Advice in choosing godparents?


My husband and I are due to have our first baby any day now, and we are having trouble agreeing on godparents. We both want to pick someone who will be a good example of the faith for our child.

In my family, godparents have always been family members. Most of my family members are practicing Catholics, and even quite involved in their parishes, however, I would also say that they are “cafeteria catholics” and some of them are quite vocal about what they disagree on. Eg: All of them believe that birth control is okay, at least one has been sterilized, most don’t see confession as necessary.

My husband’s side is mostly non-Catholic, and he would rather we choose someone from among our friends, who we know are more orthodox.

Because my family are all practicing Catholics (and even leaders in their parishes), I would feel kind of like a snob in passing them up my for someone more Catholic. I am worried about offending my family over this, and I am also worried that we would be more likely to lose touch with friends in the future, and they would be less involved in our child’s life.

So the basic question is: do we pick a practicing “cafeteria” catholic from the family who will be an okay but not terrific example of the faith, or do we pick someone who is more in line with the church’s teaching, and risk losing touch, and maybe causing family stress?
Any advice?


Godparents role in the Catholic Church (as opposed to Non-catholic traditions) is to help instruct your child in faith formation. Do not feel like a snob for assuring your child the best possible
example and teacher in the Catholic Faith for a God parent. I would also stress to make sure you question those that you are considering specifically “Are you willing to be an example for my child in the faith, and willing to help in his spiritual development in line with Church teaching”. We made the mistake of not making that question (assuming we knew) and now I am worried about confronting my son’s Godmother (Godmother and Godfather were both unmarried and unassociated, as were most of our friends at the time) about her stance on ABC and whether she is willing to instruct my son in it in line with the Church…and she’s my sis, so it will be difficult.

Do you really feel that you ned to justify your choice (or will need to) to family members? If you are worried that you may loose touch with some if you don’t choose them, are you sure they are the type of people you want in this role for your child?
As a side note, one of the reasons we chose our Godfather from among our friends was that we don’t live in the same area as family, and felt that it was best that our ds’s GF was someone he would see regularly.

Also, one friend (who I wish I’d listened to) read a book on Godparents recommending that they were not chosen from family. The reasoning behind this was that, for example, when the Godparents came to a birthday party,there would be a clear distinction and a special feeling if you will “My Godparents came”, where with family it would be “my Grandparents/aunt and uncle, etc came”. This gives the child yet another set of special and loving people in their life (the assumption that family already has a role in the childs life).

Hope this helps :slight_smile:


Thanks for the reply. Most of my family do live in the area around here, as do our friends.


**The role of Godparent is not social. You are choosing a person or two who should be instrumental in building your child’s character, morals and faith.

If I were in your exact situation, I would pick a person (or persons) who is the absolute best example of a faithful, practicing Catholic. If possible, i would choose a non-family member.

If confronted by your family, gently and patiently tell them that they already have an important role in the baby’s life (auntie, uncle, cousin etc) and that you wanted to add to the child’s extended “family” by choosing someone not related.



The most important thing is to remember that the faith of your child is really important. A Cafeteria Catholic picks and chooses the teachings he or she likes and forget the rest. Go with a strong Catholic!


I would choose a close friend from Church, perhaps someone who is also a role model for yourself. I agree with the others that family members are not always the best choice.


There is a lot to be said for picking relatives as well.

Associated with the task of picking godparents for your children, you should definitely be looking to pick someone to take care of your children in the event of your decedency.

I hope you have a will to cover this possibility, premature deaths and disabilities do happen and you should definitely be prepared.

It makes some practical sense to choose the same people for both jobs.

In that circumstance, I think you would want someone who, in addition to being a good Catholic, also maintains a stable home, is good with money and is generally totally responsible and can carry out the task.

A middle aged single man might be strong in the faith and a good example and teacher, but totally ill-equipped to care for young children.


Honestly, we struggled with a similiar situation and we ended up opting for family members…the main reason being that family is always around, but friends at this point in our lives are quite mobile and could end up anywhere.

Both DH and I have godparents that are no longer practicing Catholics, although they were when we were baptized. No one could have forseen the future and they weren’t very active in our lives (except his godfather who has always been there for him). However, we are both strong in our faith and it is really due to our parents. So, that said, I don’t think the godparents would lead the child astray if the parents were strong and faithful Catholics, but it would be ideal if they all agreed or at least were quiet about what they “picked and chose.”

If I were in that situation, I’d pick one relative and one friend. We ended up with relatives only, like I said above - but one who is very orthodox and one who is now, but still very young and has been struggling. However, both know where we stand and respect us and our faith.

I will say an extra prayer for you! :slight_smile:


A Godparent is not the same as a Guardian. A Guardian is named in a will. A Godparent is named in the Church.

My son’s Godparents are married, each to someone else!
His Guardians, named in my will, are married to each other.

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