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Brian Kelso wrote:

Hi, guys —

My due date for my baby is October 26, 2010. I want my seventeen year old nephew to be the godfather but he never made his Confirmation.

  • I was wondering does he have to make it and, if so, how long would it take him?

I want to get the baby baptized ASAP so any information would be great.

Thank you,

Brian Kelso

  { Does my seventeen year old have to make his Confirmation to be a Godfather? }

John replied:

Hi, Brian —

Thanks for your question:

I'm not sure if he needs to be confirmed, but if he does, he needs to go through an RCIA program. Typically they start in September and he'd be confirmed in the Spring.

All that said; I'd ask you to consider why you would want someone that young who is not properly catechized or confirmed to take on the responsibility of bringing up your child as a Catholic, should something happen to you?

Picking a God parent is not about making a relative feel good or about picking a close friend.

It's about picking someone who:

  • is well versed in the faith
  • is living the faith
  • is interested in sharing the faith and
  • is capable of transmitting the faith to a child in the absence of parents and helping the parents to do so in their presence.

Baptism and Confirmation are sacraments; they aren't just ceremonies. Spiritual things actually happen. Those who participate in them should do so knowing what they are getting themselves into. By asking the Church to baptize your child, you are making a commitment to bring the child up as a practicing Catholic. That includes picking a godfather who also:

  • knows what is happening at the Sacrament
  • believes what is happening
  • and is capable of bringing up a child in the faith.

Typically a 17 year old is not capable, let alone, one who has not been confirmed.

John

Eric replied:

Hi, Brian —

Yes, a godparent must be confirmed; Canon 874 §1.3:

Part 1: The Sacraments
Title 1: Baptism
Chapter IV. Sponsors for Baptism

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.

Eric

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