17.4.3 Sacramental Record CertificatesThe Handbook for Sacramental Records sets forth the policies and procedures for issuing certificates relating to sacramental records. Because these types of church documents can have significant evidentiary weight in civil and criminal proceedings, those issuing sacramental record certificates should adhere strictly to the following requirements.
Certificates may be issued only to the parents of a minor, someone with legal guardianship of another, a bona fide pastoral minister at another Catholic parish, and a diocesan tribunal official. When the parents of a minor child are separated or divorced, both parents, regardless of legal custody, are presumed to have the right to a certificate.
The request for a certificate must be made in writing in person at a parish.
The person making the request must present a valid photo identification (e.g., school identification card, driver license, passport).
Individuals making a request who cannot come to the parish where the sacramental records are kept should make a request at a parish near them; that parish can then make the request on their behalf after confirming their identity and authority to obtain the certificate.
Requests by electronic means of communication may only be accepted from another Catholic parish or a diocesan tribunal official or a Catholicy agency.