Baptism Godparents Question
Baptism QUESTION from Dawn on December 15, 2003
My husband and I were asked to be Godparents for our niece. My husband and his family are Catholic. I however, am Episcopal. I feel very touched that we were asked, but have been told by a number of friends who are Catholic that cross religion baptisms are not allowed. The purpose is to sustain the congregation of the Catholic church and to teach the following of the church.
My sister in law believes that it is up to the parents to choose suitable godparents for the child no matter the religion. My question is what are the ramifications to the child should a non-Catholic participate in her life as godparent? Should I decline the offer of godparent?
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on December 18, 2003
Your sister-in-law is mistaken.
In the Catholic Church one of the duties and commitments of a Godparent is to assist the parents, if and when needed, to raise the children in the Catholic Church. A non-Catholic cannot really do that.
In addition, Church law has requirements of who can or cannot be a Godparent.
Canon Law 874.1(3) says that a sponsor (Godparent) must be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has already received the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist and who lead a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on.
Canon Law 874.2 says, 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.
In otherwords, a non-Catholic can be a witness to a Catholic baptism, but not a Godparent.
The priest should, if he is doing his job, not allow you to be a Godparent anyway. But, remember, you can be a witness.
Thus you need to decline the offer to be a Godparent, but you can accept an offer to be a witness.
P.S. The Godparents do not have to be married to each other. Thus the Catholic husband can be a Godfather, and some other woman can be a Godmother; and you a witness.
God Bless,Bro. Ignatius Mary