Can one do this? I have already emailed an orthodox priest about the issue. The godparents did not witness the baptism and were there by proxy.
Eastern or Latin Catholic? There are some differences in the canons for godparents preventing future marriage to one, for an eastern Catholic, it is called the impediment of Spiritual relationship.
Catholic Doors has a page on godparents.
These posts by various apologists might help:
Well if you emailed an Orthodox priest, you can have a new set of godparents when you get baptized into Orthodoxy :D:D:D
Kidding aside, no you cannot. Unfortunately. I really want to replace my son’s godfather who has since converted to Baptist. But I can’t.
It is not possible to “replace” them in the sacramental record, if that is what you mean. That is a fact, at a point in time. The sponsor cannot be changed.
However, you can invite a different person to act in that capacity in your child’s life, and perhaps be their confirmation sponsor when the time comes.
Other posters have given you several answers. These answers suggest to me that they have understood your post in different ways. I confess I honestly don’t know what you’re asking? Would you please clarify.
When you say “orthodox priest” I’m inferring you mean a priest with sound faith rather an Eastern Orthodox priest. Are you asking if proxies can be present at the baptism instead of the actual godparents? Are you asking if a child’s godparents may be changed at some time in the future after baptism?
No, orthodox with a little ‘o’ meaning a priest that is solid in matters of Catholicism…not like, say, a priest who says “birth control is ok…” etc.
My question is, if the actual godparents were not present at the baptism, can they be replaced? Because everything I’ve read says you can’t replace godparents that were actually witnesses.
They are still listed in the sacramental record, and the sacramental record cannot be changed or altered.
Can the record be changed (i.e. added to) to reflect someone who will act as an “unofficial godparent?” I.E. The spiritual capacity without the “official” title?
Wishing there was an “annulment” process for godparents, lol.
That serves no purpose sacramentally, and sacramental records are not to be altered.
Thank you for clarifying the question. I don’t know if godparents can be changed. Is there a reason you want to change them? I can think of some circumstances where it might seem that it would be appropriate. What would happen if a child were five years old and the child’s godparents die? What would if happen if a godparent openly rejected the Catholic Faith and was thus no longer suitable to be a godparent? Like I said earlier, I’m afraid I don’t know the answer. Nevertheless, I can think of scenarios where one might want to change or appoint new godparents. Does the Church allow this? I don’t know.
Quote from one of the apologist links:
“If you do decide to do this, while baptismal records cannot be altered, you might ask that the records be notated in such a way to reflect the change in who is fulfilling the role of godparent for your child.”
Well you can “ask” for just about anything really.
I do not believe such a notation would be allowed, per the instructions I have for sacramental record keeping (I keep the sacramental records for my parish).
I am not sure what purpose you think this serves? Can you give ea little more information? There is nothing to be accomplished by making such a notation.
We can always encourage other people to act as additional, unofficial ‘godparents’ in that they help the child grow in his faith. There is no way to change the record though, whether the original godparent was present or represented by proxy.
A godparent may die, move far away, or (in what sounds like happened in this case) leave the practice of the faith. In any of those instances we can’t change history, we simply pray for someone else to move into our lives to fulfill that role.
My aunt and uncle were my godparents and didn’t die until I was an adult, but we lived far away from them the whole time I was growing up and they had very little influence on my spiritual upbringing. I’ve survived though and your child will too.
I accept that the sacramental record cannot be changed. Is it possible though to change godparents? Obviously, those who were at the baptism are the ones whose names are recorded.
I can think of two scenarios. First, let’s say a child’s godparent was tragically killed in a road traffic accident. That child now lacks a godparent so can a new one be appointed?
Alternatively, a child’s godparent defects from the Church. I know that there is no formal method to do this officially any more. But, what if a godparent stopped going to church. The godparent became vehemently anti-Catholic. They would certainly not be suitable to be a child’s godparent. Could they be changed?
Not unless you’ve got a new invention that allows you to go back in time. Godparents are a snapshot of a moment in time. They answered the questions, they made the promises to help the parents.
You can certainly invite someone else to play the role in your child’s life, but that doesn’t make them a godparent. I guess they’d be a stand-in for the godparents and it would mean nothing canonically.
I’m not saying anything while the patent’s pending.
OK, I understand. You can only be a godparent if you were at the baptism. If necessary, you can appoint at a later time others to help you bring up your children in the Faith.
Or sent a representative, in the form of a proxy, to make those promises and answer the questions in your stead.
No. “Godparents” isn’t really a canonical term. Sponsor is the actual term. Sponsor of what? The child at baptism. It is an event-- the sponsorship is at the time of baptism. It is an event in the past. You cannot change who sponsored the chilld.
You can only change who you choose as a sponsor at confirmation.
No. The sponsorship is a past event.
What you can do is ask someone to be a spiritual role model and helper in that child’s life.
I know that the correct term is sponsor. I was using the term godparent because we use it in everyday language. I appreciate that it is, obviously, impossible to change who was present at the baptism. It’s my understanding, though, that a godparent has duties beyond being at the baptism.
It is clear from your post and Phemie’s that we cannot change the godparent in any official way. That is what the crux of my question was. Obviously, there would be nothing to stop us, as parents, to ask someone else to take on a similiar role in some circumstances.
We’ve not had that problem with our children. I’ve never known anyone who has. It was a hypothetical question because this thread made me think what might happen in certain situations.