Non-Catholic Godparentsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread
Hello, My wife and I have a question about godparents. I am a practicing Catholic, my wife is not but attends mass every week. She is a very strong Christian and grew up Luthern. We just had a baby 2 weeks ago and are wanting to baptize her. Most of our best friends are not Catholic but very devout Christians who would be great Christian roll models as well as Godparents. Some are even missionaries. Non of my family are practicing Catholics other than my parents who are retiring soon. We are also not very close with most of the people we attend church with and most do not seem to have the type of Christian faith we would want our child growing up around as godparents. Our question is can we have our close friends who we know love the lord be godparents for our child at her baptism if there are no other suitable people we would want to act as our childs godparents? Any info would help.
-- Greg Peugh (email@example.com), July 25, 2004
A godparent (officially called a baptismal sponsor) must be a Catholic who has received the Eucharist and the sacrament of Confirmation, and who is living an active Catholic life. If he/she is not known by the clergy of the parish where the baptism is to take place, his/her pastor must sign a document verifying the qualifications of the sponsor. It is not necessary to have two sponsors. One sponsor who meets the above qualifications is sufficient. A non-Catholic Christian can stand with the Catholic sponsor as an official witness, but is not officially designated a sponsor.
-- Paul M. (PaulCyp@cox.net), July 25, 2004.
sorry greg, paul m is quite correct... only a catholic in good standing can be a Godparent.
whats wrong with one or both of your parents doing it, however?
-- paul h (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 25, 2004.
I think this is a silly rule on behalf of the Catholic church. I was raised Catholic and plan to raise my child Catholic. And, I also want non-catholics to serve as the godparents because they are best suited for it. Afterall, Jesus was not Catholic and he was baptized. Do we know who his "Catholic" godparents are? I have also read a statement by Pope John Paul II, asking not to deny infants of baptism. It is greatly offending that a "man" written doctrine dictates who will best serve MY child as a godparent. Especially, since most of the writers know me so well. I think with the molestation scandels in the the Catholic Church, there should be more focus of the "ten commandments" than who is to be my child's godparent. I am not sure about the rest of you out there, but I am considering leaving my church. I just can't understand why a church with such a history of scandels, thinks that I can't make the best decisions regarding my child.
-- Candy Revere (email@example.com), August 09, 2004.
Non-Catholics are best suited to help you raise your children Catholic? You do know that that is the function of godparents, right? Suppose some Methodist friends of yours wanted you to serve as a godparent for their child. Could you see yourself as the best suited person to help them raise their children in the Methodist faith? Or would you be honest and tell them you know nothing about their faith and they would do better to find some devout Methodists as godparents?
Jesus was and is GOD. Let's not be silly. The followers of Jesus Christ from day one were Catholic, and no, the members of the early Catholic Church would never have allowed a non-member of the Church to sponsor the entrance of a person into the Church. That would have made no sense at all, and still wouldn't make any sense today.
The fact that a tiny percentage of priests have allowed themselves to become involved in a specific kind of sin has absolutely nothing to do with the rules of the Church regarding the reception of the sacraments. I'm not surprised you are thinking of leaving the Church, considering how little you apparently know about it. Perhaps a better course of action would be to educate yourself in your own faith, so that you will know what the Catholic Church is and why the safeguarding of the sacraments is so important to the spiritual lives of its members.
-- Paul M. (PaulCyp@cox.net), August 09, 2004.
In response to one of the responses and to the original question... I was raised Catholic, married a non-catholic christian, attended Mass on Easter and Christmas and maybe once or twice at other times of the year. I attended non-denominational services more often. I never "gave up" my Catholic faith, but I felt I was growing more in Christ through the non-demoninational Sunday services, at least for the time being. When the time came for a sibling to choose a sponsor, they chose another sibling who was a "less active" Catholic than I and certainly not living a "Christ-based" life - the only difference being that he did not also attend non-Catholic services. This seems like total hypocrisy to me. How, exactly, did a non- practicing Catholic qualify to be a sponsor? Is that really better than a "practicing Christian?" Not in my book.
-- CJ Lewis (WERC@cableone.net), October 25, 2004.
Admittedly the sibling chosen to be the Godparent, does not seem to be a great choice, probably a very poor choice. Sad! But you, as an apostate would be better? I don't see how. A Catholic Godparent has the duty provide spiritual guidance for the child to the best of his ability, make sure he or she goes to mass, is catechized etc., especiallly if the parent is not performing these tasks for whatever reason. From what you wrote, the chosen Godparent can be expected to be indifferent, neither inspiring the child with knowledge of the faith nor teaching the child to willfully reject catholicism. Again, a poor, poor choice it appears. But you, on the other hand, might be expected to lead the child away from the true Church along the same path that you have followed. Apparently the child's parents at least understand the argument against having an apostate for a Godparent even if they do not understand the need to have a good, practicing Catholic fill that role. You say you never "gave up" the faith but were attending non-denominational masses "for the time being." I hope that your use of the past tense indicates that this was but a temporary situation and you have returned to the Church. If that is the case, you could still be a positive influence on the Catholic child. I will pray for you.
-- Brian Crane (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 25, 2004.
A non-practicing Catholic does not qualify as a godparent; however, such a choice, as poor as it would be, is still better than a practicing Protestant in this particular role. A non-practicing nominal Catholic would probably just shirk his/her responsibility as a godparent, and not contribute to the growth of the child in the Holy Catholic faith. A practicing Protestant likewise would not be in a position to contribute to the child's growth in the Catholic faith, but worse, might well confuse the child by sharing false beliefs incompatible with the fullness of Christian truth. Probably with the best of intentions. But still, active undermining of a child's faith is far worse then simply failing to contribute.
Brian, while I agree with the ideas you presented, I must take exception to your use of the term "apostate". Protestant churches and their members are not apostate. They are obviously schismatic, and some of their beliefs may be objectively heretical, but apostacy means complete rejection of the Christian faith, and that does not apply to Protestants.
-- Paul M. (PaulCyp@cox.net), October 25, 2004.
I apologize, you are correct. I've heard apostate used to refer to fallen away Catholics, whether they became Protestansts or atheists or whatever else. But I guess this is a secular definition of the word, more in line with Webster's definition
From Websters: Apostate: "One who has forsaken the faith, principles, or party, to which he before adhered"
But the Catholic definition is as you described;
From Catholic Dictionary: Apostate: "A total defection from the Christian religion, after previous acceptance through faith and baptism."
-- Brian Crane (email@example.com), October 26, 2004.
I'm in the same situation as Greg. My wife is due with our second child any day now. She's a devout Catholic, I'm Episcopalian, but I attend Mass with her every week with our 3-year-old son, who is baptized Catholic. One of his godparents is Catholic, the other is not. His godfather (my wife's brother) is not a very good role model for my son, let alone a good godfather. He was recently arrested, and a year ago had my son in his room with pornography all over the floor. The people who we want to be our second child's godparents (my brother and sister-in-law) are not Catholic, but are devout Christians who we feel would respect our wishes to have our new son or daughter raised Catholic even though we are not. Our understanding is my wife's brother would have to stand in at our baby's baptism in order for my brother and his wife to be godparents, too. I don't want him there for the reasons listed above, yet in the responses to Greg, I don't see how there's any way around it unless we find another Catholic besides him. The problem with doing that is we create a rift in the family. Further complicating things is that my wife's father is a Catholic deacon who wants to baptize our baby. Anyone have some advice?
-- Carl Gardner (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 07, 2004.
yes, advice: the only person elligable to become a godparent is a catholic who is in good standing with the church. if your brother in law is not such a person, then he has no right to stand in that position, nor does any person have the right to insist that he should do so. find other catholics who are qualified to fill the role
-- paul h (dontSendMeMail@notAnAddress.com), December 07, 2004.