Baptism requirements...since when?



I REALLY wanted an answer to this question so I came to the one place that I thought could answer this. Here it goes:

Like many I was raised Catholic and then my path led me away from the church for a long time. Up to that point I had gotten as far as Communion in my sacraments. Later in life, I came back to the church but have still not, as of yet, made my Confirmation.

Anyway, 14 years ago (well after my Communion) I was asked to be a Godfather by a member of my family. I never went to a class, never made my confirmation, never attended a ceremony, yet my parents and family all have told me for years I’m this relatives’ Godfather.

Can this be possible? How so, if I never attended a class or made my Confirmation?

I ask because I’m about to have my first child and am in the process of preparing for their Baptism. In preparing I spoke to my local parish and they told me of the requirements. This left me wondering about my own status as a Godfather.

Did the rules to become a Godparent change in the last decade? Or has is always been required that the Godparents have had their Confirmation and attend classes?

Does anybody have an answer?

Thank you…


At least since the 1983 code of canon law, the requirements for a godparent was to be a Confirmed and practicing Catholic, at least 16 years of age who stands ready to “helps the baptized person to lead a Christian life in keeping with baptism and to fulfill faithfully the obligations inherent in it.”

Classes aren’t a universal requirement but unless you are well known to the pastor are a good way to make sure the sponsors are knowledgeable enough in their own faith to share it with their Godchild.

The fact that your Godchild’s pastor did not do a thorough job of checking out the sponsors doesn’t affect your “status” as a Godfather.


Thank you for the reply. So, to go from what you’re saying, since I have NOT had my Confirmation, I cannot be the Godfather, correct?


According to what you listed above, you are the Godfather. You probably should not have been selected but you can’t change the past.

You should be very happy that you now have a pastor that takes the selection of sponsors quite seriously and is making sure all of the rules are followed.


But you said since 1983 the code required the Godparent to have made Confirmation, I have NOT made my Confirmation. Ergo, I can’t be a Godparent, right?


Like I said, you can’t change the past. You are the Godfather. If in doubt, check the child’s Baptism certificate and see who is listed as sponsors. You were a Catholic.


Thanks…I take it from all of this that its sort of the pastor’s call and the rules aren’t strict. Appreciate your help.


No it is not the pastor’s call. And, no it is not the case that one is free to disregard the canon law requirements of baptism.

It is possible that the pastor made a mistake, or that those involved thought you were confirmed and gave inaccurate information to the pastor.

Also in your OP you said you never went to the baptism, so it is unlikely you are actually the sponsor. Perhaps your family just gave you the appellation “godfather” without meaning it in the canonical sense.

In the case of your own child’s baptism, you will need to select a sponsor who meets the requirements established in canon law.

I would also encourage you to complete your sacraments of initiation by preparing by asking your pastor to prepare you for confirmation.


Thank you, 1ke, that makes more sense to me. And I appreciate your suggestion, I believe you are right.


As usual you seem to have hit the nail on the head here.


It’s possible that his name IS in the register as the godfather, with a proxy also listed. That’s not uncommon. Neither of my brother’s sponsors were present at his Baptism (1958) but they are still in the register as his godparents, with others as proxy. My own son’s ‘godfather’ wasn’t present (1984) and is listed with a proxy. The fact that he’s actually a Christian witness was never explained to me at the time.

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