Is your parish strictly your residential address? Baptizing outside of it


Fr. David is sharing what is required under canon law. We are well aware from this thread that some pastors are not following the canonical practice. In some cases permission from the other pastor appears to have been obtained and sought, while in other cases it may not have been. Regardless, Father is reminding us of the responsibilities that parish clergy have. Even if one is permitted, for whatever reasons, to receive a sacrament elsewhere, there is no reason to be snarky with Father about it, as some here have appeared to have done.


Even if you do your baptismal prep and ceremony at the closer church, nothing precludes you from continuing to attend the other church for mass.


The priest who baptized you should have acquired permission from your actual pastor. We don’t know whether he did or not – it’s not uncommon to do that in the U.S., so he may very well have.
You did nothing wrong – and this does not affect the sacraments in any way.


Thank you, @JulianN ! Although technically it wasn’t baptism – I was baptized in infancy in the Church of England.


Probably not.

I always assume that when things like this happen, whatever permission the priest(s) needed was obtained.

And it does happen a lot. People (in the U.S. at least) often do want to get married in a parish-church other than the one required by canon law; or married by a priest other than the one who has canonical jurisdiction. The priest simply requests whatever permission might be needed, and if there’s a good reason, it’s typically given rather easily.


Thank you, Father!


I was married in and had my daughter baptized in several parishes away from mine. She goes to CCD and will get first communion on the other side of town because it’s closer to her school. Neither the diocese or priests have said anything.

I don’t go to my parish because I don’t like how it’s run. I’ve only gone a few times and some of these times:

  1. English masses are often done in Spanish because most of the parishioners are Spanish speaking
  2. I’ve gone for confession and well the priest just wasn’t there and the rectory was closed.
  3. one actual English mass the priest yelled at us that attendance was too low and we don’t deserve anything less than the parish to be shut down. Btw, most of the people in the neighborhood are Hindu and Muslim now since the Italians moved out, so of course the attendance is low.

I’m glad the diocese doesn’t much care where you have sacraments as long as you have them.


I’m sure the pastor or his admin staff took care to get the proper permissions.


I don’t think you can assume the diocese doesn’t “much care” just because neither the diocese nor the priests have said anything to you. Most likely if the priest in the church where you or your daughter received those sacraments needed permission, he obtained it without saying anything to you. And I wouldn’t bother asking the office staff. I worked as a receptionist in a church for >10 years and never knew about when the priests were communicating for permissions, other than a few times when a priest would call asking our pastor for permission to perform a wedding or funeral at our church.


Obviously, you’re not at fault. And it’s entirely possible that the pastor of the parish where you were received had already contacted the pastor of your geographic parish to ask for permission.

I first became aware of these rules when I started to work as parish secretary and saw a comment in the baptismal register of a the mission parish whose registers we kept and for which we provided the certificates.

A previous pastor had recorded the baptism of a child who had been baptized at a shrine parish in the next province. Why he had recorded it in the parish’s register I don’t know but he’d commented “Baptized at X without permission from the Pastor”. I asked our pastor and he explained Canon Law.

It came as a surprise to me since we’d gone back to my childhood parish to have our first two children baptized. The pastor there had given no indication that I should obtain my pastor’s permission in either case. In fact, he’d never even talked to me. Both times Dad just called, said I was coming home with the baby and was it possible to have them baptized. The reply was “Sure, just have her show up after Mass on Sunday.” The pastor couldn’t have contacted my pastor since he didn’t even know where I lived.


All of my sacraments (6 of 7 to date) have been outside of my home parish with zero communication between the pastor there and the priest administering. I know for certain having been intimately involved in the process and having copies of the documents where the pastor’s permissions would normally go but are completed by another.


Unfortunately, not every pastor does everything correctly. Luckily, it doesn’t affect the sacraments.


Actually, more often than not, things are done correctly. It’s just that we don’t always bore people with details of canon law that get handled without the direct involvement of people concerned. For example, a few months ago, I officiated at a friend’s wedding outside of my own diocese. They were married at the bride’s family’s “old” parish where neither of them lived. I told the couple “I need to do get all kinds of permissions, but don’t worry about it. Don’t even think about it, just let me handle it.” Even though the couple never saw the paperwork, whatever permissions we needed, we obtained.

Sometimes, it can. Marriage and Confession (some theologians argue Confirmation) are sacraments that require jurisdiction in order to be valid. Not just licit, but valid.


True. I was thinking of baptism, I guess. And I agree that most pastors do the paperwork correctly—in the case described, it sounded as if the poster knew for certain his had not.
I had one pastor whose failure to do the paperwork did affect a number of marriages’ validity—several of them were grateful, because they were seeking decrees of nullity.


In all fairness, Father, there are parts of the country where this doesn’t happen–when I was in DuBois, all three RC churches were within a couple of blocks of each other, having been founded as ethnic parishes (Irish, Lithuanian, and Polish). They shared territory. (since I left, they’ve been turned into single parish with three churches).

We had our twins when I was in Iowa, thousands o miles from many family. We sought and received permission to baptism them in the parish where I grew up so that family could attend.

The glitch came when the class requirement came up, and there were no local classes
available before the trip.

Our deacon solved this by adding us to the instructional staff of the class . . . they were geared to first time parents, and they would’t have had us take them out there anyway (for our third and fourth) [although they might have asked guys to help teach them anyway . . .]

But then he forgot to tell us when the class we were to help with was! :scream::roll_eyes::thinking:



Surely there must be exceptions to that rule, Father – such as the rows of confessionals set up in the open air at World Youth Day?




My guess is those priests all received the appropriate permission from the bishop of the diocese.


Jurisdiction can be granted pretty easily. So for confession, jurisdiction simply requires the permission of the bishop in whose territory the confession is taking place (except in danger of death). A preplanned event would almost certainly involve obtaining permission from the local bishop.


I thought it was possible to go to any priest for Confession. Is this something where the permissions have all been granted so that this is effectively the case and therefore not something laity need to know under normal circumstances?


No. There are not. Jurisdiction is required for valid absolution. Period. No jurisdiction, no sacrament.

Again, just because someone might not know what happens “behind the scenes” (so to speak) does not mean it does not happen. That’s an assumption which gets made here on CAF all too often.

There are several ways that a priest can have jurisdiction to absolve: by virtue of office, by the law itself, by faculties, etc. However, just because someone is unaware of how any given priest has such jurisdiction, that does not mean he lacks jurisdiction.

And, by the way, the Holy Father has universal jurisdiction (by virtue of office), so you actually posted a photograph of a priest (the pope is still a sacerdos) who has jurisdiction to absolve in that particular place, not an exception.

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