Godparent etiquette?

September 11, 2006 | 12 comments

My husband and I are finally getting moving on having the kids baptized. The main holdup has been, as I’ve mentioned, the fact that we don’t really know many serious Catholics to consider for the role of godparent. And since the role of godparent is to guide the child in their faith, especially if something should happen to the parents, our kids really need good godparents. If something were to happen to my husband and me I have serious concerns about what would happen with my children’s faith.

So anyway, we do have some good candidates for the godparents. However, I worry that since I’m not familiar with any of this that I might end up hurting some feelings. So I have a question for you guys:

If a person is married, and their spouse is also Catholic, is it insulting to the spouse if you ask them to be a godparent but not their spouse? For example: we’d like for my son DB’s godparents to be my aunt and a good friend of my husband’s (I’ll call him “Carlos”). Carlos is married to a woman who is a good Catholic. We like her but we don’t know her very well, so we weren’t considering her as godmother. Will it be an insult to Mrs. Carlos to select someone else as godmother when her husband is godfather?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts on this.


  1. Anonymous

    I know that I didn’t choose god parents properly, but I don’t think it would be a problem. (My children actually have “Christian Witnesses” as half of the godparent sets.)

    None of the godparents for our family are married to each other, usually one from each side of the family. Of course, I have a godmother who is now raising her children Jewish and a godfather who is now Russian Orthodox. My sister’s godmother was not Catholic but now is (and a serious one), and her godfather told her he’s an atheist now. (Nice, huh?)

    Anywho…if you explain it kindly, I’m sure there won’t be a problem.

    That was a lot of erroneous information for that one sentence, wasn’t it?

    (If you doubt it, look back at some of the things you’ve worried about that turned out to be less serious than you thought. God is with you and will sustain you and give you the graces you need!)

    -Christine (The Soccer Mom – having trouble loggin in)

  2. Anonymous


    I can’t post to a non-Beta blog right now because they haven’t added those features to it yet. Sorry for posting as anon.


  3. Tracy

    No. My husband was asked to be a god parent to his friend’s son, but I wasn’t asked. My feelings were not hurt at all. The guys are friends from work and I don’t know them all too well. Ask whoever the Holy Spirit is leading you to ask.

  4. Barb, sfo

    We chose our godparents for “family politics” reasons rather than religious reasons. I hate that we did it. We made sure, though, that when Big Brother was confirmed this spring, that his sponsor was chosen for the RIGHT reasons–and I have to say, it was a good choice.
    We never had a couple be both godparents.
    We are godparents, as a couple, to one child–and her dad is the one our son asked to be his Confirmation sponsor. It was a real honor to be asked as a couple and I have to say, of all my godchildren, this is the one I really feel that sense of “godparent responsibility” over.
    But you do not have to ask both halves of the couple to be the godparents. I’ve never been insulted when someone asked my husband but not me….

  5. Barb, sfo

    Another thought–you have chosen one from your side of the family and one from your husband’s (or his group of friends). The godparents will see that, and that will also help them not to feel insulted that their spouse was not asked to be the other godparent.

  6. SteveG.

    There are so many variables here that it’s difficult to predict how someone will react. I think it depends mostly on what type of person/personality they are, but I would suppose that there could be a strong cultural influence that might make this somewhat hard to predict.

    I don’t think there is any reason the wife *should be* offended or insulted, and I highly doubt she would be. In fact she might think it odd if you DID ask her seeing as she’s not close to you.

    If someone were offended by this, it wouldn’t be because you did anything wrong, but because they were being unreasonable.

    In my own experience, it’s usually the folks who are most slipshod in their faith that are offended by such things.

    Anyone even moderately serious about their faith would likely respect that you needed to pick the people who you thought would be able to best support you in raising your children in the faith.

    My advice is that you should pick based on that criteria, who you think would best support you and your children in growing in the faith, and not be overly concerned about how it’s perceived.

    My 2 Cents.

  7. Blair

    Sounds fine to me! A lot of people I know chose 1 friend or family member from each side (ie-husband’s friend and wife’s sister).

  8. Anonymous

    yes, I was offended. My husband was asked and I was not. Since the birth of their child, the parents called both of us Godparents. Then recently it was only my husband and other couple’s wife. The parents said that’s how their Catholic faith requires it…that the Godparents cannot be married to each other, and they claim they are following the true followings of selection. Hogwash…my husband is not even Catholic. Furthermore, there will be financial problems if we end up raising the godchild. I am the breadwinner of this family…how do you think my husband will be able to support this child without me? Choose carefully.

  9. Anonymous

    A co-worker in our office said she was slighted for not being chosen with her husband as Godparents. The child’s parents told her to her face that they wanted 2 people who made the most money to be able to raise their child in the event something happed to them. Co-worker’s husband is a neuro-surgeon and makes 6 figures, the Godmother from the other family is an attorney that also rakes in 6 figures.

  10. eulogos

    In the town I grew up in, where just about everyone but me and the Jewish doctor’s family was Catholic, couples did ask other couples as couples to be godparents. The families then considered this to be a relationship, as if their children were cousins, sort of god-cousins. This was a sociological thing though. I just posted it here because I thought it was interesting.

  11. mary peck

    My husband was asked three times but I was not asked. I understand that there were other suitable "candidates" for the godmother position. However, the family basically ignored me at the Christenings. It would have been nice if they had at least tried to make me feel welcome, even though I was passed over as godmother.

    With our second child, we had asked my husband's brother and his wife to be godparents. They seemed really honored and happy. But then they asked my husband and not me, and they didn't give me an explanation. I just went to the Christening and went along with it, saying how cute the baby was, etc. (and I am still involved in her life) but it hurt me a lot.

  12. Anonymous


    Friends of ours asked my husband to be a Godparent, but not me… husband and I discussed it and he turned it down.

    I wasn't exactly offended/insulted by it, but it did frustrate me (although I completely understood their reasons…).

    The couple had a LOT of people that they wanted to be godparents (6?) and all were in established couples… They couldn't have 6 couples, so went for the six individuals…

    Husband knew the Mum from his course at university (about 16 years before being asked), but husband and I had been together for 14 years before the Christening – so only 2 out of the 16 years we hadn't been a couple. Since husband and I have been together, our contact with the Mum (and later her partner) has always been as a couple.

    There are two reasons that I felt "put out" by not being invited to be a godparent along with my husband are:
    – husband and I are a VERY together couple – we are like two peas in a pod and always have been: it just doesn't make sense for one of us to be something and the other not to be.
    – I always have been, and always will be, the person who does EVERYTHING to keep our relationship with this other family going (I arrange the "get togethers", I cook if they come around, I send birthday cards and buy presents etc). Not that my husband doesn't like them (he does!), but he is one of those men who doesn't "make the effort to keep in touch" etc. So he would be a godparent in name and yours truly would always be the one who was doing it in deed…

    The Chirstening was about two years ago and neither him being invited nor us turning it down seems to have affected our relationship (nobody was offended and they know that they can count on us – regardless of not being godparents).

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