View all Ask a Priest |
“Ask a Priest: May I Stand as a Godparent at a Protestant Baptism?”
Q: My Lutheran brother is getting their son baptized in that denomination, and has asked my wife and I to be the child’s godparents. My wife and I are Catholic. Is this OK in the eyes of the Church? – B.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: The short answer is: You could be a witness at the baptism, but not a godparent.
A godparent should be a model of the faith for the one being baptized.
That means the godparents for your nephew should be models of someone living the Lutheran faith. Catholics, of course, wouldn’t fit that description.
The Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism says:
“98. It is the Catholic understanding that godparents, in a liturgical and canonical sense, should themselves be members of the Church or ecclesial community in which the baptism is being celebrated. They do not merely undertake a responsibility for the Christian education of the person being baptized (or confirmed) as a relation or friend; they are also there as representatives of a community of faith, standing as guarantees of the candidate’s faith and desire for ecclesial communion.
“a) However, based on the common baptism and because of ties of blood or friendship, a baptized person who belongs to another ecclesial community may be admitted as a witness to the baptism, but only together with a Catholic godparent. A Catholic may do the same for a person being baptized in another ecclesial community.”
Notice that the standard applies in reverse: Your Lutheran brother could be a witness, but not a godparent, at the baptism of one of your children.
By being witnesses to the baptism of your nephew, you and your wife could signal your love for your brother’s family.
By keeping open the lines of communication with them and praying for them, you might someday help to bring them into the Catholic Church.
Keep learning more with Ask a Priest
Got a question? Need an answer?
Today’s secular world throws curve balls at us all the time. AskACatholicPriest is a Q&A feature that anyone can use. Just type your question HERE, and you will get a personal response back from one of our priests at RCSpirituality. You can ask about anything – liturgy, prayer, moral questions, current events… Our goal is simply to provide a trustworthy forum for dependable Catholic guidance and information. So go ahead and ask your question…