Baptism Question


#1

Does a priest have any responsibility to assure that an infants Godparents are not breaking any major church teaching. e.g. not attending mass for years, adultery


#2

Yes. The priest should interview the prospective sponsors. Many dioceses have a sponsor class that must be taken (usually a couple of hours). In our diocese we have a sponsor form that basically lists the below canon law criteria and asks for the sponsor to attest that they meet the criteria and also their own pastor who must sign and affix the parish seal to the sponsor form.

Can.* 874 §1. To be permitted to take on the function of sponsor a person must:

1/ be designated by the one to be baptized, by the parents or the person who takes their place, or in their absence by the pastor or minister and have the aptitude and intention of fulfilling this function;

2/ have completed the sixteenth year of age, unless the diocesan bishop has established another age, or the pastor or minister has granted an exception for a just cause;

3/ be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has already received the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist and who leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on;

4/ not be bound by any canonical penalty legitimately imposed or declared;

5/ not be the father or mother of the one to be baptized.

§2. A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community is not to participate except together with a Catholic sponsor and then only as a witness of the baptism.

I doubt, however, that the priest is going to ask if someone is committing specific sins (i.e. adultery). But, yes, mass attendance and other elements of #3 above in the canons are requirements of sponsors so if someone brings something to his attention like that, then he would need to act on it.


#3

Thank you.


#4

I know of a godparent that doesn't fit the requirements(adultery, not attending mass). I wanted to report this to the priest but the parents of the infant knew this about the godparent and it was fine with them.


#5

[quote="gabanzo, post:4, topic:321587"]
I know of a godparent that doesn't fit the requirements(adultery, not attending mass). I wanted to report this to the priest but the parents of the infant knew this about the godparent and it was fine with them.

[/quote]

Be aware that some priests simply will ignore what they know rather than have a confrontation with the parents.

I prepared one couple where the mother chose her sister and brother-in-law as godparents. The godparents' marriage was on the rocks and she had left him for her lover after 11 months of marriage. Both were living with other people, she showed up at the baptism with her lover and if she came within 6 feet of the godfather he immediately moved away. One of the saddest things I've ever seen. Priest opted to ignore the situation from the start.

A few months later the mother was seeking to remove the godfather from the register because he didn't want to have anything to do with the family.


#6

[quote="Phemie, post:5, topic:321587"]
Be aware that some priests simply will ignore what they know rather than have a confrontation with the parents.

I prepared one couple where the mother chose her sister and brother-in-law as godparents. The godparents' marriage was on the rocks and she had left him for her lover after 11 months of marriage. Both were living with other people, she showed up at the baptism with her lover and if she came within 6 feet of the godfather he immediately moved away. One of the saddest things I've ever seen. Priest opted to ignore the situation from the start.

A few months later the mother was seeking to remove the godfather from the register because he didn't want to have anything to do with the family.

[/quote]

I think if I had reported this, this priest would also ignored this. You never know the godparent in question might repent one day. Thank you.


#7

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