Officially Removing Godparent


Eead a past thread in this category that was closed - would like to reopen and ask for answers about removing a godparent officially. Our child (we agree with her) wants this based on this person’s absence and poor role modeling.

Backstory is that our child was confirmed Catholic and baptized in a state away from our close friends and family, most of whom are not Catholic, anyway. So, our daughter chose from among my close friends here, a woman whom she thought would make a great godmother based on the way she “wears” her Catholic faith. However, although her GM is an EM, goes to mass regularly, volunteers at a Catholic teen camp, and happily agreed to serve in the “Godmother” role, she hasn’t contacted our daughter in years. This is despite daughter’s chronic illness which has had made her life (out of school and anything that was her life) consist primarily of pain, doctors, hospitals. What a time to need your faith, and this woman who said she would mentor and support our daughter in her faith journey has just disappeared.

Early on she would call our daughter near her birthday and say “we should go to lunch,” …but never follow up. She hasn’t even make an attempt to reach out in years. it is hurtful to our daughter and has her questioning Catholicism - not her faith, but Catholicism, specifically, since the absence is specifically due to the daughter’s illness. It is added to based on her horrific treatment at the hands of a Catholic school principal who was fired after 3 yrs of bullying not only her for being ill, but other children for all sorts of reasons. After the school finally stepped up and fired him there was no word to her - no apology for taking everything she loved, no attempt to help her, no contact. We learned of the firing from a parent whose child was also bullied and the cause finally for the firing (this family was the biggest donor to the school over many years). Our daughter doesn’t need yet another example of the horrors of what she sees as the condoned and habitual Catholic response to their own bad behaviors, institutional or otherwise: distract, look away, pray - but never, never deal with the problem, even if a child is being hurt. Caviat: … unless it will hurt the Church financially.

In the last thread, people went on in that pattern about everything BUT addressing the problem …“pray,” “use it as an opportunity…,” blah, blah. Does anyone have a real answer to removing this godparent?

One Catholic friend even suggested to this terribly ill child that “God especially loved her” to give her such a cross. It gets sicker by the minute and we want all poor role models of Jesus’ intent out of her life before we lose her entirely. Can we remove the godmother officially?

Thanks, Katherine


I think I remember that earlier thread, though quite possibly there have been more than one. I posted a comment at the time, repeating something I heard a a priest say one Sunday, when he was making the announcements at the end of Mass.

The priest said that from time to time a couple come to him to ask him to “unbaptize” their child, because they have quarreled with the godparents and now they want to baptize the child all over again with a new set of godparents. He explained that sacramentally there is no such thing as “unbaptizing.” Once it’s done, it’s done, and that’s that. He talked about it in a joky tone of voice, as though it was something that ought to be plain to everyone, and that he was quite surprised that anyone should need to have it explained to them.


If tha new lady you met is willing to mentor your daughter, she can totally do it without the “godmother” label.

A couple years after my Baptism, my godparents turned agnostic and never even raised their own kids Catholic. But I’m still as baptized as I ever was.


I’m sorry for your daughter’s pain. But the short answer is no. You cannot remove a godparent.

Many godparents see the role as largely honorary; perhaps you could find someone who would like to act as a mentor to your daughter.


If I had a choice my kids would have 6 different godparents but, since I can’t time travel, I can’t change who was there and made promises that they had no intention of keeping.


JUST pray for this person. there could very well be something going on in her life that is causing her time to be directed toward that.


The real answer is that you cannot “remove” a sponsor. They were the witness to the baptism and/or confirmation. It’s a fact. It can’t be changed. They witnessed it, the Church records the fact they did so.

You don’t have to have a relationship with the sponsor. You can “remove” the sponsor from your life. Have a little ceremony if you want to. Ask someone else to be a spiritual mentor for your daughter. There is nothing preventing her or you from seeking our new role models and friendships. Call that person godparent if you want to.

I’m not exactly sure what you mean by “remove” in this context.


Neither of my godparents even practice. I was a surprise pregnancy so maybe they were the only ones available that were left. :confused:


Thanks, but I wasn’t interested in ‘unbaptizing’ - my question was about removing a godparent. Thanks for responding!


She’s already absent so I don’t see how you can remove her.


Thanks, JulianN. We are fortunate that we do have good people in her life. We just hoped to remove the reminder that this person really doesn’t care about her and the person’s connection to her faith - despite her continued work as an EM, work with other unknown teens (our daughter is in that age range). We’d like to remove the constant reminder of hypocrisy we’d rather not have in her life. Just wanted to help her finalize things and move on with her own faith journey unimpeded by this. Thanks for your thoughtful reply.


Is this really a serious question? She’s only absent in that she shows no caring for our daughter or her faith journey. She isn’t absent. She’s all over social media showing her travels, in social groups with whom we interact, plays sports with me… Sorry, I don’t understand this as a serious question?


I didn’t ask a question and you didn’t include that information when I posted.


Thanks for your reply, OScarlett.

I’m not sure if I followed… not sure what lady you meant? If you were referring to the one who suggested God loves her because she’s been in pain for 5 years, we found that horrible and really don’t want someone who would say something like that to a child in pain as a mentor to her. Yikes. But I understand your thought about bringing in good people… luckily, we do have good people in her life and are grateful. Our question here was not about bringing more in, it’s about removing the source of hurt as she sees friends being guided by their godmother, it’s always a source of pain that her’s doesn’t seem to care about her at all.

Thanks for taking the time to care and reply!


Sorry you were confused. I think I did note that she wasn’t caring for our daughter and that was the concern. I didn’t say she was “absent.” Just a misunderstanding, I’m sure. Thanks.


Thanks for this direct answer, JulianN! Good to know. Good suggestion, too. Appreciate your help!


Thanks, 1ke. Thanks for responding.

Agreed, finding other role models isn’t a worry for us. We were just wanting to remove the hurt that is caused by this person. We can’t remove her from our lives as we flow in overlapping circles. We don’t feel the need to remove her, either, just to remove her role as our daughter’s godmother, as she doesn’t seem to have interest and it raises it’s head here and there and hurts our daughter. Does that make sense?


[quote=“kmalone, post:1, topic:508344”] Can we remove the godmother officially?

Thanks, Katherine

No, the church isn’t going to change the record to scratch this woman as a godmother.

Perhaps they might be able to theoretically file papers and give this woman proper notice , and all of that, but to what end? All sounds like a pointless runaround.

If someone else wants to mentor your child spiritually, they don’t have to have official godparent status.


I have godchildren all over the US. Some I have never seen in person (had a proxy stand in for me). I do not remember birthdays, but, I seriously pray for every godchild every day. It is not that I don’t care about the kids, it is that my life is overwhelming BUT, again, the greatest thing I can do is pray.


The notion of healing through the formal removal of someone is not an unworthy discussion. People do this through divorce, annulment, termination of parental rights, etc.

It DOES seem that there should be a process to remove a Godparent under extreme circumstances (e.g. if the Godparent were a convicted sex-offender, threatened to hurt the child, became a Satinic worshiper, etc)

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