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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Catholic Church Not Sharing

I don't usually use my blog to talk about religion and politics and I'm not planning to continue to do so in the future.  Even this post does not have much to do with politics from a governmental standpoint.  It does have to do with politics of religion and the consequence it has on genealogy.  I hesitated briefly on posting something so controversial but then I decided to post this anyway.

As to no surprise, the Catholic Church does not like the Mormons (Latter-Day-Saints).  That's probably not a real shocker for anyone who pays attention to these two religions and how they interact (or rather don't interact).

In 2008, the Catholic Church told the LDS Church that they couldn't have their records.  HA!  Now, you LDS can't try to baptize those faithfully departed.  As I read through the online article called "Vatican Orders Catholic Parish Registers Off-Limits to the LDS Church", I had to question what the heck the Catholic Church is thinking.

As a practicing Catholic and with twelve years of Catholic School under my belt, I find that I have a broader perspective on the church and its teachings than your everyday church goer.  Sometimes I don't agree with everything they teach by the way.  Choice and thinking for myself is probably why I am still Catholic.  If there is one thing that those Dominican Nuns taught me, it was to think for myself and seek the truth. 

The truth of the matter in Catholic Genealogy is that church records are spread out all over parishes and you have visit each one to find what you are looking for.   How antiquated and frustrating for the non-LDS genealogist.  That's me!  I have a whole family tree full of Roman Catholics along with a few Lutherans.  I guess the Catholic Church does not think share and share alike is appropriate with church records.

The Vatican's point with ordering Catholic parishes to hold back their records baffles me a bit.  The basis of their denial is so that the faithfully departed Catholics cannot be posthumously baptized in the LDS Church by proxy.

My goal here is not to poke too much fun at or disgrace either church.  Instead, I am noting what I think is unreasonable.  The Catholic Church does not want to share their records for fear that dead people will be converted to LDS.  This insinuates that the Church puts stock in what the LDS believe in that you can baptize dead people.   

I find the refusal of the Catholic Church to share church records with the LDS repository to be quite stifling.  It makes my job in completing my family tree so much tougher.  I completely respect and appreciate that the LDS Church has preserved so much family history and records.

I never did hear back from that Catholic Church in Brooklyn, New York which holds the key to my past ancestors in their church records.  I pray everyday that church does not burn down.  It's the only place where those records exist.  I hope to get there someday and hope that the Catholic Church comes up with a better plan for genealogy for all Roman Catholics.  We need a solution that gets to the main point of all of this --- proving one's family tree and finding your roots.  Mine are mostly Roman Catholic!


  1. I know...why in the world is the Catholic Church putting any stock into that belief? I have never understood why anyone of any other faith would care if the LDS baptize their ancestors. They can go ahead and baptize all my Catholic ancestors because it means nothing to me (and probably not to my ancestors either). The one other thing that irks me about the Catholic Church is that often times, no one can view the original church records except the priest and/or a designated person at the church office. The lady at my great-grandparents' Catholic church had the nerve to tell me I couldn't look over her shoulder because the book had private info in there. We were looking at a burial records book from the early twentieth century. Most of that info can be found in death records at the Louisiana State Archives. I was looking over her shoulder because my great-great-great-grandpa's name was rather unusual, and she may not have recognized the spelling. Oh, well. Sigh.

  2. I know....Big Sigh here too! Someday I hope to get to that church in Brooklyn and hope that they will share.