5.G.4.3 Recording and Reporting Baptism in Cases of Unmarried or Unknown Parents

1. The baptism of a child (infant or minor) who is born to an unwed mother, or who has an unknown parent(s) or who is likely to be adopted, is recorded in two entries and reported according to the following provisions. [1]

2. The complete legal name of the baptized appearing on the birth certificate, the minister, godparent(s), Christian witnesses if any, the place and date of baptism, and the date and place of birth are recorded in a first entry of the baptism registry. (The entry space below would be empty by virtue of #5.G.4.2.)

3. The name of the natural / biological mother is to be entered in the first entry if her maternity is established publically, or she asks willingly, in writing or before two witnesses, that it be entered. However, it is recommended that the archivist, vice-chancellor or chancellor be consulted in such a case.

4. The name of the natural / biological father is to be entered in the first entry if his paternity is known from an authentic public document (i.e., the birth certificate or a court document), or he asks that it be entered by a sworn declaration before the pastor and two witnesses. Again, it is recommended that the archivist, vice-chancellor or chancellor be consulted in such a case.

5. In cases where natural / biological parents cannot or are not to be listed, the father or mother is listed respectively as “Pater Ignotus” or “Mater Ignota” (i.e., father or mother unknown) in the first entry. No annotation of “illegitimacy” is to be made in any case.

6. The following annotation is to be made in the first entry:
    “This information is to be given only to ecclesiastical authorities, and only for occasions when this information is necessary, i.e., in case of marriage, entering religious life, diaconate or the priesthood.”

7. Then, the immediately following space in the register, which has been left empty, is used if a subsequent permanent legal adoption can be established by an authentic document.

   a. the names of the adopting parents are to be placed in the second entry in the space for parents,

   b. the names of honorary godparents, if the adopting parents wish to designate them, are to be recorded in the second entry.

   c. Thereafter, the norms of #5.G.4.5 regarding baptismal certificates issued after civil adoption is completed are to be observed.



[1] cc. 870, 877§2; cc. 1540-1541.


Date approved by Bishop


Posted by
Msgr. S. J. Raica, chancellor