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Catholic baptism & godparents


17 replies to this topic

#1 babybug15

Posted 08 December 2019 - 04:29 PM

Seeking some advice...

I've been asked to be Godparent to a family member's child.

Whilst I was Confirmed as a child, it has been several decades since I regularly attended church. When I do (usually for weddings/baptisms/funerals) I choose to no longer receive communion, because I think it would be hypocritical for me to do so as I don't practice. Also I disagree with the church's stance on alot of things (eg abortion, euthanasia, pre-marital sex).

The child's parents only attend church about once a year, though they intend to send the child to Catholic school. They have told me as long as long as one Godparent is Confirmed it's ok, but haven't been able to tell me what the Godparent needs to agree to, believe or do.

I've had a look at the archdiocese website and it wasn't particularly clear.

So, just wondering if anyone can offer any clarification on what role Godparents play in the current Catholic church?

Also any suggestions for baptism gifts.

#2 Lucrezia Bauble

Posted 08 December 2019 - 04:36 PM

i would defer to the parents while the child is in their infancy, childhood and once they are old enough to have an opinion - defer to them as to what kind of relationship they want. i am a godmother to two nieces - both catholic christenings - and i’m an atheist. im first and foremost their aunty - i consider that to be more the important relationship and the parents seem fine with that. i do see some mention of a godparent being around to “further” the child’s christian understanding and journey but i mean, that’s going to be up to the child at the end of the day. they may reject christianity.

i gave both girls a silver Tiffany bracelet.

Edited by Lucrezia Borgia, 08 December 2019 - 04:37 PM.


#3 Veritas Vinum Arte

Posted 08 December 2019 - 04:51 PM

God Parent is meant to support the parents in bringing the child up Catholic. The god Parent ideally should be their sponsor when they make their confirmation.

The godparent is meant to confirm the vows they made at their own confirmation (rejection satan, belief in one Catholic church etc)

Some people are super religious and will say if you don’t believe you shouldn’t be a god Parent.

TBH I am more of an agnostic atheist Catholic lite. I am godparent to some nieces and nephews, and acted as sponsor for Confirmation.

I send my children to Catholic schools, but more for the purpose of exposing them to religion to question (have a history of extended family not brought up with religion finding religion as adults and becoming fundamentalist types). My children make their confirmation if they want to continue at their school, but what they personally believe after that I am OK with. DS1 is grade 8 and a major atheist, but also scores an A+ in religion. He is very good at debating it and pulling it apart.

For Baptism present I gave Bunnykins and Peter Rabbit sets as those were traditional gifts in my family.

Only you and the parents can choose what you feel comfortable doing.

#4 Gudrun

Posted 08 December 2019 - 05:13 PM

My daughter recently became godparent to her friend's son. Catholic family, catholic church.

She'd never been in a church before and wasn't that keen to go in one either.

She did it for her friend and all was fine.  There's no legal implications and it doesn't change anything. They live in different countries anyway.

Forgotten what present she got but I think she had advice from the mother/her friend.

Edited by Gudrun, 08 December 2019 - 05:15 PM.


#5 Tiara15

Posted 08 December 2019 - 05:31 PM

I would suggest you talk to the parents and ask them what they expect of you in the role as Godparent?

From the Catholic Church Australia website: The role of the godparent or sponsor at the baptism of a child is to join with the parents in presenting the child and to be a help and support to the child in growing in faith and living the Christian life.
The question that is asked of godparents explains this: 'Are you willing to help the parents of this child in their duty as Christian parents?' They stand with the parents and proclaim their faith on behalf of the child.
It follows from this that the godparent ought also to live out those same Christian values and way of life that the ceremony implies. For this reason the Church requires that the godparent be a confirmed Catholic who has received the Eucharist and lives out the life of faith required by the role.

Edited by Tiara15, 08 December 2019 - 05:32 PM.


#6 SeaPrincess

Posted 08 December 2019 - 05:38 PM

View PostVeritas Vinum Arte, on 08 December 2019 - 04:51 PM, said:

God Parent is meant to support the parents in bringing the child up Catholic. The god Parent ideally should be their sponsor when they make their confirmation.

Our children were encouraged to have a parent as their confirmation sponsor, so it seems that is up for negotiation. I gave DS a list of people to choose from who I knew were catholic and he picked one.

I see the role of a non-catholic godparent as supporting the parents in guiding a child to grow into a kind, generous and loving person. It's not necessary to be catholic to be a good role model, nor are all catholics good people.

DD received a charm bracelet for her baptism, and her godfather (my brother) has sent new charms for her birthday each year.

#7 Lifesgood

Posted 08 December 2019 - 05:40 PM

I am godparent to a cousin's daughter. Like you I am a non-practising Catholic.

My role as I understand it technically is to provide spiritual guidance in the Catholic faith to my godaughter. Fat chance of that happening, but I certainly provided gifts and cash. She seemed happy with that, especially when she turned 18 and I gave her access to the bank account I had set up for her.

#8 TheGreenSheep

Posted 08 December 2019 - 06:05 PM

I’m a godparent to several children, all related. I am neither Catholic nor religious. I think they were just ticking the Catholic by convenience tick box to gain entry into Catholic schools. I wasn’t even invited to confirmation etc. Weird, but true!
I gave lovely photo frames. You can purchase lovely personalized gifts online too.



#9 Veritas Vinum Arte

Posted 08 December 2019 - 06:21 PM

View PostSeaPrincess, on 08 December 2019 - 05:38 PM, said:

Our children were encouraged to have a parent as their confirmation sponsor, so it seems that is up for negotiation. I gave DS a list of people to choose from who I knew were catholic and he picked one.

Interesting. We were told parent could not be sponsor. I was going to sit in as a proxy for a god Parent who could not be there (was overseas), but could not be sponsor as a parent. My father managed to be proxy.

#10 Moukmouk

Posted 08 December 2019 - 06:46 PM

We were also told that a parent couldn’t be the sponsor for confirmation. I did do it in the end due to dreadful timing, and I think they just didn’t realise as I have a different surname.
OP, as the godparent, you have to repeat the promises made at your baptism by your parents. Ie the whole “rejection of sin”. It is up to you if you feel you can mouth the words without meaning them. Plenty of people do.

#11 marley*and*me

Posted 08 December 2019 - 07:01 PM

My sisters are a god parent to 2 of my kids.  Both are non religious with one despising the Catholic Church.

I am a god parent to a few kids and I am not catholic in any way, shape or form.

Have I or my sisters done anything god parentie since the christening - nup.  So basically you don’t have to do anything and can believe what you wish.

We give bunnykins bowls for christening presents.

Edited by marley*and*me, 08 December 2019 - 07:02 PM.


#12 MrsLexiK

Posted 08 December 2019 - 07:10 PM

For us I had a genuine fear my children would go to the inbetween world if they were not baptised. I know I know. We had planned catholic school but the public school was much better for school size and class size and then for everything else which has come along. We are undecided for high school I’ve been told by a local mum that if DS1 is still interested in dance to start him there if we can as her son exiled with their program. (We likely won’t get into the public school with an awesome performing arts school due to zoning). I see the god parents role to guide our children into religion and help with that guidance or non-guidance if that was the child’s choice and we couldn’t do it. Who we picked whilst either not catholic or lapsed/non practising we know would listen to our children’s wishes. They also happen to be listed as guardians and we trust they can come up with a good agreement for all involved if needed.

#13 SeaPrincess

Posted 08 December 2019 - 07:52 PM

View PostMrsLexiK, on 08 December 2019 - 07:10 PM, said:

For us I had a genuine fear my children would go to the inbetween world if they were not baptised. I know I know.

Did you know the Vatican abolished limbo in 2007?

#14 MrsLexiK

Posted 08 December 2019 - 08:25 PM

View PostSeaPrincess, on 08 December 2019 - 07:52 PM, said:



Did you know the Vatican abolished limbo in 2007?
Didn’t stop my fear. My DH isn’t catholic (another Christian religion he does believe in god and heaven and hell but their other views are different) so if I think really really hard it’s not like we would go to the same place. It was a true oddity of mine I know. In my new baby days I just couldn’t get that thought out of my head

#15 Lucrezia Bauble

Posted 08 December 2019 - 08:25 PM

View PostSeaPrincess, on 08 December 2019 - 07:52 PM, said:



Did you know the Vatican abolished limbo in 2007?

that was good of them! (on the quiet, we could have told them...before 2007..)


#16 Dianalynch

Posted 08 December 2019 - 09:12 PM

I’m a godparent, confirmed catholic, and atheist. I cheerfully renounced Satan during the baptism- who wouldn’t? I take my responsibility to helping my godchild out with questions on ethics and values very seriously, we have good discussions, I’d never steer him in one direction or the other, his faith (or deciding on a lack thereof) is his journey...I see myself as a coach or cheer squad from the sidelines. His parents are happy with that.

#17 PocketIcikleflakes

Posted 08 December 2019 - 09:12 PM

I'm a godparent, atheist, not baptised or confirmed, the church didn't seem to have an issue with that. The mother is catholic and the father isn't and would let religion lapse if anything happened to her. She also knew that I would encourage the children to continue to explore Catholicism even though I'm not religious so long as the father allowed me to. She has serious reservations about the catholic Church as an institution despite being catholic and she knows that I have the same views as her and as such felt I'd be in a better position than many of her family to protect her children should anything potentially concerning happen.

The churches expectations of me were to support the child's religious development. Which I'm happy to do.

#18 babybug15

Posted 10 December 2019 - 08:32 AM

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate all your comments on this. I know the parents are very "chilled out" around the on going formalities- I was more concerned around Church expectations and what I had to "pledge" to do. I'm not religious, but I would feel wrong about publicly saying in a church that I agree with certain beliefs when I don't.

View PostDianalynch, on 08 December 2019 - 09:12 PM, said:

I’m a godparent, confirmed catholic, and atheist. I cheerfully renounced Satan during the baptism- who wouldn’t?

I wasn't sure what I'd be asked- so yeah renouncing Satan/evil seems pretty straightforward :)

View PostTiara15, on 08 December 2019 - 05:31 PM, said:

The question that is asked of godparents explains this: 'Are you willing to help the parents of this child in their duty as Christian parents?' They stand with the parents and proclaim their faith on behalf of the child.
It follows from this that the godparent ought also to live out those same Christian values and way of life that the ceremony implies. For this reason the Church requires that the godparent be a confirmed Catholic who has received the Eucharist and lives out the life of faith required by the role.

Thanks for this- I had looked at the archdiocese website, but not the general Australian Catholic one- this is really useful.

View PostVeritas Vinum Arte, on 08 December 2019 - 04:51 PM, said:

God Parent is meant to support the parents in bringing the child up Catholic. The god Parent ideally should be their sponsor when they make their confirmation.

The godparent is meant to confirm the vows they made at their own confirmation (rejection satan, belief in one Catholic church etc)

I send my children to Catholic schools, but more for the purpose of exposing them to religion to question (have a history of extended family not brought up with religion finding religion as adults and becoming fundamentalist types).

In another part of my extended family I have seen how the "discovering fundementalism later in life" has panned out- with not great experiences, so I can see your point with that.

I hadn't realised in some areas it was requirement for the Godparent to be a Confirmation sponsor- it wasn't the case for me when I did mine (many, many years ago). Also the clarity around reconfirming confirmation vows as a Godparent is useful to know.



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