A number of readers have been in touch in relation to the letter published in the edition of 28 May from a new mother facing a christening dilemma. Her husband wanted his best friend to be godfather to their son, but his wife was not sure if this was possible as the friend was not a Catholic. While her husband thought they would “get away” with not telling the priest, as there would be a few babies christened on the day, she was not comfortable with this and asked for advice. Here, some regular readers share their words of wisdom. Thanks for taking the time to get in touch.
In regard to the recent letter from “New Mom”, I’d like to second your advice of having the Catholic auntie as the only official godparent and husband’s friend as a Christian witness.
We had the same situation at our daughter’s baptism: my husband is Irish Catholic and I’m a Lutheran from eastern Europe. We wanted his sister and my brother to be the godparents, so we had my sister-in-law as Catholic godmother and my brother as a Christian witness. It was all very straightforward, there was no need to lie about or “wing” anything, and everyone, including the priest and my brother, was happy with this arrangement.
The applying section of ecclesiastical law is: Code of canon law 872-874 (function of the church/the sacraments/baptism/sponsors). It’s available online and easy to find with a Google search.
I would also suggest that the parents let the priest know about their request as soon as possible, and don’t wait until the actual Christening day. Hope this is helpful, wishing the whole family a very happy Christening day.
A farmer’s wife
‘What starts as a lie, stays a lie’
Well, I being a grandmother of 13 lovely children, I can throw some light on the procedure of being a godparent. The person must be a Catholic, hopefully practising, and be over 16 years of age as it is a very responsible job one is taking on.
It’s meant to actually see that the child christened is a practising Catholic and gets the two more sacraments before they leave national school. Every child has a right to pick their own way of life at 18 years of age, so the job of godparents ceases then, but hopefully not.
To try to play dumb with the priest is only fooling themselves as parents; start as a lie, stays a lie. This child might one day get married and if one thinks one can get married in the Catholic church, all three sacraments must be administered to this child beforehand.
Good luck with your special day with your young son and enjoy the day.
No one asks if your godparents to be are Catholic or not. They don’t even have to be present. My son’s Catholic godmother lives in Australia, so we had a proxy stand in.
Would it not be better to have a good Christian, non-Catholic, to give good example than a holy Joe up to the altar every Sunday and his wife cringing in fear seven days a week. As Mahatma Gandhi said: “I like your Christ but not your Christians”.
In this case, a good Christian is far better than a bad Catholic.
Your son has his good auntie to look after his spiritual side, the good Christian can look after his morals and put him the road for a good life.
Best of luck,