Baptism: 3 godparents?

Does the Church allow 3 godparents for an infant baptism (for example, two godmothers and one godfather?)

Or for that matter, what about 2 Godmothers and no Godfather?

God Bless

Yes, my oldest daughter has 2 godfathers and no godmother. My other 2 childern have 2 godfathers and 2 godmothers(my wife’s brothers got married).

The answer to both questions is no. Here are the relevant canons from Canon Law:

Can. 872 In so far as possible, a person being baptized is to be assigned a sponsor. In the case of an adult baptism, the sponsor’s role is to assist the person in Christian initiation. In the case of an infant baptism, the role is together with the parents to present the child for baptism, and to help it to live a Christian life befitting the baptized and faithfully to fulfill the duties inherent in baptism.

Can. 873 One sponsor, male or female, is sufficient; but there may be two, one of each sex.

Can. 874 ß1 To be admitted to undertake the office of sponsor, a person must:

1ƒ be appointed by the candidate for baptism, or by the parents or whoever stands in their place, or failing these, by the parish priest or the minister; to be appointed the person must be suitable for this role and have the intention of fulfilling it;

2ƒ be not less than sixteen years of age, unless a different age has been stipulated by the diocesan Bishop, or unless the parish priest or the minister considers that there is a just reason for an exception to be made;

3ƒ be a catholic who has been confirmed and has received the blessed Eucharist, and who lives a life of faith which befits the role to be undertaken;

4ƒ not labor under a canonical penalty, whether imposed or declared;

5ƒ not be either the father or the mother of the person to be baptized.

ß2 A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community may be admitted only in company with a catholic sponsor, and then simply as a witness to the baptism.

Lance, while they may call themselves “godparents” the sponsors are the person or persons present at the baptism, and I have posted the canons that outline the number and kind of godparent a person may have. There can be one, or two, and if two they should be of each sex.

nope…you can have 1 godfather & 1 godmother…or 1 godmother & no godfather or 1 godfather & no godmother…but you can not have 3 godparents…

When my little one was baptised, my hubby’s brother was chosen to be “Godparent”. He is not Catholic.
He is also in CA and we are in MI.

My sister and her husband, both Catholic, stood up for her baptism. So although she as two sponsors, actually three people take the role of “Godparents”. To lead her to a good Catholic life, is the job of my sister and her husband. (and us of course)

To send her great gifts and fuss over her like no one else does, is the job of my BIL! :wink:
And let me tell you, you have never seen an Evangelical Christian so thrilled to be a “Goddaddy”!

little confused here…which is common now adays…I was always taught that a non-catholic could not be a godparent, of Confirmation Sponsor.

so they are really her godparents then, right?
so in all actuallity she has 2 god parents (your sis and her dh) and one Christian Witness:confused: :slight_smile:

So let me try to paraphrase. Please correct me if I’m wrong…

The infant’s “sponsor” is the only one regulated by the canon law requirements, but the title of “Godparent” is more of a personal title within our family, and is not necessarily regulated by the Church or canon law?

Is this a fair statement?

All I can tell you is that both of my brothers in law signed the baptismal certificate for my oldest daughter and they and their wives signed the ones for my other 2 kids. They were all present at the baptism. Perhaps the priest or the Arch- Diocese of Chicago made an error. I can only tell you what occured.

Last year when my grandson was baptised there was a family from Nigeria having their son baptised and they had 4 godparents but I can not say who signed the form, maybe only 2 of them.

Yup, I think that those would be the official titles.

But Shhhhhh. Don’t tell my BIL. He calls and hums the Godfather theme into our phone all the time!

Now I am a little confused. Not about the actual rules. Those are pretty straightforward. I am confused about practices I see happening.

My husband was asked to be the godfather of his cousin’s son. He accepted. When we got to the baptism, there was a little program thing and it listed the god parents - there were 6 god fathers and 6 god mothers! :eek:

Now, his cousin is married to a philipino lady. My BIL’s gf is also Phillipino and she said that having a whole bunch of godparents is common and expected in her family. Is this a Philipino tradition?

not your fault, priest who baptized should have known better but neither of these situations conforms with canon law, only one godparent is required, may be of either sex, if there are two, must be one man and one woman. if married (to each other or at all) must be married in the church. must be adult Catholics, fully initiated, living in conformity with Catholic laws and moral teaching, may not be parent of the baptized person, and must be willing to undertake the responsibility, and not under any canonical penalty that would prevent them from being godparents.


You are correct Canon Law does not allow a non-Catholic to be a Godparent period. Nor allow a Catholic to be a Godparent at a Non-Catholic Baptism.

Can. 873 One sponsor, male or female, is sufficient; but there may be two, one of each sex.

It does not say: there may be more than two!

It does used the term Sponsor in this canon. However many other official texts like the Rite of Baptism itself use the term “Godparent”

one thing for sure, this causes all kinds of problems at the Easter Vigil!! having to tell people that they can only have one or two and that they can only be one male and one female and that there is even age age reguirement and marriage reguirements and and yes, one can be a non catholic christian, but that they are a witness, not a sponsor or a godparent.

most families don’t have a clue as to what a godparent or sponsor is suppose to be or do. most of them choose the wrong people totally.

I just wish the parish office and priests would be up front with the people when they bring in their infants for baptism, then it wouldn’t get carried over to Easter, (because they see it done during infant baptisms).

I’ve seen Priests call everyone up around the font during the baptism, and then they all leave thinking they are godparents.

Unfortunately yes. It is more of a social reason than of a moral reason.

Correct, from Canon Law:

ß2 A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community may be admitted only in company with a catholic sponsor, and then simply as a witness to the baptism

No, Sponsor and Godparent are the same thing.