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Gretchen Jones wrote:

Hi, guys —

My parish priest said that the rules for Baptism require a man and a women to be Godparents however I read in Canon law that only one Godparent (sponsor) could be used.

I can ask one Catholic woman to be a sponsor and I want another baptized non-Catholic Christian woman to be the other godparent.

  • Would my plan be in accordance with our Faith?

I don't want to contradict my Priest but I truly just want to have:

  1. 1 Catholic woman sponsor, and
  2. 1 Non-Catholic sponsor (witness).


  { Can I have one Catholic woman and one non-Catholic Christian woman as my sponsors for Baptism? }

Bob replied:

Dear Gretchen,

Thanks for your question.

It seems to me that you want to include your friend, who is probably a good Christian, in your child's life in a significant way. That can happen without having the formal role of godparent.

Canon law 874 §2. requires that the godparents (normally 2) be Catholic; so this precludes your friend from taking that role.

Canon 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.

Canon 874 §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.

That being said, if the parish allows other people to be present (The Coronavirus has everyone limiting numbers) your friend could be present and thereby becomes included in the event.

If this has to do with your own baptism as an adult, the sponsor still must be Catholic by the same statute so, I'm sure your friend will understand the rules have a basis in tradition and practicality, and no offense should be taken.

God bless you, I'm sure you'll work it out.


Bob Kirby

Mike replied:

Dear Gretchen,

Let me add a bit to Bob's reply. The quick answer to your question is, No, you can't.

Having faithful God parents is almost as important as having faithful Catholic parents.

Being a faithful Catholic parent in this culture can be very challenging and difficult. The role of both Catholic godparents (one male and one female, according to Catholic Canon Law 873) is not to take over and make decisions for the parents but rather guide and assist the parent in bringing forth children with a solid, active Catholic faith.

In Canon 873 I see the wisdom of the Church requiring one male Catholic and one female Catholic for godparents because both sexes (male and female) experience life differently, both biologically and physiologically. Having two role models of different sexes ensures everyone has a good model to talk to even on sensitive issues.

Along with the parents, their job is to ensure they are not brought up as (CINOs) (Catholics In Name Only)s. CINOs would actively promote teachings and lifestyles contrary to what the Church teaches.

Let's look at it from an overall Christian viewpoint:

  • Would a Methodist who truly believes in the Methodist faith want to have Catholic godparents?
  • Would a Baptist who truly believes in the Baptist faith want to have Episcopalian godparents?
  • Would a Lutheran who truly believes in the Lutheran faith want to have Anglican godparents?

My point: If you truly believe in the Catholic faith and believe the Catholic faith is what's best for your salvation, you will want good, faithful, practicing Catholics guiding and helping you throughout life. You don't want Joe Biden-type Catholics as your godparent because by their actions, you can tell they don't really believe in the Catholic faith.

I am blessed to have a great team of Catholic apologists and sometimes they come up with unforgettable answers. One that my colleague Eric said is:

I will issue a bit of a caution. You say It turns out Catholicism is in line with my personal beliefs.

The right reason to become Catholic is not because Catholicism lines up with your personal beliefs but because the Catholic Church is a truth-telling Church. In other words, as a Catholic you should believe that your beliefs should align with Catholicism, and not the other way around.

You will be asked, as a convert, to accept whatever the Catholic Church teaches to be revealed by God — now and in the future, known and unknown. You should choose the Church because She tells the truth and always will, not because what She teaches agrees with your opinions.

That said, If you are joining the Church to please someone else, you are joining for the wrong reasons. If you are joining the Church because you believe it is a truth-telling Church on Christian issues of faith and morals, not only now, but in the future, you are joining for the correct reasons and if that is the case:

Welcome to the Catholic Family!!


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