Removing Godparent

My cousin (who’s not Catholic) and I were talking about Godparents the other day. He asked me lots of question concerning Godparents. Apparently, his fiance and he were having a talk about who will be their soon-to-be-born dauther’s Godparents. Anyway, my cousin asked me if there was any way to “change” Godparents once they’re already been chosen. His fiance is Catholic. They are going to have one Godparent be Catholic and the other is still up in the air. He hasn’t decided if he wanted both be Catholic or one Catholic and one non-Catholic. So he asked me once his baby is baptized and they chose their Godparents, could one Godparent be removed if, say, for any reason and another chosen in his/her place. I told him I have no idea, as I’ve never heard of such a thing. So I’m turning to you all here. Is it possible to remove a Godparent, for whatever reason? Thanks and God bless!

Until the Baptism takes place, they aren’t godparents anyway, so they can choose and re-choose up to that point. Of course, the diocese may require classes and such so last minute mind changing may not be ideal.

After the Baptism, there is no de-godparenting someone.

Only Catholics can be Godparents, by the way. If they choose a non Catholic, he or she will be a Christian witness to the Baptism, not a godparent.

Only one godparent is required, if that makes it easier on them.

Don’t know about that. My Mom’s godparents were both Protestants and they were the witnesses at her parents’ Catholic wedding.

Our son has a Protestant godfather who has been a wonderful and faithful “uncle” for son who is now middle age.

That man’s brother, also Protestant, served as godfather to his children who were raised Catholic.

I’m sure if Godparents turn out to be criminals, etc…that there must be a way.:shrug: even after the baptism.

Off the subject, but I can see you have a miracle baby. I was married almost 14 yrs before having my first! Yea! Would love to hear your story as a PM or another thread…:wink:

To be totally honest (and yes this will cause heat from on a Catholic board) I have to wonder how practical God parents really are.

My mom idolizes her oldest brother so she asked him and his wife to be my god parents. They lived 500 miles away. I can remember seeing him not even 5 times in my life. They were not rich so they had no way of travelling to my baptism so my mom got some friends to stand in as a proxy. Those 2 friends moved away from town before I was old enough to remember.

So in a nut shell, I personally think trusting in God’s will is the best. You need someone to be the God parent (or else the kid can’t get baptised) but… when it comes to being a role model in the childs life, no one knows who God will send into that kids path. A good role model does not need to have a tiltle such as God parent


sanctareparata is right. Canon Law is clear that only a Catholic (one who’d been Baptized, Confirmed and received First Communion and in good standing) can be a godparent. A non-Catholic, baptized with the Trinitarian formula and water, can be a Christian Witness. And unless I’m mistaken, that’s only been allowed with the change in Canon Law in 1983.

DS2, baptized in 1984, has a Godmother and a Christian Witness instead of a godfather – that doesn’t mean that we as a family don’t call the man his godfather or that he can’t be a great role model (in our case he isn’t but that’s another story). In fact, the difference wasn’t even explained to us by the priest at the time. I only found out about the difference about 18 years after the Baptism. It makes sense,though, since Canon Law doesn’t use the name ‘godparent’ but ‘sponsor’ and you can’t sponsor someone into a Church/club/organization to which you don’t belong. In some parishes I know,the CW’s name doesn’t appear in the register or on the Certificate of Baptism.

In your mom’s case I wonder if the priest even asked.

I say that because I’m aware of a few cases in my own parish where ‘godparents’ turned out to be non-Catholics, not because that’s allowed but because Fr. had assumed they were Catholic and never bothered asking the question. It created problems when the family presented the next child for Baptism and were greatly offended to be told that only a Catholic could be a godparent. They thought we’d pulled this “rule” out of our hat and were so angry that they opted not to have the child baptized until 5 years later after I published a thorough explanation of the requirements for godparents in the parish bulletin. There was a knock at the office door the next morning and Dad asked to have Joey baptized as soon as possible.

Sancta is right, there is no “de-Godparenting” after baptism no matter how the God parents turn out. The baptismal certificate records a point in time and cannot be changed at a later date. However, if the God-parents turn out out to be bums, one could always ask someone else to be a spiritual mentor for your child, it just won’t be on the baptismal certificate.

As has already been stated, a Godparent to a Catholic child must be a confirmed, practicing Catholic. A second person can be chosen as a Godparent if they are Catholic, and as a Christian witness to the baptism if they are not. If a second person is chosen as a Godparent, they must be of the opposite sex of the other Godparent.

I’m not sure your cousin understands the purpose of a Godparent. It’s not simply an honorific title or the person who gives your kid cool presents on their birthday. It’s not just a “special person” in their lives. It’s an official role within the Catholic Church with a specific purpose on the day of Baptism. And, on the day of Confirmation.

The canon law term is Sponsor. The Sponsor is sponsoring the person (child or adult) in presenting them for baptism. They are vouching for them. They are stating that they know this family and believe this child/adult to be ready for entry into the Christian community, that the family is serious in their intent to raise the child Catholic, and that they are willing assist the child/adult in their spiritual growth.

The baptismal sponsor should also be the confirmation sponsor, if possible.

If two protestants witnessed a Catholic child’s baptism, then this child does not have any godparents, properly termed Sponsor. Highly irregular and a violation of Canon Law, but probably has happened to more than one child if the priest did not properly investigate things before baptism.

There is no requirement that witnesses to a wedding be Catholic.

No. He doens’t. Only a Catholic can be a sponsor at a Catholic baptism. Your son had a protestant Christian witness at his baptism whom you call a “godfather.”

No. He didn’t. Only a Catholic can be a sponsor of a Catholic child at baptism. He may have attended the baptism. He may have stood up and witnessed the baptism. The family may have called him a “godfather.” But, the fact remains, he was a Christian witness as it is not possible for a non-Catholic to be a Sponsor (termed Godparent for infants).

It is very sad when Catholics know so little about their own faith as to not even know the purpose of a Sponsor or that a Sponsor must be Catholic. It is even worse when the baptisming priest or deacon falls down on the job of instructing the parents properly and doesn’t ask the right questions, or makes assumptions.

The priest never said a word. I was waiting for him to ask but he didn’t. As far as we were concerned, “uncle” is godfather. Out of all the godparents from, my Mother’s and this “uncle” have been on the scene. Mom’s aunt and uncle aka her godparents/sponsors always made sure that when we were visiting them we had a way to Church.

I have a problem. I became a godparent against my better judgment because this child lives 1,000 miles away from me, and I will never really be a part of his life. But because i loved his parents very much, I decided to go along and accept their request.

this past week, the mother of my god baby pretty much disowned me. I’m pretty sure I’m not who she really wanted for the baby, but quite possibly couldn’t find anyone else…??? Anyway, am I obliged to remain in contact with this family? I feel now that I have been a burden to them, as they have pretty much rejected me. When I look back now, we didn’t really know each other as much as we should in order for me to take on such an important role.

So, i have a similar predicament… i think it is only fair to this couple to get the person they really wanted in their child’s life… i may have been witness to his baptism, and AM his godmother in the strictest sense. But i feel these people deserve someone they love to fulfill the role… and so, I have decided not to be present in their lives anymore… but I feel like I need some sort of permission from the Church to do this…

There is absolutely no way to remove a godparent, ever. They also become considered family for marriage purposes meaning a parent of the child can not later marry their child’s godparent. They also used to automatically assume responsibility if the child was orphaned.

Caritas, you still have a moral obligation to the child.

Swallow your pride and keep in touch with the family as best you can. Once the child is old enough to have his own means of communication, you may be able to contact him through a cell phone or social media (though not behind his parents’ backs). Do what you can to keep up contact. Yes you are still morally obligated, although if they deny you contact, all you can do is pray for him.

I completely agree with you.

I think your screen name is GREAT! Made me :).

So you give up on them when things get difficult?

I don’t think being a godparent precludes you from marrying the parent of your godchild. It used to be that a godparent couldn’t marry a godchild but that rule is not in the present Code of Canon Law. If they can marry the godchild, I can’t see that they couldn’t marry the parent of the godchild.

My godmother told me she wants to kill me and my godfather is her son who would not hesitate to help her carry that out. They say they are Catholic but never attend mass and in my personal opinion are purely evil people and are mentally ill. I want to wipe my feet of them and everything they stand for because they just spread negativity and horrible things. They really are evil people. I have tried to help them both but everything I do just makes them more angry and resentful of me. I chose them because at the time I was baptized and confirmed as an adult they were the only Catholics I knew.

I would like to be rid of them and do not in any way see them as people I want to emulate or learn from. They are evil. My godmother, I recently found out tried to drown her daughter when she was a child. How can I officially eliminate these people from my life and replace them with others I have met and respect and know are truly good?