Catholic Baptism with two female Godparents valid?


I just witnessed the baptism of my newphew this weekend. This was at my parish, and performed by our permenant Deacon.

The Godparents were both female (an aunt and someone else I didn’t know). I know now that this is illicit (Cannon 873), but is the baptism still valid? And did it ‘take effect’?

I assume I should bring this to the attention of the priest at my parish, correct? or is there something else I should do?

Thank you



A valid baptism requires no godparents, so it’s still valid even if there are two godmothers, although in this case one of the ‘godmothers’ may have been a Christian witness.


In those cases, I’ve seen it registered as one Godparent and one Christian Witness.

It fits within the letter of the law, but not really the spirit.


As long as there was water and the Trinitarian formula plus the intention to baptize, it’s valid.




You only mentioned Cannon 873 …I’m assuming you read the entire section regarding sponsors for Baptism. As a couple others have mentioned it does state there can be a Baptised person as a witness…

Can. 872 Insofar as possible, a person to be baptized is to be given a sponsor who assists an adult in Christian initiation or together with the parents presents an infant for baptism. A sponsor also helps the baptized person to lead a Christian life in keeping with baptism and to fulfill faithfully the obligations inherent in it.

Can. 873 There is to be only one male sponsor or one female sponsor or one of each.

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.

So more likely than not, they were a validly baptised Christian, Catholic or otherwise.


My daughter was a Godmother for a Catholic Baptism and had another “godmother” with her. The priest said it was fine. Now I’m wondering why he allowed it?
And which one is the “witness” now?


As I understand from the commentary I read, the 1917 Code of Canon Law didn’t limit the number of sponsors so priests who were ordained before the 1983 Code was promulgated may not always be aware of the change that occurred with that code. I actually had to point it out before. Then again, in some cultures so many people are named godparents that some priests from those cultures will allow any number to be there even if they only enter two names in the register.


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