Can Grandparents Be Godparents? Yes, grandparents can be godparents. This is a wonderful way to involve them in their grandchildren’s lives and to give them a special role in the family.
When my wife and I were expecting our first child, we spent a lot of time thinking about who we wanted to be the godparents. We are both very close with our parents, so it was natural that we considered asking them.
My father has always been a huge influence in my life. He taught me how to throw a baseball, took me fishing on weekends, and imparted his strong Christian faith. My mother, on the other hand, was the nurturer.
She tucked me in at night, kissed my scrapes, and always knew the right thing to say when I was upset. Both were guiding forces throughout my childhood.
So when our baby arrived, a precious little girl we named Annabelle, my wife and I asked my parents if they would be her godparents. We knew they would cherish the role.
At first, they were surprised. Isn’t it unusual for grandparents to also be godparents? But we explained that nobody would love, support, and pray for Annabelle like they would. My father teared up at the honor. My mother immediately began planning how she would spoil her goddaughter.
In the end, they were thrilled to accept. Now as Annabelle grows, her Grandma and Grandpa Godparents continue to be pillars of love and faith in her life. Choosing them was one of the best decisions we made as new parents.
Being a godparent is an honored tradition that creates a special lifelong bond between the godparent, the child, and the child’s family. It is not merely an honorary title but signifies a commitment to actively participate in the child’s life and faith journey.
Pros of Choosing Grandparents as Godparents
Here are some potential benefits of selecting grandparents as godparents:
1. Strong Existing Bond
Grandparents already have a close relationship with their grandchildren. This provides a solid foundation for the spiritual mentorship role of godparents.
2. Regular Presence
Grandparents are often more consistently present than friends or other relatives, allowing more opportunities to participate in the child’s spiritual growth.
3. Support Parents’ Efforts
Grandparents can reinforce the religious education and values instilled by the parents. They back up the parents’ attempts to raise the child Catholic.
4. Help Fill Gaps
If the parents become unable to raise the child for any reason, the grandparents may be able to step in smoothly due to their familial bond.
5. Lifelong Involvement
Barring unforeseen events, grandparents are likely to stay involved in their grandchildren’s lives from birth through adulthood.
6. Pass on Traditions
Grandparents can teach grandchildren meaningful family and cultural traditions that provide a sense of identity and belonging.
7. Shared History
Having a shared family history often allows grandparents to have deeper insight into the child’s personality, strengths, weaknesses, etc.
8. Financial Resources
Grandparents may have more financial resources to contribute to the child’s upbringing, education, activities, etc. compared to younger godparents.
9. Emotional Investment
Most grandparents are highly invested in their grandchildren’s wellbeing and take the role of godparent seriously.
10. Reciprocal Relationship
A strong grandparent-grandchild relationship can be mutually enriching for both grandparents and grandchildren.
11. Honor Family Ties
Choosing grandparents can be a way to honor family legacy, values, and connections across generations.
Cons of Choosing Grandparents as Godparents
However, there are also some potential drawbacks:
- Grandparents may have health issues or pass away when the child is still young. This results in the loss of an involved godparent early on.
- If family conflicts arise, grandparents may feel torn between their own child and their grandchildren.
- Grandparents could end up undermining the parents’ authority or interfering in parenting decisions.
- As people age, their ability or energy to be an active part of the child’s life may diminish.
- If the grandparents are not practicing Catholics, they may not be able to provide appropriate spiritual guidance.
- Some grandparents have outdated views on Catholicism that conflict with what parents want to teach.
- Grandparents may spoil grandchildren or fail to set good boundaries.
- If the parents divorce, loyalty conflicts between grandparents could ensue.
- Having grandparents so involved could minimize the child’s exposure to other influences and role models outside the family.
Choosing Between Grandparents and Godparents
The Catholic church does not prohibit choosing grandparents as godparents but does not expressly encourage it either. The parents must prayerfully decide what choice would be in the child’s best spiritual interests.
Here are some things for parents to reflect on when choosing between grandparents and godparents:
- Do the grandparents actively practice their Catholic faith? If not, they may not be the best choice for transmitting the faith.
- Are the grandparents in reasonably good health? Select younger godparents if grandparents may become incapacitated early in the child’s life.
- How does the rest of the extended family feel about the grandparents serving in this role? Will tensions arise?
- Are the grandparents tolerant of diverse perspectives or set in their ways? The former is preferable in a godparent.
- Do the grandparents reinforce the parents’ values? Or do they subvert the parents’ authority?
- Do the relationships between grandparents and parents remain respectful despite disagreements? Or turn sour and judgmental?
- Most importantly, do the grandparents have the time, energy, and inclination to be responsible godparents? An apathetic godparent does the child a disservice.
Other options parents can consider include:
- Having grandparents and godparents both play a role. But godparents should take precedence when conflicts arise.
- Making one grandparent the godparent and another close friend/relative the godparent.
- Starting with grandparents as godparents but later adding a godparent closer to the child’s age.
- Asking grandparents to be honorary godparents without the spiritual responsibilities. And choosing committed godparents separately.
In many families, grandparents are a blessing when selected as godparents. Their love and guidance can have an immense influence on developing the child’s spirituality.
However, the role demands time, effort, and religious commitment. Grandparents should only be chosen once the parents prayerfully reflect on whether they are truly the best candidates to become spiritual mentors for life during the child’s baptism. With wisdom and discernment, grandparents often make wonderful godparents. But their selection should focus on benefitting the child rather than merely honoring family bonds.