My son is being Confirmed this year. He was requesting that I be his sponsor. I am his mother. My husband says this should not be done. Can I ? If not, can his older sister?
Parents are not allowed to be Confirmation sponsers for their own children. davenportdiocese.org/ddo-library/Confirmation_Sponsors.pdf
You being his parent cannot qualify. His sister can as long as she meets the other qualifications. Canon Law suggests that the Confirmation Sponsor should be one of the Baptismal Sponsors, because Confirmation is the completion of Baptism.
the sponsor may not be the father or mother of the candidate, however a brother or sister or grandparent or other relative may be if they are otherwise qualified (adult Catholic, fully initiated, willing, living in harmony with Catholic moral teaching including Church laws on marriage and family, not under canonical ban from serving, and able to be present for the rite). You only need one sponsor, may be male or female, does not have to be a relative but should be someone who can stand in the candidate’s life as a model of Christian living and mentor. First choice is the baptismal godparent if they are still able to serve in this role.
look around your candidate’s class, you will see other parents attending, many of whom you have known for years, who would make good sponsors.
if the sponsor cannot be present for the retreats and candidate/sponsor meetings because they live at a distance or are elderly, parent can fill in at those times, but sponsor should be present for the sacrament.
A Sponsor can also be Sponsor by Proxy if necessary.
Interesting to learn that parents cannot sponsor their own children for Confirmation. Puzzleannie, Br. Rich, can either of you explain why? The parish I grew up in did not prohibit this and one of the parents was always the most popular choice for the teens’ sponsors. In fact, my father was a sponsor to all five of my siblings (I was the only one to choose a close family friend).
So, an explanation from anyone who knows why would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
It is from the Code of Canon Law. Here’s a link ourladyswarriors.org/canon/ "Can. 892 As far as possible the person to be confirmed is to have a sponsor. The sponsor’s function is to take care that the person confirmed behaves as a true witness of Christ and faithfully fulfils the duties inherent in this sacrament.
Can. 893 ß1 A person who would undertake the office of sponsor must fulfill the conditions mentioned in can. 874."
Canon 874 applies to Confirmation as well as Baptism. " 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."
Lak 611, Joya, Turtleoompa, Br. Rich & Puzzle Anne:
It’s generally assumed by most of us in the Church that the parents will provide a Christian example, but Tradition and history tell the Church that they may may need “back-up”. The Godparents/Sponsors are there to replace the parents in case the parents are lost due to persecution or other causes.
This is a reminder that persecution was once as much a part of the Church’s life as the Eucharist, and that it still is in many countries.
In other words, the Canon Law has a “Why”.
Your Brother in Christ, Michael
I really have no idea why, except that it is prohibited by Canon Law, with NO exceptions.
Just to note the qualifications for Confirmation sponsor simply refer back to the qualifications of Baptismal sponsor. (Godparent)
Nothing new could be added to the functions and duties of a parent by becoming a godparent.
Most simply, people just have different roles according to Church law in accord with the condition proper to each (204 §1), and the tradition of sacramental initiation has always included a special role of sponsor as representative of the broader Church. It has historically distinguished between natural parenthood and a kind of spiritual parenthood as well.
Parents exercise a proper office with unique obligations as parents, so it is a primary responsibility which they fulfil. Canon 1136 is illustrative: “Parents have the most serious duty and the primary right to do all in their power to see to the physical, social, cultural, moral and religious upbringing of their children.”
Sponsors have a supplemental role on behalf of the believing community to fulfil those additional tasks mentioned in the canons on baptism and confirmation. In baptism, upon which the requirements for confirmation sponsors is based, the role of the sponsor is to assist the parents according to the Rite. So the two roles are clearly to be distinguished. In confirmation, parents and sponsors exercise two different roles as well.
What may happen liturgically in confirmation is that a parent might present the confirmandus during the Rite (see the explanatory note although not a binding interpretation of law from in Notitiae 20 ). Yet another would be the sponsor in law, if there is one. It is easy to see why observers or participants might mistake the role of presenter with that of sponsor.
Then too, sometimes the law is not followed, either because it is not understood by those responsible for confirmation preparation in the parish or because it is just ignored…
It has been understood that a step-parent, when there had not been provision for adoption, though might be a sponsor. But natural or adoptive parents could not.