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What it Takes to Be a Godparent: The Spiritual & Canonical Obligations Every Catholic Should Know

Is the title of “godparent” merely a ceremonial honor, or does it carry a profound spiritual and canonical weight?

In a recent episode of “The Catholic Talk Show,” Ryan Scheel, Ryan Dellacrosse and Father Rich Pagano explore the history, significance, and responsibilities of godparents you might not know!

“A lot of people do look at this almost like a maid of honor or a best man for their kid, and that’s not the intention,” Scheel says.

He explains that becoming a godparent actually has real spiritual responsibilities. Their “main and most important role…is to help them lead a Christian life and keep the obligations inherent in it.”

Historically, the role of godparents has been deeply rooted in the sacraments.

The need for godparents arose during persecution in the early Church, ensuring someone could stand as a protector and spiritual mentor for the baptized person.

“The role of godparent developed from the practice of infant baptism because an infant doesn’t have their own will…This person has spiritual custodial rights,” Scheel shares.

That means godparents don’t just show up for the baptism, then fade into the background. Rather, “it’s a practice” of supporting the baptized individual’s spiritual journey throughout life–being a pillar of guidance and wisdom, and truly embodying the teachings of the Church,” Father Pagano explains.

“You shouldn’t feel good about choosing godparents that are not living the faith.”

Parents and prospective godparents must truly internalize the meaning of this vocation: “Are you ready to help the parents of this child in their Duty as Christian parents?”

This question, posed during the Sacrament of Baptism, challenges godparents to reflect deeply on their commitment to their godchild.

Check out the full episode to learn all about what it means to be a godparent:

Click here if you cannot see the video above.

Let’s pray that godparents help lead their godchildren to a Christian life!

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