My wife and I (both Catholic) have been asked to serve as godparents at our niece's baptism. The child's parents are fully aware of our strong commitment to the Catholic faith. I've received conflicting advice, and I wonder if anyone here can point to clear teaching on whether or not it is licit for us to serve as godparents at a baptism in an Anglican church.
It would seem so:
- Pontificium Consilium ad Christianorum Unitatem Fovendam See ¶98 & 98a.
It is the Catholic understanding that godparents, in a liturgical and canonical sense, should themselves be members of the Church or ecclesial Community in which the baptism is being celebrated. They do not merely undertake a responsibility for the Christian education of the person being baptized (or confirmed) as a relation or friend; they are also there as representatives of a community of faith, standing as guarantees of the candidate's faith and desire for ecclesial communion.
(a). However, based on the common baptism and because of ties of blood or friendship, a baptized person who belongs to another ecclesial Community may be admitted as a witness to the baptism, but only together with a Catholic godparent.107 A Catholic may do the same for a person being baptized in another ecclesial Community.
While elemtilas' answer indicates that Catholics might not be barred from being godparents in other ecclesial communities, as far as the Church of England is concerned there may be difficulties and the CofE parish priest must be consulted. Even then, it's not really clear whether the Catholic Church makes a distinction between witnesses to the baptism and godparents: if there is a distinction, then what follows here about Anglican rules is moot.
Canon B23 : Of godparents and sponsors
4. No person shall be admitted to be a sponsor or godparent who has not been baptized and confirmed. Nevertheless the minister shall have power to dispense with the requirement of confirmation in any case in which in his judgement need so requires.
Confirmation here is confirmation according to the rites of the Church of England. That would cause problems for Catholics. The requirement for Anglican confirmation can be relaxed if the minister (that is, the parish priest of the Anglican parish in which the baptism is celebrated) agrees. The Church of England accepts Roman Catholic baptism, so if the requirement for confirmation is relaxed then Anglican canon law would allow Catholics to be godparents.
No. It'd be communicatio in sacris, which is a sin.
§1. It is unlawful for the faithful to assist in any active manner, or to take part in the sacred services of non-Catholics.
§2. At funerals of non-Catholics, at their marriages, and similar solemnities, provided there is no danger of perversion or scandal, passive or merely material presence on account of a civil office or for the purpose of showing respect to a person may be tolerated for a grave reason. (Canon 1258, CIC 1917)