Do I need to name another Godfather for my son?

OK, when my son was born (he’s 3 now) I asked my brother, a protestant, to be his godfather. I didn’t realize at the time that he wasn’t eligible to be a godparent since he’s not a practicing Catholic.

So if he can’t be the godfather, does this mean my son doesn’t have a godfather? If he doesn’t have a godfather, should I name one now, after the fact?

I need to know since we’ve just found out that baby number 3 is on the way.


Does your son have a godmother?

Baptism requires one godparent who is a fully initiated Catholic. A second godparent may be named or there may be a Christian witness. Your brother couldn’t be a godparent since he isn’t Catholic, but he could be a Christian witness to the baptism.

In any case, since your child has been baptized it’s all a moot point. You can’t name someone after the baptism.

For baby #3 you need to decide if you want two godparents, a godparent and a Christian witness, or one godparent.

For someone to qualify as a godparent, he or she must be a fully initiated Catholic (baptized, confirmed, and received First Communion), over the age of 16, and in good standing with the Church (practicing Catholic, married in the Church if married, etc.).

The godparent’s role is to help the parents bring the child up in the faith. Someone who isn’t of the same faith can’t serve in that role.

OK, so technically my brother is NOT my sons godfather, but was there as a Christian witness.

My sister in law was named as his godmother, but she’s never been confirmed, and doesn’t go to church, confession, communion, etc., on a regular basis. In fact, my wife and I take her daughter to church more than she does.

When you select godparents for the new baby, you might want to think of what kind of example they set for your children. Their role isn’t intended to simply honor a member of the family, but to show the child what it means to be Catholic and how a Catholic lives.

Have you considered Marlon Brando? :stuck_out_tongue:

You cannot change the baptismal records. If you want to designate some stand in Godparents you may.

I teach the pre-baptism classes for my parish. This is why I stress the eligibilty requirements for godparents. I am so sorry that you did not get the proper information prior to the baptism. The key is that you now know and can make the right choices for your third child. God bless…teachccd

OK, thanks for the answers so far. Now another question:

Since I don’t know very many Catholics, would my child be better served to NOT have a Godfather? I’m sure that my wife will want her sister to be the Godmother, but I’m not really close enough to anyone at Church to ask them.

Any ideas?

I would like my children to have a good solid Catholic role model, particularly if something were to happen to me and my wife. That being said, I don’t want to just pull a name from a hat. I haven’t been Catholic all my life (only the past few years) and for the longest time I wasn’t that involved with the Church. I went to mass on Sunday, but that was it. Since then my wife and I have taken a much more active role in the Church, but haven’t developed any close friendships, therefore no one I can think of to serve as Godfather.

Is this the same sister you mentioned earlier? Not confirmed and not a practicing Catholic? If so, she isn’t qualified to be the godmother since she’s not a fully initiated Catholic herself.

If you don’t know people who would be good godparents for your child you might want to talk to your pastor. I’m sure he knows of someone in the parish who could serve in this role.

You mentioned finding someone who could be a role model if something happened to you and your wife. If you are talking about who would be the guardians for your children, that’s something separate from being a godparent. Becoming a guardian is a legal issue and is something you should discuss with your lawyer.

Yes, the same. So since she never went through confirmation, she’s not fully a Catholic? Does this mean she shouldn’t take communion as well? Also, she was married in a Catholic church by a priest, is the marriage valid?

I’ll talk to a priest about this. I’m also in the Knights of Columbus, so I’m sure any of them would not only be good role models, but also more than happy to serve as godfather.

Actually I meant strictly as a spiritual role model. The legal guardianship is taken care of, but I’d also like to look after their spiritual well being.

The sacraments of initiation are baptism, confirmation, and First Eucharist. Since she’s not confirmed she is not a fully initiated Catholic. Assuming she received her First Communion and goes to confession when needed then she can receive communion. As far as marriage, ideally people have completed their sacraments of initiation before getting married, but it doesn’t affect the validity of the marriage.

Perhaps the need to be confirmed to be a godparent would serve as an incentive to your sister to find out what she would need to do to receive the sacrament.

Here’s what canon law says about sponsors/godparents source]:

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.

I’ll talk to a priest about this. I’m also in the Knights of Columbus, so I’m sure any of them would not only be good role models, but also more than happy to serve as godfather.

There you go! Practicing Catholics, serious about their faith, and I’m sure any one of them would be honored to be asked.

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