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Chris Martinez wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have a question regarding Baptism. I have a niece who is Catholic and who has also been married in the Catholic Church. Their children have been baptized there as well. She and her husband have been asked to be Godparents for a baby in a non-Catholic Church.

  • Are Catholic parents allowed to be Godparents to a baby into a non-Catholic church?

Thank you!

Chris

  { Are Catholic parents allowed to be Godparents to a baby into a non-Catholic church? }

Eric replied:

Hi, Chris —

I think it depends on the particular Church's view of the role of godparent.

In Catholicism, a godparent stands in for the parent in raising the child in the faith if something should happen to the parents. If that is their understanding, then there is a conflict because a Catholic cannot raise or foster a non-Catholic child in a non-Catholic faith.

  • If the parents understand these implications and don't object it would probably be fine.
  • If on the other hand it's purely an honorary position, not a functional one, it's not really a problem.

Eric

Mike replied:

Hi Eric,

You said:

  • If the parents understand these implications and don't object it would probably be fine.

  • Under what circumstances would this be fine? <scratching my head>, and
  • What would be an honorary position?

Mike

Eric replied:

Mike —

You said:

  • Under what circumstances would this be fine? <scratching my head>

If the parents understand the implications if they die or are unable to carry out the role of raising their children in the Christian faith. That is, that a Catholic godparent cannot foster a non-Catholic faith in their godchild, if that is expected of them. They can foster the Catholic faith in the child, or at best perhaps encourage them in what is common to our faiths, but they cannot foster them in a non-Catholic faith.

You said:

  • What would be an honorary position?

For most Protestant denominations, the role of godparents is pretty much strictly honorary. We see it as an actual obligation and responsibility to see that the child is raised in the Catholic Christian faith.

For most Protestants it's just an honorary title, nothing more. If it's merely a title without a responsibility to raise the child in the Protestant faith if necessary, then I don't see a problem with accepting it.

Eric

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