Q. 1. Is it possible for a Catholic to turn down an offer to be Godparent? If so, under what circumstances would a person act this way?
A. 1. While it is an honour to be chosen as a Godparent in order to participate in the spiritual growth of a child, there are instances when it is best to decline the offer. To become the Godparent of children is not a contest to see how many godchildren you can sponsor; it is an obligation that demands an ongoing commitment. It is best to have a few, providing each and every one with quality time, spiritual education, and prayers, then to fail in the spiritual growth of many.
The following reasons have been recognizes as valid ones as to why some Catholics have declined to become Godparents:
• The individual belongs to a religious Order (preventing him/her from making this commitment).
• The individual felt that he/she was already sponsoring sufficient Godchildren.
• The individual lived too far away and felt he/she could not fulfill the physical commitment of a Godparent.
• The individual does not accept all the teachings of the Catholic Church and is concerned that he/she may be asked by the God child to share some of those personal beliefs.
• The person is advanced in age and does not believe that he/she will be around long enough to fulfill a life long commitment.
• The person is of poor health, such affecting one's daily functioning.
• The individual is married to a non-Catholic who does not support this kind of involvement with the Church. In such a case, it is best to decline in order to keep the peace in the marriage.
• The individual is thinking of leaving the Catholic faith.
Other reasons may exist. It is impossible to think of all the valid reasons that may arise over time.