snopes.com Post new topic  New Poll  Post a reply
search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hello snopes.com » SLC Central » Soapbox Derby » Godparent = guardian?

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: Godparent = guardian?
Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Christie     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I am involved in a little mini-debate over at another messageboard were someone was nitpicking about an incident on the tv show Friends. Anyway long story short, a few people posting there seem to be under the impression that asking someone to be a godparent is the same thing as asking them to assume guardianship of your child should anything happen to you. Me pointing out that this is simply not true is stupid apparently [Roll Eyes] .

Anyway am I wrong? We have two children, one child does have a married couple as their godparents, but the other has my brother and my husband's sister. According to the people posting at nameless messageboard this means, I guess, that if my husband and I had died before our children were adults that they would have been split up and sent off to live with their respective godparents. With my daughter having custody shared between two unrelated relatives. Because to do otherwise cheapens the whole concept of godparenthood I suppose.

So is there some memo that gets passed around to new parents that I missed somehow? What does being a godparent mean to those of you who have gone the baptism route?

--------------------
If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation. - Jean Kerr

Posts: 18428 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
LeaflessMapleTree
The twelve shopping days 'til Christmas


Icon 1 posted      Profile for LeaflessMapleTree   E-mail LeaflessMapleTree   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
It might mean that you trust those people so much that you would LIKE them to become legal guardians of your children, but like any LEGAL process, you can't fulfill it through religious means. A baptism is not a legal ritual. Neither is a church marriage. You still have to file for a marriage licence.

--------------------
"For me, religion is like a rhinoceros: I don't have one, and I'd really prefer not to be trampled by yours. But it is impressive, and even beautiful, and, to be honest, the world would be slightly worse off if there weren't any."
-Silas Sparkhammer

Posts: 3239 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Sara at home
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Sara at home   E-mail Sara at home   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
You aren't wrong but the others are expressing a common misconception.....an urban legend maybe.

--------------------
Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

Posts: 8317 | From: Reading, PA | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Pogue Ma-humbug
Happy Christmas (Malls are Open)


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Pogue Ma-humbug   E-mail Pogue Ma-humbug   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Godparents are responsible for the spiritual upbringing should something happen to the parents.

This of course, is a religious, not a legal, requirement.

Pogue

--------------------
Let's drink to the causes in your life:
Your family, your friends, the union, your wife.

Posts: 11325 | From: Kentucky | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Christie     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by LeaflessMapleTree:
A baptism is not a legal ritual. Neither is a church marriage. You still have to file for a marriage licence.

You do? It's been awhile for me but I honestly don't remember filing for a marriage license. I was married in a Catholic church in Quebec. Maybe the church did the filing for us? Anyway I'm fairly sure though that my marriage is legal [Wink] .

--------------------
If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation. - Jean Kerr

Posts: 18428 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
ChickyBee
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for ChickyBee   E-mail ChickyBee   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
If godparent = guardian, it wouldn't just be my brother and I that were split up, I'd have to be split in two. When I was the discussing the matter with my father, he said that when my god parents were asked to be my godparents, he actually said (something along the lines of):

"You are someone very special to us and we want you to be someone very special to our child. We trust you to help us guide them through life and help them make the right choices."


That's how the Rooster & I choose the Hatchlings godparents. (One of whom looked quite horrified until we told him that didn't mean we wanted him to be the Hatchlings guardian.)

--------------------
So many people are hung up on achievements. What did you do today? What are you planning? Sometimes, just getting through the day is an achievement in itself.

Posts: 256 | From: Melbourne, Australia | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Pogue Ma-humbug
Happy Christmas (Malls are Open)


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Pogue Ma-humbug   E-mail Pogue Ma-humbug   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by LeaflessMapleTree:
You still have to file for a marriage licence.

Ministers and priests in the United States have the legal authority to preside over a marriage ceremoney. A wedding in a Catholic Church, for instance, is both a legal and a religious marriage.

Pogue

--------------------
Let's drink to the causes in your life:
Your family, your friends, the union, your wife.

Posts: 11325 | From: Kentucky | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Elkhound
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Elkhound         Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
1. In most Common Law countries, clergy are also licensed to perform civil marriages; in some jurisdictions one has to go through some legal hoops to get a marriage license, but after the ceremony (civil or religious) the officiant endorces the license and returns it to the appropriate government office (usually the county's Registrar of Vital Statistics). In Civil Law countries a believing couple to have two ceremonies: the civil (which is legally binding) and the religious (which is considered a private affair); of course, if a couple is atheist or agnostic, or for some technicality of church law cannot have a church wedding, the civil wedding is binding as far as inheritance, child custody, ownership of property, insurance, etc. is concerned.

2. At one time, Godparent=Guardian; however, in most Western countries, given secularization, this is not so. Now, in some families the Godparents are also the Guardians--that's the parents' choice. And, if the parents haven't designated a Guardian, and something should happen, if the Godparents choose to ask the Court to name them as Guardians the Court will take the Godparentship as evidence--although not in and of itself conclusive evidence--of the parents' intent.

In any case, a child is not a possession to be willed; the Court will name the Guardian on the basis of the Best Interest of the Child. The Court will certainly give consideration to the parents' wishes, and in the absence of strong evidence that the named Guardians are unfit or used undue influence in obtaining the nomination, the Court will generally honor the parents' wishes. But not always. A blood relative does have standing to contest in most jurisdictions.

This is a very complex field of law, and is highly jurisdiction-specific.

--------------------
"The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."--Iris Murdoch

Posts: 3307 | From: Charleston, WV | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Kahuna Burger
I Saw Three Shipments


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Kahuna Burger   E-mail Kahuna Burger       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I've definitly heard the standard of "would you let them raise your child if something happened to you" used when picking godparents, even if they wouldn't be your first choice or a legal possibility....
Posts: 96 | From: Attleboro, MA | Registered: Nov 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
niner domestic actual
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for niner domestic actual   E-mail niner domestic actual   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
In Canada, there are 2 ways to be wed. One by marriage licence (and solemnized by an official duly appointed by the Province to perform marriages) and the other by Church Banns ( the clergy has the authority vested in them by the province to publish the banns of marriage prior to the wedding - however, nowadays most parishes won't perform a marriage by banns as the congregations are transient and the clergy does not know them well enough. Both are perfectly legal marriages.

As far as Godparents being assumed to be the legal guardian of a child that is untrue unless the parents have also declared by statutory instrument that the person are also, in the event of their parental incapacity, to stand as legal guardians of the children. Now that usually means just the financial and health decisions on behalf of the child. Custody, care and control of the child is left to the courts to decide while measuring it against the best interests of the child.

That said, a parent can make a living will that suggests who they would like to see as the custodial guardian of their children in the event of them being unable to carry out parental duties (death or ill health etc). The Court will take those wishes under consideration when deciding the custody of the child along with factors with respect to the best interests of the child.

--------------------
Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake. Napoleon Bonaparte

Posts: 47 | From: Ontario | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
callee
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


Icon 1 posted      Profile for callee         Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
almost-a-chow

--------------------
a moment for old friends now estranged, victims of the flux of alliances and changing perceptions. There was something there once, and that something is worth honoring as well. - John Carroll

Posts: 3375 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Elkhound
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Elkhound         Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Perhaps it would be useful to mention that in Spanish the word 'comadre' can mean either 'godmother to my child', 'midwife', or 'gossipy, interfering old woman.'

--------------------
"The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."--Iris Murdoch

Posts: 3307 | From: Charleston, WV | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Zorro
Little Sales Drummer Boy


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Zorro     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Yes, traditionally, originally godparents were responsible for the upbringing of the child, religiously, should anything happen to the parents. Now it's mostly an honorific. I barely knew who was my godfather, but my godmother, my mom's older sister, has always...well, not treated me as her favorite, exactly, but I always knew I was just a little bit special to her, and to this day, we are very close. My three year old niece is my goddaughter, and so far, I've mostly just given her a board book about the first Christmas each year, and the same at Easter- I make an Easter basket for her each year. I have a son now, and the niece has a sister, so I'll be making baskets for the other two as well, now, I guess.

For my son, we've selected my brother and hubby's sister as his godparents. I fully expect my brother will take the title seriously, my SIL, not so much. *shrugs*

--------------------
"Seize the day! Make your lives extraordinary!"
-John Keating, "Dead Poets Society"

Posts: 2861 | From: New Jersey | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Steve Eisenberg
The "Was on Sale" Song


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Steve Eisenberg   E-mail Steve Eisenberg   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Christie:
quote:
Originally posted by LeaflessMapleTree:
A baptism is not a legal ritual. Neither is a church marriage. You still have to file for a marriage licence.

You do? It's been awhile for me but I honestly don't remember filing for a marriage license. I was married in a Catholic church in Quebec. Maybe the church did the filing for us? Anyway I'm fairly sure though that my marriage is legal.
Legal in the eyes of God, sure. But it sounds like Ontario is still waiting for its family-unfriendly fee of CN$135, or whatever it was back when you married. A check shows Pennsylvania is only US$40 ($40 too much, but they should bring back the blood test requirement).

Imagine! A scofflaw on the snopes message board! [Big Grin]


EDITED: Actually it looks like Christie's memory was correct, as were the actions of her priest. From the Catholic Encyclopedia article on Ontario:
quote:
The marriage must be preceded by publication of banns, or authorized by a licence . . .


--------------------
"Hillel says yes, naturally, and Shammai says no, and Maimonides is perplexed, and what do I know?"
Julius Lester

Posts: 5780 | From: Suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Hero_Mike
Happy Holly Days


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Hero_Mike         Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
We have a fairly large and close-knit family, and we all live in the same city, and should one of my aunts and uncles pass away, it would not just fall to my cousin's godparents (her other aunt and uncle) to take care of them.

I'm the only one in my family with a godparent who is not a relative. I don't know how that would have worked, as most people from my ethnic background would not choose a "couple" as godparents for their child, but rather, one from the husband's side of the family, and one from the wife's. On the other hand, my Italian friends have the opposite tradition in their individual families, and godparents are always a married couple. (This irks my one friend, who is an avowed bachelor, who will never become a "Godfather".) If godparents are not family members, then I think there may be a strong case that one they are respected enough to be the designated guardians.

--------------------
"The fate of *billions* depends on you! Hahahahaha....sorry." Lord Raiden - Mortal Kombat

Posts: 1587 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Steve Eisenberg
The "Was on Sale" Song


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Steve Eisenberg   E-mail Steve Eisenberg   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Wikipedia also supports Christie not having paid for a marriage license:

quote:
In the Canadian province of Ontario, the publication of banns for three consecutive weeks remains a legal alternative to obtaining a marriage license. Two same-sex couples married this way at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto on January 14, 2001, since the province was not then issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Just ones of the horrors occurring in nations not having full separation of church and state [Big Grin]

--------------------
"Hillel says yes, naturally, and Shammai says no, and Maimonides is perplexed, and what do I know?"
Julius Lester

Posts: 5780 | From: Suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Christie     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Eisenberg:
Wikipedia also supports Christie not having paid for a marriage license:

[QUOTE]In the Canadian province of Ontario, the publication of banns for three consecutive weeks remains a legal alternative to obtaining a marriage license.

I was married in Quebec Steve, not Ontario, but I imagine the rules must be the same.

--------------------
If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation. - Jean Kerr

Posts: 18428 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Aud
We Three Blings


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Aud   E-mail Aud   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I'm not sure saying "always" and "traditionally" is good for god parent traditions. In the book Medievel Children by Nicholas Orme he describes how in medieval england a child typically had three god parents. They could not be related to each other or to the child. The bond was considered so strong it was "incestuous" to be God parents to someone you were related to. For instance, it was grounds for annulment of a marriage for both partners to be godparents to the same child. The purpose, as discussed by Barbara Hanawalt in Growing Up in Medieval London, was to extend the child's social circle. The city of London took care to make sure orphans were raised for by someone who didn't stand to inherit if anything happened to them - not necessarily god parents.

I'm not sure when all of this changed. In my family you didn't pick married couples for Godparents. Usually it was aunts, uncles or cousins. We were weirded out by one Goddaughter's mother. She asked us to be Godparents even though we are a very different religion from her. She was really asking us to be guardians if anything happened to her. (Fortunately, my very Catholic husband took the pagan naming ceremony in stride.)

Posts: 1168 | From: Missouri | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
AdmiralDinty
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


Icon 1 posted      Profile for AdmiralDinty   E-mail AdmiralDinty   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
According to the 1943 "Concise Catholic Dictionary" (so take it fwiw) a Godparent is: A sponsor of an infant at his baptism; the one who makes the profession of faith for the person baptized. He becomes spiritually related to the baptized person and receieves the comission in charity to guide him spiritually should necessity arise.

--------------------
"I wanna bite the hand that feeds me. I wanna bite that hand so badly. I wanna make them wish they'd never seen me." - Elvis Costello

Posts: 2291 | From: The Banks of the Merrimack, MA | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Christie     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I wonder when this mistaken notion that godparent=guardian came about? I mean, realistically any family with more than one child is going to have usually two godparents for each child. Multiply that by the number of children in the family and you have quite a few people involved here. Taking this to it's logical conclusion mom and dad die then the siblings get separated as they go off with their various godparents (who may or may not have to split custody as they are not always related).

Who would ever think this makes sense?

Honestly it just drives me batty when people don't think something through and then accuse others of being stupid [Roll Eyes] when they try to explain things. I forget sometimes that not all messageboards are like snopes where people expect, expect? hell, demand! that people prove their claims to be true.

--------------------
If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation. - Jean Kerr

Posts: 18428 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
The Fourth Man
Deck the Malls


Icon 500 posted      Profile for The Fourth Man   E-mail The Fourth Man   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Christie:
I wonder when this mistaken notion that godparent=guardian came about?

I blame Harry Potter. [Razz] [fish]

The Fourth "After all, Sirius was supposed to become Harry's guardian should something happen to James and Lily" Man

--------------------
If you keep trying, you'll eventually succeed. Therefore, the more you fail, the higher your chances of success.
-- Jacques Rouxel, 1931-2004 RIP :(

Posts: 406 | From: Paris, France | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Elkhound
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Elkhound         Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Fourth Man:
quote:
Originally posted by Christie:
I wonder when this mistaken notion that godparent=guardian came about?

I blame Harry Potter. [Razz] [fish]

The Fourth "After all, Sirius was supposed to become Harry's guardian should something happen to James and Lily" Man

It think that it was true at one time, but no longer. I have seen it in popular culture before HP, so it can't be that, but from what we have seen in HP, the wizardling world is somewhat old-fashioned in some ways as compared to muggle society.

--------------------
"The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."--Iris Murdoch

Posts: 3307 | From: Charleston, WV | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Cervus
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Cervus   E-mail Cervus   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
When I was a child back in the 80's I thought godparents became the child's legal guardian if the parents died. This may be because I was not raised with any religious background and I recall my parents once trying to decide who should become my legal guardian if something happened to them. (To this day I don't know if they ever designated one.) I think they used the word "godparents" interchangeably with "guardians". I remember the thought of having a godparent made me uncomfortable because of the "god" association. I always thought godparents had to be a married couple and, since I was an only child, it never occurred to me to think about how it was handled in households with multiple children.

So, to answer your question, Christie, the confusion has been around for at least the last 20 years.

I'm not sure why my parents ever used the term "godparent", because although they are lapsed Lutheran, I was never baptised, never attended church, and wasn't raised with any religious teachings at all. Even the word "god" made me uncomfortable because I didn't really understand it; my parents should have stuck to using the term "guardian" if that's what they meant.

I didn't find out what a godparent really is until I was an adult.

--------------------
"There is no constitutional right to sleep with endangered reptiles." -- Carl Hiaasen
Won't somebody please think of the adults!

Posts: 8254 | From: Florida | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
NeeCD
Happy Holly Days


Icon 1 posted      Profile for NeeCD   E-mail NeeCD       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Aud:
I'm not sure when all of this changed. In my family you didn't pick married couples for Godparents.

When my friend was telling me why she and her husband decided on one sister (K) over another (T) as the godmother for her first daughter, she said "well, we couldn't pick T because she wasn't married yet." Since I don't have godparents, I don't know how it works, but that seemed to be a strange requirement to me. Now K and her husband (who was chosen as the godfather) are divorced, so I'm not sure how that works out in my friend's way of thinking about it. She also chose godparent's for her younger daughter differently, so maybe she sees it differently this time. I know I'm out of the running entirely, as a godparent - not only am I not married, I'm not even a Christian - but she has talked to me about being the girls' guardian if anything happened to them, so I know she doesn't see godparents as equaling guardians.

--------------------
I wondered why the Frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
What does "Bookachow", "YOMANK!" and other lingo mean?

Posts: 1720 | From: Stafford Hamlet, OR | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
educatedindian
I Saw Three Shipments


Icon 1 posted      Profile for educatedindian     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Christie, you don't mention your background, but in most Catholic cultures, becoming a godparent means you DO have the responsbility to raise the kids if something happens to the parents.

I don't know why some of the posters are saying things like "UL". Have none of you ever been to:

Latin America
the Philippines
the Southwest US
or even Latino or Filipino neighborhoods, or know Latino or Filipino people?

It seems to me if anyone had any sustained contact with any of the above, they'd know about this.

Or how about a cite?
http://www.catholicdoors.com/courses/godpar.htm
"THE ROLE OF THE GODPARENT
1. Godparents, godfathers, godmothers, sureties, sponsors, it is their duty...to assume perpetual guardianship over the baptized...This obligation binds only when parents neglect to do their duty >>>or die.<<<

Posts: 69 | From: Texas | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
TurquoiseGirl
The "Was on Sale" Song


Icon 1 posted      Profile for TurquoiseGirl   Author's Homepage     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
My godparents were to be our legal guardians should my parents die. I therefore assumed that was the case.

I do have an agreement with one set of friends however, that I will be legal guardian to their children should they die. I am not their godparet, though, as I am not Catholic and was, therefore, not allowed to be an actual godmother.

I know that in my mother's family, each child had a different set of godparents and each one was meant to take in that child if my grandparents had died, because they didn't want the responsbility of six children to fall on one couple.

--------------------
There are people who drive really nice cars who feel that [those] cars won't be as special if other people drive them too. Where I come from, we call those people "selfish self-satisfied gits." -Chloe

Posts: 6995 | From: New Mexico | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Lainie   E-mail Lainie   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by educatedindian:
Christie, you don't mention your background, but in most Catholic cultures, becoming a godparent means you DO have the responsbility to raise the kids if something happens to the parents.

In the US, the legal designation of godparents in the parent(s)'s will overrides tradition.

--------------------
How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

Posts: 8322 | From: Columbus, OH | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
HazyCosmicJive
The First USA Noel


Icon 219 posted      Profile for HazyCosmicJive     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
quote:
Originally posted by educatedindian:
Christie, you don't mention your background, but in most Catholic cultures, becoming a godparent means you DO have the responsbility to raise the kids if something happens to the parents.

In the US, the legal designation of godparents in the parent(s)'s will overrides tradition.
Sure, but I think what educatedindian was trying to point out was that believing that Godparent status = emergency guardian is not backward or uninformed or stupid. Godparents are guardians in my family (Latino, from New Mexico, Catholic), and TG says above that hers is the same way. Several people above point out quite cogently how, even though a Godparent doesn't have any legal standing, Godparent status can be useful in determining the parents' wishes if there isn't any legal designation in the parents' will because that is the assumption in so many cultures.

I'm quite surprised that people are so shocked to hear that people assume that a Godparent is supposed to be a guardian if the parents die. It's all I ever knew. It's so interesting to be alerted to how many differences there are across cultures. There are so many things we take for granted that are completely alien to others, even when there are many similarities.

--------------------
Suddenly she realizes that amongst a crazy drunken schoolmarm, a navy swim instructor with a food fetish, a southern hick farmer, a porn star turned used car dealer, and a horny ex-football player, she won't be this strange outsider.

Posts: 701 | From: Colorado | Registered: Dec 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Aud
We Three Blings


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Aud   E-mail Aud   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
educatedindian my family is Catholic and it was our tradition not to choose couples. I don't have any memory of a connection between godparents and guardians. I hadn't heard it until we were asked by a non-Catholic friend to be both. It wasn't brought up 10 years ago when we were asked to be Catholic god-parents.

A year ago when we were choosing Little_Aud's godparents we deliberatly wanted to spread the love and chose a cousin and a friend who didn't even know each other. The Catholic priest we spoke with at our church said we only really needed one. There was no mention of potential guardianship from him or in the archaric video of people in early 80s clothing having their baby baptized we were forced to watch. Only one couple we know - Catholic converts- experessed surprise that we didn't chose a married couple.

In short, not all Catholics have this tradition.

Posts: 1168 | From: Missouri | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Nonny Mouse, on Santa's laptop
Once in Royal Circuit City


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Nonny Mouse, on Santa's laptop   Author's Homepage   E-mail Nonny Mouse, on Santa's laptop   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by TurquoiseGirl:
My godparents were to be our legal guardians should my parents die. I therefore assumed that was the case.

I do have an agreement with one set of friends however, that I will be legal guardian to their children should they die. I am not their godparet, though, as I am not Catholic and was, therefore, not allowed to be an actual godmother.

I know that in my mother's family, each child had a different set of godparents and each one was meant to take in that child if my grandparents had died, because they didn't want the responsbility of six children to fall on one couple.

I think that would be rough on the children, though; to lose their parents and be separated from their siblings in one fell swoop.

Nonny

--------------------
When there isn't anything else worth analyzing, we examine our collective navel. I found thirty-six cents in change in mine the other day. Let no one say that there is no profit in philosophy. -- Silas Sparkhammer

Posts: 10141 | From: Toronto, Ontario | Registered: Apr 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Elkhound
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Elkhound         Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Nonny Mouse, on Santa's laptop:
quote:
Originally posted by TurquoiseGirl:
I know that in my mother's family, each child had a different set of godparents and each one was meant to take in that child if my grandparents had died, because they didn't want the responsbility of six children to fall on one couple.

I think that would be rough on the children, though; to lose their parents and be separated from their siblings in one fell swoop.

Nonny

It depends; if you are thinking of a modern, mobile society wherein one child will be sent to California, another to Florida, etc. However, if the families involved were in a small, stable community, even if the kids weren't living in the same house any more, they'd still see one another often enough. Who knows, the way some siblings have trouble living together(MOM! Jimmy's LOOKING at me 'that way' again!) without fighting like cats and dogs, perhaps a bit of separation might be a good thing. (I know some people who said that once their older siblings went off to boarding school they became closer.)

--------------------
"The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."--Iris Murdoch

Posts: 3307 | From: Charleston, WV | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
pob14
Jingle Bell Hock


Icon 1 posted      Profile for pob14     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by educatedindian:
Or how about a cite?
http://www.catholicdoors.com/courses/godpar.htm
"THE ROLE OF THE GODPARENT
1. Godparents, godfathers, godmothers, sureties, sponsors, it is their duty...to assume perpetual guardianship over the baptized...This obligation binds only when parents neglect to do their duty >>>or die.<<<

Your ellipsis leaves out the important part of that quote:

quote:
and thereafter, to assume perpetual guardianship over the baptized and instruct them in the obligations of the Christian life, to insure fulfilment of baptismal vows.
It has nothing to do with civil guardianship, as is made clear further down the page:
quote:
Unless the parents have indicated this in their Last Will (Last Testament) that in case of their death or total disability, the godparents are to obtain full custody of their children, (should they wish to have custody) the godparents have no custodial rights over their godchildren. This matter should be discussed in details between the parents of a child and the godparent(s) to ensure that no surprises will be written in a Last Will.
Three of the four godparents to our children would be way, way down on our list to have guardianship of them (for wildly varying reasons). The fourth would gladly take them, but his wife would kill him. [Big Grin]

I might have met my godparents once. Had anything happened to my parents, I would have been raised by my aunt and uncle, who were Lutheran and couldn't have been my godparents.

--------------------
Patrick

Posts: 576 | From: Illinois | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
TurquoiseGirl
The "Was on Sale" Song


Icon 1 posted      Profile for TurquoiseGirl   Author's Homepage     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Elkhound:
quote:
Originally posted by Nonny Mouse, on Santa's laptop:
quote:
Originally posted by TurquoiseGirl:
I know that in my mother's family, each child had a different set of godparents and each one was meant to take in that child if my grandparents had died, because they didn't want the responsbility of six children to fall on one couple.

I think that would be rough on the children, though; to lose their parents and be separated from their siblings in one fell swoop.

Nonny

It depends; if you are thinking of a modern, mobile society wherein one child will be sent to California, another to Florida, etc. However, if the families involved were in a small, stable community, even if the kids weren't living in the same house any more, they'd still see one another often enough. Who knows, the way some siblings have trouble living together(MOM! Jimmy's LOOKING at me 'that way' again!) without fighting like cats and dogs, perhaps a bit of separation might be a good thing. (I know some people who said that once their older siblings went off to boarding school they became closer.)
They were "assigned" to relatives within a 10 mile radius.

--------------------
There are people who drive really nice cars who feel that [those] cars won't be as special if other people drive them too. Where I come from, we call those people "selfish self-satisfied gits." -Chloe

Posts: 6995 | From: New Mexico | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post new topic  New Poll  Post a reply Close topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Urban Legends Reference Pages

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2