Baptism and Confirmation certificates required for getting married

Here in the Philippines before getting married the couple have to provide baptism and confirmation certificates. That makes sense but their original certificates are not valid for marriage purposes. They are required to get new baptism and confirmation certificates inscribed with “for marriage purposes” and the marriage must take place within 6 months of the issue date of these new certificates. If for any reason the wedding is delayed they have to get new baptism and confirmation certificates again.
I don’t understand this. Why aren’t the original baptism and confirmation certificates sufficient to prove the couple have been baptised and confirmed in the Catholic Church.

I’m just curious as to whether this is a local requirement or a universal one.

A new baptismal “certificate” is needed because it would have any relevant information noted on it. When you receive a sacrament of confirmation, ordination, or marriage, it is noted on your baptismal “record” and thus included in a new baptismal certificate. So a new one has to be issued so the priest can do his due diligence in to examine whether the person is free to marry. (Have they been married before are they ordained, and a Catholic is supposed to be confirmed before marriage).

I know why a new certificate of Baptism is required. I’ve never understood the need for a certificate of Confirmation if it’s noted on the certificate of Baptism. The only time I can see the necessity is if the person was confirmed in another parish which failed in its duty to notify the baptismal parish.

When a person gets married in the Church, that sacrament gets recorded on their baptismal certificate. So you need a recent copy in order to prove to the priest that you were not previously married and are thus free to marry in the Church.

It’s not just about proving you received those sacraments. It’s about proving that you haven’t been married before.

Yep, that’s how it is at the church where I work. A recent copy of the baptismal record allows us to write in all the notations that are in our record books for that person, and thus show that they have been/have not been married in the past. We have a place for Confirmation on our certificate copies also so we don’t need a separate certificate for that.

As has been noted, the certificate(s) of any age are to prove those sacraments happened. The NEW certificate of baptism is to prove that no previous Catholic marriage has occurred.

I’ve never heard of a separate confirmation certificate being required but I suppose it could be (as Phemie mentioned) to handle cases where the confirmation was noted on the baptismal certificate. Perhaps in the Philippines it is common for confirmation not to be reported in the sacramental record of baptismal parishes?

There is no such thing as a “Confirmation Certificate.” It’s on the Baptism Certificate.

All of our Sacramental “life events” are logged there.

Date of Baptism
Date of First Communion
Date of Confirmation
Date of First Penance
Date(s) of marriage(s)
Date(s) of Radical Sanation(s)
Date(s) of Annulment(s)
Date(s) of Ordination
Date of Catholic Funeral

As an example: My personal Baptism Certificate shows both the date of the civil wedding and the date of my Radical Sanation to recognize my marriage, plus the dates of my Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation. I don’t think they recorded my First Penance which happened a few weeks before my First Communion.

And really, it’s not on a “baptism certificate” either. :wink:

What gets sent (at least here in the States) is a “sacramental register extract” with notations. This register includes baptismal information on the front (and maybe that’s why people think it’s a “baptismal certificate”). Often, the notations are found on the back of the document.

So, the place that all our sacraments is logged is in the sacramental register that’s kept in the parish. When someone wants to be married in the Church, he requests that this information be sent to the parish that is preparing him for marriage. That ‘extract’, then, contains all the pertinent information that’s needed: baptism, confirmation, proof of freedom to marry (i.e., neither married nor ordained nor in vows in the Church).

Is there really any kind of universal standard for what a baptismal certificate should look like? I doubt it. There is just a requirement that parishes keep a sacramental record and when other sacraments take place elsewhere, notify the parish where baptism took place. But that notification doesn’t always take place so non-baptismal parishes may need to issue some certification for other sacraments.

So to answer this question, no, it’s not just you. :stuck_out_tongue: I’m not sure what is spelled out in Canon Law with this regard, but those requirements are the same ones I have encountered in the U.S. I don’t know if it’s universal or not, though.

That’s how we do it here.
But in our Archdiocese, we do issue Certificate for each Sacrament, basically for the parents to have. Our Archbishop requires that they be ready and on the Pastors desk so that he can personally sign them after the Confirmation Mass.
Having said that, the document that is needed for a wedding is indeed a fresh document from the Baptismal parish, listing the notations of all the Sacraments thus far.
As the person who makes the certs, I have to notify the Baptismal parish of all Sacraments received at our parish so that the Baptismal parish has the info for future reference, as in, when a person seeks to get married. :slight_smile:

So yeah, it’s the same way in the Southern U.S.

I think the reason people ‘think’ it’s a Baptism certificate is because, on every one I’ve ever seen and every one I’ve done myself, it says right at the top “Certificate of Baptism”.

Some have spaces to include notations of Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders on the front, some have those spaces on the back.

I’m glad I read this, because I was just about to ask the question. :slight_smile:

I was baptized in one parish, and was living in another when I got married in a third. So all the paperwork circled around and ended back at the baptizing parish. Interesting.

Here we only notify for Confirmation and Marriage – and Holy Orders, obviously, but we’ve only had to do that once in 56 years.

I’m guessing it’s assumed that First Reconciliation and First Communion have been received if someone is confirmed. Obviously that’s not a guarantee but it’s probably true for most Catholics, Western or Eastern.

It’s interesting how the printing industry (and today the computer template industry) have driven the nature of and our understanding of Church law. It’s probably influenced the way modern Church law is worded.

Since baptismal certificate forms are designed with places to put notations for other sacraments we have come to view that baptismal certificates are what get notated. I know that some parishes use a baptismal certificate form to notify other parishes so that probably contributes to our ideas about “official baptismal certificates”. I don’t know what commercially available sacrament record books look like but I imagine they have places to put such notations. (Of course if the record book is packed away in some offsite storage area I don’t know when that happens.)

I know that modern church software programs have places for sacramental notation so I’m guessing that is driving the way physical sacramental records will look.


We don’t record First Penance and recording First Communion is not required by Canon Law, although we do keep a First Communion register in our parish. We don’t report either to the baptismal parish.

Recording those and/or reporting them to the baptismal parish are not required by Canon Law.

I don’t know what commercially available sacrament record books look like but I imagine they have places to put such notations. (Of course if the record book is packed away in some offsite storage area I don’t know when that happens.)

I know that modern church software programs have places for sacramental notation so I’m guessing that is driving the way physical sacramental records will look.

The formated registers of Baptism I’ve worked with over the years have columns for
Name / Date & Place of Birth / Date of Baptism / Parents / Sponsors / Celebrant / Date & Parish of Confirmation / Notations. In the notations section you will find notations of illegitimacy, adoption, legal name change, marriage, ordination, decree of nullity, etc.

The problem I ran into as a parish secretary was the fact that we had separate registers for Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, and Marriage. Only the Confirmation and Marriage of those who’d been baptized here and confirmed/married elsewhere were entered into the Baptismal register. It was several years into my job before I learned that before I issued a certificate of Baptism for marriage purposes, I had to go dig through at least 2 and sometimes up to 6 registers to know whether the person had been confirmed and to rule out prior marriages.

We do here in the South. The priests ask for proof of First Communion because our Archbishop delays Confirmation until High school. They want to make sure that all are already receiving Eucharist regularly.

That is not correct. When I became a Catholic in 1992 I received a Certificate of Reconciliation (first Confession) and when I was confirmed I received a Confirmation Certificate signed by the Bishop.