Who Decides Who Can Be a Confirmation Sponsor?

Q: Who makes the decision as to who can be the sponsors for a child making his confirmation? The rules are 1) church-goer in good standing 2) not divorced 3) Catholic. I don’t know anyone who qualifies for all three.

A sponsor for baptism or confirmation must be at least 16 years old and be a Catholic who has received confirmation and Eucharist and who “leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on” (see the Code of Canon Law, paragraph 874, for the complete requirements). In most places, as determined by the local bishop, “leading a life of faith” is interpreted to mean that a person is following the teaching of the Church with respect to marriage. If single, he or she must not be living with a partner; if married, he or she must be sacramentally married in the Church. (Someone who is civilly divorced but not remarried, and who is living chastely, may still be eligible.) This aims to ensure that the sponsor can set a good example for his/her godchild. A young person needs a role model who attends Mass regularly and who takes the teaching of the Church seriously. If you don’t know anyone who meets the requirements, make an appointment with the director of the confirmation program to discuss your particular situation. He or she will know if any exceptions might be approved by your local bishop. Alternately, he or she could also connect you with faithful members of your parish who would be delighted to meet you and accompany a candidate on the journey to confirmation.

Neela Kale

Neela Kale is a writer and catechetical minister based in the Archdiocese of Portland. She served with the Incarnate Word Missionaries in Mexico and earned a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology. Some of her best theological reflection happens on two wheels as she rides her bike around the hills of western Oregon.