that such materials may end up in improper locations or in fact already are in unprotected sites, such as parishes and churches which have no priests or other personnel, or monasteries and convents no longer inhabited by religious communities. 2.2. Adaptation of the archive for current affairs The archive for current affairs assumes a noteworthy importance for the ordinary life of the ecclesial community. It expresses the nature of the pastoral activity of an ecclesiastical body. For this reason, one should organize it according to criteria that can take into account the present day needs but also be open to future developments. The archival procedure for contemporary documents is just as important as the collection of old documents and the conservation of historical archives. In fact, tomorrows historical archives are kept in todays archives for current affairs in various episcopal and provincial curias, in parish offices, in secretarial offices of individual ecclesiastical institutions. In these, every moment of the life of the Church community, and its continued development, is recorded, as well as its capillary organization and the multiple activities carried out by its members. In the post-conciliar period especially a beneficial process of renewal has been launched. There have been changes, even radical ones, in the organization of Church institutions. New developments as well as setbacks have occurred in the missionary activity of the Church. A need to restructure many institutions has been felt because of a decrease in vocations and religious practice as well as other adverse conditions, which have effected primarily western countries. The documentation produced in this regard has been very abundant and has assumed particular importance. Therefore it necessitates an adequate regulation and organization. On the correct functioning of archives for current affairs can depend now the information and the co-ordination of many initiatives and in the future the image of the diocese, parish, the institution of consecrated life and the society of apostolic life, the associations of faithful, ecclesial movements, which will be handed down to future generations. If one does not proceed with a certain urgency to look after the care of archives for current affairs one can cause damage not only to the historical memory but also to the pastoral activity of the particular churches. Well-managed archives are useful instruments in order to verify the initiatives taken on a short, medium, and long-term basis. It is therefore necessary to fix criteria for the acquisition of acts and organize them in an adequate manner as well as distinguish them typologically (for example, the records of minutes and the acts of Church life, which have a continuous span, must be considered differently from documents on individual cases which terminate at a given time). The Code of Canon Law recommends to all the administrators of Church goods to adequately catalogue documents and materials, on which are founded the rights of the Church and of the institution regarding its goods and property, and conserve them in a convenient and suitable archive.[14] Particular attention should be given to the methodology used to organize the archive. It can not just limit itself to the planning of the collection and the ordering of paper material. It should by now involve the organization of documentation acquired using those technical means which are continuously being developed with the aid of multimedia methods (slides, cassettes, videocassettes, computer discs, CD, CD-rom, etc). In this regard, in the area of Church archives there is still a need to acquire, whenever possible, a management mentality conforming to modern technologies. 2.3. Mutual collaboration with civil bodies

In many nations there is already an advanced policy for the cultural heritage currently in place, established through specific laws, regulations, agreements with private entities, and concrete projects. In her relationship with nations, the Church stresses the pastoral aims of her cultural goods and their persistent up-to-date role in obtaining these aims. This position does not exclude but rather renders more vital the use of the documents gathered in a specific territory and of a certain cultural conjunction to the advantage of both the Church and civil communities. Such attention on the part of the political community involves the cultural heritage belonging to official Church bodies in various ways. We often encounter mutual agreements drafted in order to favour the harmonization of specific actions. In fact, there is a widespread belief that historical archives of ecclesiastical entities, are also part of the national heritage, even if they remain autonomous. In this sense, norms must be guaranteed and promoted by which their ownership, nature, and origin should be respected. In addition, initiatives aimed at making known the action carried out by the Church in a certain political Community through archival documents should be favoured and supported. Regarding the political community it is the duty of the diocesan bishops and all those responsible for Church archives to maintain an attitude of respect for the laws in force in the various countries, keeping in mind the conditions foreseen in can. 22 of the Code of Canon Law. It is also desirable that the particular churches work in collaboration with the political community on the basis of the proper agreements drawn up by the Apostolic See or by its express mandate. 2.4. Common guidelines for the Episcopal Conferences Such interaction between competent Church and civil authorities urges national and regional Episcopal Conferences to promote a common orientation in the particular churches in order to better co-ordinate the actions taken in favour of historical-cultural goods and more specifically archives, with due respect for the legislative power proper to the diocesan bishop by divine right[15]. It is therefore considered suitable: to reaffirm the respect that the Church has always shown towards cultures, even classical non-Christian ones, of which it has preserved and handed down many written documents, often saving them from total oblivion; to stimulate the belief that the care and appreciation of archives assumes an important cultural importance and can have a profound pastoral significance as well as become an efficient instrument of dialogue with contemporary society; to preserve in archives the acts established and all that which can help make better known the concrete life of the Church community; to encourage the drafting of diaries where the principle local events of the individual Church entities are recorded in order to provide a valid point of reference for the daily documents which are gathered in archives; to have particular care in gathering (also with the help of new technologies) documents on those religious traditions and ecclesial initiatives which are dying out in order to perpetuate their historical memory; to converge on common practical guidelines the effort of the particular churches concerning the methodology followed for the arrangement, appraisal, protection, use of the documents in the archive collection; to study the possibility and the way to recover archives which have been confiscated in the past, often as a result of complex historical circumstances, and dispersed in other locations, by drawing up agreements of restitution or by using computerized reproductive means (microfilms, optical discs, etc), especially when they contain documents concerning the history of the Church community; to remind each administrator of Church goods of their responsibility regarding the protection of material documents in accordance to the canonical guidelines set forth; to encourage archivists in their responsibility to protect the collection by promoting adequate up-to-date training programs, inviting them to take part in national associations competent in this field and by organizing seminars and congresses for a better understanding of the problems involved in the appraisal and management of Church archives; to reawaken in pastors and in all those responsible for the juridical persons subject to the diocesan Bishops a greater sensitivity towards the archives under their care so that they might contribute a stronger effort in properly collecting, ordering, and appreciating this type of material. to encourage efforts to see that parish registers be correctly inscribed and duly safeguarded...[16].

2.5. The employment of qualified personnel Competent authorities should assign the direction of Church archives to qualified and properly trained individuals. A careful selection should be made so that this type of Church service, which must be assigned whenever possible to capable and expert individuals according to stable working conditions, may further increase. The importance of this service should be considered in reference to the historical archive as well as the one for current affairs as mentioned in can. 491.1-2: the individual responsible for the diocesan historical archive can carry out work in other diocesan archive collections, according to the proper guidelines issued by the bishop, and can co-ordinate the cultural activities promoted by various archives; the individual responsible for the archive for current affairs, besides guaranteeing the proper confidentiality of the material gathered, can favour various initiatives undertaken through a management policy which can facilitate consultation and research. Thus, of fundamental importance is adequate training of staff members who are active in this field of archive science at various levels. In the long run, this service will contribute to the development of that cultural basis which today seems to be extremely necessary for pastoral work. With this aim in mind, the Vatican School of Palaeography and Archive Science, instituted at the Vatican Secret Archives, has been working in a praiseworthy manner for decades. Recently this Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church has sponsored an Advanced Studies Program for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Church archive associations should be promoted in all countries because their work and efforts are indeed praiseworthy for offering archivists an opportunity to keep up to date and ensuring the protection of the cultural heritage. The compliance to the numerous needs connected to archive science depends on the professional background of the archive departments staff members, to whom the diocesan bishops assign the management and direction of the archive collections, as well as their sense of responsibility towards the Church and towards culture in general. The technical competence and the sense of duty are the necessary conditions at the basis of a proper respect towards the integrity of the material collections, the acquisition of new material documents deriving from other archives, the organization of the material deposited, the access and appraisal policies which should conform with a regulation controlling the passage of material from the archive for current affairs to the historical archive. 3. The conservation of the documents of memory The primary concern regarding Church archives in the particular churches is certainly to preserve such a precious heritage with care in order that it may be handed down to future generations. Organizing archives entails following the criteria of unity by differentiation. The distinction of the material gathered demonstrates the capillary activity of the Church community and at the same time tells about her substantial unity of intent. Preservation is a need that we today justly owe to those who have gone before us. Showing disinterest would be an offence to our ancestors and their memory. It is the diocesan bishops duty to observe the canonical regulations in this regard.[17] Young particular churches as well are required to document progressively their pastoral activity following canonical rules in order to transmit the memory of the first evangelization activity and the inculturation of the faith in their community. 3.1. The unique quality of documents One should keep in mind that archives, unlike libraries, contain mostly unique documents. They represent principal sources for historical research because they refer directly to the particular events and deeds of specific individuals. Their loss or destruction means nullifying an objective investigation of the facts and impeding the acquisition of previous experiences and thus jeopardizing the transmission of cultural and religious values. The conservation of manuscripts, parchments, paper material, and computerized records can be thus guaranteed by an appropriate norm regarding access policy, an efficient inventory program, any necessary restoration, the suitability and security of storage places. Part of a conservation policy is the recovery of that material dispersed in unsuitable locations. It is also wise to co-ordinate actions between other archives of Church entities not subject to the authority of the diocesan bishop in order better to focus these efforts. The very choice of paper as well as other types of material must be attentively evaluated in order to appraise the durability in certain climatic and environmental conditions. Such operations are necessary steps for a correct management of the archive collection.

3.2. Appropriate storage spaces The concern of diocesan bishops and religious superiors should be concretely directed towards an effort to utilize properly equipped spaces in which to store the archival material. The places must respond to the fundamental norms of hygiene (lighting, ventilation, humidity and temperature control, etc.), security (they should have a fire and burglar alarm, etc.), vigilance (oversight during consultation periodic checks). In structuring the archive premises, one should set aside places to store the material and proper spaces for the consultation of documents with the aid of various technical instruments, finding aids, and computerized equipment for research and analysis. Naturally, such an organization will be proportionate to the different categories of Church archive material stored and the type of consultation one wants to offer. 3.3. Inventory and computerized methods For the conservation of archives of the particular churches it is suggested that the criteria established by the best archival tradition and applied technology be followed (computerized catalogue programs, internet, microfilms, reproductions using scanners, etc.). One should make an effort to try to find first documents of special value to be subject to the first phase of computerization and then ordinary documents for the general work of entering the data with the help of national and international entities. The establishment of an inventory procedure is certainly the most fundamental step to ensure the consultation and access of archival material, as recommended in cann. 486.3 and 491.1. It alone can allow the production of other useful measures to facilitate the consultation of material (catalogues, registers, indexes, etc.) and will allow the use of modern computerized systems to link the various archives in order to give the possibility of research on a wider scale. Besides using new technologies it is also suggested that copies of the most important documents be preserved in other protected areas in order to prevent the loss of all this material in case of disaster. 4. The appreciation of the patrimony of documents in the historical culture and the mission of the church The documentation contained in archives constitutes a heritage that is preserved in order to be transmitted and utilized. Its consultation allows an historical reconstruction of a specific particular church and the society in which it operates. In this sense the papers of memory are a living cultural good because they are offered for the training of the Church and civil community and handed down for generations to come. Therefore it becomes our duty to protect them carefully. 4.1. The universal destination of the archival patrimony Archives, as part of the cultural heritage, should be offered primarily at the service of the community that has produced them. But in time they assume a universal destination because they become the heritage of all of humanity. The material stored can not be, in fact, precluded to those who can take advantage of it in order to know more about the history of the Christian people, their religious, civil, cultural and social deeds. Those responsible must make sure that the use of Church archives be facilitated further, that is not only to those interested who have the right to access but also to a larger range of researchers, without prejudice towards their religious or ideological backgrounds, following the best of Church tradition yet while respecting the appropriate norms of protection offered by universal law as well as the regulations of the diocesan bishop. Such an attitude of disinterested openness, kind welcome, and competent service must be taken into careful consideration so that the historical memory of the Church may be offered to the entire society. 4.2. On regulations concerning archives Given the universal interest which archives must arouse, it would be desirable that individual regulations be made known publicly and that norms be harmonized with state or civil ones as much as possible. This would serve to underline the common service which archives in general are destined to give. Besides the rules and regulations concerning the diocesan archives, it would be wise to establish common guidelines also concerning the use of parish archives in respect of the canonical norms, as well for other archives, in order to avoid mistakes in the recording process of data or in the gathering of documents. This type of co-ordination can favour an eventual computerization of data within ones diocese in order to obtain some statistical information regarding the entire pastoral activity of a certain particular church. It would also be wise to co-ordinate these rules and regulations also with the archive collections of other Church entities, especially those of institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life while respecting their legitimate autonomies.

However, it would also be desirable that limits be placed on the consultation of personal files and other documents whose nature make them confidential or are retained so by bishops[18]. We are not referring to the bishops secret archive, as explicitly described in cannon 489-490 of the Canon Law Code, but to the Church archive in general. In this respect, some archival methodologies suggest that confidential papers be well marked in the inventories and catalogues which are made accessible to researchers. 4.3. The interpretation of documents within their context For the sake of research work and a better appreciation of the documents preserved in archives, specific archival procedures as well as bibliographical aids are very useful for the study of the individual documents since they reveal their historical context. In this respect, one should not forget to supply the diocesan historical archive with specialized works for the historical-juridical knowledge of Church institutions and general works that illustrate the history of the Church. In fact, every document must be inserted in its right context from which it receives its full historical value. In this sense, the contributions of research become more evident since they enter in relation to data acquired previously and already known. These aids, along with those instruments that facilitate the reading of ancient manuscripts and their eventual copy and reproduction, contribute towards a better use of the archival collection. 4.4. On the attainment of cultural formation through the archival deposit Through the archival deposit, the Church communicates her own history which developed throughout the centuries and which has grown in and helped to transform many cultures. Even Church archives, then, become a part of the heritage of civilization and hold an irreducible educational value which can make them true cultural centers. Accordingly, those who work in Church archives efficiently contribute towards cultural development because they offer their scientific competence while making accessible the nature and the significance of documents to researchers. When they offer their service to the advantage of foreign scholars they contribute in a concrete way to encourage researchers of different nationalities to meet and different cultures to understand one another. Thus, they become included among the artisans of peace and unity among men[19]. 4.5. On the promotion of historical research It is desirable that the Church becomes a promoter of archival organization by stressing its cultural importance especially where an adequate awareness among civil bodies does not yet exist. In this sense it is wise to co-ordinate all the Church archives present in a particular church, including those subject to the diocesan Bishop as well as others. This heritage of memory can become, in fact, a point of reference and a meeting place. It can inspire cultural initiatives and historical research in collaboration with the specialized institutes of Church, catholic, free and state universities. Of great utility is also the relationship between archives and centers of documentation. When archives will become privileged places for research and conferences on the religious and pastoral traditions of the Christian community, for didactic exhibits, they will assume the role of a cultural agency not only for experts in the field but also for students and adequately trained young people. Finally, by promoting critical editions of sources and collections of studies, such austere tabernacles of memory, will express their full vitality and will insert themselves in the creative process of culture and in the pastoral mission of the local church. 5. Conclusion In dealing with the archival patrimony of Church communities in this our letter, we are sure that we have aroused in Your Eminence (Excellency) profound sentiments and dear memories of the Church for which You are responsible. The venerated Pontiff Paul VI was convinced that historical culture is necessary, is born of the genius, character, necessity of the Catholic life itself which has a tradition, is coherent and is carrying out through the centuries a determined design and mystery. It is Christ who operates in time and who writes, He Himself, His story through our papers which are echoes and traces of this passage of the Church, of the passage of the Lord Jesus, in the world. Thus, having veneration for these papers, documents, archives, means having veneration for Christ, having a sense of the Church; it means giving to ourselves and those who will come after us the history of the passage of this phase of transitus Domini in the world.[20] Preserving, then, this patrimony in order to transmit it to future generations, just as promoting it adequately for the historical culture and mission of the Church, entails a noteworthy effort. For this reason, the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church has retained useful to offer these recommendations in order to favour the formulation of a concrete plan of action. We would be glad and grateful to receive any comments on these observations we have made and on the proposals we have indicated. This would enable us to develop a fruitful dialogue that can offer us other ideas in order to better tune our action with the real situations of the Particular Churches, and allow us to plan sound initiatives based on the experience of each and every one. Initiatives of this sort, just as the conservation and promotion of the cultural heritage as a whole, require individuals and time. Even with archives, it is necessary that a pastoral attitude be fostered, considering that their conservation prepares for future cultural

developments. Their appreciation could constitute a valid meeting ground with todays culture and offer occasions to participate in the progress of humanity as a whole. Archives, as part of the Churchs cultural heritage[21] and thus sharing the characteristic aims of this type of heritage within the Church[22], can really bring about a valid contribution to the process of new evangelization. By using adequately all the cultural goods produced by Church communities it is possible to continue and increase a dialogue among Christians and todays world. The Holy Father John Paul II in his address to the Members of the First Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church has underlined the importance of cultural heritage in the expression and inculturation of the faith and in the Churchs dialogue with mankind [...] between religion and art and between religion and culture there is a very close relationship...And everyone is aware of the contribution made to the religious sense by the artistic and cultural achievements that the faith of Christian generations has accumulated over the centuries[23]. With my fraternal wish that Your pastoral work may be rich also in cultural results, I gladly take this opportunity to express my sentiments of veneration and esteem along with my respectful regards, as I have the honor to be Fraternally Yours in Jesus Christ, + Archbishop Francesco Marchisano President Carlo Chenis SDB Secretary Vatican City, February 2, 1997

[1] During this last century the Papal Magisterium has issued significant documents on Church archives: the Circular Letter of the Secretary of State to Italian Bishops (September 30, 1902); the Letter of the Secretary of State to Italian Bishops (December 12, 1907); the Circular Letter of the Secretary of State (April 15, 1923); the establishment of a course in Archive Science at the Pontifical School of Paleography (November 6, 1923); Pius XI, Address to the Schools of Archive and Library Science (June 15, 1942); the Circular Letter of the Librarian and Archivist of the Holy Roman Church (November 1, 1942); the Instructions issued by the Librarian and Archivist of the Holy Roman Church (November 1942); Letter of the Congregation of the Council (December 30, 1952); Pius XII Address to Ist Congress of the Association of Church Archives (December 5, 1956); Instructions for archive administration issued by the Pontifical Commission for Church Archives of Italy (December 5, 1960); the Letter issued by the Congregation for Seminaries and Universities (May 27, 1963); Apostolic Constitution Gaudium et Spes (December 7,1965) nn.56-62. [2] CIC/1983, cann. 173 4; 428 2; 482 1; 486-491; 535 4; 895; 1053; 1082; 1121 3; 1133; 1208; 1283 n. 3; 1284 2 n. 9; 1306 2; 1339 3; 1719. [3] CIC/1917, cann. 304 1; 372 1; 375-384; 435 3; 470 4; 1010 1; 1522 n. 3; 1523 n. 6; 1548 2; 2405; 2406. [4] CCEO/1990, cann. 37; 123 1 and 3; 189 2; 228 2; 252 1; 256-261; 296 4; 470; 535 2; 769 2; 774; 799; 840 3; 871 2; 955 5; 1026; 1028 2 n. 8; 1050; 1470. [5] John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus (June 28, 1988) artt. 99-104. [6] John Paul II, Motu Proprio Inde a Pontificatus Nostri initio (March 25, 1993). [7] John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus (June 28, 1988), art. 101 1. [8] John Paul II, Address The importance of the artistic heritage in the expression of faith and in the dialogue with humanity (October 13, 1995). [9] Ibid. [10] Cfr Paul VI, Address on Church Archivists (September 26, 1963). [11] CIC/1983, can. 491 - 1.

[12] CIC/1983, can. 491 - 2. Curet etiam Episcopus dioecesanus ut in dioecesi habeatur archivum historicum atque documenta valorem historicum habentia in eodem diligenter custodiantur et systematice ordinentur. [13] CIC/1983, can.491 - 3.Acta ed documenta, de quibus in 1 et 2, ut inspiciantur aut efferantur, serventur normae ab Episcopo diocesano statutae. [14] CIC/1983 can. 1284 2 n. 9. [15] Cfr. CIC/1983 cann. 381; 375 1; 455 4, with the respective sources. [16] CIC/1983 can. 555 3, cfr. can. 535. [17] Can.486 - 1. Documenta omnia, quae dioecesim vel paroecias respiciunt, maxima cura custodiri debent. 2 In unaquaque curia erigatur, in loco tuto, archivum seu tabularium dioecesanum, in quo instrumenta et scripturae quae ad negotia dioecesana tum spiritualia tum temporalia spectant, certo ordine disposita et diligenter clausa custodiantur. 3. Documentorum, quae in archivo continentur, conficiatur inventarium seu catalogus, cum brevi singularum scripturarum synopsi. Can. 487 - 1. Archivum clausum sit oportet eiusque clavem habeant solum Episcopus et cancellarius; nemini licet illud ingredi nisi de Episcopi aut Moderatoris curiae simul et cancellarii licentia. 2. Ius est iis quorum interest, documentorum, quae natura sua sunt publica quaeque ad statum suae personae pertinent, documentum authenticum scriptum vel photostaticum per se vel per procuratorem recipere. Can. 488 - Ex archivo non licet efferre documenta, nisi ad breve tempus tantum atque de Episcopi aut insimul Moderatoris curiae et cancellarii consensu. Can. 489 - 1. Sit curia dioecesana archivum quoque secretum, aut saltem in communi archivo armarium seu scrinium, omnino clausum et obseratum, quod de loco amoveri nequeat, in quo scilicet documenta secreto servanda cautissime custodiantur. 2. Singulis annis destruantur documenta causarum criminalium in materia morum, quarum rei vita cesserunt aut quae a decennio sententia condemnatoria absolutae sunt, retento facti brevi summario cum textu sententiae definitivae. Can. 490 - 1. Archivi secreti clavem habeat tantummodo Episcopus. 2. Sede vacante, archivum vel armarium secretum ne aperiatur, nisi in casu verae necessitatis, ab ipso Administratore dioecesano. 3. Ex archivo vel armario secreto documenta ne efferantur. Can. 491 - 1 - Curet Episcopus dioecesanus ut acta et documenta archivorum quoque ecclesiarum catedralium, collegiatarum, paroecialium, aliarumque in suo territorio exstantium diligenter serventur, atque inventaria seu catalogi conficiantur diobus exemplaribus, quorum alterum in proprio archivo, alterum in archivo dioecesano serventur. 2. Curet etiam Episcopus dioecesanus ut in dioecesi habeatur archivum historicum atque documenta valorem historicum habentia in eodem diligenter custodiantur et systematice ordinentur. 3. Acta et documenta, de quibus in 1 et 2, ut inspiciantur aut efferantur, serventur normae ab Episcopo dioecesano statutae. [18] Cfr. CIC/1983 491 3. [19] Card. Agostino Casaroli (Secretary of State), Message to IV Congress of Archivists of the Church in France (Paris, November 26-28, 1979). [20] Paul VI, Address on Church Archivists (September 26, 1963). [21] Cfr. CIC/1983, can.1257 - 1. Bona temporalia omnia quae ad Ecclesiam universam, Apostolicam Sedem aliasve in Ecclesia personas iuridicas publicas pertinent, sunt bona ecclesiastica et reguntur canonibus qui sequuntur, necnon propriis statutis.

[22] Cfr. CIC/1983, can. 1254 - 2. Fines vero proprii praecipue sunt: cultus divinus ordinandus, honesta cleri aliorumque ministrorum sustentatio procuranda, opera sacri apostolatus et caritatis, praesertim erga egenos, exercenda. [23] John Paul II, Address on The importance of the artistic heritage in the expression of faith and in the dialogue with humanity (October 13, 1995).

Source: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_commissions/pcchc/documents/rc_com_pcchc_19970202_archivi-ecclesiastici_en.html Date accessed: June 11, 2011


Introduction Your Eminence (Excellency), After having addressed the topics of libraries and archives (see Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, Circular Letter Church Libraries in the Mission of the Church, March 19, 1994, Prot. N. 179/91/35 [Enchiridion Vaticanum 14/610649]; ibid, Circular LetterThe Pastoral Function of Church Archives, February 2, 1997, Prot. N. 274/92/118 [pamphlet, Vatican City 1997]) as well as the urgent task of taking inventory and cataloguing the art-historical heritage of the Church (see Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, Circular Letter The Inventory and Cataloguing of the Cultural Heritage of the Church: A Necessary and Urgent Task, December 8, 1999, Prot. N. 140/97/162 [pamphlet, Vatican City, 1999]), the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church now wants to focus its attention on Church museums that have the function of the material preservation, juridical protection and integration into pastoral life of the important art-historical patrimony that is no longer in regular use. Appeal of cultural treasures in promoting the new evangelization With this new document, the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church wishes to help reinforce the activity of the Church, in dealing with her cultural heritage in the hope of fostering a new humanism as part of the new evangelization. In fact, the Pontifical Commission has the principal task of leading God's people, and especially those working with the Church's cultural heritage (laity and clergy), to press for the integration of the art-historical patrimony of the Church in the pastoral field. Variety of artistic forms shows constant creation of Christian cultures Christianity is characterized by the announcement of the Gospel in the "hic et nunc" (here and now) of every generation, and by faithfulness to the Tradition. The Church throughout her history "has made use of different cultures in order to spread and explain the Christian message" (Second Ecumenical Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, December 7, 1965, n. 58. Such a Conciliar magisterium, expressed also in other passages, [Ad Gentes, n. 21] has also been referred to by Pope John Paul II in the Encyclical Letter Slavorum Apostoli, June 2, 1985, n. 21 [Enchiridion Vaticanum 2/1554-1614]). Thus, "faith tends by its nature to express itself in artistic forms and historical witness that have an intrinsic evangelizing force and cultural valence before which the Church is called to pay her maximum attention" (John Paul II, Motu Proprio Inde a Pontificatus Nostri initio, March 25, 1993, Proemio [L'Osservatore Romano, May 5, 1993, pp. 1, 5]). For this reason, and especially in countries enriched by ancient traditions of evangelization, but also in those with a more recent tradition, an abundant cultural patrimony has accumulated that has great value and supports the mission of the Church. In this sense, even a Church museum, with all the actitivites that go with it, has a close connection with the whole mission of the Church in the given place where it is set up, since it documents visibly the path followed by the Church down through the centuries in her worship, catechesis, culture and charity. Thus, a Church museum is a place that documents not only human genius, but also offers an insight into the cultural and religious life in order to guarantee its existence at the present time. It cannot be set apart in an "absolute" sense from other pastoral activities, but should be integrated into the totality of the life of the Church and into the art historical patrimony of the national culture. Thus, it has to be integrated into the range of pastoral activities, and reflect the total life of the Church by making use of the arthistorical patrimony. Museums are structures that bring to light the variety of Christian cultural contributions In the Christian mentality, Church museums belong entirely with those structures that serve to present the cultural patrimony "placed at the service of the mission of the Church" (The "cultural assets" include "first of all the patrimony of painting, sculpture, architecture, mosaics and music, put at the service of the mission of the Church. To these we should then add the wealth of books contained in ecclesiastical libraries and the historical documents preserved in the archives of the ecclesial communities. Finally, the

concept covers the literary, theatrical and cinematographic works produced by the mass media". John Paul II, Address to the participants at the First Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, October 12, 1995, n. 43 [L'Osservatore Romano, October 13, 1995, p. 5]). Thus, they should be organized in a way that allows them to communicate the sacred, the beautiful, the old and the new. They are an integral part of the cultural manifestations and the pastoral action of the Church. Place to store and protect what is no longer in use The art-historical patrimony not in regular use in a parish, put aside or left unprotected, can be adequately protected and presented in Church museums. In fact, one should work towards establishing an interaction between the treasures in use and those not in use, in order to guarantee a retrospective vision, as well as a real functional role for these treasures for the advantage of the community in a given country. This means coordinating museums, monuments, furnishings, sacred representations, popular devotional forms of piety, archives, libraries, collections and all other local customs and traditions. In the case of a sometimes disintegrating culture, initiatives should be launched that aim at rediscovering what belongs culturally and spiritually to the community, not just in the tourist sector, but in an overall human way. It would allow one to rediscover the reason for the original creation of the art-historical patrimony in order to present it as a cultural treasure. Museum centre for bringing together culture and evangelization In this vision, the ecclesiastical museum can become an important centre that can help people to become acquainted with the past and discover the present in its best and often hidden aspects. Moreover, it is also the place to coordinate the activities of preserving the past, of educating the human person and of evangelizing our contemporaries in a given area. Its organization must therefore reflect the dynamic social, political, and cultural realities of the place and the pastoral plans that have been devised. Community has to support work of museum When we admit that museum structures are important for the Church, then safeguarding the cultural assets is a task that belongs first and foremost to the Christian community. The community has to understand the importance of its past, nourish a sense of belonging to the world in which it lives, and grasp the pastoral usefulness of its artistic patrimony. This involves its developing a critical conscience, in order to present the art-historical patrimony produced by the waves of civilization that travelled through time, aware that the Church as an enlightened patron, is also a careful custodian of ancient remnants. It is therefore evident that the organization of Church museums requires an ecclesiological foundation, a theological perspective, a spiritual dimension, because only in this way can these institutions be integrated within pastoral planning. The Circular Letter primarily offers general and practical reflections on the importance and the role of Church museums in the framework of social and ecclesial life. In fact, the originality and effectiveness of Church museums depends on their becoming an integral part of the pastoral life of the Church.

The Conservation of the Art-Historical Patrimony of the Church 1.1. The Importance of the Art-Historical Patrimony The cultural treasures of the Church make up the specific patrimony of the Christian community. At the same time, as a result of the universal dimension of the Christian message, they belong to the whole of humanity. Their end is the same as the Church's mission in its twofold work of Christian evangelization and promoting the human being. Their value lies in highlighting the activity of inculturating the faith. In fact, since cultural goods are an expression of historical memory, they allow one to discover the path of faith as portrayed by the works of different generations. Their artistic value reveals the creative capacity of artists, craftsmen and local guild traditions that have been able to imprint on what is visible their religious experience and the devotion of the Christian community. On account of their value as culture, they hand on to society today the history of individuals and communities of human and Christian wisdom in a given area and at a specific time. Their liturgical significance means they were made for divine worship. Their usefulness for all the faithful means that they allow each individual to enjoy them as a legitimate user without becoming an exclusive owner. The value that the Church places on her cultural goods explains "the will on the part of the community of faithful, and in particular ecclesiastical institutions, to gather since the apostolic period the testimonies of faith and nourish their memory, express the uniqueness and continuity of the Church that lives out these last periods of history" (Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, Circular Letter The Pastoral Function of Church Archives, see n. 1.1.). Thus, the Church considers as crucial the handing down of her own patrimony of cultural goods. They represent, in fact, an essential link in the chain of Tradition; they are the

visible memory of evangelization; they become a pastoral instrument. It follows therefore the effort "to restore, preserve, catalogue, and protect" them (John Paul II, Address of October 12, 1995, see n. 4) in order to assure that they are treasured, "thus promoting a greater knowledge and suitable use in catechesis and in the liturgy" (ibid.). In the cultural patrimony of the Church, we find the immense art-historical patrimony disseminated around the world. It owes its identity to the use by the Church it was created for and this end should not be forgotten. For this reason the Church needs to work on strategies designed to appreciate and present the art-historical patrimony in all its richness. Even when pieces have fallen into disuse, for example, because of liturgical reform, or because they are too old to be used, the pieces should be placed among the goods in use in order to show the interest of the Church in expressing in a variety of styles her catechesis, worship, culture and charity. The Church, therefore, must avoid the risk of the abandonment, dispersion, and secularization of these artefacts to other museums (state, civil, and private) by instituting, when necessary, her own "museum deposits" which can guarantee their custody and use within a Church environment. Even artefacts of minor artistic value witness to the exertion of the community that produced them and can help identify the level of life in the community. Therefore, for all of these one should provide an adequate form of "museum deposit". In any case, it is necessary that works kept in museums and deposits that belong to the Church be in direct contact with works still used by Church institutions. 1.2. An Approach towards the Safekeeping of Art-Historical Patrimony One can interpret the conservation of the patrimony of cultural memory in cultures in different ways. In the West and its cultures, for example, the memory of the past is nourished by conserving artefacts that are obsolete but rich in their art-historical importance or simply for their value as memories. In other cultures, however, the cultivation of memory takes place through the oral tradition of past events because often for climatic reasons the conservation of artefacts is difficult. Finally, in other situations, safekeeping implies remaking the artefacts while respecting the materials and stylistic models. Among all populations, however, the living sense of memory is considered a fundamental value that must be cultivated with great care. In countries with an older Christian tradition, the art-historical patrimony that has been enriched throughout the centuries with new forms of interpretation, and has been for entire generations a privileged instrument of catechesis and worship has more recently, and at times, acquired an entirely aesthetic value due to secularization. It is wise, therefore, that in these cases the particular churches recall the contextual importance of art-historical goods by means of fitting strategies, so that the artefact with an aesthetic value may not be totally detached from its pastoral function or its historical, social, environmental, and devotional context which it it expressed and witnessed to. A Church museum is rooted in a specific territory, it is directly connected to the action of the Church and it is the visible witness of its historic memory. It cannot be reduced simply to "the collection of antiquities and curiosities", as Paolo Giovio and Alberto Lollio intended back in the Renaissance, but it must conserve in order to present works of art and objects of a religious nature. A Church museum is neither a Mouseion, nor the "temple of the Muses" in the etymological sense of the term, recalling the structure founded by Tolomeus Sotere of Alexandria of Egypt; but it is always the building that cares for the art-historical patrimony of the Church. In fact, even if many artefacts no longer carry out a specific Church function, they continue to transmit a message that the Christian communities, living in past epochs, have wanted to hand on to posterity. As a result, one must develop methods to ensure the adequate presentation and conservation of the art-historical patrimony in an ecclesial sense. Such methods should include the following tasks: - safekeeping promoted by specific institutions on diocesan and national levels; - the knowledge of the principal aim and history, besides its major characteristics through the means of inventories and catalogues (See Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, Circular Letter Opera Artis de cura patrimonii historico-artistici Ecclesiae, ad Praesides Conferentiarum Episcopalium,April 11, 1971; AAS 63 [1971] p. 315-317; Codex Iuris Canonici [1983] can. 1283 n. 2-3; Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, Circular Letter, The Inventory and Cataloguing of the Cultural Heritage of the Church, a Necessary and Urgent Task, see...); - a contextual approach to the works appreciating their original social, ecclesial, devotional realities; - the consideration of the works of the past in reference to cultural and ecclesial experience today; - the preservation and eventual use of works of the past in a pastoral dimension (Secretary of State, Circular Letter to the Bishops of Italy on the preservation, custody and use of Church archives and libraries, April 15, 1923, Prot. N. 16605 [M. Vismara Missiroli, Codice dei Beni Culturali di interesse religioso. I. Normativa Canonica, Milano 1993, p. 188-196]. Ibid., Circular Letter to the Bishops of Italy, September 1, 1924, Prot. N. 34215 [ibid., p. 196-198]).

In order to fulfill these tasks, it would be useful to establish Church museums that, while making reference to the historical and artistic patrimony of a determined territory, also assume the role of centres of cultural education. It also becomes important to coordinate the different offices in charge of the sector of cultural heritage within the Church. Whenever possible one should create ways to ensure collaboration between Church offices and related public offices in order to plan common projects. 1.3. Some Historical Facts regarding the Conservation of Art-Historical Patrimony We are all aware of the effort by the Church throughout her history to take care of her own historical and artistic patrimony. This is shown by the regulations of Supreme Pontiffs, Ecumenical Councils, local Synods and individual Bishops. Such care has been expressed through the patronage of works of art destined primarily for worship as well as for the decoration of holy places, and through their protection and conservation. (An extensive summary of the principal interventions of the Magisterium in favour of the cultural heritage of the Church since antiquity is offered in chapter 1 of the recent Circular Letter issued by this Pontifical Commission, The Inventory and Cataloguing of the Cultural Heritage of the Church). For the conservation of precious objects - first among which liturgical furnishings and relics with their respective reliquaries - the socalled "treasuries" annexed to cathedrals or other important places of worship (as, for example, shrines) were established already back in antiquity, often in a room next to the sacristy or in specific closets or cabinets. Such collections had the principal function of serving as a deposit for objects of particular value used in worship and particularly on occasion of the most solemn ceremonies. In addition, these objects possessed an exhibitional value, especially in the case of reliquaries. Finally they could also serve the function of a gold reserve in case of necessity. The most splendid example is the "Papal Sacristy" in the Vatican Basilica. Nevertheless, one could consider medieval "treasuries" true collections composed of objects removed (either temporarily or definitely) from the sector of useful activities and subject to a particular institutional control. The artefacts that made up collections were put on display for public admiration in appropriate places and times. The difference between such collections and the private ones of antiquity consisted in the fact that the "treasuries" were not the work of an individual, but of institutions, and therefore served a public function. Among the oldest treasuries in Europe, we can recall those of the Abbey of Saint Denis in France and the treasure of the Cathedral of Monza in Italy both dating back to the 6th century. Among the most famous medieval treasures we can mention those in Italy pertaining to: the Sancta Sanctorum in Rome, the Basilica of Saint Mark in Venice, and Saint Ambrose in Milan; in France those pertaining to: the Sanctuary of Saint Foy at Conques, the Cathedral of Verdun in Metz; in Germany those pertaining to: the Cathedral of Cologne, those in Aachen and Regensburg; in Spain, for example, the one in the Holy Chamber of Oviedo (Spain); and in Ireland: the renowned one in the Cathedral of Clonmacnoise. Many of these treasuries were accompanied by inventories and catalogues written in the course of the centuries. Private collections of ancient objects, whether precious or simply curious, are documented already from the 14th century onwards and was carried out privately also by members of the Church. Among the major collections of classical works that were gathered as a result of the new regard that emerged in the 15th century for antiquity, one should recall those promoted by popes and cardinals. In this context, the collection on the Campidoglio in Rome created by will of Pope Sixtus IV in 1471 remains fundamental in the history of museology. It contained ancient bronze statues with the intention of giving back to the Roman people memories that belonged to them. It also represented the first public destination of artworks by will of a sovereign personality, a concept that would prevail universally by the end of the 1700's and would lead to the opening of the Capitoline Museum and the Vatican Museums in Rome besides other great national museums in the great capitals of Europe. During the post-Tridentine period when the role of the Church in the cultural milieu was considerable, to cite one example, Cardinal Federigo Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan, conceived his collection of paintings as a place for conservation, and at the same time, as a didactic space open to a select public. For this reason he put beside it the Ambrosian Library in 1609 and in 1618 the Academy of painting, sculpture, and architecture. In 1625 he published a catalogue entitledMusaeon but written in a highly illustrative way. Through such initiatives, that reflect models of patronage typical of the aristocracy of the time, one can easily see the integration between Library - Museum - School in order to achieve a unified educational and cultural plan. Between the 1500's and 1600's new types of museums gradually appear with primarily pedagogical and educational aims. These were often set up within a Church setting, for example, scientific museums, that were located in seminaries, colleges and other institutions of formation often connected with the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits. In more recent times besides "treasuries", Cathedral Museums and Museums of the Opera (the Cathedral workshop) were built with the aim of protecting and putting on display works of art and objects of worship (or of other nature) that are generally no longer in use and that were created for the Cathedrals themselves or for their sacristies. By the end of the 1800's and the beginning of the 1900's diocesan museums began to appear that were similar to the ones we mentioned, but with materials also from other churches in the city or in the diocese. These materials were then concentrated in one place in order to save them from abandonment or dispersion. Museums of religious congregations arose with similar aims.

1.4. Legislative Measures issued by the Church regarding Church Museums The legislation of the Papal States of the first half of the 1800's, regarding the safeguarding and conservation of antiquities and works of art, confirmed the orders given earlier by the Pontiffs, beginning with the 15th century that were intended to limit the destruction of ancient Roman monuments and the dispersion of classical works. The legislation contains modern and innovative ideas regarding museums. The famous Chirograph (hand written letter) of Pius VII of 1 October 1802, proclaims that state institutions, established for this purpose, must "see that the Monuments, and beautiful works of Antiquity ... be conserved as real prototypes, and as examples of the Beautiful, in a religious manner and for public instruction and may be further increased with the discovery of other rare pieces...". (Pius VII, Chirografo sulla conservazione dei monumenti e sulla produzione di belle arti, October 1, 1802, contained in the Edict of the Camerlengo of S.R.C. Cardinal Doria Pamphilj [A. Emiliani, Leggi bandi e provvedimenti per la tutela dei beni artistici e culturali negli antichi stati italiani, 1571-1860, Bologna 1978, p. 110-125]). In fact, one can show that at the basis of the principle of inalienability and immovability of archeological finds from the confines of the State and of a large part of other artworks, lies the concept of their public use aimed at education. Consequently, the decision to use public funds is taken even during times of financial restrictions - for "the acquisition of more interesting things to place in our Museums; sure that the expenditures directed to promote the Liberal Arts are largely compensated by the immense advantages that are drawn by the State and the inhabitants" (ibid., n. 10. The principles contained in the Chirograph are at the basis of the famous Edict of Cardinal Carmerlengo Bartolomeo Pacca, regarding antiquities and excavations, April 7, 1820 [A. Emiliani, Leggi, bandi e provvedimenti, ibid, pp. 130-145], that, with his regulations regarding excavations, conservation and circulation of ancient and modern artworks, is considered one of the foundations for modern legislation in regards to cultural heritage). The instructions issued by the Holy See in the 20th century on the subject of museums are addressed to the Bishops of Italy but, by analogy, it is possible to consider them valid for the universal Church. Generally they do not address museums exclusively, but the museums are inserted into a broader context that includes archives, libraries and sacred art as a whole according to a perspective that considers the cultural goods also according to their pastoral dimension. One should recall here the Circular Letter of the Secretary of State dated 15 April 1923 that suggests "founding, where it still does not exist, and organizing properly a Diocesan Museum in the Bishop's House or in the Cathedral complex" (Secretary of State, Circular Letter to Bishops of Italy on the preservation, custody and use of Church archives and libraries, April 15, 1923). One should also recall the Letter sent by Cardinal Pietro Gasparri of 1 September 1924. This letter, while notifying Italian Bishops that the Pontifical Central Commission for Sacred Art in Italy has been introduced, recommends the establishment of a diocesan or regional Commission in every diocese and the establishment of Diocesan Museums..." (Secretary of State, Circular Letter to Bishops of Italy, September 1, 1924). Similar guidelines are issued by the Congregation of the Council in theRegulations of May 24, 1939 (Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, Regulations for the custody and conservation of historical and artistic sacred objects in Italy, May 24, 1939 [AAS 31 {1939} p. 266-268]) where the conservation of works otherwise destined for dispersion is the supreme aim of such institutions. The Pontifical Central Commission just mentioned, developed during those same years, in collaboration with state institutions, a series of auxiliary tools destined for Italian dioceses to facilitate the establishment and management of diocesan museums (Pontifical Central Commission for Sacred Art in Italy, Schema di regolamento per i Musei diocesani [G. Fallani, Tutela e conservazione del patrimonio storico e artistico della Chiesa in Italia, Brescia 1974, p. 225-229]; ibid., Schema di verbale di deposito in Musei statali [ibid., p. 229230]; ibid., Schema di verbale di deposito in Musei non statali [ibid., p. 230-232]; ibid., Norme relative al prestito di opere d'arte di propriet di Enti ecclesiastici [ibid., p. 232-235]). The Circular Letter issued by the Congregation of the Clergy to the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences of 11 April 1971, has an effective universal value since it recommends the conservation of those "works of art and treasures" no longer used due to liturgical reform in diocesan or inter-diocesan museums (Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, Circular Letter Opera Artis, ibid., n. 6). However, neither the Code of Canon Law of 1917 nor the Code of 1983, and not even the Canons of the Oriental Churches mention museums, even if clear references are made regarding the protection and preservation of the artistic and historical patrimony (Codex Iuris Canonici [1983] {CIC}, can. 638 3, 1269, 1270, 1292, 1377 [donations, acquisitions and alienations]; can. 1189 [restoration of images]; can. 1220 2 and 1234 2 [security and exhibit of sacred and precious assets]; can. 1222 [reduction to profane use of a church no longer used for worship]; can. 1283 and 1284 [duties of the administrators; inventory]); (Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium[1990] {CCEO}, can. 278 [protection]; can. 873 [reduction to profane use]; can. 887 1, 888, 1018, 1019, 1036 and 1449 [alienation]; can. 887 2 [restoration]; can. 1025 and 1026 [inventory]). That the Church has now considered museums as places of cultural and pastoral activity, in the same way as libraries and archives, is a definite fact that one can see clearly in the Apostolic Constitution of 1988. The latter establishes the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, underlining its task of cooperation with the particular churches and episcopal organisms in order to establish properly museums, archives, libraries, so that "the collection and the protection of the entire artistic and historical patrimony may be well carried out in all territories as well as placed at the disposal of everyone who has interest" (John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus, June 28, 1988 [AAS 80 {1988} p. 885-886] Art. 102).

The Nature, Aim, and Typology of the Church Museum 2.1. The Nature 2.1.1. Preservation in an ecclesial sense In order to understand the nature of an ecclesiastical museum one should underline the fact that the presentation of the cultural heritage of the Church must take place first and foremost in the Christian cultural context. The art-historical patrimony of the Church was not made for a museum function but in order to express worship, catechesis, culture and charity. However, in the course of time as pastoral needs and people's tastes change, many artefacts became obsolete. Therefore, the problem of their conservation arose in order to guarantee their survival due to their art-historical value. The actual conservation and safeguarding from illicit acts sometimes imposes drastic solutions because the risks of dispersion are increasing even in an indirect way. Likewise the urgency of constituting ecclesiastical museums becomes evident in order to gather the witness of Christian history and its artistic-cultural expressions in adequate places, and to make them visible to the public after having organized them properly according to specific criteria. Ecclesiastical museums are therefore strictly connected to particular churches, and, within these, to the community they serve. They are "not storehouses for inanimate finds, but enduring nurseries in which the genius and spirituality of the community of believers is handed on" (John Paul II, Message to the participants of the Second Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, September 25, 1997, n. 2 [L'Osservatore Romano,September 28, 1997, p. 7]). Consequently, the ecclesiastical museum is not simply a collection of objects in disuse. It becomes entirely part of the group of institutions of pastoral activity because it protects and enhances that cultural patrimony once "placed at the service of the Church's mission" and now significant from an art-historical point of view (John Paul II, Address, October 12, 1995, note n. 3). It becomes an instrument of Christian evangelization, of spiritual elevation, of dialogue with those "outside", of cultural formation, of artistic enjoyment, and of historical knowledge. It is therefore a place of knowledge, enjoyment, catechesis, and spirituality. Thus, "the importance of parochial, diocesan and regional ecclesiastical museums and of literary, musical, theatrical or cultural works of religious inspiration in general must be stressed, to give a concrete and beneficial appearance to the historical memory of Christianity" (ibid., Message of September 25, 1997, note n. 3) and therefore make visible the pastoral action of the Church in a given territory. The ecclesiastical museum is to be considered an integral and interactive part of other institutions existing in each particular church. In organizing it, it should not represent a separate institution, but it should be connected to and placed in a territory in order to make visible the unity and inseparability of its entire art-historical patrimony, its continuity and development in time, its fruition now in the Church environment. Since it is intimately connected with the mission of the Church, its content should not lose its intrinsic aim and destination in terms of the use for which it was created. The ecclesiastical museum, therefore, is not a static structure but a dynamic one that finds full promotion through the coordination of museum artefacts with those still in place. One should guarantee on a juridical and practical level the eventual temporary re-use of museum artefacts, both for strictly pastoral and liturgical reasons as well as for social and cultural ones. Initiatives of cultural promotion and dialogue should be launched for the sake of the study, enjoyment and use of museum treasures. In fact, through museums, exhibits, conventions, sacred plays, performances and other events as well, one should be able to read once more organically and relive spiritually the history of a specific Church community that still exists.

2.1.2. Presentation in an ecclesial sense Around the ecclesiastical museum environment that gathers primarily the patrimony that risks dispersion, one must develop a plan for knowing the past in order to lead to the re-discovery of ecclesial activity. Accordingly, the ecclesiastical museum becomes within a given territory a place of ecclesial, social, cultural gathering. The ecclesiastical museum is to be connected in a strict way with the territory of which it is a part because it "completes" and "synthesizes" other Church settings. It is characterized by its reference to a specific territory in order to highlight its historical, cultural, social, and religious make-up. Thus, the protection and promotion of the entire local art-historical patrimony should refer to it in order to show how human and Christian history made a valuable contribution within the community and individuals. "The will on the part of the community of believers, and in particular of Church institutions, to gather since the apostolic period the witness of the faith and to cultivate their memory, expresses the uniqueness and unity of the Church that lives out these recent times of history. The venerated memory of what was said and done by Jesus, of the first Christian community, of the Church of martyrs and her first Fathers, of the expansion of Christianity in the world, is a sufficient reason to give praise to the Lord and to thank Him for the "great things' that have inspired His people. In themind of the Church the chronological memory brings about a new spiritual reading of the events in the context of the event of salvation and imposes the urgency of conversion in order to obtain that they may be one". (Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, Circular LetterThe Pastoral Function of Church Archives, note n. 1.1.).

Such memory is embodied in human treasures that have influenced the environment in order to shape it for spiritual needs. From these artefacts one can trace the path of the activities of the Church. For this reason, they should be preserved with care, for both their historical as well as their artistic value. Consequently, by stating that what is contained in ecclesiastical museums is an "asset to memory", means inserting this sector among the means of pastoral activity because what is good for the Church serves the "salus animarum" (salvation of souls). Ecclesiastical museums are part of that specific pastoral action producing in today's reality the memory of the cultural, charitable and educational activity of the Christian communities that preceded the present ones, in order to give witness to the one and only faith. They are therefore "ecclesial places" because: - they are an integral part of the mission of the Church throughout time and in the present age; - they witness to the action of the Church through the service of works of art for catechesis, worship, and charity; - they are signs of the historical development and continuity of faith; - they represent a part of the many social situations of the ecclesial territory; - they are finalized according to the current development of the inculturation of the faith; - they present the beauty of those human creative activities intended to express the "glory of God". Accordingly, access to an ecclesiastical museum requires an interior attitude, because in such an environment one should not only see beautiful things, but in their beauty, one should also be led to perceive the sacred. A visit to an ecclesiastical museum cannot simply represent a cultural and tourist activity because many works on display express the faith of the authors and recall the sense of the faith of the community. Such works should be interpreted, understood, used according to their complex and global sense in order that one can come to grips with their authentic, original and ultimate significance.

2.2. Aim 2.2.1. Safeguarding memory The aim of an ecclesiastical museum is connected to the "sensus ecclesiae" (feeling for the church) which sees in the history of the church the progressive development of God's people. Therefore the ecclesiastical museum assumes a specific aim in the context of the pastoral action of the local Church. The ecclesiastical museum, in particular, serves different functions among which one can indicate the following: - the conservation of artefacts in so far as it gathers all those works that, due to the difficulty of protecting them, their unknown origin or alienation, the destruction or degradation of the original places where they belonged, as well as other different risks, cannot stay in their original location; - the investigation of the history of the Christian community, because the criteria for museological display, the selection of the pieces and their placement, should reconstruct and tell about the temporal and territorial progress of the Christian community; - the display of historical continuity since the ecclesiastical museum should represent, by the material it contains, the "stable memory" of the Christian community and at the same time its "active and current presence"; - a comparison with other cultural expressions characterizing the territory, since the preservation of the cultural patrimony must have a "catholic" dimension; in other words, take into consideration all those who were present and the manifestations within a territory as the Church developed. 2.2.2. Pastoral action through memory The ecclesiastical museum partakes of the context of that complex relationship between the faithful and cultural patrimony by referring particularly to objects for worship that become "signs of grace" and assume a "sacramental" character (Paul VI, Address for the Feast of the Dedication of the Vatican Basilica, November 17, 1965, [Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, III, Vatican City 1965, pp. 1101-1104]). "The Church, teacher of life, cannot but assume also the ministry of helping contemporary man rediscover religious marvel before the fascination of beauty and wisdom that is released from that which history has handed down to us. Such a task necessitates a daily and constant work of orientation, encouragement and exchange" (John Paul II, Message of September 25, 1997, note n. 4). The ecclesiastical museum has the prerogative of being a means of increasing faith. It is connected with the pastoral action carried

out by the Church throughout the centuries in order to account for the seeds of truth sown by each generation, to allow people to become illuminated by the splendour of beauty incarnate in sensible works and to recognize the traces of the "transitus Domini" in human history. (See Paul VI, Address to the participants of the Fifth Congress of Church Archivists, September 26, 1963 [Archiva Ecclesiae 5-6 {1962-1963} pp. 173-175]). This primary pastoral task is confirmed by the typology of cultural goods normally conserved in ecclesiastical museums. Such artefacts, even if different, make reference to one unique "cultural system" and help reconstruct the theological, liturgical and devotional attitude of the community. Therefore things used for divine worship, for the formation of the faithful and charitable works are not simply "dead things" even if they can become obsolete. In fact, other components "survive" in them as cultural, theological, liturgical, historical aspects and, above all, artistic ones, in order to allow them to continue serving a pastoral function. In this context, the ecclesiastical museum gives witness to the activity of the Church since and throughout the time it exercised the pastoral mission of memory and beauty. It becomes the sign of historical becoming, of cultural changes, of changes in taste. In accord with the logic of the incarnation, it is the impact left by preceding Church activity that had as its goal the inculturation of the faith. It narrates the history of the Christian community through what the different rites, the multiple forms of piety, the different social settings, the specific environmental situations have witnessed. It presents the beauty of what has been created: for worship in order to evoke the inexpressible divine "glory"; for catechesis in order to instill a sense of wonder in the evangelical narration; for culture in order to embellish the greatness of creation; for charity in order to show the essence of the Gospel message. It belongs to the irreducible complexity of the action of the Church at the time when it is a "living reality". As a pastoral tool, the ecclesiastical museum serves to discover and relive the witness of faith of past generations through visible works. It leads to the perception of beauty expressed in different ways in ancient and modern works so as to lead the soul, will and mind towards God. The fragility of materials, natural disasters and adverse or unfortunate historical conditions, the change of cultural sensitivities, liturgical reforms, are all documented in ecclesiastical museums. These recall, through scanty remains or even insignificant works, past epochs, while showing, through the beauty of what is preserved, man's creative potential as well as the faith of believers. Museum institutions serve, therefore, a formational and educational function by offering an historic perspective and at the same time aesthetic enjoyment.

2.3. Typology 2.3.1. The typology of museum institutions The typologies according to which an ecclesiastical museum can be established vary. Types of museums have varied in different epochs, often thanks to Church officials who showed an extraordinary spirit of initiative. Nevertheless, a complete typological list of ecclesiastical museums does not exist. If one wants to attempt a general summary, one can refer to the Church entity that represents the owner or that has been responsible for its origin, or one can refer to the kind of patrimony stored in the museum itself. In the historical introduction (see the present Circular at n. 1.3. Historical Background regarding the Preservation of the Art-Historical Patrimony), we have already referred to "cathedral treasuries" as well as those older museums that can be properly called ecclesiastical. These museums, in many cases, still exist today, while preserving their function of protecting precious liturgical objects, some of which, in certain circumstances, can be still used for worship. In the course of the centuries, "cathedral museums" were added to these "treasuries", and in some areas also the "Opera del Duomo" (workshop of the Cathedral) that have a less evident connection with worship, because they primarily preserve and display art work and other finds taken from the cathedral and its surrounding area. In the same historical introduction we also mentioned various types of possible "collections" usually of a monographic nature (artistic, archeological, scientific collections), some containing noteworthy antique artefacts, others with material of more recent date. These collections, that sometimes have become Church property as a result of accidental circumstances, have different provenance: private citizens, Church entities, civil entities, other institutions. During the post-Vatican Council period the birth of "diocesan museums" increased. In a variety of cases they were established in order to combat the danger of the dispersion of the diocesan artistic patrimony. Similar to these "diocesan museums", "parish museums", "monastic museums", "convent museums", "museums of religious institutions" (for example "missionary museums"), "museums of confraternities", and of other ecclesiastical institutions are quite wide-spread today. The museums we have recalled refer to a single religious monument, a particular ecclesiastical territory, a specific religious institute. Their nature is different as is the aim they reflect. For example, museums of religious institutions present the historical and geographical features of the presence and development of a particular institute of consecrated life or a society of apostolic life within a specific territory or, in a more general way, their work carried out in various parts of the world. Other museums, such as parish and

inter-parish ones, reflect the specific territorial realities that are characterized by well defined ecclesiastical jurisdictions and settings. Missionary museums, on the other hand, reflect the cultures met through the work of evangelization by often underlining the importance of cultural anthropology.

2.3.2. The typology of objects gathered Ecclesiastical museums preserve what refers to the history and the lifestyle of the Church and the community, even material considered to be of lesser importance. They thus avoid the elimination, putting aside, alienation, and dispersion of objects now no longer in use for liturgical-pastoral services. They allow this material to be protected, preserved and used as the art-historical documentation of the Church's activity in all its different manifestations. Since we must generally identify some types of artefacts present in ecclesiastical museums, we can first of all discern those with a liturgical or para-liturgical use that can be grouped in several major categories as follows: - works of art (paintings, sculptures, decorations, engravings, prints, works in wood or of other material of minor quality); - sacred vessels; - furnishings; - reliquaries and ex voto; - liturgical vestments, textiles, lace, embroidered fabrics; ecclesiastical dress; - musical instruments; - manuscripts and liturgical books, choral books, musical scores, etc: To this material, which often constitute the patrimony of ecclesiastical museums, one can often add other objects that usually belong to archives and libraries, as: - artistic and/or architectural plans (drawings, models, sketches, maps, etc.); - documentary material connected to the artefacts (wills, juridical acts, bequests, etc.); - diaries on works, documentation on collections and on activities inherent to the artistic and historical patrimony, etc.; - other materials connected in some way to the art-historical patrimony (rules, statutes, registers, etc.) regarding dioceses and parishes, Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Confraternities and Pious Works. Besides this, the ecclesiastical museum must look after the preservation of the memory of those traditions, customs, habits, characteristic of the Church community and civil society, especially in those nations where the conservation of artefacts and documents still does not represent a major task. But besides these typological subdivisions, the ecclesiastical museum is further given the task of demonstrating in a clear manner the "spirit" of the individual works that it preserves and exhibits. It should not attribute to them only an artistic, historical, anthropological, cultural value but it should show, above all, their spiritual and religious dimension. This dimension points out specifically the identity of those artefacts with a devotional, cultual, charitable function, in order that this may be the perspective with which to understand the will of the donor, the sensitivity of the patron, the ability of the artist to interpret this aspect and the complex significance of the work itself. 2.4. The Institution The task of coordinating, organizing, promoting what belongs to the patrimony of the Church (CIC, can. 1257 1 - "All temporal goods which belong to the universal Church, the Apostolic See, or other public juridic persons within the Church are ecclesiastical goods and are regulated by the following canons as well as by their own statutes", see CCEO, can. 1009 2) in the respective Dioceses or in the Particular Churches they are a part of (CIC, can. 368 - "Particular Churches in which and from which exists the one and unique Catholic Church are first of all dioceses; to which unless otherwise evident are likened a territorial prelature, a territorial abbacy, an apostolic vicarate, an apostolic prefecture, and an apostolic administration which has been erected on a stable basis", see CCEO, can. 178), and thus also that which belongs to a diocesan museum or other ecclesiastical museums dependent on the dioceses, is the responsibility of the diocesan Bishop (CIC, can. 381 1 - "A diocesan Bishop in the diocese committed to him possesses all the ordinary, proper and immediate power which is required for the exercise of his pastoral office except for those cases which the law or a decree of the Supreme Pontiff reserves to the supreme authority of the Church or to some other ecclesiastical authority". 2. "Unless it appears otherwise from the nature of the matter or from a presciption of the law, persons who head the other communities of the faithful mentioned in can. 368 are equivalent in law to a diocesan Bishop") who should be properly assisted by the Diocesan Commission or by the Office for Sacred Art and Patrimony. Reflecting the spirit of this Circular Letter, ecclesiastical museums are to be considered among the instruments "placed at the service of the mission of the Church" (John Paul II, Address of October 12, 1997, note n. 3), so they should become part of the diocesan pastoral project. (In a general sense what refers to the cultural heritage enters into part of the apostolic action of the Church cared for and promoted by the Diocesan Ordinary. See CIC,can. 394 1 - "The Bishop is to foster the various aspects of the apostolate within his diocese and see to it that wihtin the entire diocese or within its individual districts all the works of the apostolate are coordinated under his direction, with due regard for their distinctive character". 2 - "He is to urge the faithful to exercise the apostolate in proportion to each one's

condition and ability, since it is a duty to which they are bound; he is also to recommend to them that they participate and assist in the various works of the apostolate in accord with the needs of place and time", see CCEO, can. 203 1-2). The establishment of museum structures becomes necessary for the conservation, protection, promotion of the artistic and historical patrimony. In fact, "whenever such works be considered no longer suitable for worship, they should never be destined to a profane use, but they should be placed in an adequate place accessible to everyone, that is either a diocesan or inter-diocesan museum". (Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, Circular Letter Opera Artis, note n. 6. Council of administration and financial management; 7. Secretariat and archives; 8. Custodians and personnel. Points for the Regulation: 1. General Criteria for the acquisition of works; 2. Inventorying the works; 3. Exhibition of the works; 4. Rule for photocoying; 5. Rules for loans; 6. Opening hours and rules regarding visitors flow; 7. Security systems). The museum must be instituted by the Bishop's decree and should possibly be given a specific statute or rule that should indicate (* in the drafting of the Statutes and Regulations one can indicatively keep in mind some aspects listed below: Points for the constitution of a diocesan museum [and similarly for an ecclesiastical museum]: 1. date of foundation, property; 2. institutional aims; 3. brief description of the location and the collections; 4. director - nomination, length of nomination, functions and competences; 5. the commission of the museum: nomination of members and length, functions and competences; 6. council of administration and financial management; 7. secretariat and archives; 8. custodians and personnel. Points for the norms: 1. general criteria for the acquisition of works; 2. inventorying the works; 3. exhibition of the works; 4. rule for photocoying; 5. rules for loans; 6. opening hours and rules regarding visitors flow; 7. security systems), respectively, first its nature and aim, and second its structure and practical organization. No new ecclesiastical museums can be established by ecclesiastical, public or private entities, even if partially or totally financed by them, without the consent of the competent diocesan Bishop. In establishing a museum, it would be wise, whenever possible, also to establish a specific Committee made up of several experts and guided by a director nominated by the Bishop. In accord with the competent Church authorities, he would look after the organization of the museum spaces, the selection of material, the strategies of exhibition, the relations with personnel, the instruction of visitors and all that is required for an effective operation of an institution like this. Particular attention should be focused on the availability of resources and, in this respect, any public funding available. Major Superiors of religious institutes (see CIC, can. 620 - "Major superiors are those who govern a whole institute, a province of an institute, some part equivalent to a province, or an autonomous house, as well as their vicars. Comparable to these are the abbot primate and superior of a monastic congregation, who nonetheless do not have all the power which universal law grants major superiors", see CCEO, can. 418) and societies of apostolic life (seeCIC [1983], can. 734 - "The governance of a society is determined by the constituions, with due regard for cann. 617-633, according to the nature of each society", see CCEO, can. 557) are those responsible, by norm of their own right, for the patrimony belonging to their respective institutions. They fulfill their task with the aid of the local Superior, next to whose house the museum is founded. The norms indicated for the coordination, organization, and management of museums should be applied also to museums belonging to religious institutions and to societies of apostolic life, while keeping in mind civil laws established in this regard and the rules of the lifestyle of the members of the respective institution in charge of the museum. In accordance with the indications outlined in the Circular Letter on the Patrimony of Religious Institutes addressed to General Superiors by our Pontifical Commission (see Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, Circular Letter The Cultural Heritage of Religious Institutes, April 10, 1994, Prot. N. 275/92/12 [Enchiridion Vaticanum 14/918-947]), it would be advisable that collaboration be established whenever possible between dioceses and communities, as well as a common orientation in regards to the cultural patrimony in general and ecclesiastical museums in particular. (CIC [1983], can. 678 3 - "In organizing the works of the apostolate of religious, it is necessary that diocesan Bishops and religious superiors proceed after consultation with each other", see CCEO, can. 416). If then the museum structure should assume public connotations one should follow the regulations and orientations issued by the diocesan Bishop. In the case where the diocesan museum should be assigned to the care of a religious institution, the dispositions foreseen by can. 681 should be observed. (See Codes Iuris Canonici [1983], can. 681 1 - "Works which are entrusted to religious by the diocesan Bishop are subject to the authority and direction of this same Bishop, with due regard for the right of religious superiors according to the norm of can. 678 2, 3"; 2. "In these cases a written agreement is to be drawn up between the diocesan Bishop and the competent superior of the institute, which, among other things, expressly and accurately defines what pertains to the work to be carried out, the members to be devoted to this, and economic matters". See CCEO, can. 415 3).

The Organization of an Ecclesiastical Museum 3.1. The Site 3.1.1. The Structure First of all the ecclesiastical museum must have a precise location in a building and possibly on ecclesiastical property. In many cases it usually is a building of great architectural-historical value that alone can identify and characterize the ecclesiastical museum. The organization of the areas should follow definite criteria. The setting up of a museum should correspond to a global plan developed by a competent architect on this subject, assisted by specialists. They should be competent both on a technical level (in terms of exhibition spaces and facilities) as well as on a humanistic level (theological and art-historical disciplines). The plan of an ecclesiastical museum should be developed keeping in mind the location, the typology of the artefacts, the "ecclesial" character of the museum. In fact, the location of the ecclesiastical museum cannot be understood as a simple environment. The works cannot be taken out of an ecclesial setting, which explains why they were commissioned, and they should be housed in what is an ecclesial setting. Consequently, ancient monasteries, convents, seminaries, episcopal palaces, clerical environments, that in many cases are used as sites of ecclesiastical museums, must be able to maintain their identity and, at the same time, be at the service of this new purpose so that visitors may appreciate both the significance of the architecture and the proper value of the works displayed. The ecclesiastical museum's layout should be practical to allow easy circulation without causing inconvenience to the public or employees. In addition, ensure that the necessary measures be applied as regards the entrance, in particular for disabled visitors, in conformity with the national and international legislation on the subject. We give a possible layout of the organization of an ecclesiastical museum. 3.1.2. Entrance The museum entrance is very importance since it is where visitors first come into contact with the museum. It should show above all the mind that has generated the museum and characterizes it. It should be organized in an easily accessible and recognizable way. Its structure should highlight the museum's identity: sober, simple, clear, in accord with current museological criteria. While offering a rich quantity of stimulating information, it should not accumulate this material. The architecture of the entrance hall must be meaningful to the visitor who must be able to grasp the criteria that leads to a global reading of the museum. It must therefore be inspired by that sacred space that it indirectly reflects. Its layout, whenever possible, should project a welcoming atmosphere to the public, and provide information on the museum's organization and its didactic itinerary. The entrance hall is the place that prepares the visitor to move from an exterior, distracting environment to one of personal concentration, and the believer towards that spiritual recollection required by what he/she intends to admire. An inspiring, almost sacred, and very discreet "climate" should prevail in order to envelop visitors in this specific museum environment. The visitor should not begin the museum tour simply out of curiosity. Since the visitor is attracted by visual signs, audiovisual instruments, competent guides that place the visit into its right context, it would be wise to make available some support material (printed or audiovisual) in the hall in order to introduce the visit properly while keeping in mind the various types of visitor possible. In this regard, organized guided tours should not be overlooked. 3.1.3. Halls The approach presented by the entrance should be developed all the way through the exhibit halls. The latter, through the display of the historical-artistic-social-religious message offered by the original artefacts or copies, cartography, printed matter and multimedia support material, should present to the visitor's gaze the multi-faceted history of a particular church, of a specific religious institute, of a shrine or other ecclesiastical place. Special attention should be focused on the organization of each room. The more welldefined they are the easier it will be for the visitor to follow the logic of the historic itinerary and thus assimilate the themes proposed by the museum facility. The display of the objects and their presentation to the public should be thought out according to a global approach in order that the architectural container be coordinated with the logic of the exhibition of the artworks. (In regard to the operative criteria for exhibition and maintenance of artefacts one can refer to the directives issued by National Entities and Associations [as for example in Ireland a volume has been published by the Heritage Council, Caring for Collections.

A Manual of Preventive Conservation, Dublin 2000]). The structure of the rooms and the itinerary through these spaces must be part of a unique and organic proposal, whose general criteria should be adapted to the specific situation and particular intentions. It is then wise to include in these rooms places where visitors can pause and contemplate the works exhibited, especially in front of those that are most significant. 3.1.4. Display cases The display case, besides properly preserving the objects contained in it, must also enhance the pieces on full view. Good lighting, that does not damage the colours of the artefact or distort their view, is advisable. The shape of the container also plays a role, not only as regards the proper preservation of the artefacts, but also as regards the enjoyment of the object displayed. For this reason the objects need to be clearly identified since this aspect assumes a fundamental role in the context of museology. The captions identifying the objects should be, when possible, translated into two or three languages and written with characters that are easily legible and placed well in view. To a brief description identifying the object that should include the title of the work, author, date, material, provenance, (and possibly inventory number) one should make available two different illustrative support tools - a printed and a computer one. The first would include references that relate each work with those in the museum and with those outside of it in the surrounding territory. The second would include references that may deepen the knowledge of the individual works indicating the liturgical or paraliturgical destination, the significance of the name, the original spatial-temporal context, the symbolism, and eventually references to more famous objects, iconographical explanations, hagiographical notes and brief bibliographical information. All of this should favour and orient the study of the object while placing the knowledge of the artefacts exhibited in a global context. 3.1.5. Temporary exhibition halls Since the ecclesiastical museum should be thought of as a cultural institution that interacts with other institutions existing on the territory enriching it culturally, it would be advisable to set up a hall for temporary exhibits or cultural events. Activities of this kind can be organized in order to observe specific occasions (for example: important liturgical periods, patronal or titular feasts, civil circumstances, conventions, school research projects). Such activities can favour the work of evangelization within the context of the cultural initiatives promoted by the Church or by public or private entities. These specific occasions can strengthen the connection between the ecclesiastical museum and the surrounding territory; they can make use of works in deposits following a system of rotational exhibition; they can facilitate the sponsorship of projects for restoration or particular display. 3.1.6. Halls for education Besides display halls, whether permanent or temporary, the ecclesiastical museum should also include halls primarily destined for students, pastoral workers, and catechists. (For an adequate organization of educational spaces and halls one can contact the Entities and Associations on national and international levels that have developed specific programmes of museum education. One should recall in this regard the programmes developed by the national centres of ICOM [International Council of Museums]. In addition, in various nations specific programmes have been launched regarding the enhancement of cultural heritage and the interactive approach of museum structures [as for example in the United States the MUSE Educational Media program and the project The Museum Educational Side Licensing Project [MESL] promoted by the Getty Information Institute in cooperation with the Association of Art Museum Directors, the American Association of Museums, the Coalition for Networked Information). In it, visitors should be able to stop and receive more detailed news regarding the history of the community or the entity, besides a contextual orientation of the materials exhibited and the connection between the past and the present. This deeper level of knowledge may be given with the aid of graphics, audiovisual material, illustrations, other innovative means. One should not exclude laboratory or research teaching references in order to stimulate interest and creativity in young people in the area of the cultural heritage of the Church. 3.1.7. Spaces for cultural formation When the spaces and the circumstances permit, and in any case by making use of alternative solutions, it would be advisable also to establish the space for cultural formation and updating of personnel, volunteers, researchers, students that is properly equipped. Such a room would render the museum a livelier place and it would demonstrate that in the mind of the Church this institution is not simply a deposit of artefacts but an environment of reflection, dialogue, research and enrichment. Having such spaces at one's disposal, would also allow to promote initiatives for the basic and permanent formation of operators in the area of cultural assets, including volunteers.

3.1.8. Library Among the services the museum offers, a specialized library should be included. It is in fact advisable to open a well-equipped, updated library collection in the museum and a specific sector for a videotheque or other multimedia services, according to the facilities available. In this specialized library there should be publications and other printed material on the art-historical patrimony of the entity owner or promoter of the museum. The library fulfils the task of gathering and offering for consultation at least the publications on the local history and culture often promoted and financed by ecclesiastical institutions, local bodies, private citizens.

3.1.9. Historical archives and current archives The museum should organize a current archive in which to keep the registers of acquisitions and loans, inventories and catalogues that are periodically updated, juridical and administrative acts, photographic and graphic material, etc. It would be advisable to establish a specific historical archive as well. This should differ from the usual historical archive of the local Church, religious institute or other ecclesiastical entity. It should contain at least a copy of all material useful for the documentation of the events pertaining to the individual works contained in the museum. In fact, all too often, even official acts of deposit or temporary loan are dispersed and with them a useful tool for the juridical protection and contextual knowledge of the art-historical patrimony. The discipline that should be followed concerning the use of the current archive, as well as the historical archive for those who work in this area, or for consultation by scholars, should be duly worked out by specific regulation. 3.1.10. Exit The exit at the end of the visit, just like the entrance, should not be underestimated. For practical purposes, it would be well to keep the two separate, not only in order to avoid confusion in the flow of visitors (at least in those larger museums where such a flow actually exists) but, above all, in order to make the itinerary proposed easily accessible. The conclusive moment of the visit presents an occasion to offer visitors a precise message by using various aids (books, catalogues, videos, postcards, objects, etc.) placed on sale in the bookshop or by simply distributing free brochures. Such material would help recall what has been seen while proposing a Christian interpretation of the itinerary followed and offering a clear token to recall the experience. 3.1.11. Places for refreshments Particularly in the larger and more important museums, places for refreshments may be set-up in order to allow visitors and scholars to spend more time in the museum. 3.1.12. Offices of personnel Next to the public area of the ecclesiastical museum, proper spaces for museum employees should be made available to carry out their tasks, in accord with civil regulations. The area should be adequate and practical for those who work to make the museum ever more efficient. In particular, it would be wise to arrange for at least a director's office and a secretariat. The exterior of these offices should be in tune with what has been mentioned earlier. Note that the presence of an executive employee is necessary and it should be continuous if possible. 3.1.13. Halls for storage The life of the museum also normally requires other service areas among which are storage spaces for the works not displayed. However, this concept should not be misunderstood. This space is not a place for forgotten objects, nor an untidy room. Rather, it contains works otherwise important and significant in the ecclesial context which for various reasons are housed there to assure more careful protection and conservation.

If such works cannot be used within the museum itinerary proposed, they may in time become an integral part of it. In addition, they can be used for exhibitions, either within the museum or outside of it. In this regard, the "rotation of works" should be kept in mind that, with the necessary caution, may be carried out both inside and outside the museum. A careful record of all loans and acquisitions needs to be kept. Works placed in a deposit should be well arranged and easily identifiable. For this reason they must be correctly documented and registered in the general inventory of the museum or even in a separate catalogue; making sure that this documentation is regularly updated. In addition, it would be advisable that such works be made available to scholars and those institutionally responsible. Some works are placed in deposits because they are in a precarious condition and thus they necessitate restoration. One should take particular care to safeguard them since they are in a delicate phase of their "existence". 3.1.14. Restoration laboratory Where conditions permit, it would be advisable to establish a small restoration laboratory beside the museum deposit. Normally it takes care of maintenance and preservation work but it can also carry out urgent restoration on artefacts in an advanced state of deterioration. If there is no internal laboratory then it is necessary to ask reliable, professional restorers to check the art-historical materials contained in the museum periodically. When possible, and if required, such a task can be carried out in collaboration with civil authorities. 3.2. Security 3.2.1. Facilities Serious attention should be paid to ensure that the facilities needed for the proper management of a museum are provided. The existing national civil laws concerning electrical wiring, fire and other alarm systems, climate and humidity control must be observed. Concerning the safety of individuals, architectural barriers should be avoided; all emergency exits along the route should be clearly marked; all facilities and structures should be periodically checked. Care should be taken to guarantee the safety of artworks, the conservation of the cultural goods as such, as well as their protection from illicit acts such as theft. (Precise international guidelines have been issued regarding the exhibition of artworks in order to facilitate their conservation and maintenance. In this regard, one can recall some documents issued by the following international organizations: ICOM, Code de Dontologie Professionnelle de l'ICOM, Paris 1990; ICOM, Documentation Committee CIDOC Working Standard for Museum Objects, 1995; Council of Europe, Revised Convention on the Protection of Archeological Heritage, Malta 1992; ICOMOS [International Council of Monuments and Sites], International Cultural Tourism Charter, 1998, articles 2.4, 6.1, 3.1, 5.4. To these documents can be added the guidelines issued on the occasion of international meetings on diocesan and ecclesiastical Museums, as for example, theRom Dokument approved at the 44th Annual Assembly of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Kirchlicher Museen und Schatzkammern, Rome, May 31, 1995). The preservation of artefacts requires correct control of the climate of the environment; protection from dust, solar exposure, bacteria; assured regular hygiene and disinfecting maintenance of the premises; periodic diagnostic investigation. As regards the protection of works, one should apply preventive, security measures to all museum areas with particular care to assure a robust outer wall and the protection of all openings (bolted doors, screens at the windows or cellar openings, etc.). A good alarm system, possibly connected to the nearby police station, is advisable. A good up-to-date photographic record of every cultural asset in order to facilitate investigation in case of theft is essential. 3.2.2. Storage and protection Good storage is fundamental. Care should be paid not only to the general protection of the museum premises, but also to the works placed on display in the museum itineraries or in the storage areas, especially during the rotation of the works in the museum and also outside it. As some artefacts require individual care and protection, this calls for specialized personnel. Therefore, not only the general rules of conservation must be observed; each work needs to be checked and evaluated according to its state. Regular protection must be assured both during opening hours and closing time. During opening hours there should be an adequate number of staff on duty to prevent works and structures being damaged. For this task professional volunteers may be usefully employed. Besides these alarm systems, it would also be advisable to keep a custodian during closing hours, if possible. Above all, in terms of security, one should make sure that during visiting hours the personnel on duty are diligent and prudent in order to avoid accidents. When loaning works, special attention need be taken to guarantee protection at each stage, assuring careful handling during transportation (with specific guaranteed insurance coverage) and extra care when arranging the exhibits.

3.3. Management In order that the ecclesiastical museum may adequately carry out its activities, the administrative management ought to be wellstructured. In this regard the following guidelines will be of help: - the entity owning the museum could set up autonomous sources of income (for example a "foundation" constituting a source of income) that allow for long-term planning of the activities considered essential; - prepare a multi-annual budget that besides a medium and short term period can cover all the needs required, by the conservation and enhancement strategies, by following specific organizational procedures; - envision within a more global plan an annual budget with a detailed estimate and stock of specific sources of income (entrance fee, occasional sponsorships, institutional entities, sales, etc.) and expenditures (acquisitions, personnel, costs, activities, restoration, insurance coverage, propaganda, printing, special events, etc.) in order to assure the continuity of activities, easily identify variations in expenditure, and plan of future interventions. - give the museum an approved juridical status (both as an ecclesiastical as well as civil environment) and a detailed normative regulation; - clearly define the judicical status of personnel, both employees and volunteers, (establish cooperatives or cooperation with other entities); promptly fulfil fiscal responsibilities; before hiring specialized personnel for various needs, interview them carefully; the volunteer services require good management besides assigning roles of responsibility; and provide employees with adequate guidelines and proper flexibility; - promote the image of the museum through the communications channel of Church entities, cultural and didactic organizations, as well as local mass media. 3.4. Personnel - Appoint an able, dedicated curator; - it is advisable that the curator be assisted by one or more committees (or at least by some experts) assigned to the scientific, cultural, administrative organization of the museum; - if appropriate, personnel may be asked to help in the secretariat, public relations, economic management, etc.; - choose guards answering the above-mentioned criteria; - employ well-trained guides to accompany the various categories of visitor. 3.5. Norms Normal museum routine, in the context of the cultural heritage of each particular church, demands that the laws in force be respected. In this regard the following points are relevant: - in the first place keep in mind the norms and guidelines concerning this sector and its various aspects issued by the Holy See, the National and Regional Episcopal Conferences, and Dioceses; - draft, if possible, Statutes or Regulations to be distributed by diocesan information offices (See note *); - abide by international civil guidelines and above all those issued at national and regional levels (for example, the already mentioned guidelines issued by ICCROM, ICOM, ICOMOS, Council of Europe); - structure loans of artworks according to general ecclesiastical and civil norms, first ascertaining the aim of the request and then recommending that the ecclesial context of the artefacts be observed; - issue norms regarding the copyright of works in keeping with ecclesiastical and civil guidelines and customs; - regulate access to data both printed and above all computerized information (on site or on the web); - issue guidelines on the transfer of works: unprotected, out-of-date, in danger of deteriorating in ecclesiastical museums or in other storage units. For the storage of artistic-historical assets of ecclesiastical property (current ones and those being planned) in civil, public or private museum institutions (or the like), it is necessary to draw up an agreement aimed at protecting the property right, assure the safeguard and ecclesial fruition, define the temporary status of the deposit. Even the restoration procedures must be carefully regulated with legal formality. 3.6. Relation with other Institutions In the management and organization of the ecclesiastical museum, co-operation must be planned and encouraged with other cultural institutions, and in particular with public and private museums. Such collaboration must be carried out by guaranteeing the autonomy of the individual entities and by proposing the drafting of projects in common to promote cultural interest in the territory.

In shared initiatives of this kind with other museum or cultural institutions, one should always protect the ownership of the artefacts, abide by the norms regarding loans, establish management agreements.

The Fruition of the Ecclesiastical Museum 4.1. Purpose and aim of the ecclesiastical museum The ecclesiastical museum is a practical space for the benefit of the public, since cultural goods should serve the mission of the Church. She educates to a sense of history, beauty and the sacred through the cultural heritage created by the Christian community. Its practical purpose is therefore intimately connected to, even if distinct from, the educational function that must be carried out by the museum institution. To distinguish, in order to unite the educational function to that of use, means underlining the importance of the complimentary dimension between the cognitive and the emotional aspects; especially with regard to the life of religious persons, whose acts are defined as expressions of love for God and neighbour that necessitate intelligence, sentiment and will. All the "places" of Christianity must be open welcoming spaces where "the gospel of charity" is proclaimed through each initiative. The Church has used sensible signs in order to express and proclaim the faith. Even works collected in museums are aimed at catechesis within the community and the announcement of the Gospel outside, so that they may be available not only for the faithful but also for those "outside" in order that each may benefit in his/her own way. For these reasons the ecclesiastical museum, primarily destined for the Christian community, must be open even to a public of different cultural, social, religious backgrounds. It is the same Christian community that should welcome with the aid of museum employees those who are interested in religious memory, because "Ecclesiae catholicae nemo extraneus, nemo exclusus, nemo longinquus est" (no one is extraneous, excluded or far from the Catholic Church) (Paul VI, Homily - In the light of the splendour of the Immaculate. Greeting and Wishes of Peter to all souls, December 8, 1965 [Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, III, previous citation, p. 742-747]). The public can be divided into different categories: the individual visitor, the guided tour, the school group, the scholar. The complex ways to approach the museum suggest the diversified methodologies intended to facilitate the visitor's first impression and understanding of the different cultural needs. An intelligent organization of reservations and guided tours can render a better service not only to the user but also to the employee. Each museum should organize not only the exhibition itineraries but also additional cultural activities with care.

4.2. Enjoyment and usefulness in an ecclesial sense 4.2.1. Usefulness in the mind of the Church In order to enhance the ecclesiastical museum's usefulness, one should highlight the close connection between the aesthetic and the religious aspects. In addition, the indissoluble tie between the patrimony exhibited and the reality of the Church and the world today should necessarily be made apparent. In fact, viewing artworks promoted by Christianity is not unlike that of artefacts from extinct civilizations since much that the visitor sees is strictly linked to today's ecclesial reality. Especially at this historical moment of widespread secularism, the ecclesiastical museum is called to re-propose the remains of an existentialist system that finds in the in the sence of faith its prime reason to live, experience and hope. The collection of material artefacts is not a sign of pride, but a sign of offering to God the genius of many artists in order to praise Him. Nevertheless, even the most beautiful things always show the limitation of human creativity and support Jesus' words: "Look how the lilies of the field grow: they do not work nor spin; but I assure you that not even Salomon in all his glory was dressed as one of them" (Mt 6,28-29). The ecclesiastical museum thus assumes an educational role in the teaching, catechesis and culture. Museum facilities in fact offer to the public inspiring works for the re-evangelization of today's citizens. Through guided tours, lectures, publications (museum catalogues, catalogues of didactic exhibits, illustrated brochures of the itineraries on the territory) visitors can perceive the fundamental elements of Christianity to which the majority of them have personal knowledge through the sacraments of Christian initiation. With such an unusual instrument, they can find once more the ways to grow and mature in the itinerary of faith in order to be able to better express their own belonging to Christ. Non believers, in visiting ecclesiastical museums,

can intuitively understand how much the Christian community gives importance to the proclamation of the faith, to divine worship, to works of charity and to a culture of Christian inspiration. A careful reading of Church history, as regards her development in the local territory and as part of its art-historical patrimony, leads naturally to a knowledge of the great themes of Christian art. Through the cultural inheritance passed on to us up until now one reads and understands the sense of sacrifice, love, compassion, respect for life, a particular approach to death, and hope in a renewed world. Such realities expressed by works gathered in museums point to the great aims of the Church's mission: - worship, that unfolds in the liturgy, in popular piety, in personal devotion; - catechesis, that unfolds in teaching and education; - culture, that unfolds in many sciences and particularly in humanistic sciences; - charity, above all, that unfolds in works of spiritual and material mercy. Around each of these aims sensible signs are closely interwoven that evolve and develop in time. Their permanence constitutes the deposit of memory that can be protected and enhanced by ecclesiastical museums. Therefore, through this concept, one goes beyond the mere aesthetic and historic aspect and reaches a more intimate and deeper sense and significance in the environment of the civitas christiana. 4.2.2. Scope in the ecclesial context Through initiatives promoted by the museum in the field of education, one can reconstruct the micro-history of the individual realities within a specific territory. Study days, guided tours, temporary exhibitions and other initiatives can help rediscover the essential values of Christianity in a certain location. The history of pastors and saints of the local Church can be re-discovered through forms of popular piety and devotion that have left an abundant art-historical repertory. Other exhibits entrusted to museums show the important role of associations and confraternities. The ecclesiastical museum carries out an important educational function for contemporary generations and in particular of young people, because, by presenting the memories of the past, it demonstrates the historical perspective of the Christian community. According to this vision the relationship between the school, the territory and the particular church becomes fundamental. In fact, the institutional synergies that derive from this can increase an awareness of the ecclesiastical context that finds correspondence in the art-historical patrimony of the Church. The re-discovery of events through finds becomes, in a sense, the re-evocation of a memory that is familiar also, and so much more felt. In addition, it represents an element of common interest towards the values of the faith transmitted. 4.2.3. Use in the Church context According to common thinking, the word museum recalls to mind a place separate from present-day life; an unchanged, static, cold and silent place. Rather, the ecclesiastical museum describes itself as an authentic "greenhouse", a living centre for cultural development that can spread and strengthen awareness for the conservation and enhancement of the cultural heritage of the Church. The ecclesiastical museum has the unique task of preserving and displaying historical memories in the living context of the Church as they have been developed in a certain territory through many forms of artistic expression. In order to reach such objectives, it is not enough to organize intelligent and well-planned exhibit itineraries, where appropriate works are placed side by side to delineate and explain an environmental context and a precise historical reality. The problem that must be tackled is that of how to balance the co-existence of the two primary functions of the Church museum structure correctly: conservation and display. The criteria for exhibition must in fact contribute to enhancing the connection between the work and the community it belongs to, in order to indicate the ecclesial life of the Christian community of the past. Museum education must then give life to a communicative and formative circuit in order to make visitors aware of today's ecclesiastical lifestyle. On the other hand, the time allotted for a visit often does not allow one to appreciate the historical and documentary richness of a museum fully. Therefore it would seem appropriate to organize itineraries in a diversified manner in order to offer visitors, contemporarily to an educational visit, relevant materials that can be consulted outside the museum. The ecclesiastical museum becomes then a centre of cultural animation for the entire community. It becomes alive through the awareness raising of groups. It plans an annual calendar of events in order to insert it within a wider pastoral project of both the particular church as a whole as well as of the individual Church institutions that are part of it. In such a calendar one can foresee:

- temporary exhibits that can show periods, artists, historical circumstances, spirituality, devotions, traditions, rites; - lectures in fixed periods of the year according to thematic cycles; - presentations of books, or new or restored artworks; - meetings, workshops, debates with artists, restorers, historians and critics; - presentations of events promoted by institutions or associations that would otherwise not be able to develop within the diocesan environment; - the organization of catechism classes on the site. But the best way to understand the value of artworks, and thus the sense of an ecclesiastical museum, consists in teaching visitors to look around for themselves and to connect events, objects, history, persons which in that territory were and remain the living soul present even today. The ecclesiastical museum can then unite past and present in the ecclesial lifestyle of a particular Christian community.

4.3. Use within the entire territory With the use of the ecclesiastical museum, one can launch initiatives to promote the recognition of cultural heritage present in the territory. In this regard it would be advisable to: - arrange meetings between believers and non-believers, faithful and pastors, visitors and artists; - promote awareness-raising in families as a place of education for Christian art and for an understanding of the values transmitted by it; - inspire young people towards the culture of memory and the history of Christianity. By its very nature the ecclesiastical museum must remain in close connection with the territory in which it carries out its specific pastoral mission since it gathers that which came from this territory in order to offer it again to the faithful through a double itinerary of historical memory and aesthetic fruition. Besides being an "ecclesial place", the ecclesiastical museum is in fact a "territorial place" because faith inculturates itself in specific environments. The materials employed for the production of the many artefacts refer to precise natural contexts. The buildings have a definite impact on the environment; artists and commissions are tied to the tradition that develops in a certain place; the contents of the works themselves are inspired and respond to the necessities tied to the habitat in which the Christian community develops. Monumental complexes, artworks, archives and libraries are conditioned by the territory and refer to it. Even the ecclesiastical museum is not a separate place, but in continuous physical and cultural contact with the surrounding environment. Consequently, the ecclesiastical museum is not extraneous to other Church settings that belong to a certain territory. All have in fact the same pastoral aim and, in their different typology, weave an organic and differentiated relationship. This continuity is stressed in the mind of the Church through the cultural assets placed at the service of her mission. Such goods enter into a unique dialogue by which as a matter of regulation they are coordinated among themselves and as a matter of fact they must express this unity through their complexity and diversity. For its part, the museum gathers and assembles art-historical treasures by making visible a reference to the whole territory and to the ecclesial framework. In reference to the territory the ecclesiastical museum carries out various functions. First of all, it abides by a traditional one of "conservative gathering" of what has derived from the areas in which the individual local churches have developed but can no longer be kept in their places (due to difficulty in custody, unknown provenance of the artefacts, alienation or destruction of the original places, degradation of the structures of provenance, seismic risks or other natural disasters). One can add, however, other functions that must be carefully considered while planning an ecclesiastical museum. The layout of the artefacts must show the history of a certain portion of the church. The museum structure is called to document the entire ecclesiastical territory, and thus should connect what it contains to the places of provenance. In order to make evident the continuity between the past and the present, the ecclesiastical museum should provide a stable memory of the history of a Christian community and, at the same time, it is also called to welcome occasional events of contemporary artistic expression connected to the action of the Church. These functions suggest the use, whenever possible, of new multimedia technology that is able to present in a virtual, systematic and visual manner the intimate tie between the museum and the territory from which its assets come. In this sense the concept of an ecclesiastical museum can be specified as an integrated and spread out museum. Such an assertion refers to polycentric structures for which the diocesan museum carried out a role of coordination. Thus, around it, one can display the cathedral treasure and the cultural assets of the chapter in rotation; the collections of the parish churches and other Church places; the works contained in all the monumental complexes; and eventual archeological finds. A network is thus woven that can dynamically connect the diocesan museum with other museum structures and all the Church's cultural assets with the entire territory. In particular, the diocesan museum carries out a peculiar task since it shows the unity and consistency of the cultural assets of the particular churches. In it, one should present the inventory of the entire art-historical patrimony of the diocese. With the aid of explanations that can be easily understood, one should place the cultural assets conserved and other assets present in their context within the domain of the ecclesiastical territory. With the use of scientific instruments one should have access to the inventory and the catalogue of the art-historical patrimony of the area (at least for that which is of public use). Thus a complex explanation of the

inculturation work of faith within the territory is set in motion; that unites the entire activity of the local Church aimed at the production of cultural assets that are suitable to her mission; that shows the cultural and spiritual importance of the deposit of memory; that stimulates a sense of belonging to collectivity through the heredity handed down by individual generations; that favours solutions of protection and scientific research; that opens up to welcome contemporary works so as to demonstrate the vitality and the pastoral function of the cultural assets of the Church present in each reality in which the Christian message has been widespread. In this sense the diocesan museum can constitute a cultural centre of great importance, because founded on the art-historical deposit that qualifies and unites the entire Christian community. Together with it, the cathedral must represent a living patrimony that has in its complex a museum-treasury, structures and works that function to meet the various ceremonial and organizational needs. In the same way parishes, shrines, monasteries, convents, confraternities, are places that own artefacts protected within their own structures or in a centralized museum (with the guarantee to re-use them in particular circumstances). Even restoration laboratories and technical offices must make reference to such a diocesan center in order to insert themselves in the vital complex of the particular church. The conservation task reduces itself thus as only one aspect of the activity of enhancement that centers around the diocesan museum. Artworks, liturgical furnishings, vestments, etc. that for reasons of security, due to disuse or alienation of cultual complexes or to the precarious conditions or destruction of the structures housing these items converge in ecclesiastical museums, remain thus a living part of the cultural assets of the ecclesial community and the entire civil collectivity present in the territory. The notion of an integrated museum system widens considerably and assumes ecclesial importance in reference to other civil institutions present in the territory. Such a concept brings about the juridical recognition of such entities as a whole; forms the basis for the request of public funding; conditions the cultural policies of the region; establishes systems of regulation and protection of employees and volunteers. Consequently, this new configuration has an undeniable social and political valence because it offers a cultural service of public utility and opens discreet opportunities of employment. The typology of the wide-spread and decentralized ecclesiastical museum system qualifies the territory while enhancing the entire ecclesiastical art-historical patrimony. In this perspective the individual museum or collection is no longer a place of deposit or gathering of works detached from their context but a qualifying element of the local culture that has relations with other cultural assets. The decentralized system that leads to the protection of the works in both the places of provenance and these same ecclesiastical spaces, underlines especially minor arts and at the same time makes precious every individual portion of the diocesan territory made up of parishes, convents, shrines, etc. If liturgical furnishings in disuse, lying around in churches, could be concentrated in one museum, they would be lacking the sees of provenance and the museum would become a deposit overcrowded by material. Such an option would devaluate these same artefacts that besides so many others and more important works, would become unimportant and less useful. Therefore, one should safeguard on site the various expressions that endow the environment evoking the memory of the benefactors and the commissions, famous artists and simple craftsmen, past traditions and current customs. If suitable structures are missing or can not be established, it would then be preferable to house the items in a centralized museum complex. The diocesan museum can become a place for awareness-raising of the ecclesial community and a place for dialogue between the various cultural forces present within the territory. In order for this to take place one must proceed to assure a connection between inventories and catalogues; sollicit topographical and photographic documentation in the recording of the provenance of the works as well as the territory; promote illustrated stands, contemporary exhibitions, art-historical studies, restoration campaigns; organize guided visits that starting from the museum may lead to other monumental complexes in the area. This coordinated group of events will show the work done by the Church in a certain region and will favour the protection of cultural assets in their original context.

Formation of Personnel for Ecclesiastical Museums 5.1. Plan of Formation 5.1.1. The importance of formation As an artistic-historical landmark the museum can assume a significant cultural role if it develops an activity of providing historical information and education in aesthetics within the context of a pastoral policy. In order to achieve such an aim one should proceed to form adequately the clergy, artists, museum employees, guides, custodians and the visitors themselves, in order to make them understand the specific nature of the Church's cultural assets. This should be done with a renewed professional capacity, deep humility, careful dialogue, openness and respect for local traditions. The formation policy is oriented towards the presentation of works of the past and the promotion of new art work. Given the crisis of the sacred and the resulting impoverishment of cultual expressions, in the areas of architecture, iconography and sacred furnishings, it becomes urgent both to strengthen a connection with tradition in order to show the contribution made by the various epochs, and to be involved in the contemporary debate in order to inspire a new season of art and culture of Christian inspiration.

The Church, in fact, has always been a client of the arts because she has seen in them an exemplary instrument to carry out her own mission. In the course of the centuries she has traditionally noticed "as an integral part of her ministry the promotion, safeguarding and presentation of one of the highest expressions of the human soul in the artistic and historic field" (See Pontifical Commission for the Art-historical Heritage of the Church [currently the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church], Circular Letter to Diocesan Ordinaries on The formation of candidates to the priesthood regarding the cultural heritage of the Church, October 15, 1992, Prot. N. 121/90/18 [Notitiae 28 {1992} p. 714-731] n. 1). A cultural operation of this sort requires the capacity for criticism as well as a great deal of formation. It is therefore necessary to plan a formation policy for personnel besides a mutual collaboration between those institutions dedicated to the care of the art-historical patrimony of the Church. With the help of institutions and experts, the Church will be able to develop further the current interest for her cultural heritage while considering the work carried out in the two millennia of history and developing proposals for the future. Consequently, it would be advisable to give back to humanity a sense of history woven by both daily and great events; to show the influence of Christianity throughout the centuries in various social and cultural contexts; to recall those natural disasters and the wars that have led in some cases to the destruction of important masterpieces; to teach through a fitting plan of school education and permanent formation that the cultural heritage of the Church is particularly significant for the entire community; to recall that the ecclesial aim of this heritage is the proclamation of the Gospel and human fulfilment; to overcome discriminations between rich and poor, different cultural and ethnical backgrounds, different religious denominations and religions. 5.1.2. Urgent guidelines for formation As a whole it becomes urgent to overcome a certain lack of ecclesiastical interest in the conservation and presentation of cultural assets; to combat the lack of preparation in administrative and juridical areas; to avoid the detachment of museums from pastoral plans; to overcome the lack of well formed clients. - In order to overcome the ecclesiastical lack of interest towards cultural assets. While today, interest in the art-historical patrimony on a social level has been widely acclaimed, we sometimes notice a certain carelessness and lack of attachment to art-historical patrimony within the ecclesiastical world. As other pastoral needs come first, the lack of personnel and, presumably, an inadequate formation of those responsible, has rendered uncertain the protection of this patrimony. In particular, inadequate formation of employees leads to poor quality management which becomes more evident especially in times of emergency (structural disintegration, risks from dangers, detachment of frescoes, alienation of artefacts, organization of security, juridical-administrative disputes, etc). In these instances often clear decisions are not taken because there is a lack of organic vision and preventive strategy. - In order to combat the lack of preparation in administrative and juridical areas. The great expenditure of economic resources, often necessary to bring about major improvements, often results in serious overall deficiencies. Accordingly, it becomes necessary to develop a capacity for planning as well as administrative and juridical competence, and an inter-institutional collaboration (both in the ecclesiastical as well as civil environments). In many cases, in fact, one is not able to retrieve specific funding of a public nature (on regional, national or international levels) due to lack of information about grant procedures. In this context one should point out the urgency of making employees aware of both general and particular legislation on the civil and ecclesial place. - In order to overcome the lack of adequately formed clients devoted to promoting cultural assets. The Church in the past has been in many cases an enlightened patron of the arts by introducing artists of all kinds into the heart of Christian spirituality. The witness of the past preserved in ecclesiastical institutions must inspire current patrons in order that the cultural assets may increase through an inter-disciplinary effort whereby artists can understand the ecclesial background for the greater success of their work. It is important to deal with individuals prepared for team work and ready to meet with contemporary artists (John Paul II, Address to the participants of the Italian National Congress of Sacred Art: The artist is the mediator between the Gospel and life, April 27, 1981 [Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, IV/1, Vatican City 1981, p. 1052-1056]; ibid., Letter to Artists, April 4, 1999 [pamphlet, Vatican City, 1999]). In this effort the museum can carry out the function of catalyst for the inspiration of artists, in helping them to deal with religious subjects. 5.1.3. Criteria for formation The ecclesiastical museum can adopt its own and permanent role in providing education that could develop in three areas: historical information, education in aesthetics, and spiritual interpretation. In order for an ecclesiastical museum to carry out such a task it becomes necessary to educate accurately its personnel. In the education of personnel one should keep in mind some fundamental and necessary features: - educate the individual employees to be co-responsibile by inviting them to participate in the cultural plans promoted by the Church; - educate towards a spirit of initiative by launching new activities and keeping in mind existing experiences; - educate in an understanding of the area in order to achieve a fitting contextual approach for the initiatives within the range of cultural assets existing in the different particular churches;

- educate in the use of educational technology including multimedia in order to facilitate the visitors' approach to the cultural assets of the Church; - educate in the pastoral dimension in order to encourage the use of the art-historical patrimony according to an ecclesial mindset and in ways adapted to different kinds of public. 5.1.4. Content of the education Formational initiatives should foresee varied curricula with particular attention to the following subject matters: history of the universal and local Church; art history and religious architecture; iconography and iconology; aghiography and spirituality; history of popular traditions; history of the institutes of consecrated life and their presence in the territory; history of lay ecclesial associations; history of catholic associations, confraternities, charitable movements and cultural institutions. In this regard one could organize courses, seminars, conventions, debates, series of lectures in order to stimulate training on a beginner's level, specialization, permanent or ongoing formation. Such educational initiatives also help to gather people of different ideological backgrounds with whom one might try to develop a dialogue that may be productive on the pastoral level. For the employees and those who run the museum a specific type of formation is needed. Initiatives of this kind, besides offering the subject matters just mentioned, should also provide specific formation regarding the organization of a museum, its administrative management, didactic orientation, protection of goods, preservation of artefacts, legislation in force (on the subject of protection, fiscal measures, institutional relations). Eventually diocesan bulletins or other publications can instead care for the normal updating of information. 5.1.5. Places for education Formation is carried out by many initiatives organized in the different institutional environments set up for it (local, diocesan, regional, national and international). As a whole, it is necessary to launch a constructive dialogue between clergy and lay people, between professionals and teachers, involving all the intellectual, human, spiritual resources that can provide the type of team work and inter-institutional collaboration necessary for the problem issues of protection, conservation, promotion of cultural assets. Even in this regard competent territorial offices for cultural heritage are invited to function so that through round table discussions, conferences and debates, updated information may always be provided. With specific reference to museums present in the territory, one should create an incentive for the establishment of commissions and associations of experts to whom the task of management and animation may be entrusted, both for general strategies and for individual museum complexes (as for example, national Associations of ecclesiastical museums and national Associations of inventory workers, etc.). 5.1.6. Inter-institutional collaboration The presence of an ecclesiastical museum integrated within the territory involves many institutions and can give rise to various training initiatives. It is therefore of primary importance to encourage and support inter-institutional collaboration. On the diocesan and inter-diocesan levels, one must involve, when possible, civil authorities and other cultural entities in order to coordinate training programmes aimed at the presentation of the art-historical patrimony of the Church. In addition, it would be advisable to educate specialized personnel in competent academic centres, both civil and ecclesiastical, nationally and internationally. Educational programmes should not be conceived only for employees but also for visitors by launching strategies for ongoing formation. 5.2. Formation of Personnel 5.2.1. Principles for the formation of the clergy In the overall plan, the formation of candidates for the priesthood and the clergy is of utmost importance. Those who are aiming at the priesthood and the religious life should in fact be formed to appreciate the value of the cultural assets of the Church as a basis for the work of cultural promotion and evangelization. Usually priests caring for the souls of the faithful also have the responsibility of maintaining the physical church building, and the artefacts contained therein. In theCircular Letter addressed to Diocesan Bishops on the Training of candidates for the priesthood (15 October 1992) (In regards to the problem of formation, the Pontifical Commission thought advisable issuing a first Circular letter [October 15, 1992] to all Bishops in the world regarding The necessity of preparing future priests for the care of the cultural heritage of the Church [Pontifical Commission for the Preservation of the Arthistorical Patrimony of the Church - currently the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, Circular Letter to the diocesan Ordinaries on The formation of candidates to the priesthood for the care of the cultural heritage, citation]. Since it deals with a fundamental aspect, three years later the Commission dedicated again a specific Circular to all the Episcopal Conferences [February 3, 1995] in order to ask what initiatives were taken so far for the formation of the clergy in this field [Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, Circular Letter, February 3, 1995, Prot.N. 15/95/2]. Similarly attention has been turned to the work conducted by Catholic Universities on the cultural heritage of the Church. In this regard a Circular was addressed on January 31, 1992 to all the Catholic universities around the world and afterwards important data was gathered to orient the future work of the Commission [Pontifical Commission for the Preservation of the Art-historical Patrimony of the Church - currently the

Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, Circular Letter to The Rectors of Catholic Universities,January 31, 1992 and Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, Letters to the Rectors of the Catholic Universities accompanying the mailing of the Final Report on the replies of the Catholic Universities regarding the activities promoted for the cultural heritage of the Church, September 10, 1994, Prot. N. 239/89/18]. The Congregation for Catholic Education asked the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church to dedicate an issue of the Journal Seminarium on the theme The Formation of Seminarians Regarding the Pastoral Value of Cultural Ecclesiastical Goods [see Seminarium N.S. 39/2-3 {1999}]. A copy of this issue was sent to all the Episcopal Conferences around the world), this Pontifical Commission recommended that as part of the cycle of formation of these candidates "be included courses in which one can deal with in more depth and in a systematic way the history and the principles of Sacred Art, Christian archeology, archive science, library science. Such courses can contribute in identifying certain students to assign to these disciplines in order to prepare them to carry out in the future a stimulating role as well as assistance towards their brothers in Christ" (See Pontifical Commission for the Preservation of the Art-Historical Patrimony of the Church - currently the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, Circular Letter to the Diocesan Ordinaries on The Formation of the Candidates to the Priesthood regarding the Cultural Heritage, see citation n. 22. The document speaks of the responsibility of the Church for the artistic patrimony "as an integral part of her ministry to promote, care for, and enhance one of the highest expressions of the human spirit in the artistic and historical fields"). It is therefore advisable to deal with themes relating to art, aesthetics, libraries, archives, museums in various courses of philosophy and theology. In addition, one should establish specialized study centres in order to train experts in the areas of the cultural heritage of the Church in which to address the problem issues inherent to ecclesiastical museums (To this end the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome since 1991 has launched an "Advanced Studies Program in the Cultural Heritage of the Church". This example was followed by similar programs instituted in Paris, Lisbon, Mexico and Brescia [Italy], etc. In the public academic centres of many nations, academic programmes of sacred music have also been established that can offer a valid support for the general preparation of employees of ecclesiastical museums). Adequate training of the clergy assures the protection of our cultural heritage and favours the relationship between ecclesiastics and lay people in order to come up with a cultural project that is able to enhance the entire art-historical heritage according to ecclesiastical and civil criteria. In such a context one can orient the strategies inherent in the formation of ecclesiastical museum personnel. Even if priests will not always be able to be directly responsible for such institutions, they should, nevertheless, have the requisites necessary to promote ecclesiastical museums, to coordinate them within the entire network of cultural assets present in the territory, and to insert them in the pastoral plan not only of the Diocese but also of the individual local institutions (parishes, monasteries, convents, religious institutions, confraternaties, associations). It is therefore advisable that proper courses be organized to update formation for the clergy in order to make them better aware of the importance of organizing and managing ecclesiastical museums and of safeguarding the cultural heritage in their territory. 5.2.2. Principles for the formation of educators and guides The training project should also address educators and guides. One should not only train experts on a professional level in the various areas involved in the organization of the museum (or to verify their preparation), but more so introduce them to the specific Church environment that characterizes it. They should be able to place the art-historical patrimony of the Church in its proper context in terms of its catechetical, cultual, cultural, charitable aspects so that the availability of this patrimony may not just reduce itself to aesthetic criteria, but may become a pastoral instrument through the universal language of Christian art. - Internal guides. In particular, the museum employee in charge of guiding the public is called to identify the characteristics of the visitor he is dealing with in order to introduce him to appretiate the works exhibited through special itineraries, for example, organized around specific subjects, individual objects, homogenous groups of masterpieces. - Internal educators. The task of other internal employees in charge with the awareness raising of visitors, is to create occasions to meet, exchange knowledge, compare with one another. - External animators. Besides employees inside the museum structure one can plan to form external educators who may be able to match the works on exhibit in the museum with the territory from where they come from by offering visits primarily to these same local communities, without leaving behind those that practice religious tourism. The entire territory must in fact become a "pastoral laboratory" open to all, besides a place of cultural education through its architecture, history, documents that witness the interest of the Church in cultural assets. - Teachers and Church workers. In order to consolidate the tie between cultural assets and the pastoral plan one should therefore turn special attention towards the training of catechists, religion teachers and other Church workers so that they may know how to use the art-historical heritage they have at hand fruitfully by way of many kinds of activities and initiatives. - External guides and tour organizers. With the aid of special financing one should be able to intervene also on the external guides and tour organizers for whom one should preferably lay down requisites in order to guarantee an intelligent presentation of the arthistorical patrimony of the Church. In this regard one could require a certificate or diploma of attendance at an ecclesiastical course for those involved in religious tourism, similar to that which is required for religion teachers.

It is advisable that civil authorities be informed of a similar perspective, in order to coordinate orientation, procedures and accreditations. The adequate training of those who run the museums as well as those who run the tours, in both ecclesiastical and civil environments, leads to a better collaboration in the field of the cultural heritage of the Church. In fact it creates a mature meeting point between individuals and institutions (experts in the various fields, institutions aimed at the protection of cultural assets, schools of every kind and degree, cultural and tourist centres). 5.2.3. Initiatives for the training of those who run the museums The formation of the clergy and operators should be carried out above all in the usual places of formation made available by intervening on existing programs. In addition, it would be advisable to plan special intense and specialized courses on various levels. In this regard short refresher courses can be very useful if organized periodically on particular themes. In order to give continuity to the system of training the publication of special bulletins or circular letters can be of further help whereby precise experiences and administrative information can be reported, ecclesiastical and civil documents pertaining to the sector can be listed and an adequate bibliography may be provided. The courses of formation can be thus divided: - for candidates to the priesthood one should preferably organize seminars in the seminaries in order to show what is already contained in the various philosophical-theological subject matters that can be applied to the area of cultural assets in order to prepare for their management, for relations with civil authorities and inter-institutional collaboration; - to update those already in the priesthood it would be advisable to organize study days according to specific themes, as for example the theme of ecclesiastical museums (the organization and enhancement of the diocesan museum; the setting up of a parish or local collection; the integration of the diocesan museum in the territory; pastoral animation through the art-historical patrimony of the Church; relations with civil authorities; management issues; etc.); - for directors (priests or lay people) who must assume the responsibility on a diocesan level of running diocesan museums it would be advisable to plan specialized courses eventually organized by the Regional or National Episcopal Conference. One could also make use of courses programmed by civil or academic institutions; - for laity involved in presenting art and architecture, who should assume specific roles it would be wise to guarantee general formation at centres of ecclesiastical studies (universities, academies, pontifical faculties; higher institutes or institutes of religious sciences), besides a special formation with proper courses. In this regard, there are praiseworthy examples of courses already offered for these persons in cultural heritage and for tour guides organized by Institutes of religious sciences. 5.2.4. Initiatives for the formation of visitors Even the public must be trained to use the cultural heritage of the Church properly by way of adequate initiatives. Such training can be carried out through the organization of exhibition itineraries, other collateral initiatives, school programmes, information technology, special congresses, cultural policies of the territory, etc. The public can be divided in two categories: those who belong to the Church community, those who come from other environments. In order to reach a greater number of individuals it would be advisable to launch diocesan initiatives and local initiatives. In addition, one should diversify the activities offered on the basis of the typology of the specific public they address: individuals of school age, adult public, tourists, pilgrims, etc. Initiatives on a diocesan level. The following, for example, can represent some possible initiatives: - organize periodically on a diocesan level study days and congresses on themes that may bring to light the cultural richness of a determined territory; - programmatic guided visits to ecclesiastical museums, shrines, churches, and eventually Christian archeological sites and other places that are particularly significant for the diocese while trying to place the individual monuments in the context of the specific territory and its local Church history; - look after temporary exhibits in museums and other church environments putting on display ancient and contemporary artifacts that can refer to the Diocesan territory or to the specific activity of a religious Family. One should make sure that the various events may not only reflect a purely cultural value but may be planned according to ecclesial criteria in order to raise the consciousness of visitors, not only about the art-historical, but also the religious-pastoral value of the cultural heritage of the Church.

Initiatives on the local level. Educational initiatives aimed at individual communities or held in specific places can also be useful in order to show the intimate link between the cultural assets in use and those in disuse, to connect the works by stressing their historical perspective, to make emerge the relationship between past and present. The following, for example, can represent some possible initiatives: - revisit periodically, to have the faithful and other members of the community renew contact with their assets of art-historical interest in order to show the witness of faith and culture of preceding generations, and particularly their churches; - develop an annual programme of congresses, study days, shows, visits whereby the local territory may be rediscovered and a sense of belonging may be further increased; - involve in this work of animation especially young people, so that they can nourish religious, social, cultural interests; - make the entire community understand that the art-historical assets of the Church are intended for everyone, particularly for those who are poor, because they express the Gospel message of charity and they represent the dignity of the Church community; - open up to outside visitors by organizing activities that attract the visits of tourists; - integrate the aims of older lay associations by involving the promotion of the cultural heritage of the Church. Initiatives for tourists and pilgrims. The following, for example, can represent some possible initiatives: - for tourists, one should identify tourism in Church places as religious tourism, so that even the use of museums may fall into the area of the ecclesial life of the Churches whose works are preserved there. - for pilgrims, one should present museum collections in a religious context, by making the path of faith of the Christian community, the patrons, the artists, and the forms of popular piety and local traditions stand out. - for scholastic initiatives. For schools of every degree and type, the principal task is to interest students not only in the works on display in ecclesiastical museums or their history, but also in the gradual discovery of the territory from which they come from. Besides the school institutions for young people, particular interest in the cultural heritage of the Church can be developed by "adult university programmes" or similar activities, because they stimulate knowledge and creativity. In a school or in an academic context the following initiatives may be possible: - organize guided visits that may connect museums with the entire Church patrimony; - launch research activity and campaigns; - promote competitions (creative writing, collections of testimonies; projects of re-qualifications, drawings, photography, etc.); - stimulate students in order to interest them to the art-historical patrimony of the Church. 5.3. The role of volunteer work In regards to the distribution of Church tasks, it is important and useful to make co-responsible volunteer lay people trained in the various organizational aspects of a museum structure. In many cases, ecclesiastical museums, especially when small in size, are normally managed by individuals who carry out this service on a volunteer basis with a spirit of witness to the faith. In organizing this volunteer work it is however indispensable that those responsible give special attention to the juridical-fiscal aspects foreseen by civil legislation in each nation. One should therefore look to see that such a service - beyond its generous availability - be carried on in accord with necessary professional standards. Even the volunteer worker should follow training courses and be granted the proper conditions, when necessary, to be counted among the personnel normally employed. One can identify a few categories of volunteer workers: those who are retired, those who are looking for their first job; those who are professionally employed in similar activities in museums and intend to dedicate some of their free time. - Retired persons. This category of people may take on an important role by offering their service free. Since they have a good deal of time available, they can offer their services for the many activities of the museum. It would be wise to consider that in order to integrate their service, they should observe the general criteria imposed by the norms, organization, schedule of the museum structure. The museum can make use of their energy and availability as it takes into account their previous professional experience and the museum's concrete needs.

- Students. Even young students, or those waiting for their first job, can be usefully employed in the museum in a form of volunteer work that can in some cases be paid (while respecting the laws that apply). Such volunteer activity may represent a possible training ground for future professional careers. - Cooperatives. In order to meet up with the costly expenditures that may arise, in some museums forms of cooperative work supported by foundations, museum profits, Church associations may be organized. This type of presence can constitute an opportunity for work for young people and a decent way to manage the art-historical patrimony of the particular church. - Professionals. In addition, there are professional individuals who desire to make their free time available. They can be asked to handle tasks from time to time in order to use their professional experience to the extent to which it proves to be useful to the organization of the museum. The collaboration of professional volunteers is useful and helpful especially in certain sectors of management and specialized areas. - Consultants. In this regard, one can, for example, establish a commission of museum consultants, whose members, nominated by the Bishop for a renewable term of office, may offer their experience on a volunteer basis and promote certain research activity on site. They may make a valid contribution in order to establish criteria and launch proposals regarding the tasks of protection, organization, management, finance raising, and education.

Conclusion The cultural heritage of the Church is a patrimony to be conserved materially, to be protected juridically, and to be integrated pastorally into the life of the Christian community in order to cultivate the memory of the past and to express in the present how historical works of art are to serve the mission of the Church. By contemplating artwork, the lesson of history takes a prophetic dimension, because "the Church, teacher of life, cannot fail to carry out the ministry of helping contemporary man to re-experience religious wonder at the fascination of beauty and wisdom stemming from all the history has bestowed on us" (See John Paul II, Message of September 25, 1997, note n. 4). Ecclesiastical museums, as a place for the education of the faithful and the presentation of the art-historical patrimony, combine the value of memory with prophecy by conserving the tangible signs of the Church's Tradition. By means of the art-historical patrimony, they present the working out of the history of salvation in Christ; they present the work of Christian evangelization; they indicate in artistic beauty "the new heavens and the new earth"; they are signs of the recapitulation of all things in Christ. In the ecclesiastical museums the collection allows viewers to grow humanly and spiritually, and so museums rightfully belong to the pastoral programmes of particular churches. Presenting this patrimony in an attractive way can be a new effective means of Christian evangelization and cultural promotion. There are conclusions to be made that must guide the strategies used for promoting the cultural patrimony of the Church: - it could be helpful to develop a global plan on the subject of the cultural heritage of particular churches; - such a plan should be closely coordinated with diocesan and parish pastoral plans; - it could be helpful to seek the collaboration of public institutions in order to plan common policies for cultural development; - the ecclesiastical museum should not only be considered a place to visit but also a place for cultural-pastoral meetings and for reflection on what took place in the past; - it is therefore necessary to educate priests on this subject, not just by way of basic education and ongoing formation, but also by educating them on the ecclesial and civil value of the ecclesiastical art-historical patrimony; - it is also indispensable to prepare the personnel to instruct and guide visitors; - it would be helpful to promote research that would create new ways of learning about these treasures and new approaches to them by the Church; - it would help, when possible, to present the cultural treasures where they are to be found by bringing forward the places and events that characterized the life of the Church in a particular place; - it is advisable to offer suitable space to house what cannot be conserved on the site and to find ways to educate the faithful;

- the diocesan museum should be organized by drawing up an inventory and cataloguing what is housed there (to be coordinated with the inventory and cataloguing activity of the diocese), by promoting multimedia educational material, by setting up an active administration, by regulating the movement of the artworks, by planning the visitors' routes, and by calling forth collaboration between museums. As the Church at present is intent on finding her roots, one should develop the ecclesial and civil potential of museums, in order to work together on exhibits and make ecclesial reality stand out. In order to attain these objectives: - one should create interest in the art-historical patrimony of the Church by means of a fitting system of communication. This is the first work to lead people to "go-towards" the ecclesiastical museum and what is connected with it, by highlighting the historical, cultural, aesthetic, sentimental and religious value of the art-historical patrimony of the Church; - one should put life into the displaying that goes on in an ecclesiastical museum by making visitors realize that the object they see is part of their own life. This is the dynamic of "bringing them inside" the ecclesiastical museum by presenting the treasures there as cultural treasures; - one should stir up interest in the history of the Church by finding in it what can be displayed in a striking way in the museum. This is the third dynamic that "takes the visitor beyond" the museum, by placing a person in his own culture and by stimulating the desire to safeguard the art-historical treasures that he finds in his daily life. In this way the ecclesiastical museum becomes a human place and a religious place. To the extent to which the person today understands the past he will be able to look towards the future. To the extent to which the believer finds his own history, enjoys its artwork, lives in a holy way, he announces that "God will be all in all". We conclude with an exhortation of the Holy Father: "We are in an era in which ruins and traditions are enhanced in order to regain the original spirit of each population. Why shouldn't we do the same in regards to religious patrimony in order to draw from artworks of every period the precious indications regarding the sense of faith of the Christian people? Go then and carry out this task in depth, in order to reveal in the object the message handed over to the creative imprint of artists of the past. Innumerable marvels will come to light every time the keystone of comparison will be religion itself" (John Paul II, Address to the participants of the Italian National Congress of Sacred Art, April 27, 1981, citation). In the hope that these reflections may be of use for particular churches by the direction they give and the specific regulations they suggest, I extend my prayerful good wishes for Your pastoral mission and Your work of promoting a Christian culture focused on the good use of the cultural treasures of the Church. I am happy to take this opportunity to renew my respectful regards, as I have the honor to be Sincerely Yours in Jesus Christ, Vatican City, 15 August 2001, Francesco Marchisano President

Carlo Chenis, S.D.B. Secretary

Source: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_commissions/pcchc/documents/rc_com_pcchc_20010815_funzione-musei_en.html Date accessed: June 11, 2011

PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR THE CULTURAL PATRIMONY OF THE CHURCH ECCLESIASTICAL LIBRARIES AND THEIR ROLE IN THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH Rome, March 19, 1994 Prot. 179/91/35 To The Most Reverend Archbishops and Bishops in their respective Sees Your Excellency, The Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church tries to carry out the wish of the Holy Father John Paul II who wants to "strengthen the pastoral work of the Church in the vital context of culture and cultural goods and to apply his guidelines concerning this matter (see John Paul II, Motu Proprio "Inde a Pontificatus Nostri initio", 25.III.1993, Preface). With this aim in mind and conscious of the tasks assigned to it by the Apostolic Constitution "Pastor Bonus" (see Preface, and art.4) - repeated and stressed now in the above mentioned "Motu proprio" - we have tried to work so that the entire people of God - and primarily today's and future priests - "magis magisque conscius fiat" of the importance and necessity of the role of the Cultural Heritage in expressing and deepening of one's faith. For this reason, a first document was sent out to reawaken the sensitivity of future priests on such problems during the years of their pastoral and theological training. Three other documents are being drafted which intend to deepen respectively the sense and value of sacred art; the importance of an appropriate care for Church archives; the resumption of a renewed effort for an appreciation of libraries in the context of ecclesial studies and communal life. In this circular letter we would like, therefore, to key in on the subject of ecclesiastical libraries and their role in the mission of the Church. "Bring me the books and above all the manuscripts" (2 Tim. 4, 13). This was St. Paul's recommendation to Timothy at a time when he was reducing his life to the essentials as he felt he had reached the sunset and he wanted to use what was left so that "all gentiles could hear the message" (2 Tim. 4, 17). 1. The Church, culture, cultural heritage, and libraries 1.1 The Church as well, instituted by Christ to bring the message of salvation to all people and to protect its living memory, within the traditions of societies and cultures, where the assimilation of faith can flourish, has care "of books and parchments" because it is enlivened by a deep interest for the culture of every people and nation. Indeed, in the course of her history, the Church "has used the different cultures to spread and explain the Christian message, to study it and deepen it" (Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution "Gaudium et Spes", 7.XII.1965, n.58). In other words: the proclamation of the Gospel, through the life and the thinking of the Church, involves, by its very nature, the development of a process of "inculturation". In definite terms this means nothing more than putting together those cultural facts generated by the "incarnation of the Gospel in autonomous cultures" and the "introduction of these cultures in the life of the Church" (John Paul II, Encyclical Letter "Slavorum Apostoli", 2.VI.1985, n. 21; see "Exeunte Coetu Secundo", final Report of the extraordinary Synod 1985, II. D4). From here derives also that attitude of extreme caution which the Catholic Church has reserved to all documents, especially those mediated by scripture, which incarnate and pass down the values of peoples' wisdom. The mere existence of ecclesiastical libraries, of which many are of ancient foundation and of extraordinary cultural value, constitutes a decisive testimony to this irrevocable effort of the Church towards a spiritual heritage documented by a library tradition which she considers, at the same time, as both a good of her own and as a universal good placed at the service of human society. 1.2 Libraries of ecclesiastical property, where the monuments of learning of human and Christian culture of all times are protected and made accessible, represent an inexhaustible treasure of knowledge from which the entire Church community and civil society can draw into the present the memory of their past. However, the specific and primary interest the Church has for the so-called "ecclesiastical libraries" is based on the fact that the "leaven of the Gospel" - of which the Church has been the custodian and communicator - in the measure in which it has inserted itself in the different disciplines of knowledge, has given origin to Christian history and Christian culture or a culture inspired by Christianity, producing thus an incredible rise of religious, literary, philosophical, juridical, artistic, psychological and -pedagogical thought, and so on. Thus, library documentation - archival and artistic - represents for the Church an irreplaceable means to put generations, which have encountered the Christian faith and life, in contact with everything that the Christian event has produced in history and in human thinking. This is done with the aim of not depriving it of the experience already carried out by preceding generations

in the river-bed of their respective culture. One can also say that the Christian tradition - guaranteed by its everlasting character for all generations - within the Church finds in written books a constant contribution for its diffusion and transmission, for its deepening of meaning and comprehension, for its living insertion within people's traditions. To protect a book, encourage reading it, and its circulation is thus for the Church an activity very close to - if not to say one with - her evangelizing mission. 1.3 From this supreme aspiration - which is the evangelizing mission of the Church - derives the origin of the uninterrupted care which the Christian community has had in creating, protecting, enriching, defending, and making her own libraries fruitful. This is proven by the continuous recommendations made by the Popes to comply to such tasks and the exemplary care which some religious and diocesan communities have dedicated to their books. For this same reason one should avoid anything which comes in conflict with the protection and custody, the care and the growth, the enjoyment and accessibility of libraries. In addition, what the Church undertaken to conserve in her libraries is, now more than ever before, of vital interest for the development of culture. And this is not only for the sake of a better knowledge of the religious and ecclesiastical tradition, but also for the benefit of history, the arts, and the sciences of the civilization to which we belong and which we ourselves still nourish. It is for this reason that the Church, while she offers to all people, wherever she is present, the possibility of using her libraries, having to provide for the serious obligations of protection and management which follow, objectively calls upon an effective contribution of civil society. This is done, so that the Church also, in the way that best suits her, can participate in the protection, conservation, and appreciation of this immense ecclesiastical heritage of universal value. 1.4 Naturally, the precise criteria and the concrete ways of reciprocal support between Church and civil society, in this work of protecting and promoting library goods, should be determined keeping in mind the various political situations and the laws in force in individual states. The Catholic Church, on her part, aware of her high and immediate responsibility in this regard, is very sensitive to the many signs of encouragement deriving from a renewed interest in the appreciation of an historic memory on the part of modern culture, even that which is not strictly academic or specialized. The Church proposes thus to increase and evaluate adequately, from this perspective, the public and social dimension of her own libraries. This means conceiving of a convergence and a collaboration with civil society, not only in view of the conservation policy and the cataloguing organization of ecclesiastical libraries, but also in view of a new policy of appreciation and availability of their book collection. This convergence and collaboration will also be facilitated if ecclesiastical libraries will participate, through national computerized networks, in communicating bibliographical information with other national or ecclesiastical libraries. This would enable the historic, scientific, philosophical, religious, and literary memory, that is stored in libraries, to be widely available for research of experts and for the spread of culture, at the advantage also of religious sciences which, in this way, will be more present in the world of research and science. On her part, the Church wishes to conserve fully her own direct responsibility on ecclesiastical libraries, considering the importance that these have as an instrument of evangelization. 2. The significance and the value of a library institution within the Church: a center of universal culture. 2.1 While in the overall picture of her historical development, there has not been a lack of some regressions, the Church has participated in a determinate way towards the moulding of cultural institutions, often with an innovative impulse and with long enduring results. This has occurred, directly or indirectly, also in regards to the specific evolution of library institutions. Thus, for example, everyone knows the importance of the transition from the "roll" to the "codex" with regards to an easier and thus wider distribution of written documents, necessary for the development of culture. The peculiar Christian concept of "Sacred Scriptures", venerable but not esoteric books, as a matrix of a knowledge which aspires by its very nature to a "universal" distribution, has certainly influenced the process of "communication" and "distribution" of all the high forms of culture itself. It has impressed an epoch-making impulse whose reflections have not lacked to make themselves known, even on the level of social institutions and the cultural reflections homogeneous to them. It would be enough to recall here the influence exerted by the tradition of cathedral schools, of "scriptoria", of monastic "studia", of theological faculties, of ecclesiastical academies: not only concerning the development of the idea of "library" but also the evolution of institutions connected to the production and the spread of knowledge. 2.2 In the more specific area of the idea of a library, one can usefully remember the fact that some qualitative developments in the concept and internal organization of this institution matured in an ecclesiastical environment. For example, it was the Cistercian Order which carried out the first significant transition from a library of quantitative conservation (the bulk of volumes conceived exclusively as a patrimonial good) to a library of qualitative conservation (consisting of a specific selection of books to be gathered and preserved). Another significant turnover was made within the tradition of the Mendicant Orders, when libraries were subject to a systematic attention towards the rationalization of the inventory and the deposit, in view of research and consultation. In fact, one had to wait until the Renaissance and the age of Humanism for the conditions destined to realize these impulses to

mature so that they could be transformed into organizational and theoretical principles of a general character. And even here, some ecclesiastical libraries (Vaticana, Ambrosiana) distinguished themselves among the first and most prestigious libraries, with the intent of unifying the interest for the gathering of a vast and precious book collection. This was a collection organized with cultural and scientific intentions of general interest, made accessible to a cosmopolitan public composed of researchers who were interested in the fruition and appreciation of the knowledge contained in the texts and thus not only in the preciousness of the objects collected. In the meantime, the concept itself which governs the acquisition and the collection of texts becomes wider and more significantly encyclopaedic. The ecclesiastical library, besides the texts which refer to the traditional theological disciplines, gathers also, with equal care and diligence, the Latin and Greek classics, the texts of philosophy and science, documents of cultures and religions, monuments of history and art of various people and of the most diverse civilizations. 2.3 It is thus possible to trace for an ecclesiastical library, following the various stages of its characteristic development, here just briefly mentioned, a significant "vocation" of its own in representing a typical place where various forms of knowledge can confront themselves. This is precisely due to the universal impulse ("catholic") which forms the background of the Christian idea of the search for truth, which entails the interest and the acquaintance with every area of history and culture where the experience of such research can appear practical and documented. The recovery of this objective historical "vocation" which the ecclesiastical library has had - besides favouring the removal of some commonplaces which still encourage the prejudice of those who want to see an ecclesiastical institution closed off from a spirit of dialogue and from a wide cultural acquaintance exempt from restrictions - can certainly favor a more intense and motivated effort of those who, in the Church, are called to operate in these precious laboratories of culture as are ecclesiastical libraries. In fact, these have been, not rarely, in the course of the history of the Church, cultural centers of a very high standing and are still able to be valid instruments for culture, in collaboration with other analogous institutions. 2.4 If this is the historical truth which qualifies the origin, the physiognomy, the cultural influence and the methodology of ecclesiastical libraries - especially those larger ones remembered above - one should recognize that not always has one wanted or was it possible to maintain all ecclesiastical libraries on this level. Unexpected alienations or the confiscation of the buildings where they were located; repeated strives; the suppression of many religious Orders with the consequent decrease of a substantial number of their libraries; certain trends of cultural attitudes, or certain kinds of forgetfulness and even some disinterest has made the survival and the functional character of many ecclesiastical libraries difficult. It is hoped that the resurgent awareness concerning the cultural goods of the Church and of nations, will produce a renewed impulse to give back vitality to such centers of culture and make them connected to a common and respectful service to mankind, going beyond what can be definitely harmful to the universality of knowledge - contrasting the impoverishment of these cultural instruments. 3. The Pontifical Commission for Cultural Goods and Ecclesiastical Libraries 3.1 As was mentioned earlier, the Supreme Pontiff and the Holy See have greatly dedicated themselves to revitalize the pastoral and cultural effort of the entire Church for the care of ecclesiastical libraries, established on different levels and with different aims (1). Some conflicts which have made many seats of libraries precarious, the global transformation which has affected every institution in the last decades, and the very way of conceiving of culture and the means to assimilate it have aggravated the problem of the "protection-fruition" of these libraries. And it seems that the time has come when either one tries to recuperate or renew their function, or they are destined to an irreparable decline. John Paul II has captured the delicate character of this moment, establishing that the global problem of protection - use promotion of all the cultural goods of the Church - and thus also library goods - be assigned not only to exhortative documents or to periodic authoritarian decisions, but constitute a real and stable issue of a Department in the Roman Curia, purposefully and authoritatively destined to this area: the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church. 3.2 Under this guise, this Pontifical Commission intends, with the present document, to occupy itself specifically with ecclesiastical libraries. 3.3 While aware of her own mandate "Commissio Ecclesiis particularibus et Episcoporum coetitus adiutorium praebet et una cum iis agit" (John Paul II - Apostolic Constitution "Pastor Bonus", 28.VI.1988, art.102), this Pontifical Commission, in wanting to echo the explicit will of the Holy Father, now addresses directly the Most Reverend Bishops of the dioceses and the Superior Generals of Religious Congregations, in order to share with them the concern and the preoccupation concerning the fate of all ecclesiastical libraries - recent and old ones (Episcopal, Capitular, Parochial, university, and student libraries; those of Religious Orders, Institutions, Associations and others). It is necessary that, among the pastoral preoccupations, there should be a full return to those concerning the instruments of

evangelization and culture of God's people, such as ecclesiastical libraries. This way it would favour that "dialogue with humanity" which so often finds in these instruments the way to meet oneself in a vital way with the "Christian reality" and with the bimillenial roots of a culture without which the world would be poorer. It would be inexcusable to assign the cultural heritage as one of the minor concerns of pastors or to yield to the over-simplistic and superficial conviction that the "cura animarum" can overlook such instruments, judging them a "luxury" and not an essential instrument for evangelization, even in newly founded churches (see II Vatican Council Decree, "Ad Gentes divinitus", 7.XII.1965, n.21). 4. Guidelines for the activity relating to Ecclesiastical Libraries 4.1 It is necessary that every diocese and every religious congregation - if they have not done so yet - compile an inventory and identify the different typologies of the libraries under their responsibility. This should be done in order to arrive at a consequent planning of activities regarding, possibly, the necessary adequate spaces which are necessary both for library users and for the current library collection, in addition to forecasting a regular increase of library funds and acquisitions of facilities for work and as an aid for research. When distances represented a difficulty, it was evident that every ecclesiastical library would try to have the maximum completeness and adequacy to reach the aims for which it was founded. Now that distances are easily overcome and computer systems permit, with great facility, aids and exchanges, it is easier to think of a planning policy of ecclesiastical libraries in order to make them more qualified and more usable within a territory. Just as in the various areas of pastoral work one tends to have qualified workers, so it must be in the area of "libraries". It is necessary that the "ministry of a librarian" return to be considered fully and honorably within the Christian community. This is because he is not only a worker but also a sponsor of culture and, consequently, of evangelization of the Church when he works to increase the knowledge of the ecclesial community to which he belongs, and for the sake of the research conducted by those who want to deepen their own knowledge. Even his own professional training will be, for him, a valid aid in his mission to communicate culture and to assist, whenever possible, the attempts of those who want to come in contact with a deeper understanding of the Christian message. 4.2 Certainly the diocesan Bishops and the Father Generals of Congregations are the first individuals wishing for a further revitalization process of their libraries. This Pontifical Commission would like to point out the opportunity of speeding up this process of renewed interest and effort favouring the specialized training of priests, religious, and lay people destined to assume the task of directing libraries and to whom, if possible, should be assigned a permanent post - as it is in the case of archives and artistic goods. For this reason for quite some time now a Vatican School of Palaeography and Archive Science and a Vatican School of Library Science have been carrying out their activities with success and competence. Both have been instituted, respectively, alongside the Vatican Secret Archives and the Vatican Apostolic Library. An Advanced Study Program in the Cultural Patrimony of the Church has been recently set up with the same aim at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. We are working to increment the Associations of Ecclesiastical Libraries in various nations, with the possibility of transforming them in federations, so that they also can help one another to confront the problems which characterize this sector and offer a periodic up to date training of those already assigned to the service of these libraries. 4.3 It seems that in many diocesan churches the time has come to organize a "one large library of the local church", which can represent a more gifted primary location (more accessible to everyone) for finding the principle old and recent works of Christian thought. This would signify re-vitalizing the spirit of old ecclesiastical libraries placed at the service of the church and the city where one can find authentic and documented testimonies of the tradition and where one can find the message which emanates from Christian culture. In addition, this greater strengthening of bibliographical resources placed together at the service of the local church, would permit a more attentive and intelligent protection, conservation, and possible restoration of valuable old volumes, a protection which becomes more difficult when these precious goods are found dispersed here and there in various small libraries. We are not unaware of the many problems such a decision can provoke. However, it seems that, by now, the times claim from the Church this presence and this cultural ferment within the city. One should add the fact that many university or specialized research activities are increasingly oriented towards the bimillenial cultural heritage of the Church. 4.4 One should not ignore, then, minor libraries - parish ones or those connected to associations. These have often represented in the past a real place of education for entire rural generations for whom it was not easy to reach the major works

and the major cultural sources but which, through the so-called "circulating library systems", were able to deepen their Christian thought and give themselves a pretty solid cultural background. Today the semblance of these libraries seems to evolve towards a physiognomy of "small multimedia centers" where the book meets up with other helping instruments diffusers of culture. It seems that an efficient "diocesan nenter", run by staff trained in the cultural heritage (including library, archive, works of art) will have the capacities to dedicate itself to the continuation and the transformation of libraries of parishes and associations. In this respect, there should be a constant and steady dialogue between the responsible individuals of the Associations of Ecclesiastical Libraries nation-wide and the book and multimedia editors in order to identify and promote what seems to be useful and necessary to the culture of Christian communities and what positive factors of the "Catholic world" can be placed in circulation as a contribution to the culture of various countries. It seems that an intelligent planning policy can bring about a positive increase both to the spread and the deepening of culture and editorial wisdom, avoiding repetitions, filling up gaps, and nourishing a certain anaemia of values which is currently burdening so many of the publications today. 4.5 One can not ignore a fact which concerns the life of the Church today in some Nations: a decrease in clergy and the subsequent lesser presence of priests, in the single parishes and institutions, who were also the natural guarantors of the conservation and the promotion of parish libraries and the libraries of associations. The result is often the impoverishment or the closing down of such institutions. We believe that one should not simply give up to the fate of this tendency, but everything should be done to take care of the library heritage of suppressed parishes and institutions, very often a very precious one. One should look after its protection, embody in zonal or area libraries that which is otherwise forgotten or risks to become of no use, or gather in one diocesan center book collections otherwise abandoned - so that besides being protected they can continue to become a useful and fruitful source of knowledge. 4.6 As we recalled earlier, last year in 1992, this Pontifical Commission retained one of its primary task to address a cordial letter (which was, however, also a delicate warning of what had been signalled out throughout the Church) regarding the problem of making future priests more aware of the role of the ecclesiastical cultural patrimony in the work of evangelization as well as the responsibilities which await them in this regard (see the Circular Letter addressed to the Bishops, 15.X.1992). It seems appropriate in this instance to repeat such an appeal, making it more precise and aimed at: the appreciation and the practical knowledge of the use of the library which the seminarians consult during their philosophical and theological studies; the importance of bibliographical and archival documentation, in order to form a conscience of the identity of one's own church and the universal Church: a reality that the future priest can not permit himself to ignore; the use of valid libraries in ordinary pastoral activity of the priest, where material can be obtained for his studies and were to direct those, in their turn, who ask to deepen their own knowledge. The Seminary, which is preparing future priests, must take upon itself to support this awareness. 4.7 The time seems to be mature enough for the Episcopal Conference to elaborate, for the ecclesiastical librarians of their respective dioceses and for their particular church, a "Directory of Ecclesiastical Libraries" which can evaluate the "appropriate pastoral" task, before the entire Church community, that librarians (priests, religious, and lay people) can carry out for the rise of Christian culture and the dialogue between cultures. This would mean a Directory that might guide the complex doctrinal juridical - practical problems that involve ecclesiastical libraries, that might furnish guidelines for their relationship with state libraries, which might help their more vigorous development. The "national" character of such a directory, rather than a "universal" one, seems to be more convenient for this purpose in order to permit a greater adherence to local situations. This does not mean that Episcopal Conferences should not make known the problems and suggestions indicated by this Pontifical Commission which wants to make every effort to serve the cause of ecclesiastical libraries. 4.8 The Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church retains its duty to make known to the Bishops and Superior Generals, working in Churches of old constitution and of consolidated Christianity, a problem which one may call a "missionary library-economy." That is, in many dioceses where the "plantatio Ecclesiae" has taken place recently, not only is it not possible to create adequate "diocesan libraries" - as one suggested above - but neither "national ecclesiastical libraries", in that it is difficult or at times impossible to find patristic funds and great theological collections. Can churches then plan - if at times they have ecclesiastical libraries no longer in use - to send funds important and fundamental in terms of their content (such as great philosophical and theological series, and patristic sources) to developing

churches ? This would seem to constitute a cultural and pastoral exchange between churches of a relevant significance, which would enable to give back a value to certain libraries made unfruitful because of their limited use. National Associations of Ecclesiastical Librarians, in accordance with this Pontifical Commission, can become promoters of this cultural exchange. 4.9 As we know, the problem which touches most ecclesiastical libraries is the cost of acquisitions of new book collections and the management of these libraries which necessitates an adequate and competent, and thus stable, personnel. Regarding minor libraries - those tied to parishes or associations - one needs to turn to the help of volunteers, as was admirably done in the past, drawing from the well-educated sensitivity of the Christian communities which created these centers, so significant for their own cultural identity. These libraries, being instruments of culture for all, and not only for Christian communities, seem to have all the titles to participate in those contributions which National, Regional, or local communities are providing for the growth of libraries within the territory. Concerning large ecclesiastical libraries, a new and clearer "public" profile of these should be delineated at least in the particular churches where this has not been done yet. It happens that if libraries, as well as other Church goods (archives, art collections) serve exclusively the Church community, which then becomes the only referee, it is difficult to think that the national community should include them among the institutions to which must be given the necessary support. But if the Church - while remaining the owner and the sole responsible for her libraries - opens this heritage to those who intend to use it, it would seem legitimate that this relationship of cultural instruments and animation be included among the cultural patrimony of a nation to which an economic and organizational support should be given. We consider these problems to be of great interest and concern for the relationship between Episcopal Conferences, National Governments and international Organizations. 4.10 Finally, one of the tasks of this Pontifical Commission is to promote an increasingly growing relationship between the Church community and the International Organizations created for the sponsorship of culture - opportunely expressed by International Cultural Associations. We take the liberty to ask the Episcopal Conferences to help out in this task, favouring the establishment of National Associations of Ecclesiastical Libraries and their adhesion to the corresponding continental and international Associations. We are aware that these Institutions can sometimes ask for demanding collaborations for reasons of co-responsibility, and for extra time to dedicate, to which one must necessarily offer his dutiful availability. Your Excellency, if we had to summarize, in brief sentences, the points contained in this our letter, we could say: - the Holy Father considers a "sign of the times" the universal flourishing of interest in the Cultural Heritage; the Church, as "expert in culture", can not ignore this appeal; - we have, on this occasion, wanted to underline the nature, the task, the principal problems of ecclesiastical libraries, in order not to put all the weight of such tasks on the shoulder of the diocesan bishops but so that we can join together in giving back vigor to this very important area of evangelization and culture; - we have highlighted some problems, suggesting some general solutions, conscious that the situations of Churches are different and we can not formulate all-comprehensive guidelines to all the problems and for all the solutions; we believe this our letter is a spark which can enkindle the interest and the dialogue within Your Episcopal Conference; - we believe, once again, that the more urgent and radical problem is giving back a sensitivity toward this issue in Church communities - and their pastors - regarding the role that the Cultural Patrimony of the Church have as true and real "goods for pastoral work." Among them, now, we have spotlighted book collections which, together with archives, constitute the memory of the Church regarding its own progressive deepening of faith and can constitute a "memory" for all humanity when She wants to discover the significance of a Christian culture;

- we thus consider it useful that among the themes discussed by the Episcopal Conference emerge, in an organic way, the theme-problem of Church libraries so it can be dealt with afterwards by the individual dioceses. It would seem that - once the major points on which to concentrate the effort are specified - it would not be difficult to provoke a real movement of interest in Church libraries which might spur from identifying and supporting capable sponsors in this area; - as always, we would be happy to receive a thought-out response to these our observations, so we can follow up the developments and tune in our action to real situations, and suggest valid initiatives based on experience. We would like, once again, to echo the words of our Holy Father John Paul II: "faith tends by its very nature to express itself in artistic forms and historical testimonies having an intrinsic potential of evangelization and cultural dimension, in front of which the Church is called to lend its maximum attention" (Motu proprio, "Inde a Pontificatus Nostri initio", 25.III.1993, Preface). To such a wish I associate my most respectful and fraternal regards.

(1) For further information we recall other documents emanated in the course of the 20th century: 1) Apostolic Letter of Pius X, "Quoniam in re biblica", 27.III.1906, n.18; 2) C.J.C. (1917), cann.1495, 1497; 3) Circular Letter from the Secretariat of State, December 30, 1902; 4) Circular Letter from the Secretariat of State, December 10, 1907; 5) Circular Letter from the Secretariat of State, April 15, 1923; 6) Circular Letter from the Secretariat of State, September 1, 1924; 7) Congregations for Seminaries, the Questionnaire sent out on February 2, 1924 and the Circular Letter of March 10, 1927; 8) the Constitution of the School of Library Science at the Vatican Apostolic Library (1934); 9) Pius XI, "Deus scientiarum Dominus", May 24, 1931, art.48; 10) Congregation for Seminaries, Decree of June 12, 1931, art.45; 11) Congregation for Seminaries, Summer course for librarians of seminaries, September 1938; 12) Vatican Apostolic Library, Circular letter signed by Cardinal Mercati, November 1, 1942; 13) Pius XII, Apostolic Exhortation "Menti nostrae", September 23, 1950, part III; 14) II Vatican Council, Decree "Presbiterorum Ordinis", chapter III, 19; 15) Congregation for the Clergy, "De permanenti cleri institutione", November 4, 1969, art.22; 16) Congregation for Catholic Education, "Ratio fundamentalis institutionis sacerdotalis", NN. 27 and 94; 17) John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution "Sapientia christiana", April 15, 1979, articles 52-54; 18) C.J.C. (1983), Book III, title IV; 19) John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution "Pastor Bonus", June 28, 1988, articles 99-104;

20) John Paul II, Motu proprio "Inde a Pontificatus Nostri initio", March 25, 1933.

Source: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_commissions/pcchc/documents/rc_com_pcchc_19940319_bibliotecheecclesiastiche_en.html Date accessed: June 11, 2011