By Fr. John Koziol, St. Philip Benizi Parish, Jonesboro, GA, Archdiocese of Atlanta
Recently, I had a conversation with a woman who was upset, hurt, and confused. She had been told by one of our deacons that she did not meet the requirements to serve as a godparent for the baptism of her niece. She is a confirmed, practicing Catholic and didn’t understand why she was not eligible to serve as a godmother. The reason she was ineligible was that she was not married in the Catholic Church. She had married in a non-denominational Church, the Church of her spouse. She had no idea that being married in the Church is one of the requirements for being a godparent. She also didn’t know that a marriage outside the Church is not considered valid unless prior permission and a dispensation have been granted by the bishop.