Godparents serve a special role for the person to be baptized. Godparents represent the Christian Catholic community, the Church. They are to be supportive of the newly baptized after the rite, and to assist the child's parents in raising their child in the Catholic faith. When choosing godparents, consider that they should be someone who will represent and share their own Catholic faith.
At least one godparent must be an active and committed Catholic. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states “...the godfather and godmother... must be firm believers, able and ready to help the newly baptized—child or adult—on the road of Christian life.” (#1255).
This is the Church’s way of saying that being a godparent is truly a ministry in the Church, and not simply an honor. To ensure that a godparent is capable of this, Church law also insists that this person be:
- at least 16 years old (for maturity’s sake),
- fully initiated (having received Confirmation and Eucharist),
- be someone other than the legal parents,
- and one who leads a life in harmony with the Church.
Other baptized Christians may serve as a Christian witness to the Baptism. The Baptismal rite does not distinguish between a Catholic Sponsor/Godparent and a Christian witness. However, at least one Catholic godparent is required.