Questions about choosing godparents



My DH and I are expecting a baby girl in January, and we don’t honestly know much about how choosing godparents for the baby is supposed to work.

Does there have to be two godparents or is okay to have just one?

If we choose two, do they have to be married to each other, or can they just be two different individuals (one man, one woman) that we are friends with.

DH and I each have a different friend who is an outstanding Catholic, and we need to know if we can pick both or if we have to choose just one.

Thank you!


You pick the person that would teach them to be the best person they can grow to be, or someone, who god forbid anything happened to you, would take the reigns and raise them as you would continue to do.

It must be two people, but I think the church has allowed so they do not have to be catholic. Traditionally, it is one man and one woman. I have heard that it could be two men or two women about a year ago, but you would have to confirm that. See a couple both had their dear sisters only as siblings, so they wanted to make sure they were both picked as to not show favor over the other and such. It was allowed.

No they do not have to be married to each other at all. His fraternity brother and your hair salon coworker/friend are fine if that is what you both deem as the right pick.

Make sure they are people who will be there on the long term and are usually considerate enough to remember important days like birthdays or graduations. It’s important that they are there and they show they care and want to make that child grow into an amazing person.

God Bless,


Fyi - Godparents are actually Sponsors - from the Canons :
[confirmation section]


Can. 892 Insofar as possible, there is to be a sponsor for the person to be confirmed; the sponsor is to take care that the confirmed person behaves as a true witness of Christ and faithfully fulfills the obligations inherent in this sacrament.

Can. 893 §1. To perform the function of sponsor, a person must fulfill the conditions mentioned in ⇒ can. 874.

§2. It is desirable to choose as sponsor the one who undertook the same function in baptism.

[Baptism section]

Can. 874 §1. To be permitted to take on the function of sponsor a person must:

1/ be designated by the one to be baptized, by the parents or the person who takes their place, or in their absence by the pastor or minister and have the aptitude and intention of fulfilling this function;

2/ have completed the sixteenth year of age, unless the diocesan bishop has established another age, or the pastor or minister has granted an exception for a just cause;

3/ be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has already received the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist and who leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on;

4/ not be bound by any canonical penalty legitimately imposed or declared;

5/ not be the father or mother of the one to be baptized. *


We chose family members to be our children’s God parents…Super excited about it! :slight_smile:

Now we have another baby on the way, huge surprise, but I am out of family members, lol, not sure whom to get for this one now! :frowning: lol


Congratulations on the baby!

One is OK, but if there are two it must be one man and one woman. I believe the requirements for a godparent are that they be at least 16 years of age, and a confirmed, practicing Catholic.

No need for them to be married to each other.

Sounds good! Have you contacted your parish about what prepartaion you will need for the baptism?


go to your parish right now and ask these questions, which will no doubt be covered when you apply for baptism and take parent classes required by the diocese.

Only one godparent is required, must be an adult Catholic, fully initiated, either gender, not the parent of the candidate, living in harmony with Catholic moral teaching and practice, including that on marriage, and not under any canonical ban, and willing to take this responsibility


I just want to respond to/clarify a few things posted above.

A godparent is NOT the same as a legal guardian, who would be responsible for raising the child should anything happen to the parent. If a parent wants the godparents to also have that role, they need to take the appropriate legal steps to designate that person.

According to church law, it only has to be one, but if there are two it should be one man and one woman.

There always has to be one Catholic sponsor/Godparent. A second (non-Catholic) can serve as a “Christian witness” to the Baptism, taking a similar role in the ceremony as the sponsor/Godparent. A lot of people do not understand the distinction, and priests often do not emphasize any difference in the baptismal preparations. As a result, the “Christian witness” is often referred to as a Godparent.

Again, Canon law requires that if there are two, one must be a man and one must be a woman. It sounds like this provision may not have been followed in the example you cite.


Thanks for all the responses!

We don’t have any practicing Catholics in our families (except for a couple of my DH’s cousins on the opposite coast), but we are blessed with some wonderful Catholic friends here (one is even a catechist) that we know would be a great influence on our daughter.

I’ll ask my parish what the specifics are for sure, and then we’ll ask our friends. :slight_smile:


Well Thomas, what church laws allow and what I have seen and witnessed is everchanging in this vast world. In my culture…, the godparent trumps the legal guardian, as one is legally motivated and the other is spiritually assigned…, it is understood that the godparents end up as guardians anyway. It does not mean that people will keep them as legal guardians and I already stressed that. The Godparents must take the reigns ensuring the child’s faith comes to fruition and that they know these people were chosen to be an important addition to their lives.

Yes, two sisters were asked to be godparents, this I actually witnessed, I have witnessed a boatload of Catholic improprieties/deviances that would make your eyeballs pop out of your head. I think these are miniscule at best.

Iona said she is going to talk it out with her church and that is the best guidance she can ask for at this point.

Last revision I knew of Canon Law was 1983, that’s 26 years of stemming off the rules that I have witnessed. I offer up what I have seen and witnessed. I understand you like to play by the book, but I believe clergy have reasons that they deemed understood for breaking them and making peace continue. Truth is, it is like an annulment, in that that too many factors to the situation are involved which we are not allowed to know, it is there for clergy to decide. I apologize in advance if you are a cleric and would never deviate from canons, but ultimately I offered opinion, just as you did. Either way, her church will direct her in the way to go.



Re-reading your post, I realize that you were referring to a Godparent “taking the reigns” in terms of the continued spiritual development of the child. When I first read your post, I interpreted it in a broader “legal-guardian” sense. I simply wanted to clarify that there are steps that a parent should take if they also want a godparent to be legal guardian.

I am well aware that priests differ in how meticulous they are about enforcing canon law and how willing they are to. . .shall we say “creatively apply” those requirements to meet pastoral needs in their parish. Personally, I view this as part of the continuing evolution of our liturgical discipline and practice, which has changed a great deal over the last 2,000 years and will continue to change. Such is life.

I also have pointed out in other threads about this topic that I think the requirements for “Godparents” is a particularly interesting area, because there is the religious role mandated by the Church (technically the role of sponsor, but everyone calls them a Godparent) and there are cultural norms associated with being a Godparent. The pastor has to help bridge these as best he can.

To give an example from my own family - I have a cousin who was baptized in the Catholic Church about 12 years ago. His Catholic uncle from his mom’s family and a non-Catholic aunt from his dad’s family were the “Godparents.” Technically, from a canon law perspective, the Catholic uncle was the sponsor (Goparent) while the non-Catholic aunt was a “Christian witness.” But their role in the ceremony was identical and anyone who saw the Baptism would have simply said “His aunt and his uncle were the two Godparents.” When she goes to his first communion, confirmation, graduation, etc. my cousin will not say “This is my aunt Jane, she was a Christian witness at my baptism.” He will say “This is aunt Jane, she is my Godmother.” So the requirements of canon law may not have much relevance in people’s everyday life. No surprise there.

However, when someone asks a question on CAF, I think it is helpful to give them a “by the book” answer. First, because it helps me learn more about the church’s requirements, which I am interested in. Also, because otherwise I’m not sure what standard to use in answering the question. While it can certainly be helpful to recognize that some priests are more “creative” than others about how they approach the tensions between church law and everyday practice, I don’t think people should go in expecting a lot of variation.

Yes, and it sounds like they have two very good godparents selected who would be acceptable to anyone.


You can use someone that’s already a Godparent to your child. I’m the Godmother to both my niece and nephew. Just an option :slight_smile:

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