What does a godparent do when the parents of his godchild leave the Church?

I was asked about two years ago to be the godfather to my sister-in-law’s third child. I graciously accepted this offer. Within the past year, my godson’s family (with the mother being the “directing” force) has left the faith and joined a Protestant church. I haven’t said anything to my sister-in-law about her family’s decision. However, I have just been made aware that my godson’s mother intends to be “re-baptized” into that faith and, as far as I am concerned, break with the Roman Catholic faith.

Since I am my nephew’s godfather, I’m confused as to what role his mother still expects of me. Should I confront her and asked her that question? Should I talk to a priest at my parish to get input?

My suggestion would be not to confront your sister-in-law with questions over what role she expects you to play as your nephew’s godfather. It may only tempt her to decide that her son no longer needs a Catholic godfather and leave you greatly hampered in your ability to be of spiritual influence in your nephew’s life.

While you cannot undermine your godson’s parents in their efforts to raise their child according to what their consciences tell them they must teach him, you *can *continue to seek to be a positive Christian influence in your godson’s life, both as a godfather and as an uncle. Within whatever limits his parents set, try to be someone your godson can trust to give him love, support, and answers to his questions (not just on religion but on life in general). Pray and offer up whatever sacrifices life demands of you for the reversion of your godson and his family. With God’s grace, you may someday be in a position to help bring your godson home to the Catholic faith.

Recommended reading:

Search and Rescue by Patrick Madrid
How Not to Share Your Faith by Mark Brumley

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