Liturgy & Liturgical Law Forum: Godparents

Godparents QUESTION from Liz September 26, 2001
My question was addressed to your forum on November 3, 2000 by Rev. Larry Lottier. Mr. Minskell responded that having to godmothers is not done. I am confused because my counsin and I are godmothers to my niece. I now find myself in the same situation as my sister did. My husband and I cannot find a suitable male to serve as godfather. We have two wonderful female family members who will make excellent godmothers. How is it that some churches allow it and others do not? Is it preferable to have only 1 godparent or have on in the pair not be suitable? I realize that a male and female is the usual. Also my understanding was that the following are the qualifications for godparents according to Canon 874: ?The godparent must be designated by the one about to be baptized (in adult Baptism), or by the subject's parents (in infant Baptism), or by those who are taking the place of the parents. If none of these is able to make the designation, the godparent might be named by the priest. The sponsor s either legitimately imposed or declared. The godparent must not be the father or mother of the candidate. I am very confused and extremely eager to baptize my baby. Your response is greatly appreciated. Many Thanks.
ANSWER by Mr. Jacob Slavek on October 1, 2001
Dear Liz,
Let me state canon 873 for the rest of my readers:

There is to be only one male sponsor or one female sponsor or one of each. The reason why we see some parishes insisting that this be followed and others ignoring it is because some pastors do not believe that they are bound by church law. This, of course, is very wrong.
Many times pastors will break this and similar laws in the name of being pastoral, which means that sometimes the pastor does whatever is needed to make his congregation happy, lest he fears that his congregation leave the parish and join a new one. Some priests just don't have the spine to say NO, no matter what good obeying a harsh law will bring about.
So, to answer your second question, YES, it is preferable (required) to have only one woman sponsor rather than two. OR, you may have one woman and one man.
Thank you for your question.
Mr. Slavek
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