My newborn son was recently baptized and for his godparents, my wife and I chose my brother, a Catholic, and his wife, a Jew. We chose them because of how close we are as two married couples and because we have seen how they have raised their four young children in an exemplary Catholic home.
Before asking my sister-in-law to be the godmother, we consulted with two orthodox-minded apologists as to the possibility of having a Jew as a godparent. We were informed by both sources, that while the Church does recommend that both Godparents be Catholics in good standing (and so forth), it is permissible for one of the godparents to be non-Catholic as long as the other is catholic, and so long as they exhibit certain characteristics: They must be practicing members of their own tradition (except pagan religions), they must be able and willing to pass on the wholeness of the Catholic faith to the child, and they must be of a certain age.
My sister-in-law is a great person and very disposed to conversion, but, at this time is worried that her conversion will case unnecessary heartache to her elderly grandmother. She has been advised by her pastor (an orthodox man) that God knows her heart and that to wait a few years for her grandmother to pass might save her family some unhappiness (they are good and friendly people, but had a hard time with the marriage at first) would not be a bad idea. Nevertheless, she has raised their children as devout Catholics, goes to church on Sundays, holy days, and even on other days when she is alone or with the family. She is a better Catholic than many of my Catholic friends and family.
While she is a great person, however, I did want to make certain to defer to the wisdom of the Church and to my own pastor who, at the time, recited the same principle.
With that in mind, we asked our sister-in-law to be the child’s godmother and she responded with tears of happiness (it also occurred to us that this might help her in her journey to the Church).
Two days after the ceremony, my pastor contacted me and informed me that he must have misunderstood the original conversation and that he cannot list a non-Catholic as the godmother but only as a witness. I am perfectly willing to accept his judgment in this matter, but am still left a little confused. I have researched cannon law regarding sponsors but am unsure if this is Jermain to our problem.
I am more than happy to accept the Church’s wisdom in this, but would like some clarification from some learned sources.
Thanks for your help.