Utah bishop responds to Vatican policy on Mormons

Catholic World News/May 8, 2008

The Catholic bishop of Salt Lake City has told local media outlets that a recent Vatican decision shielding parish records from Mormon researchers is "not an attack on any church."

"It's simply saying we have to do our due diligence to keep these records confidential," Bishop John Wester told television audience in Utah. The bishop-- whose diocese is the home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints-- emphasized his respect for his Mormon neighbors and determination to maintain friendly ties, but observed simply, "we are two different religions."

Bishop Wester spoke to reporters after the public release of a Vatican directive that said Catholic pastors should not release baptismal records to Mormons. The Vatican indicated that Catholics should not cooperate with the "erroneous practices" of the Mormon faith, including posthumous baptism. Bishop Wester declined to comment on the Vatican's use of that phrase.

Mormon leaders have offered no public reaction to the Vatican statement.

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