Just out of curiosity - My eldest son was recently confirmed. I was under the impression the sponsor was supposed to be the same sex and I noticed a lot of mothers/grannies/aunts were sponsors for their boys. Is it the case it is just recommended the sponsor is the same sex? The reason I ask is a family friend was my sons sponsor, and I am wondering if I can be a sponsor for my younger son when it is his confirmation?
The mother or father cannot be the sponsor for their child.
There are no requirements regarding the sex of the sponsor.
I wondered about that. I remember reading the sponsor should be the same sex. That may mean they do not have to be. But what about being the mother of a boy to be confirmed?
If you have read that somewhere it is the author’s opinion only, NOT Church teaching in any way.
A parent may not be a sponsor of their own child.
I remember reading the sponsor should be the same sex.
This may be another custom brought in from 12-step programs, like holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer.
A new member of a 12-step program needs a sponsor to help them understand and “work the steps.” The suggestion that sponsor and sponsee be of the same sex comes from the strong possibility of this close relationship becoming a sexual one, or that “crushes” and/or lust mess it up. Sobriety comes first.
In Catholic terms, it’s avoiding an occasion of sin.
I’m kind of focusing on the word ‘should.’ What I would take that to mean was that in certain circumstances an exception could be made.
That is what I thought - which is why I am surprised when I attended my son’s confirmation mothers were sponsors for their children- sons and daughters.
I would like to say I am not getting hung up on gender here, and feel free to correct me on my reasoning. I thought it serves as a sign your children are becoming adults, that the mother moves into the background. I don’t mean not important, there is no one more important to a child than there mother, especially a son. I am saying that from a cultural aspect not a religious one. However, to me it serves as a sign your children are becoming part of a community, enlarging their relationships in the faith community.
I think it is lovely to see your children grow, and making other connections. I remember when I had my kids people said to me they grow up so fast and I would agree the first years of a child’s life are the wonder years. But, because people said to me they grow up so fast which is true, I determined I would enjoy my kids at every age. As such, I love my kids becoming more independent and at my son’s confirmation, the school had arranged for the sponsor to sit beside/near them. I had to find my own seat. I felt strange and a bit disappointed I couldn’t sit with him, but I thought it was lovely in that mom was in the background looking on, my son looking round to make sure I saw, but his sponsor with a hand on his shoulder, a sign he was growing up and I was proud. Does that sound really silly?
I think it’s a bit sad people won’t let others in and let their children grow. That’s how I saw mothers etc. being sponsors for their kids. I thought they don’t have anyone to ask or want to ask which is also a bit sad. Have I got the wrong idea? The reason I say this is because I think our sense of community is waning and that saddens me.
No. There is absolutely NOTHING in Church teaching or Church law regarding the sex of the sponsor.
There is no exception to be made.
You may be making an assumption. An alternative explanation is that if the sponsor cannot be present for the confirmation, a proxy may stand in during the actual ceremony. That does not mean they are the sponsor.
No. Not at all. That is not what Confirmation is or does.
Moreover, a parent cannot be a sponsor for baptism either.
Again, a parent cannot be a child’s sponsor.
You are absolutely right in that I am making assumptions. However, that does not explain why at my sons confirmation many parents were sponsors for their children. I appreciate what you are saying in regard to the fact the sponsor cannot be there for some reason. However, some of the children’s parents were not there in that the father’s of some children did not attend and the mother was the sponsor. I find it hard to understand why their father would not even be there. My husband is not Catholic and does not go near Church’s. Even at a funeral he stands outside - I think he afraid he will spontaneously ignite.:rolleyes:
However, he did prepare our party food on return to our home and was supportive in his own way, in that he gets on really well with the family friend who was my son’s sponsor, left it all to me how I dealt with it and prepared my son for confirmation and got him a present. Even my in-laws gave him a present and they are quite anti-Catholic. I suppose what I am getting at is not so much parents were sponsors, but rather no one seems to care anymore about baptism, first Holy Communion or Confirmation. I know it sounds judgmental but I got the impression parents were sponsors because it just didn’t matter to them.
No they weren’t. It is not possible for a parent to be a sponsor for their own child. So, in fact the confirmand had no sponsor.
The Sacrament of Confirmation completes the Sacrament of Baptism and it is recommended that the baptismal sponsor also be the sponsor in Confirmation. And that person can be of either gender. A parent cannot be a sponsor for Confirmation no more than he or she could be a godparent for baptism. They have different roles.
In the Canadian Rite of Confirmation it says that a parent may “present” their child for Confirmation if a sponsor can’t be found or be present.
I found it interesting to see in old parish registers that in the parish where I grew up one woman was the sponsor for all female confirmands and one man for all males. That’s likely why I don’t remember having a sponsor – she was just some woman I didn’t know putting her hand on my shoulder.
From Canon Law under Confirmation;
Can. 892 Insofar as possible, there is to be a sponsor for the person to be confirmed; the sponsor is to take care that the confirmed person behaves as a true witness of Christ and faithfully fulfills the obligations inherent in this sacrament.
Can. 893 §1. To perform the function of sponsor, a person must fulfill the conditions mentioned in ⇒ can. 874.
§2. It is desirable to choose as sponsor the one who undertook the same function in baptism.
This is the reference to canon 874 from the baptism section;
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.
Notice, a parent of the one who is to be baptized and therefore confirmed, cannot have a parent or a non-confirmed person stand as their sponsor. If a parent stood in as a sponsor in the confirmations you witnessed it was as a proxy for a sponsor who could not be there or it was done illicitly. Notice in both of these sections on sponsors for these two initiation sacraments the only mentions of sex is for baptism;
Can. 873 There is to be only one male sponsor or one female sponsor or one of each.
The sponsor requirements are referred back to the baptismal sponsor section, specifically 874. If you see the above canon, 873, you can see that only one sponsor is required for baptism, but two can be chosen; one of each sex. There is no mention even here that if only one is chosen that person’s sex must match the one to be baptized. There is no requirement to the sex of the confirmation sponsor or prohibition of choosing the opposite sex. But there is a prohibition to choosing a parent.
One question that I have is that since the sponsor needs to someone other than the parents (or I’m assuming godparents), what happens if the child in question doesn’t really know another Catholic adult willing to sponsor them? I’ve never been confirmed, but if I had chosen to get confirmed as a child, I’d imagine this would be a problem. I didn’t really know any Catholic adults outside my parents that I could go to. Both my parents families’ were quite screwed up and mainly Protestant converts at that. And I was quite a shy child, so I wasn’t friendly with many adults. I imagine that I’m not the only one who had such circumstances. How do parishes generally deal with children coming from challenging circumstances who might not have a stable of potential sponsors to choose from?
The Church recommends that the confirmation sponsor be one of the baptismal sponsors if possible.
The pastor can find a sponsor for them.
A parishioner can sponsor them, or a student who has already gone through confirmation.
Is that typically how it has done? Do parishes have lists of potential Confirmation sponsors? I thought that this may be the case, but was just wondering for my on curiosity.
I know that with RCIA parishes will often have a pool of sponsors to call upon when new candidates or catechumens present themselves.
Yes, a pastor would have a core group of parishoners that a sponsor would be chosen from. Is there an official list of “sponsors” for confirmation? No, probably not but there are in every parish people who the pastor would know to be solid in their faith to serve in this role.