Are confirmed Catholics in a "database" somewhere to track everyone?

Before I start, I know for a FACT this is in the wrong forum. I couldn’t find a proper one.

Anyways, I was confirmed Saturday and I was wondering if the Vatican or the diocese has a special computer database in which everyone’s name was placed?
If so:
Could it be accessed by laity or just clergy? Is their a website?

Thank you
-Justin. (Catholic since April 7th, 2012)

You mean is there a “big computer” in the Vatican with all of our names on it? :stuck_out_tongue:

No. Your parish or diocese should have record of your confirmation somewhere because if I recall correctly, you need to be confirmed (and need to provide confirmation of this) already to get married in the Church.

Every Parish is required to have a book in which all Sacraments are carefully recorded. This would generally be kept in a locked, fireproof safe and only brought out when it was needed. It is possible (and likely) that this book will include many people who were never actually members of the Parish.

In this digital age, it is quite possible that some Parishes also keep an electronic version of this information - maybe a database, or more likely a spreadsheet. This would be only for the Parish’s internal use.

In many Dioceses, a Parish will share its membership rolls (names and addresses) with the Chancery Office (ie, the Bishop’s office). This allows the Diocese to mail out various things such as the “Bishop’s Annual Appeal” and other materials of interest to the Diocese as a whole. This shared information would not include Sacramental records - it is a mailing list only. And it could include non-Catholics (anyone can join a Catholic Parish - and thus be a member of the Parish - whether Catholic or not).

A Diocese would not share it’s membership rolls with the Vatican (there’s simply no reason to). although the Diocese does report aggregate membership statistics.

Your name is written on the parish baptismal register. A copy of that goes to the diocese, who maintains that on another written register.

Any other sacraments you receive (holy orders or matrimony) will be annotated on there, as well. And that goes for if you move to another diocese.


Sacramental records are recorded by hand in a sacramental register in each parish. Records are signed by the priest. Records are reviewed and signed by the bishop on his visits to the parish.

No one may access those records except the pastor and his designee. The pastor may give a certificate with the parish seal to those in need of their sacramental records or send them to the pastor of another parish (for example, for a marriage). A parent may also request the sacramental records of their child.

On a periodic basis, old records are sent to the diocesan archives. The diocese archives them, ours does microfiche, but the original books are always maintained. The diocese releases archived records for historical and geneaological research on the same schedule as the US Census.

Sacramental record books for closed parishes also go to the diocese.

Yes, we do have a computer system with our parish members in it, and there are data fields for sacramental records, but a computer may NEVER be used in place of the sacramental record book and are NEVER considered the official record.

No, these records are not centralized.

The Vatican definitely doesn’t and the diocese might have digitized their documents into some kind of spreadsheet, but I doubt it.

Wouldn’t it make sense for a central register to be kept in Rome? If local records are destroyed by fire that can cause problems for anyone wanting to prove they are Catholic. For example, my wife and her sisters have no clue where their baptismal certificates are (I asked them) so what would they do if the local records are destroyed and they need a certificate?

Of course there is. As everyone knows, the Jesuits use it in their efforts to run the world.

Just so. Although actually, I always thought the giant Vatican computer was used to track Protestants, so that when the Jesuits take over, . . . . . . .

Hey, this isn’t the History channel!

How about when the Dominicans, Franciscans, MICs, Opus Dei, etc take over? Or perhaps after the Rapture, when the organization UNITE sets up the One World Government!:eek: That giant computer is called “The Beast!”:rolleyes:

I have an inherent distrust of highly centralized records. The more records that are stored together, the harder someone will try to steal them. I would be uncomfortable with a centralized Vatican record.

As for getting the baptismal certificate, I had to get one from the parish I was baptized in. I just looked up their address on the web and sent them a letter and they sent me a copy. If something had happened to the church, I would have contacted the diocese. (well, first I would have consulted a map to see what diocese it was in. :slight_smile: ) I’m not sure what you do if you don’t even know where you were baptized. I always thought that would be on that “NEVER LOSE THIS” list that had things like what hospital you were born at and when you got your vaccinations and stuff. My mother kept it (it was just one piece of paper) in a file for me and then gave it to me when I graduated college. But if you were married in the Church, someone must have known about your wife’s baptismal certificate, because she would have had to show it to get married. At least that is how it is here.


Naw, its easier track us. That way they know anyone who is not on the list is fair game. Plus, no one gets freaked out about the Jesuits tracking someone else. Keeps the Protestants complacent until the time is right…

My wife and her sisters do not have their baptismal certificates or if they do they have no idea where they are. I’m not saying they need to find it. I was simply citing an example of the problems that having only local records would cause if these records are destroyed by fire.
In an actual example here in the Philippines birth records are now centralised but years ago when my wife (before she was my wife) they were not. When she applied for a birth certificate in the town she was born in to make a passport application she was notified the registry office had burned down and all records destroyed. That caused many problems before she could even prove she was filipino despite her parents (who were alive then) making a declaration.
Local records are fine but I am a big believer in having a centralised registry but I am not big on conspiracy theories about theft to not have such central records.

Confirmed Catholics are in many databases, all over the world.

Wherever you were baptized, that’s where your records are kept. It gets fun when a parish closes or gets merged! Then you have to find out where they were sent.

Anyway, wherever you were baptized has your name in a registry. And you should have a certificate somewhere as well. So when it’s time for First Communion or Confirmation, they’ll ask to see your baptismal certificate. And after the fact, they notify your baptismal parish. Same with Marriage or Holy Orders.

When you try to get married in the church, they won’t accept your original baptismal certificate; they’ll want a recent copy. I went through it a few years ago. Fortunately, we had my original Baptismal certificate, and my mom still attends the same parish. So she toted the original down, they looked it up quickly because it had all the relevant data on it, and a week or so later we got the fresh copy. Why does it matter, you may ask? Because it will also show when and where I got Confirmed, and also show that I was never married in a Catholic church. And if I had been married and it was found null, that would be on there too. The original only shows I was baptized.

If anyone reading this doesn’t know for sure where or when they got baptized, now’s the time to start pumping the relatives for information, or start looking through the old photo albums for clues. I know a guy who* thinks* he was baptized Catholic, but his family never went to any church that he recalls. His mother’s dead. His father told him “I think it was St Mary church…”

Conditional Baptism…

This is hilarious - yep the catholic Church tracks all it members at all times - they say the Pope is going to buy all Catholics an I-Phone with the bricks of gold that are laying all over the Vatican so they can track our every movement.

Having worked for a parish and with the diocese. the answer is yes and no. Yes the parish keeps track of all Sacraments in the parish office, marriages, baptisms, first commuinion, deaths and confirmation. This information is sent to a central library once a year (usually in the fall) in a report called Vital Statistics. This information is for historical reasons only. People doing geneology can access this information for research purposes only. None of this information is used for individual monitoring purposes.
And then there is the “NO” part. The general public does not have access to this information, only family for specific reasons. In general, your information is safe.
There is a myth that has circulated for centuries that the Vatican has files on EVERYONE in the world. This is laughable and not true. If you were introduced to the Pope, chances are he would have no idea who you are, nor would the Bishop of any given Diocese unless you have met them before or are famous anyway.

Rest Easy

This would generally be kept in a locked, fireproof safe and only brought out when it was needed. It is possible (and likely) that this book will include many people who were never actually members of the Parish.

In what way did anything I said evoke a conspiracy theory? In the same way that a large concentration of wealth attracts the most competent thieves, a large concentration of information also attracts the most competent thieves. There is no conspiracy there. Or did you just use the term “conspiracy theories” to try to make my position look unreasonable and stupid without using any actual reasons?


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit