How to choose Godparents for your child?

Hi - I am considering who to choose as Godparents for our first child - can anyone tell me what the Church’s requirements for Godparents actually are? Does canon law/catechism give us guidance here?

Thanks in anticipation.


Our priest advised us that at least one should be Catholic (so far we’ve chosen all Catholics for our children, but we do have devout Christian friends that we may include for future children) and if Catholic, then they should be confirmed.

There must be one Godparent and only a practicing Catholic can be Godparent to a Catholic… if another person is chosen who is Christian but not Catholic - they are a Christian Witness.

There must be one (the Catholic) and there cannot be more than two. If there are two, they must be of the opposite sex (you can’t just have 2 Godfathers). They need not be married to each other (I am Godmother to my best friend’s son, that same child’s Godfather is his Uncle - we are both married, just not to each other). It is fine to choose a couple who is married to each other, just not required.

When I was chosen as Godmother, the parish where the child was baptized required me (living in another town) to bring a letter from my home Parish stating I was a memeber in good standing.

…just don’t do like i did years ago, and made sure all brothers and sisters were Godparents of my four children… peer pressure i guess…

…a couple of them are divorce/remarried (out of their church) or constantly dump on the church and it’s teachings…

…a huge mistake is to try to make the Godparent or yourself happy with a politically correct choice

think of the child…

trust me… it’s a super important decision, that most just select the first relative or friend that might go to church once in a while…

…if you want your child to embrace the faith, you take a large step in the right direction to choose the devout practicin catholic…

afterall, it’s only your babies salvation we are speaking of…


There may be some additional requirements by the parish or diocese. Our current parish requires a class for the parents and godparents while the parish where we lived when our children were baptized only required the class for parents.

My husband had to take a class too when he was in Venezuela and was becoming a godparent for one of his cousins.

I wish we had that requirement when chosing the godparents for my kids. We were doing the “family” thing with one from each of my relatives and my husband’s. He is from another country and is the only one of his family to live in the US so I didn’t know his sisters well. The sisters who we chose turned out to be non-practicing Catholics. One just doesn’t go to Mass (her own girls went to Mass for the first time in years at their own First Communions) and the other is openly scornful and hateful about the RCC. I actually have to carefully monitor her time with my boys when she visits since she has said some really off-the-wall things to them regarding religion. :mad:

This link should help you.

The godparent should be a practicing confirmed Catholic who will help you raise your child to be a good Catholic.

Godparents - a man and a woman who would, with you, help your child grow to maturity in the faith. To this duty they promise during the baptismal ceremony…caretakers of the child’s soul.
Who else qualifies better than a practising couple identified by both of you as exemplary, always (going to be) welcome in your home, willing to accept the responsiblity of parenting the child’s spiritual growth with you. Pls note my emphasis.

[quote=deekod1967]Hi - I am considering who to choose as Godparents for our first child - can anyone tell me what the Church’s requirements for Godparents actually are? Does canon law/catechism give us guidance here?

Thanks in anticipation.


The best way is to look for two people who live the Catholic Faith in everything they do.

Each Godparent must be at least 16 and Confirmed, in good standing with the Church, and a practicing Catholic.

[quote=deekod1967]Hi - I am considering who to choose as Godparents for our first child - can anyone tell me what the Church’s requirements for Godparents actually are? Does canon law/catechism give us guidance here?

Thanks in anticipation.


I would simply say this: they have their sacraments: baptism, first communion, confirmation.

They are fairly young so that the chances are greater they’ll be around if something happens to you.

They are serious and understand their responsibilities clearly, that is, taking on the child should you die.

Finally, they are strong and commited Catholics who will teach your child obedience to Christ and His Church and bring him/her up in a good Catholic setting.

God Bless

yes, the qualifications for Godparents and Confirmation sponsors are in canon law, and in the particular law of your diocese. godparents must be adult Catholics (over 16, may be older in some places) fully initiated (baptism, confirmation, 1st communion) living in harmony with Catholic teaching and morals including Church law on marriage (if married, must be married in the church), may not be under any canonical penalty or otherwise barred from being a sponsor, and may not be the parent of the one being baptized or confirmed. The person must be chosen by the parents or the one being baptized if he is an adult, must be informed of the choice and instructed on its significance. If the parents cannot find anyone, the pastor may appoint some worthy person to be the sponsor. When you sign up for pre-baptismal classes you will be given rules about the godparents, who must also take the classes. they can take them in their home parish if travel is a problem.

The Church has basic guidelines for godparents, that they need to be Catholics in good standing.

But since you’ll be having a bit of a relationship with them, as well as the child, they should be someone that you won’t have trouble maintaining that relationship.

Close relatives are very good choices, as its very unlikely that you’ll want to break off contact with them.

Local mobsters (regardless of how good of a Catholic they might be) are a very poor choice, in spite of what was written in Puzo’s novel.

My advice on making the actual choice would be to first think about the people in your life who will continue to be in your life for a long time and who are excited about the birth of your child. Think about who you look up to for their faith. Then prayerfully consider your choice. With our first child, the choice was pretty easy and straightforward. With our second it was more difficult and we took a bit of a “leap of faith” in those who are my daughter’s Godparents, as one is young and one is not Catholic. I hope that we made the best choice. Unfortunately we didn’t have a huge selection of devout Catholics to choose from.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit