06 May 2008

Controversy Over Catholic Church Records

Many of you use Catholic Church records in your research; therefore, the following article may be of concern to you. A Vatican council recently directed Catholic churches not to allow the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to microfilm or digitally record the Church's sacramental records. The Vatican's concern is that the LDS Church may use these records to posthumously baptize Catholic parishioners.

Click on the following links for further information:

* About.com article

* Catholic News Service article

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, there have been many LDS members who haven't followed their rules of conduct with this practice and have submitted thousands of names which are not direct ancestors to them. Also, they still continue to baptized by proxy those of the Jewish faith - a direct violation of their aggreement with the Jewish federation.

Whether this LDS practice of posthumous rebaptisms is a valid spiritual practice or not, I believe the actions of such a practice is disrespectful to other faiths and religions and I confront this problem with this statement in some of my works. This is how it reads for the most part:

Any plan/action of ulterior religious designation, baptism by proxy, and/or disrespect committed against the faith and religious beliefs of the people listed in these records and its images, including their families, comrades, and/or their descendants has not been awarded, not granted or nor approved.

I do think the Vatican has a leg to stand on, but I don't want to see all their records closed up. Legally, I don't think they can truely lock up records that were made available as public record at some point. For example: Registry records photographed and included in land grant conflicts.

It is unfortunate that LDS practices and actions have offended so many people of other beliefs and such reactions have come to be because of this. Maybe the Vatican should submit their own guidelines on the use of their records rather than making unavailable.