Including Non-Catholics in Baptism Celebration


My husband and I are expecting our first child this April. A little background on our history: I am a cradle Catholic. I have eight brothers and sisters, who all practice the Faith. My husband is half Jewish, half Catholic. He was baptized, as were his 3 siblings, but they were not raised with any religion growing up. My husband has been very supportive of the faith, and attends mass with me regularly. He isn’t quite ready to convert, but he has been thinking about it.

When we spoke about Godparents for the baby, we had decided on two of my siblings. Since then, his mom (where he gets his Jewish background), has made some comments to him that are causing him to feel guilty about not having one of his siblings as a Godparent. It was explained to us that while one Godparent must be a practicing Catholic, the other may be a Baptized practicing Christian. However, none of his siblings follow any Religion at all. Even if it were acceptable to have a non practicing Catholic as a Godparent, I don’t feel comfortable doing so when we have more than enough options of practicing Catholics.

At the same time, I do want to find a way to include one of his siblings. Are there any options for us?



I know this statement is made by way of explaining backgrounds, but there really is no way to be “half Catholic and half Jewish”. He is ethnically Jewish. He is a baptized Catholic, therefore he is a Catholic. He would not “convert” to the Catholic faith if he were to take up the practice of the faith it would be as a Catholic who is in need of the additional sacraments of initiation.

She likely does not understand what a godparent is/isn’t. Perhaps gently explaining the purpose of a sponsor and thatit is not an honorific bestowed upon people, it is a serious obligation within the Church. One cannot sponsor a child into the faith if one is not practicing that faith. Perhaps calling it what it acutally is-- sponsor-- instead of “godparent” would help. “Godparent” has come to really have no meaning in today’s society where it is more about the person chosen than what they are chosen FOR.

Or, if he does not think his mom will understand that, then he may need to exercise some boundaries.

There is nothing to feel “guilty” about.

Invite them to the baptism. Invite them to the party afterwards. Give them reserved seating. Ask the priest if his siblings can take up the gifts at Mass.


This always becomes a sticky topic with mixed families. It’s an issue in my family for sure (siblings who left the Catholic Church, spouses who are not Catholic, etc).

Since your husband’s siblings were Baptized in a Catholic Church, they are not eligible to be “Christian Witnesses.” Since they were Baptized Catholic, they are considered Catholics. Therefore, they must have be practicing Catholics.

You could ask the priest if you can have a private Baptism and invite the siblings to stand up with you and the God Parents. I’ve seen this done from time to time, but usually only during a private Baptism. If the Pastor is willing to have a Private Baptism, you should offer the Church a donation (somewhere between $100 - $500).

I hope this helps.

God Bless.


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