Q: I have a question about sponsor and godparent. So of course the sponsor is for the catechumen and then at the Rite of Election they receive a godparent. The Rite says the candidate receives a sponsor. Here is the dilemma. Some Christian faiths do not use a god parent. When asked the question why can the candidate have a godparent I answered “because they are baptized it assumes they already have a godparent. Further I said that the role of Godparent goes with the sacrament of Baptism. I addition I did explain the translation of sponsor is godparent in Latin. Any other thoughts?
Thank you !!
A: That’s a fine answer. The Latin word “sponsor” appears in the Code of Canon Law for what we translate “godparent” in English, but the initiation rites make a distinction between that word and “patrinus catholicus.” You are correct: We don’t assign a godparent to another Christian becoming Catholic after a valid baptism has taken place. Even in Christian traditions that have godparents, those people – good and holy though they may be – probably do not qualify as “Catholic godparents” because they may not have received all the Catholic sacraments of initiation. Our primary concern is on the validity of the baptism, not the presence or absence of godparents at the time. We provide a sponsor for a validly baptized Christian being received into the full communion of the Catholic Church.