Has anyone been asked to be a godparent and said no?
It sounds so cruel but yes. Because I knew the family of the child. I knew they had no faith. The father joked about asking me for directions to the Church. I asked the father, if I do this will you go back to Church. How can I help teach your son about Christ if you won't teach him. I explained that substitute teachers are not very effective teaching Christianity.
So yes. It's sad, I did say no. But, I would not suggest it. I feel horrible for doing so. I now wonder how his spiritual life would be if I had not. I was looking at the situation from a selfish perspective. He only picked me because he knows I am involved at Church and I have a relationship with Christ. Now, I realize how dumb that decision was on my part, not his. He had the wisdom to know .... "I don't know" and went to someone who he thought did. And I turned him down.
Please if your faith is strong. Don't turn them down. Your example may the only example that child will know.
This says more than I ever could.
Only once... when a fallen-away Catholic friend asked us to be her son's godparents when they had him baptized in the Lutheran church (to which they no longer belong, either....)
No, but I wish I had. My brother asked me to be godmother to his child, and I reluctantly agreed. Both he and his ex-wife are anything but practicing Catholics, and we're separated by 500 miles. I don't have any control over what happens.
Part of the reason why I agreed in the first place is that I thought godparents picked up spiritual education and nurturing IF the parents died. And although some people say this is how it is. Others disagree and say you have to be involved in their spiritual nurturing WITH the parents.
I wish I had never agreed, even if it would have hurt my brother. But they don't take it seriously. I really don't know why they even bothered. My brother used to attend a seminarian preparatory high school and fell away from the Church soon after. The mother of the children is dear to me but was never nurtured beyond Baptism. In fact, when the mood strikes her to be spiritual, it's often in a non-Catholic atmosphere.
My last attempt was to offer to pay for Catechism classes for both of my nephews, and she refused saying it would confuse them because they attend a non-Catholic Christian school, and they aren't practicing Catholics anyway.
I feel helpless, but I can't overstep my bounds with the kids' mother (or father).
If I would have known that my responsibilities would take effect now, and had nothing to do with whether or not the parents were around, I would have most definitely refused and not thought twice about it. :(
I don't think it would be cruel to say no. If you don't feel like you're qualified to fulfill that role, just say so. Say you're terrible with children and don't trust yourself with that kind of a responsibility.
Agreeing to be a Godparent is a matter of discernment. There are many good reasons someone should decline being a Godparent.
Some already mentioned above.
I've never said no, but I have four Godchildren that aren't being reared in the Faith. However, I believe that the parents did intend at the time of their Baptisms to raise them Catholic. But, I also knew that with their personalities, it was a slim chance that they would do so. Just flaky.
What factored into my decision to agree was that the priest was agreeing to Baptise them. so, they would be baptised. And, I knew if I declined the invitation, they would find a nominal Catholic in our family to be a Godparent. So, I reasoned at least I knew I would pray for my Godchildren.
I think I'm doing a pretty lousy job, though. My oldest Godchild is an atheist. The four other Godchildren are not in any church. Only my two Goddaughters are being reared Catholic. Their parents are serious Catholics.
I don't know if it was a good decision or not. Maybe I should have said no. :(
Thanks for the replies.
Many years ago, when I wasn’t practicing any religion whatsoever, I was asked to be a godparent. (It was some Protestant denomination; I forget which.)
I turned it down, because frankly, it seemed absurd (not to mention hypocritical) that I would agree to support some faith that I didn’t share.
At the time, the person who asked was offended, saying that being a godparent was no big deal, and godparents really don’t do anything anyway. (That seemed like a very odd thing to say, don’t you think?)
Now, in retrospect, I think I made the right decision, but every now and then, I wonder how that kid turned out…
I imagine that if you are thinking of the kid, you are probably called to pray for him in a particular way. Maybe you could add him to your daily intercessory prayers.
Good suggestion. Thanks.
It was many, many years ago. My brother and his then wife had a daughter, and he asked me to be the godfather.
At that time, I did not believe in the godparent relationship, so I declined.
Just as well, because his wife divorced him, and I never saw his daughter again.
For all of us who are godparents and don't think your godchild is in the faith....don't ever lose hope.
I think of my godmother...I left the church in my teens. I think of what she thought...what my grandma thought....and now 25 years later....I'm BACK! But they both have died never knowing that I came back. Maybe it was their prayers leading me back..who knows. Bottom line--never give up hope!