Re: Diocese of Kerry/Cashel and Elmy records
- From: "Don Moody" <dpmoody@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2008 17:56:48 +0100
"Christopher Coburn" <a7a35436@xxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
From The Kingdom Newspaper in County Kerry. (August 2008)
Posting the following item of interest to those seeking parish
records for Kerry/Cashel and Elmy parishes.
Both parishes were previously closed parishes when it came to view
their microfilmed records in Dublin.
Kerry did have a Heritage centre where for a fee one could obtain
the parish records. (it remains closed)
and has been for many years. Tipperary also has (two) Heritage
centres? as far as I know.
Bishops upset by move to open parish records
THE Bishop of Kerry has objected to a decision by the
Library to provide free public access to micro-film copies of
parish registers from the diocese. The move has also been condemned
Kerry-born Archibishop of Cashel and Elmy, Dr Dermot Clifford, who
written to the library superiors to voice his disapproval.
The objections from the bishops followed a decision by
library authorities to reverse a previous policy and reopen public
copies of the registers.
It is understood that the bishops contend that copyright
arise as the records are the property of parishes and dioceses.
But the library?s decision also removes a significant
income for some dioceses which charge fees when allowing members of
public access to parish registers.
In his letter to the library, Dr Clifford said he was
taken aback? at the unilateral decision to grant access to
He said previous arrangements between the dioceses and
library were founded on the clear understanding that copyright to
records were the property of the parishes and diocese.
No permission had been given to the library to grant
the microfilm records, Dr Clifford maintained.
The Bishop of Kerry, Dr Bill Murphy, also wrote to the
to express his surprise at the decision and to stress that no
been given to the library to grant public access to the records.
Members of the public in Kerry can currently access
records by contacting the diocesan genealogy office and paying a
search fee sum.
The director of the National Library, Aongus " hAonghusa,
reaffirmed the decision to provide public access to the records and
the bishops that it was made with the benefit of legal advice. Three
separate legal sources had informed the library that there was no
it should not provide public access to the microfilmed records.
The parish and diocesan records are considered
research tools for genealogists and others anxious to trace family
The library?s collection of microfilms covers the
pre-1881 baptismal and marriage records of almost all Catholic
Concern has been voiced in recent days that there are
that the parish records might be used for inappropriate reasons if
made available free of charge to everybody.
Some reports have suggested that there is concern that
members of the Mormon Church - also known as the Church of Jesus
the Latter Day Saints - might use such records to posthumously
Catholics into the Mormon faith.
It is the custom of the Mormon Church to baptise deceased
members of other churches, in a practice focusing on the afterlife
critics have branded an attempt to artificially boost membership
A spokesman for the Mormon community in Ireland, which
1,237 in the 2006 census, referred to the teachings of the Church
state that baptisms for the dead are necessary to allow them to be
with Jesus in the afterlife.
The spokesman stressed that such baptisms did not alter
faith of the deceased if they did not wish it to.
?The Church also teaches that those in the afterlife who
been baptised by proxy are free to accept or reject the ordinance,?
The Kingdom contacted the Bishop of Kerry?s office on a
of occasions in the past week but no comment was forthcoming.
The Bishops are no doubt considerable experts on Catholicism. They
are clueless clots on copyright. The proposed uses wouldn't be a
breach of copyright anyway.
But the Bishops are in difficulty and it is called Dominus Iesum, a
paper written by the Panzerkardinale, and approved by the Pope at the
time, and not likely to be changed because the current Pope was the
Panzerkardinale. That paper instructed all Bishops not to do anything
which would jeopardise Church assets in their own or any brother
Bishop's diocese. Those assets would be jeopardised (and have in fact
been called upon) as a result of the few abuse cases which got to
court. There is a simple way of stopping a case getting to court. Not
allow the complainant the access to information needed to get the case
formulated. So close all records.
That then gets interpreted differently in different places because it
is a matter of opinion how old a record would need to be to create no
'danger' of a case if access is allowed. That is an exceedingly thorny
problem to which there can be no straightforward single procedural
answer. So the easy option is 'close everything forever'. What the
Bishops are really in a twitch about is that if they give a little way
on, say, access to parish records more than a century old, where does
the giving way stop? Somebody will ask for 90 years, 80 years and so
forth. Somebody else will ask if parishes then why not orphanages. And
so on. The Bishops can foresee the time when anybody from anywhere can
demand recent enough records from some place or other in their diocese
to be able to formulate a case.
No matter what the Bishop may think is 'right' and 'just' in any one
case he is under the vow of obedience required to do what the Pope
says he must do. No one Bishop has the choice of supporting openness
of records, and he has the duty to resist openness which in the long
run could lead to jeopardising the assets of his diocese.
So my sympathies are with Bishops as individuals in a grotty
situation, and they give their dilemma away when they are reduced to
fallacious arguments in public on copyright. What I have no sympathy
for at all is the attitude of the Princes of the Church which led to
the creation of the grotty situation.
But time to declare the bias. I am one of those who was abused and
cannot access the records to prove it. Indeed 'my' orphanage has
persistently lied for more than 50 years that there is no record of
me ever having been in their care. But I know there is a record,
although seen only once for a few minutes by a Cardinal on pain of
laicising the Mother Superior if she didn't;' produce it. Not that it
is now a great bother. That Cardinal, in a friendly and helpful way,
declared me heretic and excommunicated me so that I could go ahead and
marry a Catholic! His solution seems to have worked. We're still
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