Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston is an ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the southern United States and comprises the entire state of South Carolina,[1] with Charleston as its see city. Currently, the diocese consists of 92 parishes and 24 missions throughout the state.[2] It is led by the Most Rev. Robert Guglielmone, the Thirteenth Bishop of Charleston, who serves as pastor of the mother church, Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in the City of Charleston.[3] Its first bishop was John England. Charleston is a suffragan diocese of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.[4]

Diocese of Charleston

Dioecesis Carolopolitana
Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, Charleston SC, East view 20160704 1.jpg
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Coat of arms of the Diocese of Charleston
Coat of arms
CountryUnited States
Territory South Carolina
Ecclesiastical provinceAtlanta
MetropolitanSede Vacante
Area31,055 sq mi (80,430 km2)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2013)
192,422 (4.1%)
DenominationRoman Catholic
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedJuly 11, 1820
CathedralCathedral of Saint John the Baptist
Patron saintSt. John the Baptist St. Finbar (minor patron)
Current leadership
BishopRobert E. Guglielmone
Vicar GeneralRichard Harris
Diocese of Charleston map.png

The diocese was created from territories of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.[1] The Diocese of Charleston was canonically erected on July 11, 1820 by Pope Pius VII making it the seventh oldest Roman Catholic diocese in the United States. At that time, the diocese comprised the states of Georgia, North Carolina, & South Carolina.

Services are primarily given in English throughout the diocese, though the rapid increase in the Hispanic population has caused several congregations to include Spanish language services, particularly in the Lowcountry region.


Consecrated on April 6, 1854 the Cathedral of Saint John and Saint Finbar was the first proper cathedral of the diocese. On December 11, 1861, it was destroyed in a fire that consumed most of the city. The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist was built to replace the original and sits on the foundation of the ruins.[5] Before the Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh was formed, the Diocese of Charleston had a pro-cathedral in Wilmington, North Carolina, that is now St. Mary Catholic Church.

Sex AbuseEdit

In 2007, then-Charleston Bishop Robert J. Baker agreed to pay a settlement of $12 million to people who were sexually abused by priests who were serving in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston.[6]In March 2019, the Diocese unveiled the names of 42 clergy who were "credibly accused" of committing acts of sex abuse while serving in the Diocese of Charleston.[7] In August 2019, it was revealed that Charleston Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone was being sued in the state of New York for sex abuse he reportedly committed while serving in the Diocese of Rockville Centre.[8]

List of BishopsEdit

The complete list of Bishops of the diocese is as follows:[1]

  1. John England (1820-1842)
  2. Ignatius A. Reynolds (1843-1855)
  3. Patrick N. Lynch (1857-1882)
  4. Henry P. Northrop (1883-1916)
  5. William Thomas Russell (1916-1927)
  6. Emmet M. Walsh (1927-1949), appointed Bishop of Youngstown
  7. John J. Russell (1950-1958), appointed Bishop of Richmond
  8. Paul John Hallinan (1958-1962), appointed Archbishop of Atlanta
  9. Francis Frederick Reh (1962-1964), appointed Rector of the Pontifical North American College and later the Bishop of Saginaw
  10. Ernest Leo Unterkoefler (1964-1990)
  11. David B. Thompson (1990-1999)
  12. Robert J. Baker (1999-2007), appointed Bishop of Birmingham
  13. Robert E. Guglielmone (2009–present)

Other priests of this diocese who became Bishops:

  • John Barry, appointed Bishop of Savannah in 1857
  • Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, appointed auxiliary bishop of Atlanta in 1966; served as Archbishop of Cincinnati from 1972 until 1982, and as Archbishop of Chicago from 1982 until his death in 1996 from pancreatic cancer; became Cardinal in 1983.
  • John James Joseph Monaghan, appointed Bishop of Wilmington in 1897
  • John Moore, appointed Bishop of Saint Augustine in 1877
  • (Abbot emeritus Edmund F. McCaffrey was incardinated in this diocese in 1993.)



The Catholic Miscellany, successor to the U.S. Catholic Miscellany, the first Catholic newspaper in the United States, is the official newspaper of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston.

Office of VocationsEdit

  • The Drexel House - Catholic residence for men's discernment in downtown Charleston, SC
  • Vicar of Vocations:
  1. Msgr. Richard Harris - Vicar of Vocations, 2004 - 2010
  2. Fr. Jeffrey Kirby - Vicar of Vocations, 2010 - 2015
  3. Fr. Mark Good - Vicar of Vocations, 2015 - Present


  • Secretary of Education:
    • Sr. Pam Smith, SSCM

High schoolsEdit

Diocesan High schoolsEdit
Private High schoolsEdit

Parochial Elementary schoolsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Diocese of Charleston". David M. Cheney. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  2. ^ "The Catholic Diocese of Charleston". Retrieved November 3, 2011.
  3. ^ Welcome To The Cathedral Of St. John the Baptist Archived February 23, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Province of Atlanta | Archdiocese of Atlanta". February 21, 1962. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
  5. ^ Cathedral History Archived February 7, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 32°46′33″N 79°56′03″W / 32.77583°N 79.93417°W / 32.77583; -79.93417