Godparent "dilemma"

My husband and I just found out we’re pregnant, so I’ve been reading about who can and can’t be a Godparent. The forums I’ve read so far are helpful, but my situation is a little more complicated (eventually I’ll go to my Priest, but I want to have an idea of what to do before that).

I’m going through RCIA right now, but my husband is a non-practicing Lutheran. We’ve been talking about who we want to be the Godparents of this baby (our first), and we’ve come to a stumbling block. He knows that we need to have he/she baptised, but he wants his best friend (raised non-denominational) to be Godfather. I would like my best friend (Baptist children’s minister) to be Godmother (I know she would respect my wishes as to what faith my child is brought up).

The problem is, obviously, that neither of them are Catholic. His concern is how they will respect how you are raising your child…for me it’s very important that they are at least practicing Christians so they can properly play their role. I would love to do it the traditional way (both being Catholic), but the only Catholic people I know and trust are my sponsors. I know my sponsors (a married couple) from High School, but my husband graduated before us so he doesn’t really know them, and he has it in his mind that his best friend is the only man for the job. To be honest, I’m not really concerned with hurting anyone’s feelings by not making them a Godparent (even if it means my bf isn’t Godmother), I just want to make sure the job gets done right…so to speak.

I’ve read that in some instances a non-Catholic “witness” can be present, with the other practicing-Christian being the actual Godparent. True or not?

I’ve read that the practicing-Christan doesn’t have to be Catholic, and I’ve also read that the person does have to be Catholic. Which is right, does it vary between Diocese, or is it something that can be decided by the Priest?

I want what’s best for my family, and we intend on raising Catholic children, but this Godparent deal is becoming a little frustrating. Once I have an idea of what my options are I’ll be able to better explain it and discuss it with my husband, but for now I’m looking for simple straight-forward answers, hopefully from someone who has been in this position.

You only need one godparent and that one must be a fully initiated Catholic, that is, one who has been baptized, confirmed and has received Communion. That person must be living a life consistent with the Catholic faith.

Yes, there may be a Christian witness. That person must be a validly baptized (trinitarian baptism) Christian.

You can read the pertinent canon laws here.

Thank you, Phemie. Simple, to the point, with resources :thumbsup:

Not true.

Only a Catholic can be a godparent to a Catholic child.

In addition to a Catholic sponsor for the child, you may also have a Christian witness present.

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.

Only a Catholic can sponsor the child, and no this is not at the discretion of the bishop or the priest. It is a requirement of the universal Church in canon law.

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