What is my obligation concerning my daughter's baptism?


#1

I had fallen away from the Catholic church for about ten years and have just recently come back to the faith. While I was fallen away, I entered into a legal marriage (no religious ceremony of any type) and had my daughter who is now two. I want to be married in the Church and I think my wife is ok with this and baptize my daughter as soon as possible. My wife was raised in the Lutheran Church and is considering becoming Catholic and has thus far been a very good sport regarding my sudden transformation and return to the church. However (and here comes my question finally) the Catholic Church requires that the god-parents for my daughter are practicing Catholics and my wife wants our daughter to have a certain pair of people as her god-parents who are not Catholic. My wife suggests we get our daughter Baptized in a different Christian church since those Baptisms are recognized by Catholicism anyway, but this seems somewhat dishonest to me (or perhaps contrary to my responsibilities). So what are my obligations as a Roman Catholic concerning the Baptism of my daughter. Should I just go along with my wife's plan to avoid the fight and conflict, or should I strongly push for the Catholic Baptism? (I should note that I am currently trying to be very sensitive to my wife regarding all of this who is being a very good sport despite strong doubts about Catholicism). Practicing, Faithful Catholics respond only please.


#2

You only have to have one Catholic godparent. The other can be a non-Catholic Christian to act as a "witness". My older two boys were baptized in the Methodist church that we attended when they were infants. But our youngest was baptized in the Catholic church. My husband's brother acted as the Catholic godparent and my non-Catholic sister was the "Christian Witness" on the baptism certificate. Maybe you and your wife could compromise and choose one Catholic and let her choose one member of her family as a witness. You will have to have two of the opposite gender if you go with two - you can't have a Godmother and a female witness.


#3

Also, keep in mind that the Godparents are NOT necessarily the people who would raise your children, should something happen to you and your wife. You may want to clarify this, if she does not already know this.

I mention it because some friends of mine argued over this for quite a while before the protestant husband found out that Godparents are supposed to help guide the children in the Catholic faith, and are not necessarily the same people who would become their legal guardians if that was ever needed.

Otherwise, I do not think it wise to try and find a "loophole," because that's not how you should start a loving relationship between God and your children.

But the best advice I have is to speak with your priest. He can explain your obligations, and perhaps help you and your wife find a way to work this out. :)


#4

In many places the baptismal certificates have room for up to four sponsors. It might be possible to have one Catholic sponsor (Godparent) and two Christian witnesses.

As others have said, a conversation with the pastor and/or person(s) responsible for baptisms is in order.


#5

My husband and I are both cradle Catholics. We have baptized 7 children in several different diocese. I can tell you all diocese have different rules regarding Godparents. For one if our children (she was baptized in the Military Archdiocese) has 4 god parents. The official Catholic godparents were unable to attend the baptism, so the Protestant godparents held her during the Mass and baptism. Officially they are listed as "proxy godparents." Not all pastors and bishops allow that arrangement, but it does no harm to ask.

As a side note, my husband's cousin and his wife, the OFFICIAL godparents, have somewhat disappointed us as godparents, but the proxy godparents--even though still Protestant--have been outstanding examples of true Christianity. They have even reinforced Catholic teachings even if they are somewhat hesitant to believe it's truth. Out of all of our children's godparents this couple has taken the role most seriously even though the rest were all practicing Carholics. I was upset with my husband for suggesting we use them as proxies. I'm so glad now that I decided not to fight with him about it and instead let the priest decide


#6

[quote="Pablopedro, post:1, topic:306224"]
I had fallen away from the Catholic church for about ten years and have just recently come back to the faith. While I was fallen away, I entered into a legal marriage (no religious ceremony of any type) and had my daughter who is now two. I want to be married in the Church and I think my wife is ok with this and baptize my daughter as soon as possible. My wife was raised in the Lutheran Church and is considering becoming Catholic and has thus far been a very good sport regarding my sudden transformation and return to the church. However (and here comes my question finally) the Catholic Church requires that the god-parents for my daughter are practicing Catholics and my wife wants our daughter to have a certain pair of people as her god-parents who are not Catholic. My wife suggests we get our daughter Baptized in a different Christian church since those Baptisms are recognized by Catholicism anyway, but this seems somewhat dishonest to me (or perhaps contrary to my responsibilities). So what are my obligations as a Roman Catholic concerning the Baptism of my daughter. Should I just go along with my wife's plan to avoid the fight and conflict, or should I strongly push for the Catholic Baptism? (I should note that I am currently trying to be very sensitive to my wife regarding all of this who is being a very good sport despite strong doubts about Catholicism). Practicing, Faithful Catholics respond only please.

[/quote]

As a Catholic parent, you have a duty to raise your children in the Catholic faith. You can't do that, while simultaneously raising them in something else.

Keep in mind that, from the point of view of the other churches where your daughter could be baptized, she is joining their denomination, and taking on responsibilities within that denomination to uphold and follow their teachings. I am sure they would be very offended to discover that Catholics are "using" them to get past various rules in our Church that they don't happen to like. I know it happens a lot, because a lot of kids who come to us for the Sacraments later in life have to become Catholic by Profession of Faith before they can join the classes, because although one or both parents are Catholic, they got baptized into something else.


#7

Our son has 3 Godparents - one Catholic, one Lutheran (since deceased and prayed about converting to Catholicism all her adult life), and one non-practicing but believing Catholic.


#8

Thank you so much for your feedback everyone. I will talk to our parish about having two sets of god-parents, I think that is a compromise my wife will happily agree to and help ensure my daughter is properly brought up in the Church.


#9

This is what Canon Law says about godparents (sponsors):

Can. 872 Insofar as possible, a person to be baptized is to be given a sponsor who assists an adult in Christian initiation or together with the parents presents an infant for baptism. A sponsor also helps the baptized person to lead a Christian life in keeping with baptism and to fulfill faithfully the obligations inherent in it.
Can. 873 There is to be only one male sponsor or one female sponsor or one of each.
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.


#10

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.