Protestant Baptism - godfather?


My husband is being asked to be the Godfather for his niece. His brother was raised Catholic, as was my husband. He says he is still Catholic, but does not attend church. The baby is going to be baptized Presbyterian in a church they joined in order to be allowed to get her baptised. The mother has attended services there a few times. The wedding was also Presbyterian and my brother-in-law did not think it important to get it blesses by the Catholic church. So I see no chance of him giving his baby any form of Catholic upbringing.

We both don’t know exactly how to react to this. Should he accept being the godfather? And if so, try to give her Catholic gifts and Catholic teaching and at least some form of Catholic influence? I was sort of willing to let them be – I was planning a christian gift… But if they are going to ask my husband to be Godfather, I almost see it as an opening for him to go ahead and have a greater spiritual influence. And any influence from him is without a doubt going to be Catholic. Now I have in mind a piece of art for her room with immaculate heart of mary and sacred heart of jesus…

We are also uneasy about bringing the kids to the ceremony. Our kids are 6, 4, 2 and 8 mo. Not sure if it is age appropriate to expose them to different beliefs. I think the oldest at least will become very concerned to realize that his aunt and uncle (and cousin) are not Catholic.

Your thoughts are appreciated. Thanks


I’m curious about this too. I wish I had an answer for you but for now I’m just bumping this up.


I don’t know if your husband should do this. He should definately talk to his brother about what the role of a godfather is in that church and what role his brother sees for him. If the purpose of having one is really a cultural thing and there is no specific role for that person, than really anyone can do it.

If the child is to be raised as Presbyterian, then obviously a Catholic godfather is not what they really want!

If his brother is trying to say that they would expect you to raise their daughter if anything were to happen to them? If so, they need a will and guardianship, not a godfather.

As for your own children if you do attend the service, I would explain to them ahead of time that it won’t be in a Catholic church. That their uncle is forgetting some of things he knew growing up and that they should pray for his family. The will encounter many protestants throught their life and you don’t want to make it seem scary! But obviously you are praying that you bil returns to the Church.


I am sure you would get a better answer with CCC quotes from somebody more knowledgable, but if your husband has not renounced being Catholic, he cannot be the godfather in a non-Catholic baptism, only a witness. Your family can attend or not, as you choose, but he can’t be the godfather.


this is correct. Dh and I were asked to be Godparents for our neice, who was being baptized in the Episcopal Church. Our priest counseled us that we would have to say no, which we did. We attended the baptism, however (though it must be noted that our only child thus far is in utero and probably didn’t notice what was going on:thumbsup:)

My rule of thumb for attending other people’s religious celebrations (usually baptisms or weddings) is to ask the question, “Will God be showing up for this sacrament?” That is, does the Church recognize this sacrament as valid? Baptism and marriage are generally difficult to screw up, which is why the Church recognizes these sacraments as valid from other ecclesial communities. As far as I know, Presbyterians baptize with water in a Trinitarian formula, so it would be valid. Now may or may not be a good time to have this discussion with your kids (regarding the validity of a sacrament and what we believe about non-Catholic Christians), and only you can discern that in the formation of your children.


Your husband can be a “Christian witness” to the baptism, but the role of Sponsor (Godparent) at baptism is specific and he could not fulfill this role in a Presbyterian baptism.

However, Presbyterians do not particularly care what Catholic Canon Law or Sacramental Theology says on the subject and likely make no distinction between a Godparent and a Christian witness to the baptism.

But, since your husband is a Catholic, he cannot be a Godparent in a non-Cathoilc baptism. Plain and simple. He can explain this to his brother and offer to stand as Christian witness to the baptism and he can certainly be a good influence on your niece.

There is no reason to refrain from *attending *the baptism-- the Church recognizes all Trinitarian baptisms as valid and your niece will be incorporated into the Body of Christ by this act.

But, you know your children best so if you think they’ll be confused by it then by all means do not go.


The original post said that THEy had joined the Presbyterian congregation that she has attended a bit. It could be that he did formally join by reaffirmation of faith and now he is a dead weight Presbyterian fallen away Catholic instead of just a dead weight Catholic.

The poster’s husband could act as a witness although it is not part of the typical part of the Prebyterian ceremony to have sponsors. The congregation and elder play that role. That is why the baptism there is ALWAYS publicly part of worship and NEVER private.


The poster’s husband is still Catholic. It’s the brother-in-law who is Presbyterian. It’s the husband that has to be only a witness.


The poster writes that BIL “says” he is still Catholic. He was married in a Presbyterian service and he may still be Catholic. But if THEY joined(meaning BIL and SIL) then he is no longer Catholic. I am well aware that Poster’s husband is still RC.


Gotcha. BIL can say he’s Catholic, but he’s not walking the walk.


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