CHARLESTON—Ever since his days as a seminarian, Father C. Thomas Miles has had a love and respect for canon law. He has studied it and helped many people understand it through his work with the diocesan tribunal, or the Church’s court.
As of July 18, his knowledge of the law opened a new door as Father Miles was appointed judicial vicar for the Diocese of Charleston.
He succeeds Msgr. Charles H. Rowland, who was assigned to the position in 1992 by the late Bishop David B. Thompson.
The judicial vicar judges cases that come before the Office of the Tribunal. Most of them deal with issues of marriage, but the vicar can also be called on to examine other cases.
Father Miles said he is humbled and deeply honored to serve in the position.
“My goal is to continue to make the tribunal a place where justice is meted out with mercy for the people of God,” Father Miles said. “This is the legacy Msgr. Rowland left me and one I hope to preserve.”
Msgr. Rowland said he enjoyed his years as judicial vicar and believes his successor will bring new perspectives and understanding to the office.
“This is a pastoral position in which you meet people who would like to have their marriage situation resolved, or deal with other judicial matters that the bishop might bring to you,” Msgr. Rowland said. “The person in the office must have patience and understanding and be able to respond to people in a pastoral way.”
Father Miles is originally from Pickens and was ordained in 1999. He has served as parochial vicar at St. Joseph Church in Columbia, administrator at St. Anthony Church and St. James the Greater Mission in Walterboro, and pastor at Holy Cross Church in Pickens, St. Luke Mission in Easley and Our Lady of Good Counsel Church on Folly Beach.
He served on the tribunal as a judge and defender of the bond and pursued advanced studies in canon law, earning a Licentiate of Canon Law from St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada, and a master’s from the University of Ottawa. He is currently pursuing a doctorate at St. Paul University.
Father Miles is presently the administrator for Sacred Heart Church in Charleston and has sacramental responsibilities at The Citadel.