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Changes and Reconstruction


Question 1: What should the petitioner do if no supporting document with the same date of birth as the bapstismal certificate is available. What if only the GSIS papers are available?

Answer: If there are no supporting document with the same birth date as indicated on the baptismal certificate is available, then the birth date indicatd on the certified true copy of the birth certificate will prevail. 

The petitioner should bring to the Chancery Office whatever document is available (e.g., GSIS papers) that supports his / her requested changes. All nformation will be evaluated and the petitioner will be interviewed at the Chancery Office. The decision to approve or disapprove the request will depend on the requests of the Chancery's investigation.



Question 2 : Where can we get the requirement for requesting changes / reconstruction of records and securing clearances?

Answer: A booklet that contains all the requirements from the Chancery may be downloaded from the Chancery website (www.rcam-chancery.org). A similar list is also contained in the handbook given out to the participants of the seminar on Parish Records Management and Procedures. Please note that requirements vary on a case to case basis.


Question 3: What are possible corrections for adoption cases?

Answer: If the adoption took place after the baptism, the names of the adoptive parents are added to the baptismal record as a notation. Thus, the baptismal certificate will carry both the names of the biological and adoptive parents.


Question 4: What is the difference between correcting civil records and church records? What is the basis for the Policies of the Chancery with regards to corrections and reconstructions of church records?

Answer: The Policies implemented by the Chancery Office regarding the correction of church records are based on the Canon Law, directives of CBCP and Church Policies, while the policies for the correction of Civil records are based on Civil Law.


Question 5: Last year, we had a request to baptize two children. The requesting party was able to present a complete set of requirements. Thus, the children were baptized. However, the following year, a woman, who claimed to be the biological mother of the two children visited our parish. She presented documents to prove her claim. It turned out that the elder woman, who requested for the baptism of children, was their grandmother. The biological mother was so angry and threatened to sue our parish. What can we do?

Answer: The case may be referred to the Chancery Office, where the biological mother may be interviewed to present her complaint, and request for Partial Changes of entries to correct the wrong information on the Baptismal Certificates of the children.

It is unfortunate that the Church has fallen as a victim of deception between feuding family members. Due to this, great emphasis is advised regarding the screening of applicants for Baptism and other sacraments. When even a small amount of doubt exists, the secretaries should not hesitate to refer the applicants to the parish priest for further interview and authentication in order to prevent the occurrence of such incidents.


Question 6: What can be done to correct the wrong date of marriage of parents on a church record?

Answer: The petitioner may secure from their parish a letter of request for partial change of records and execute a notarized affidavit stating the change. Together with other requirement or proofs, these are submitted to the Chancery Office for evaluation and approval.


Question 7: On the Full Reconstruction of Records, when the written decree was released, the legitimacy and address of parents were not included.

Answer: The treatment for each case will depend on the contents of the written request from the petitioner’s parish.


Question 8: In the Request for Partial Changes, a certified true copy of the birth certificate is one of the documents required by the Chancery Office. If the petitioner has an original copy of the birth certificate, is it necessary to secure a new one?

Answer: To assure the authenticity of the documents presented to the Chancery Office, it is important to make sure that all documents submitted are Certified True Copies of the original. All Certified True Copies of documents are valid only for a period of 6 months from the date of its issuance.

For individuals born in 1990 onwards, the original birth certificate may be accepted provided that there are no alterations or erasures on the document.


Question 9: The mother’s surname was used on the child’s baptismal records because his parents were not yet married during the time of the child’s baptism. The parents later married, and consequently they wanted their child to carry the father’s surname. Can they simply submit a copy of their marriage contract to request for partial change of entry?

Answer: A request of Partial Changes of Records may be submitted to the Chancery Office by the parents of the child. Basic requirements include a letter of request for Partial Change of Records from the parish priest, an affidavit executed by the petitioner sworn before the parish priest stating the correction, a certified true copy of the parent’s marriage contract, and other requirements as deemed necessary by the evaluator from the Chancery Office.


Question 10: Case. We have encountered a case wherein a petitioner requested for partial change on a baptismal document, and the changes were approved by the Chancery Office. But after a year, the same petitioner returned to the parish and again requested for partial change on the same document. Is the second request for partial change acceptable?

Answer: In order to save time, effort and resources, it is very important to always advise the petitioners to closely examine their documents and make sure that all entries needing partial change are included in the request. As long as they are able to present sufficient proofs to support the change, you are advised to accept their requests, unless you detect deceipt on the part of the petitioner. It is important to always refer cases like these to your parish priest to allow him to properly discern what to do.


Question 11: A request to remove the name “Maria” from the baptismal certificate was presented by two different individuals on separate instances. The request of the first petitioner to remove the “Maria” was denied. Please explain why the two cases were treated differently.

Answer: All Requests for Partial Changes are carefully deliberated at the Chancery Office to make sure that the dignity of the Church is upheld at all times. The petitioners are assured that the Chancery Office has no biases regarding its decisions.

The approval or disapproval of a request will depend on the circumstances that lead to the use of the “Maria” name on the baptismal certificate.


Question 12: Can we delete the name “Maria” from the baptismal certificate? Do the DFA and the Chancery Offices coordinate regarding this?

Answer: Whether or not the request to delete the second name “Maria” from the baptismal certificate of an individual will depend on the result of the investigation conducted by the Chancery Office. Each case is dealt with carefully. No, there is no coordination work regarding this matter between the DFA and the Chancery Offices. The DFA is a government body, while the Chancery Office is a Church body.


Question 13: Case of change of name. One baptized Catholic requested to change the name on her baptismal certificate from “Rowena Rullon” to “Alicia Watanabe”. The request was endorsed by our parish priest to the Chancery Office and the individual was able to change her baptismal name to “Alicia Watanabe,” after providing all the necessary documents requested by the Chancery. However, after a month, this individual returned to our parish requesting that the baptismal name “Alicia Watanabe” be changed back to Rowena Rullon. Is it permissible to request for partial change for the second time? Is it necessary to askthe individual to submit a birth certificate again?

However, after a month, this individual returned to our parish requesting that the baptismal name “Alicia Watanabe” be changed back to Rowena Rullon. Is it permissible to request for partial change for the second time? Is it necessary to askthe individual to submit a birth certificate again?

Answer: It is necessary to investigate this case very cautiously. To discourage individuals from deceiving the Church, in this particular case, the second request for Partial Change is unacceptable.


Question 14: For full reconstruction of Church records, what number of “Certificate of No Records” from nearby parishes are required? We normally ask for 3 parishes. Is this too many? Is there a circular on this? There are some parishes who refuse to issue such document.

Answer: The submission of a Certificate of No Records from nearby parishes is not a compulsory requirement. Thus, Canon Law does state a definite number. The parish priest is free to decide as he deems necessary.


Question 15: A requirement for the full reconstruction of records is a certificate of no records issued by the parish. Why do some parishes refuse to issue a Certificate of No Records?

Answer: A requirement for the full reconstruction of records is a certificate of no records issued by the parish. Why do some parishes refuse to issue a Certificate of No Records?