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Archiver > APG > 2008-05 > 1210184557

From: "Stephen Yautz / SMY Historical Services" <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Catholic Records
Date: Wed, 7 May 2008 14:22:37 -0400
References: <635422.86879.qm@web35507.mail.mud.yahoo.com>
In-Reply-To: <635422.86879.qm@web35507.mail.mud.yahoo.com>

Hello Fellow Listers,

While I would be disappointed that the Catholic Church would close future
records to digitization and microfilming by the LDS Church, I can understand
the Vatican's extreme discomfort in releasing any future records when the
LDS church is utilizing them for proxy baptisms.

Baptism in the Catholic Church means, according to its doctrine, that people
are "freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; become members of Christ, are
incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission." (Catechism of
the Catholic Church, 1st ed., no. 1214, p. 342. Doubleday, 1995). This mark
of initiation into the faith, also "seals the Christian with the indelible
spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ...Given for once for
all, Baptism cannot be repeated." (Cathecism, no. 1272, p. 356).

Since Catholic baptism cannot be "revoked," or rescinded by baptism in
another church, the Catholic Church then does not view the LDS practice of
proxy baptism of deceased individuals as negating the Catholic baptisms, but
rather as a DELIBERATE ATTEMPT to negate the baptism originally given in the
Catholic Church (which I personally do not think is necessarily always the
case). The practice of baptism by proxy, therefore, can be seen as
disrespectful to the beliefs held by the Catholic Church. And if the LDS
cannot be entrusted to refrain from proxy baptisms of deceased Catholics
derived from LDS church's records preservation effort, the Catholic Church
has every right to release no future records to them. I know we genealogists
lose easier access to the church records via the FHC and FHL, but, in my
experience, the individual parishes and dioceses have always made efforts to
accommodate my genealogical requests.

We need to remain mindful that the Catholic church's records are that of a
private entity, and as such, are not obligated to release their records
except for their own purposes, and at their discretion.

-----Original Message-----
From: [mailto:] On Behalf
Of Jeanette Daniels
Sent: Wednesday, May 07, 2008 1:05 PM
Subject: [APG] Catholic Records

Dear Everyone:
I am modifying an email that I sent to someone who had a different viewpoint
from my own.  This person sent me a private email explaining to me that I
had missed the point of what the Catholic Church was doing.  I will not send
her email to you but share some of my response to her because the closing of
records (whatever the reason) is important to me and should be to each
member of APG.
"I do see this from strictly a genealogical research point of view.  I don't
believe that I missed the point.  I'm still not sure why the Vatican
believes there is a threat to Catholic doctrine by sharing Catholic
Church records.  I do believe that a group such as APG could make a
difference by expressing the need for making records available.  There are
many good Catholics doing genealogical research who are members of APG. 
I am not making "light" of your concerns.  If I were raised Catholic I would
probably have a different viewpoint.  I would be concerned if the Church
expressed publically the need to close down genealogical research
that involved looking at Catholic Church records because members of the
Mormon faith might extract them for Temple Work.  I would also want to know
more about why the Church was issuing such an order.  "Grave reservations"
doesn't tell me anything.  What specifically is the problem? 
I think that the Position Paper that was written by the Florida APG is
expressing similar information only with a different subject - the closing
of State Vital Records.   I really think that educating those in charge is
extremely important and necessary to keep records of deceased persons open
for historical and genealogical research.
I get the feeling that I am the only person who saw the importance of the
Position Paper.  No one other than myself seemed to even be interested in
it.  I believe that APG could really be a motivating force in explaining the
need to perserve history and genealogy for everyone."


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