As a Catholic, acting as godparent for non-catholic

Is this permissible? Please cite.

I can find plenty of stuff about other non-catholic family being a witness for a catholic baptism but not the reversal editand the reversal but not about being the sole godparets.

To clarify; Our Episcopal sister-in-law is asking my wife and I to be godparents to her new son.

A priest, when I was in RCIA, said, IICRC, that it is ok so long as we dont promise to raise in the Methodist/Baptist/Presbyterian etc tradition but just as ‘christian’. Just want to be sure I remember this correct.

this is the closest thing I could find on the internet

Assuming that answer is true, and we were clear with the minister we are Catholic, is this ok?

I can’t determine whether it’s ‘permissible’ or not, I can just say what I’d do myself. I’ve always supposed that being Godparent, besides teaching about Christ, means being prepared to accept the child into my own family. I’ve been Godparent to a niece or a nephew… and the sad fact is that I can’t even remember which child it was, but the truth is that I’d accept any of my sibling’s offspring into my family and love them and give them whatever I’d give to my own child/children.

If something happened, would you make sure your nephew was raised in the Episcopal Church? When he has questions about the faith, will you give him advice that is in accord with Episcopal teachings?

Just make sure you don’t have to promise to raise the child Episcopalian. Also, make sure your sister is ok with that.


I don’t know the answer on our Church teaching or theirs on this, but I can think of some practical considerations.

I try to establish certain traditions I do for and with my Godchildren. If you can treat them the same as your other Godchildren, no problem. If your interactions are going to be ill-recieved as too Catholic, it’s a problem.

First ask the parents if they would consider having the child baptized in the Catholic Church seeing that her husband is baptised Catholic.

If this is not a goer, then before agreeing to be a Christian witness (not godparent)

  • insist that there be another Christian (presumably an episcopalian) acting as godparent.
  • ask for a copy of the ritual including all words you have to say, all the promises you have to make and prayers you have to say “Amen” to, and make sure there is nothing contrary to Catholicism.
  • make clear to the parents and the minister beforehand, that if you take up this role, you will be doing everything reasonably possible, with due respect to the parents’ rights, to teach the child the fullness of the Catholic faith received from Christ and the Apostles, without any dilution or omission, and that you will be encouraging the child in due course to become a Catholic once he reaches the age of reason.

OP, in this case, I would advise against this…unless you want your family to say…“on 2nd thought, thanks…but no thanks”


If that’s their decision, then too bad. You tried. Better not to be a godparent at all than to make false promises to God.

What false promises would you be making…?

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So long as by “Christian,” he means Catholic :wink:
But seriously, heaven forbid something should happen and such children are left to your care, you have a huge responsibility on your hands. It would not be a time to entertain PC ideals, but to promote spiritual ideals. It then becomes your duty to present the fullness of truth.
I would be crystal clear about this before accepting the honor.

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Promising to teach the child that the beliefs of that particular protestant sect are true and that its practices are correct (and by implication that anything to the contrary taught or practised by the Catholic Church is false and/or sinful). Whether you’re telling the truth or lying when you make that promise, you’re committing a grave sin.

IF otoh the words that you’ll be required to say permit you to freely and honestly give the child the fullness of Catholic truth, then go ahead.

If there’s one thing clear from Scripture it’s that Christ doesn’t want half-hearted followers who teach just a modicum of Christianity but leave out any controversial bits. He would rather that we rejected Him outright. “I would that you were either hot or cold, but since you are lukewarm, I am about to vomit you from My mouth.”

That’s not what being a godparent means, though. Can you imagine what would happen if you walked into a court and told the judge, “you need to give me custody of this orphan, your honor – I’m his godparent!” :thinking:

Would that be a bad thing?

I mean, saying “hey, you know I’m a Catholic, and if I’m asked what I believe is right and true, then it’s gonna be a discussion about the Catholic faith” is a good thing, isn’t it?


You don’t have to make any promises, that I’m aware of.

Two of my in-laws are god-parents for their Lutheran nephew. No ultimatums or stipulations were put on the parents/child. They graciously accepted the honor. :man_shrugging:

IDK, I guess that’s your call. Like I said about our Catholic/Lutheran in-laws…

In the past (and currently in some societies) this is a cultural part of being a Godparent. I was not raised Catholic, we did not infant baptize, however our Godparents were those my parents selected through their will to be our caretaker if they died.

This, however, is not part of the Church’s idea of the responsibilities of Godparent.

Thanks for the correction :slight_smile: I guess I was influenced by what my sister was seeking from me. I recognise that I was in error though.


Personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea. Godparents are responsible for the spiritual as well as the temporal welfare of the child if the parents die. You could not bring up the child as an Episcopalian but as a Catholic. And if the parents die after the child reaches the age of majority, he/she is able to make that decision on his or her own.

It would not be crazy for one to want their sibling to care for Children if they become orphans. In the US this needs legal paperwork, choosing someone as a Baptismal Sponsor does not make that happen.

Just ask her if she is naming you the guardian of the child should she and husband die.

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That’s good advice, though all of my nieces and nephews are adults now.

It is a sin to participate in other religious acts than Catholic because it goes against the the First Commandment “I am the Lord thy God and you shall not have other gods before me”.

For instance, Episcopelians deny Papal primacy and Church doctrine regarding the Sacraments. Therefore, they deny God their Lord, who taugh us about the Sacraments and who gave us a Pope.

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Catholics are god-parents for non-Catholics all the time. In my in-laws (there’s 5 kids), one family is Lutheran. Her Catholic sister (and Catholic husband) are god-parents for their Lutheran nephew.

They sinned by becoming their nephew’s god parents?? Honestly, that’s a new one. I’ve never heard that before.

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