REQUIREMENTS FOR GODPARENTS AND CHRISTIAN WITNESSES
Godparents, also known as baptismal sponsors, assist the parents in the child's Catholic upbringing. In the liturgy of Baptism, Godparents promise to help the parents in their duty as Christian parents.
Because their primary role is in relationship to the parents, Godparents should be carefully chosen by the parents because they diligently practice their faith, and are willing and able to assist in the faith formation of the child. Godparents should not be chosen simply because of familial or social relationships.
The church also provides for an active member of another Christian church to stand as witness to the Baptism when only one Godparent is chosen. The Christian Witness plays an active and important role in supporting parents as they teach their child the Christian way of life.
The church does not take this role lightly and so has established clear criteria for the fulfillment of these roles in its laws.
- A Godparent, chosen by parents or pastor, must be at least 16 years of age.
- A Godparent must be a baptized Catholic who has completed the Sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation, regularly attends Mass on Sunday, and lives the Faith so as to be a moral and spiritual example to their Godchild.
- A Godparent may not be under any form of canonical penalty (e.g. excommunication most commonly for abortion.)
- A Godparent may not be the parent of the child being baptized.
- If married, the Godparent must be in a marriage recognized by the Catholic Church. The two Godparents do not have to be married to one another.
- If single, a godparent may not be cohabitating (i.e., "living together" in a marital manner) with a partner.
- A validly baptized non-Catholic may not be a Godparent but may serve as a Christian Witness along with a Catholic Godparent of the opposite sex.
A person who has been baptized a Catholic but joined another denomination or faith may not be selected either as a Godparent or a Christian Witness.
A person married to a Catholic outside the Catholic Church may not serve as a Christian witness.
- Non-baptized persons may not serve as Godparents or Christian witnesses.
- Only one Godparent is required. If there are to be two (two Godparents or a Godparent and a Christian Witness), then one must be male and one must be female.
Parents, Godparent(s), and/or the Christian Witness (if there is to be one) must attend a baptismal preparation class if they have not already attended one.
Registration for A St. Thomas Aquinas Sunday Afternoon Baptism
Children are to be baptized in the parish to which their parents belong.
At the time of the child’s Baptism, parents and godparents must provide documentation of attendance at a pre-Baptismal class in the last four years.