Article Discussion: My Sister Opens Doors For Me

HomeDiscussionsGrowing up in an Interfaith FamilyArticle Discussion: My Sister Opens Doors For Me

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April 10, 2009 at 4:19 pm #2354


Click here to read the article: My Sister Opens Doors For Me

August 15, 2009 at 5:56 pm #3560

Un registered

Actually, a jew can only be a witness to the baptism of a child, this is stated in Canon Law. According to catholic law, only a catholic can be named as a godparent, not a jew. The child only needs one godparent.

September 15, 2009 at 6:23 pm #3766


It is not only Canon Law that doesn’t allow a Jew to be a godparent at a baptism. The beauty in this article was the fact that both religious authority figures were able to look beyond the laws and regulations and see that the two sisters loved each other, but that the little girl, Esperanza, would have not only her mom, but her godmother, Paula, looking out for her, too. That love was the answer to all the questions. Just love. Unregistered seems to forget that the most important thing for that child and family is not to fight religiously over Canon Law and crosses and halakah and stars of david – but creating an environment of love and support for that little girl and for that family. Love is the answer.

September 15, 2009 at 9:37 pm #3768

Hebrew Catholic

I think it is possible to be a bit too glib with “love is the answer”, although certainly I believe love is an important part of the answer to just about every question of real significance in life.

Canon law and halakha each have their own logic, and rules exist for reasons.  Does that mean that the law anticipates every situation that may possibly arise?  No.  Sometimes we have to improvise.  In fact, canon law provides for this possibility by acknowledging the concept of a “lacuna” or “gap” in the law, in which case one is expected to do whatever is reasonable.

People of equally good will can disagree about whether a specific situation is so different from what the law anticipated that it amounts to a lacuna.  I personally do not consider the issue of a non-Christian as a baptismal godparent a lacuna, but I am willing to presume that the decision was thought through and discussed carefully.

If I had been asked my opinion on the matter (and I do have professional qualifications to offer an opinion on baptismal godparents), I would have suggested godparents be chosen in accordance with the law, on the grounds that the child has a right to godparents who can perform their function of helping the parents communicate the Catholic faith by words and example.  However, I would have suggested that the cherished aunt be given a special role in the ceremony, such as a Bible reading that would not be offensive to her Jewish beliefs, as a sign of the special place she was to have in the child’s life.  She could even be designated in the parents’ wills as the contingent guardian in case of their death, a role that many people refer to by the word “godparent”.  The sacramental godparents would need to understand that in any unfortunate circumstance that led to the aunt becoming the children’s legal guardian, they would be obliged to help her raise the child as a Catholic, a task that would not be easy for her to perform without help.

But they didn’t ask for my advice, and I hope that whatever specific advice they received was helpful for all concerned.

September 19, 2009 at 1:51 pm #3774


Just an observation, but why is it that any one that has left acertain faith needs a role in order to be made to feel special?

September 19, 2009 at 6:32 pm #3776


Unfortunalty for Hebrew Catholic, one a practicing catholic may be a godpaernt. It is not a legal right. If someone renounces a faith why would they be quailified to raise a child in that faith. It takes more than love to raise a child in this world. Their is no gap in canon law. Sorry.

September 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm #3779

Hebrew Catholic

To the Unregistered immediately above me:

I think you must have completely misread my reply, or else confused parts of it with a different post.  I explicitly said that I did NOT consider the issue of non-Christian “godparents” to be a lacuna in canon law, and that if it had been left up to me, I would have said to choose godparents IN ACCORDANCE with the law.

However, I also acknowledged that clergy were consulted in the specific case (and for all any of us knows, might have been aware of more information than we have been given), and declined to second-guess the “man on the spot” to the extent of simply saying that my own professional opinion is the only one legitimately possible.

September 21, 2009 at 4:47 pm #3780

Justina Colon

Thank you all so much for the discussion as to MY decision as to whom should be my daughter’s godparents. Walk a mile in my shoes and you shall know what it is I have been through and why that decision has been made. Also, for all of your information…my sister is my daughter’s Godmother as stated on her baptismal ceritifcate. Professional or personal opions not withstanding.
The article was not about my daughters baptism, but the deep love and appreciation that I have for my sister, her husband and my niece.

September 21, 2009 at 6:23 pm #3781

Hebrew Catholic

I’m sure it feels a bit intrusive to have strangers debating issues that would normally not even be known outside your family and your parish, but I must point out that it was your choice to reveal to the world the matter of your daughter’s godmother as an illustration of, as you put it, the “obstacles” that can come with having more than one faith in a family. 

I’m guessing that you wrote the article in hopes that it would be helpful to other interfaith families as they seek to navigate those obstacles in their own lives.  I’m convinced that’s also the goal of most of the people who take the time to participate on these discussion boards.  It may sound like an argument sometimes, but in general, we’re all working for the same thing. 

Sometimes, people read an article and post a message along the lines of “How beautiful!  Good job!  It sounds as if you did everything right!”  I’m sure it feels great to get that kind of affirmation of personal choices.  Other times, however, people have misgivings about some aspect or another of the essay-writer’s approach, which can be hard to hear.  I think for the website and the articles posted on it to accomplish their mission, both sides need to feel free to share their views as politely as possible, even if the subject matter would ordinarily be none of their business.

February 18, 2012 at 6:51 pm #6579


Still a jewish person can not be a God parent regardless what any piece of paper says.

October 29, 2013 at 10:48 am #19335


The most important thing is that she has found peace in her family. It’s not always so simple.
Condolences on the death of your mother.

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