From a reader…
Thank you for your blog and work. I have frequently found it informative and encouraging.
My wife and I, God willing, expect our third child shortly, but have been in difficulty over selecting suitable godparents.
A married relative would seem ideal, except that I know he dissents from the Church on same-sex marriage and gender theory. Is it permitted to use him and his wife? Would it be prudent? It’s rather challenging to find appropriate godparents and this relative would be a good candidate in other respects.
Congratulations on your growing family!
It seems to me that holding such odd ideas and dissenting from the Church’s teachings would, to my way of thinking, instantly disqualify a person from being a godparent to my child.
It seems that, as families get smaller, and as people move more frequently, and as fewer of our relatives and friends practice their Catholic Faith, it is getting harder and harder to find good godparents.
What to do?
Can. 872 says that there should be a sponsor “insofar as possible” (quantum fieri potest).
This means that a sponsor/godparent isn’t required for the validity of the sacrament.
Nevertheless, it is important to have at least one. Can. 873 makes provision for two, but no more than two. It also says that if there are two, there must be one male and one female.
Also, keep in mind that, although the present Code is silent on this point, if you have someone in mind who isn’t in the area or who can’t make it to the baptism, the Church has traditionally provided that a proxy can stand in. This can be done for confirmation as well. The Code does, however, provide by can. 1104 §1 a proxy for marriage… though that’s for the exchange of matrimonial consent and not for the other important part.
You might talk to your parish priest about this. It may be that this has come up before and that there are solid people in the parish who have stood in when necessary.
FATHERS! It could be useful for parishes to provide a roster of good, faithful, committed Catholic parishioners willing to serve as godparents for those, like our interlocutor, who are in a bind.
Perhaps some lay people, with their priest, could start up an apostolate, a Confraternity St. John the Baptist for Baptismal and Confirmation Sponsors. St. John the Baptist, after all, is the patron saint of godparents. Although, alternatively, perhaps the apostolate could be named in honor of St. Vito of Corleone. In a pinch the pastor could run his finger down the list of potential sponsors while muttering, “I’ll give you a sponsor you can’t refuse.”