Serving as a Godparent comes with great responsibilities.
- A godparent must be a Roman Catholic because the godparent is an official representative of the Catholic Church. Christians of other denominations whose baptism is recognized as valid in the Catholic Church may serve as a Christian Witness for the baptism of a Catholic. Christians whose baptism is not recognized as valid in the Catholic Church and Non-Christians may not serve as a godparent or Christian Witness.
- A godparent must be at least 16 years of age by the date of the baptism. A godparent may not be the natural or adoptive parents of the child.
- A godparent is a baptized Catholic who has received the sacraments of Confirmation and First Eucharist in the Catholic Church.
- A godparent is a practicing Catholic who is free to receive Holy Communion when he or she comes to Mass.
- A godparent who is married must be in a marriage that is recognized by the Catholic Church.
Those in their first marriage must have been married either
- a) in a Catholic Church ceremony or
- b) in a church/synagogue ceremony with the permission of the Catholic Church.
Those Catholics in second+ marriages must have had their previous marriage[s] annulled and their second+ marriage convalidated by the Catholic Church.
Those Catholics presently in civil or common law marriages are not eligible to serve as a godparent.
- A godparent who is unmarried, must be living a life consistent with the single vocation as defined by the Catholic Church.
*Any single person co-habitating with another person, living in a romantic relationship or as a couple, is ineligible to minister as a godparent.
The requirements as set forth by the Catholic Church in her Code of Canon Law:
Insofar as possible, a person to be baptized is to be given a sponsor who assists an adult in Christian initiation or together with the parents presents an infant for baptism. A sponsor also helps the baptized person to lead a Christian life in keeping with baptism and to fulfill faithfully the obligations inherent in it.
There is to be only one male sponsor or one female sponsor or one of each.
1. To be permitted to take on the function of sponsor a person must:
- be designated by the one to be baptized, by the parents or the person who takes their place, or in their absence by the pastor or minister and have the aptitude and intention of fulfilling this function;
- have completed the sixteenth year of age, unless the diocesan bishop has established another age, or the pastor or ministry has granted an exception for a just cause;
- be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has already received the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist and who leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on;
- Not be bound by any canonical penalty legitimately imposed or declared;
2. A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community is not to participate except together with a Catholic sponsor and then only as a witness of the baptism.