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Cara wrote:

Hi, guys —

I apologize in advance for such a long question. I wanted to give as much background to the question as I am in a tough situation.

Our son is being baptized into the Catholic faith next month. Before he was born, my husband and I discussed the selection of godparents. We are both practicing Catholics and we agreed that it was important that our son's godparents also be practicing Catholics and have a strong faith so that they can be there to guide and answer any questions that our son might have as he grows up.

We both have siblings that are baptized Catholic but are no longer religious or have a strong belief. So we agreed upon asking a lady we have got to know well over the last year who is very connected with the church to be godmother and decided not to have a godfather.

The other night, my husband's father called and said that my husband's brother has been saying that he really hopes that he gets asked to be a godfather and he started to put pressure on my husband to ask him. My husband and I discussed it and it turned into an argument because I don't feel right asking him to by godfather as he doesn't want to have anything to do with the Catholic faith but has not yet denounced himself as Catholic (not to mention I don't find him to be a good role model for our son). At our wedding, he refused to do a reading in the Church because he said he doesn't agree with the teachings. And as mentioned before, I wanted to make sure our son had a godparent that would guide him. I also feel it would be wrong towards my siblings and my husband's sister too as we didn't consider them for the same reason.

Also, from what was mentioned in the conversation, my husband's family (who aren't religious) seem to think the role of a godparent is someone who takes in the child if anything happened to us as parents. My brother-in-law is also going through a bit of a hard time at the moment, and it seems like his partner doesn't ever want to have children with him, so my husband feels compelled to ask him. I told my husband that I am very reluctant to ask him as I would like to stick by our agreement that we want someone to guide our son. So in the end, my husband wasn't happy with the decision but said he would call his dad and tell him. It has been a couple of days now but he hasn't spoken to his dad about it.

  • Am I being unreasonable by not wanting to ask him to be the godfather?
  • How/what do we tell my husband's dad the reason why we aren't asking him to make him understand how we (mainly myself) feel?
  • How do I broach the topic with my husband again?
  • Do I just cave in and ask him to be the godfather (even though I know this is a decision that I will forever not be happy about)?

Thank you in advance for your advice.

It is greatly appreciated.

God bless.

Cara

  { In light of this pressure, am I being reasonable in requiring a Godfather be a faithful Catholic? }

Mike replied:

Dear Cara,


You said:

  • Am I being unreasonable by not wanting to ask him to be the godfather?

First, you are not unreasonable at all in trying to choose a faithful, practicing Catholic as a godfather. That is the purpose of being a godfather, to be a faithful Catholic witness if, Heaven-forbid, something happens to the parents. Godparents should be faithful to all the teachings of the Church.

As my colleague John said in a similar web posting:

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.

I have one additional suggestion. If you are having problems finding a good Catholic Godfather or Godmother, in addition to whoever you choose, try to find two good male and female Catholic witnesses that your son can look up to. Although they wouldn't be official Godparents, in the future, there may be a situation where this could happen.

Check out Fr. Jonathan's reply at the end of this posting:

You said:

  • How/what do we tell my husband's dad the reason why we aren't asking him to make him understand how we (mainly myself) feel?
  • How do I broach the topic with my husband again?
  • Do I just cave in and ask him to be the godfather (even though I know this is a decision that I will forever not be happy about)?

Start with prayer and ask the Lord to give you the words to communicate your justified, Catholic concerns to husband, family, and friends.

Maybe you can print out these web postings and share it with your relatives.

I hope this helps,

Mike

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