Qualities needed in order to be a godparent

I know that a Catholic godparent must be:

  • a confirmed Catholic in communion with the Church.
  • at least 16 years of age.
  • one of each sex.

Are there any other qualities I’m missing? Someone once told me that family members are not allowed to be godparents. Is this true?

Family members can be godparents , my uncle was my godfather for my communion and confirmation.

You don’t need one Godparent of each sex. A single godparent, of either sex, will suffice.

As for family members, the only restriction is that the Godparent must
not be the father or mother of the one to be baptized (874 §1).

Look for someone who will be there for your child: physically, if possible, but more importantly spiritually. Someone who, by prayer and example, can help you in your duty of raising the child in the faith. If they can be physically present to develop a close relationship with the child so much the better. Sometimes it’s better to avoid family, for all sorts of reasons. I’ve known parents to say “No, you already have a special role as aunt/uncle/cousin, someone else will have the role of godparent.” Wish I’d said that…

You listed qualifications not qualities. Family members can be Godparents, parents cannot be Godparents of their own children.

The greatest quality needs to be committment to their Catholic Faith. Way too many Godparents leave the Catholic Church after 5,10 or 15 years, they have no sense of the committment they made.

Click here for the full list of requirements for Godparents/sponsors.

Under the old canon law there were restrictions on what Godparents could or could not become (for example, one could not marry a Godparent, so if a couple was engaged, the future spouse could not be Godparent to the one who was coming into the Church). These canons no longer apply, so they’re not relevant anymore. Perhaps whoever told you that was thinking of the old canons and at the same time getting the details a little confused.

A relative (other than a parent) can indeed be a Godparent.

Are there any special cases where someone under 16 could be become a godparent?

No, that’s not true. My godparents are my aunt and uncle, and my sister has another aunt and uncle as hers.

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