Let's say you're really close friends with a couple who are cultural Catholics; they're baptized in the Catholic church but they don't practice.

Even though they don't intend to baptize their kid, they nonetheless hang onto some of their cultural practices, like appointing godparents. They do so not for religious purposes but more for tradition and to honour special people in their lives that they would like to also be special in the lives of their child.

You're their Baptist friends, and they ask you to be their kid's godparents as described above.

What's your reaction?

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"I would love to be god-parent to your son."

If we're REALLY *FRIENDS* and they're communicating that they want me/us to be a lifelong influence in the life of their child - count me in.  We never know what God may do in their lives through us, through our prayers for them, our influence over them for the Lord, etc.

The parents may not think it's a big deal.. but the Lord might.  So, I'd pray about it, of course, but on the surface? Sure!

My first question is whether or not the Catholic church would allow you to be the child's godparents. Beyond that, I would explain to the parents what being a godparent means in your Baptist theological tradition. If everyone is cool with it, I'd give it a green light.

Depends on what being a godparent means to you, not them.

They can't be devout catholics because they asked a non-catholic. So for them it's just a nod - like "hey buddy, we think y'all are cool"

If that's the way you look at it - which is fine - then go ahead.

In other cultures and faith traditions, godparentry is a very important back-up role, like insurance.

I didn't know appointing godparents was a Catholic thing. Nor did I know it meant anything beyond the token.

It's probably not specifically a Catholic thing but it's certainly a thing Catholics do. At least where I'm from. As for tokenism, I suppose that depends to what degree the Catholics in question are religious and to what degree they take the godparent role seriously. Just like everything else in life, it varies enormously from person to person.

Our kids have a Lutheran godmother. It's fine.

Good to know. Thanks.

Baptist tradition doesn't really do 'godparents' -- at least not in the Catholic sense of the term. We don't do infant Baptism, either (Methodists do, though). We do infant 'dedications' ... which is more of an informal ceremony about the parents and congregation dedicating itself to raising the child toward faith in Christ.

So, it would depend on what, exactly, they're asking for. I'm not entirely clear on what being a 'godparent' would mean to a cultural Catholic. Generally, I have no problem participating in a Catholic ceremony or something like that for a close friend or family member, even if they're not practicing. I've been in Catholic weddings for cultural Catholics, for instance. But, I'd need to know what I was signing up for.

Provided it doesn't go against something essential or entail a commitment I wasn't prepared to make, I don't imagine it would be a problem.

JB

The official thing is that the godparent helps the child grow in the faith.  But of the 2 living godparents that our 2 children have, they pretty much don't do anything with our children.  

"I'm not entirely clear on what being a 'godparent' would mean to a cultural Catholic."

It would be symbolic more than anything else; to signal that the couple will play an important part of the child's life.

Accept the offer and the honor with graciousness and gratitude.  You have been given an open invitation to speak into this little person's life and the possibility of you being a positive Godly example in their life is enhanced.  Your faith walk will be something they can experience, something they may lack from their parents.

God is at work and asking you to join Him in His work.

Thanks for the input so far, guys. Very helpful!

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