Selecting GodParents....

I am a recent revert back to the Catholic faith. I want to have my children baptized, but my biggest problem right now is finding GodParents who are practicing the faith. My husband has two siblings and I have a sister and a brother in law who are closest to us, but three that were baptized Catholics don’t go to church and one (who was also baptized a Catholic) goes to a Protestant church. Can they still serve as GodParents? My understanding is that GodParents promise to raise the children in the faith, not necessarily return to it themselves. I had a Jewish co-worker who is a GodParent to a Catholic child. She told the priest she was Jewish and he told her she could be a GodParent if she rejected Satan. However, I know cases where non-practicing Catholics were not permitted. Thanks Margaret

No, they cannot.

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.

§2. A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community is not to participate except together with a Catholic sponsor and then only as a witness of the baptism.

Sponsors present the child for baptism and recommend them for the community and vouch for them and their parents, they vow to assist the parents in the formation of the child in the Catholic faith, and they must be members of the Church in good standing to undertake this role.

You have have three candidates for sponsorship who are apostates and/or in schism or heresy at this point in their lives. They are not candidates to be a baptismal sponsor.

Your Jewish friend is quite mistaken. She is not a sponsor to a Catholic child. It’s not possible.

If this is an accurate description of events, the priest was grossly wrong and hopefully out of some sort of blinding ignorance (I’m not sure how that’s possible since seminary formation is quite extensive).

In any case, this Jewish woman is NOT the sponsor of the child in question. If she was the only one selected for that role, then the child actually did not have a sponsor at baptism. Only a Catholic can be a sponsor. And while a sponsor is normative, it is not an absolute requirement for the sacrament.

Margaret, it is a canon law requirement that a Catholic who is to be a sponsor be a practicing Catholic in good standing with the Church.

This is not merely a recommendation, it is a requirement.

Ask someone in your parish to be the sponsor for your children.

Yes, 1ke is correct. Also, your godparent candidate must present a certificate signed by their pastor stating that they are a practicing Catholic in good standing in order to be that child’s godparent.

One of the sponsors must be a practicing Catholic in good standing. There can also be a Christian witness there, as well, in addition to the practicing Catholic. Last year, a parishioner asked Fr. for a sponsor sheet to be a godmother, & she was turned down because she was divorced and living with another man. Another one was turned down because he never attended Mass or supported the church.

Grandparents have been known to also serve as godparents. Could this be an option for you?

Your pastor might be able to recommend someone in the parish to serve as godparent. And this might be the start of a friendship between your families.

How sad. Many families find themselves in this situation. Some try to “church shop” to see if they can find a pastor that is not as alert to the difficulties. The largest Christian church in this country is the Catholic Church by far, however, the second largest group is made up of those who call themselves Catholic but don’t practice their faith.

Thank you so much everyone for clarifying. My mother in law is a Catholic in good standing. Based on the rules I think she therefore qualifies, but she is also elderly and in very poor health so I don’t think she’d be a good choice.

I do have a cousin who lives some distance who recently returned to the church and was just confirmed. I’m wondering if she can be godmother to both children??? I can keep looking for other distant relatives. My mother’s side of the family is pretty big.


Yes, your cousin can be the sponsor of any or all of your children. If your cousin in not able to attend the baptism someone else can stand in as the proxy, but the cousin would be the godparent.

You can have one sponor, or two sponsors if one is of each sex.

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