I was looking through Catholic baptismal records, while doing genealogy, when I realized that I didn't know what the purpose of godparents is. What is their purpose? Why are they recorded? Are the godparents held accountable for anything?
A good explanatation is given in "The Role of Godparents" by Fr. William Saunders
As per Code of Canon Law 872 - 874 the rules are as below:
So the primary purpose is to take care of the Catholic faith formation, and it does not hold them accountable to taking care of the child in the future.
By becoming a godparent you promise to raise these children if the natural parents are unable to do so because of death or incapacitating illness, or if the parents abandon the children.
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