All about Godparents


I like to know if there is a way to verify that I am the real Godparent of the child. Here in our place most of the child have more than 5 pairs of godparents, seems like a business.The more, the merrier. Lots of gifts to be received in Christmas. It’s fun to have a godchild but not too much to the point that you have more than a dozen godchildren especially when you’re not rich. Is there any document that I can check for confirmation?


Don’t you remember whether you were the godfather at the baptism? If not, the parish records should indicate who the sponsors were. The Catholic Church specifies that there should be no more than two sponsors.

Code of Canon Law 873:

There is to be only one male sponsor or one female sponsor or one of each.


You must remember if you were asked to be a Godparent and if you were present at the baptism for that purpose?

Are you by any chance from the Philippines? Here they go a bit crazy with sponsors. However, the Church only permits maximum 2 sponsors at baptism. Any number above that are simply Christian witnesses and not sponsors (Godparents) even though they think they are godparents or even might have been told that.


In some cultures where they have more than two godparents more than 2 are at the font for the baptism. We had a Filipino priest and he’d allow any number of people to be named “godparent” and answer during the baptism although only two were ever entered in the register.


Baptismal certificate should say.


While the baptismal record would show that, you do not have access to those records. Only the parents can request that information so you will have to ask them.


Filipinos in America do the same! Lots of gifts!


We have 19 grandchildren. We are God parents to some and have stood as “proxies” for others. Sometimes remembering who we did what for can be a bit tough at our age.

So we treat them all as God Children.


Are you sure? I have gotten baptismal records on my aunt and uncle.


I pray this is not the reason why people become godparents, but I know often times it is. Maybe if the parents gave more responsibilities to godparents most would drop out. If you’re worried about gifts, the greater gift is to act like a true godparent and help foster a strong religious life in your godchild. Maybe go with him/her to church at least once a month and take her/him to confession and adoration. His/her religion will last much longer than a material gift.

Sounds like fun. I wonder if the priest ask everyone in the church, “Would anyone else like to be a godparent to this child?”


I have found baptismal records at Ancestry of relatives and they did not give permission to Ancestry to publish them. :shrug:

Parents are not the only one you can access your own but I also believe that others can as well.


If you obtained the baptismal records of someone other than yourself, your minor child or someone you are a legal guardian for, then whoever gave then to you seriously breached their reaponsibility to keep sacramental records confidential.

The only records publicly available are those the diocese has approved for genealogy research and those would be at least 100 years old.


At my parish the sacramental records are kept on a bookshelf in the secretary’s office. They have been for decades. Although it’s unlikely that someone would walk in off the street to look through them, in no way are the secure. This has been mentioned to every parish priest we’ve had for as long as I can remember. None of them were particularly concerned…or even interested.


I believe you are incorrect. I know of no such thing that sacramental records are confidential. A relative of mine baptismal records can be found on ancestry. He was born in 1945. He was unaware that his baptism could be found on the site and he really didn’t care.

I would be interested if you could document your claim as it goes against what I know from first hand experience and I have dealt with more than one diocese.


No, I am not incorrect on this. I do the sacramental records at my parish. I am well aware of the requirements.

You can look up “handbook of sacramental records” on the web and you will find numerous PDF documents from diocese around the world. They all say the same thing: confidential.

That could have been obtained by means other than the parish church a certificate issued to the parents perhaps, another relative putting in the information, or yes even someone at the parish doing what they should not do: giving out information to those who have no business with the records. As I said numerous times before, it is a major breach of their duties, but unfortunately it sounds too common.

And records are not only to be kept confidential, they are to be kept SAFE in a locked, fireproof/waterproof file cabinet or safe.

Yes, again look up sacramental records on the web and you will find numerous diocesan documents. And they all say the same thing.

I am sorry that so many parish “secretaries” seem ignorant of the requirements of this duty (and actually it is the priest’s duty and he is only to delegate it to properly trained people) and give out records willy-nilly.


Since the Church seems to be several decades behind in the area of information technology, the safeguarding of sacramental records is extremely important. Those dusty books sitting on the parish secretary’s bookshelf could very well be the only record in existence. When I heard about the terrible tragedy that took place in the Philippines, one of the things I thought about was the sacramental records that were undoubtedly lost in the countless churches that were destroyed. The difficulties caused by the loss of those records will probably last for generations.


You are absolutely correct. I would however point out that the handbook seems to be unique to each diocese that is it is not a universal document like say the Canon Law. If you have evidence that is different it would be nice to see. The search that I did only brought up the United States. As for genealogy, there were differences. Las Angels does not open their records however, other diocese do before the year 1930. It might be that my relatives diocese might have a different criteria for such research.


I think parishes usually follow the laws of their respective civil jurisdictions. My baptismal parish published the records up to 1920. At the time, that would have been in line with the records published by Vital Statistics which today has birth records up to 1933, deaths & marriages up to 1963.

The reason baptismal records are confidential is that they often contain confidential info – i.e. fathers named there who aren’t even on the birth certificate and whose names don’t get included on baptismal certificates and pre-adoption baptismal info.

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