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  #21  
Old 17.06.2011, 11:50
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Re: Godparents

The parents decide who should be god-mother/father of their child and - taken in a very narrow sense of the meaning - the god parent's "responsibility" ends when that child has their confirmation / communion (I believe that happens at 15, but then I'm not a member of any church, so not sure on the exact age).

However, my husband is now 56 and his godmother still bakes Christmas cookies for him, sends him a card on his birthday, keeps pretty much up to speed on what he's doing, and the good lady is now well into her 80s

In turn, my husband is godfather to the youngest daughter of good friends of ours, and she's turning 18 this year. We see her regularly, she calls my husband with questions on just about anything and everything, we are really considered to be "part of the family", which is great for all concerned.
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  #22  
Old 17.06.2011, 11:53
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Re: Godparents

My take on christenings and godparents is just an excuse for a party. I really don't think being a godparent these days has the same sentiment as maybe it did years ago. I am godparent to my niece and nephew but even if I wasn't I am still there for them and would look after them should anything happen to their parents - my neices other god parents were friends of my brother and sil they have since split up and haven't been heard from in about 10 years - great godparents!?

I feel if you decide to do the christening thing then it's best to choose family members to be godparents as you can't guarantee friendships forever and your kids could end up with god parents they don't know

We decided it's a huge farce and aren't christening our son. We know his family will look out for him regardless
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  #23  
Old 17.06.2011, 12:07
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Re: Godparents

Ok, I do have a different view on this godparent stuff, but my view as a catholic only, though.

My parents thought a lot before choosing, because at least in my family godparents are more than just an excuse to suck some money out of a friend (meaning it still goes with the old idea). In my case they chose a catholic couple like themselves. It is possible to have non-catholic godparent, but that usually takes a convincing conversation with the priest.

I have been in contact with the catholic community in the place I work (been helping a colleague with some church stuff) and I can tell you godparents are still extremely important as moral support not only to the child, as well as to the parents themselves.

The idea that the tradition of godparents is outdated and useless and only a commercial thing might be true in a population who has lost/changed/ never had their faith, but it is still a valuable tradition in the local catholic community.

What you need to make sure is: is the person you are appointing as a godparent accepting the real meaning of the word, or just lightly taking a “make-believe” role, who just has a duty to give presents to a kid till adulthood? Because the latter is what is kinda destroying the godparent meaning.

P.S.: As a side note though: I am not very religious, and I have huge fights against the faith I grew up in. But if I am able, I will continue the tradition of the godparents, since I am very thankful for everything mine did: from helping my parents and myself in any hour of need. It is not so much an act of faith, but of good-will, friendship and love (which some might say it’s all about faith anyway )
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  #24  
Old 17.06.2011, 12:14
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Re: Godparents

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My take on christenings and godparents is just an excuse for a party. I really don't think being a godparent these days has the same sentiment as maybe it did years ago. I am godparent to my niece and nephew but even if I wasn't I am still there for them and would look after them should anything happen to their parents - my neices other god parents were friends of my brother and sil they have since split up and haven't been heard from in about 10 years - great godparents!?

I feel if you decide to do the christening thing then it's best to choose family members to be godparents as you can't guarantee friendships forever and your kids could end up with god parents they don't know

We decided it's a huge farce and aren't christening our son. We know his family will look out for him regardless
That all makes sense.

Ours don't have godparents and have not been christened. If they want to choose a church then this will be their decision alone.

What we have done instead is we have found potential guardians for ours (who have agreed) who will take care of our children in case anything happens to my wife and I.

These are family as well (for the reasons you give), We know that others in the family would be more than happy to take on this role and great responsibility and would probably step in to do it, but, given the choice, we would rather they didn't as their values are so completely different from our own.
We would hate for our children not to have a secure home if anything happened to us.

This has all been done formally via a signed document.
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Old 17.06.2011, 12:23
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Re: Godparents

I think in a way Tom1234 just said "we appointed non-religious godparents and called them guardians".

It is pretty much the same idea, out the religious background. I think it is a wonderful idea, but then again I'm all in favour of godparents/guardians. As Tom, I also believe it's good to have a "backup" that is more similar to our own ideals as probably people in our family are, who will be there to take care of your little ones.
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  #26  
Old 17.06.2011, 12:45
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Re: Godparents

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I think in a way Tom1234 just said "we appointed non-religious godparents and called them guardians".

It is pretty much the same idea, out the religious background. I think it is a wonderful idea, but then again I'm all in favour of godparents/guardians. As Tom, I also believe it's good to have a "backup" that is more similar to our own ideals as probably people in our family are, who will be there to take care of your little ones.
Getting back to your question/query. A godparent is concerned with the religious upbringing of your child and a guardian with bringing up your child totally.

Unless you are extremely devout in your religion, then if someone, as you have described, volunteers to be a godparent, and, you as the child's parents, are moderately happy with their religious views on life, then you could be happy to say yes, problem solved and godparents found (apart from Nicky's good point on family/friends).
But as a potential guardian, I reckon there would be more to consider.
Probably off-topic though.


I have not known anyone here volunteer to be a godparents but I have seen friendships flounder but contact kept as the friends were godparents to the children of the other friend.
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  #27  
Old 17.06.2011, 13:33
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Re: Godparents

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Getting back to your question/query. A godparent is concerned with the religious upbringing of your child and a guardian with bringing up your child totally.
I don't agree with the first part re Godparent - it is a rather narrow definition by today's standards and would, respectfully, of course , suggest "spiritual" rather than "religious". It is totally incorrect to say that Godparents have to be of the same religious denomination/faith as the parents/child.

Gardians would also have much more say, in terms of legal implications, over a child's upbringing than Godparents.
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  #28  
Old 17.06.2011, 13:34
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Re: Godparents

In French they are called 'parrain' and 'marraine' - so it does allow a bit more flexibility than 'God parent'. In the UK I was asked several times to be a Godmother, but I always declined as I am not religious at all (at a baptism you have to agree to help raise the child in the belief of the Church). I am the 'earthmother' to 2 children in the UK, whom I affectionately call my 'earthlings'.

As a child in Switzerland I had 2 marraines and 1 parrain, and used to stay with them for lovely holidays. They also bought me silver cutlery for each birthday, and was given gold coins for special birthdays, as per Swiss tradition. (coins sadly were 'lost' in a burglary in UK).
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  #29  
Old 17.06.2011, 13:37
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Re: Godparents

In Switzerland Catholics and Protestants do a lot of things together, including baptisms, marriages and funerals. They just had to work together after the arrival of the Italians in the 50s, the Spanish in the 60s and the Portuguese in the 70s, resulting in a more or less 50/50 proportion and many mixed marriages.
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  #30  
Old 17.06.2011, 13:46
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Re: Godparents

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In the UK I was asked several times to be a Godmother,
I thought Odile was a man

The word "Godfather" in my mother tongue (Padrinho) means "little father", "Godmother" (Madrinha) "little mother". There is no nosy God prefix getting in there When you use the fancy word guardião (guardian) you think about Marvel Comics.

It might have to do with the upbringing or/and my country traditions, but though godparents were born from catholic tradition, they are nowadays more like guardians than as a religious background.

At least among my circle of friends and family, to be appointed as a godparent (either in a religious or non-religious way) it is a great honour and something taken very seriously for the sake of the child. There are even little fights to see who gets that important role, Soprano style
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  #31  
Old 17.06.2011, 13:53
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Re: Godparents

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It might have to do with the upbringing or/and my country traditions, but though godparents were born from catholic tradition, they are nowadays more like guardians than as a religious background.
But are they in a legal sense?
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  #32  
Old 17.06.2011, 13:54
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Re: Godparents

Blimey Helm - Odile is definitely a female French name. Have you never seen Swan Lake?
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  #33  
Old 17.06.2011, 13:56
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Re: Godparents

Blimey Helm - Odile is definitely a female French name. Have you never seen Swan Lake? I've often mentioned being a mother and grand-mother too, lol.
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  #34  
Old 17.06.2011, 14:01
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Re: Godparents

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Blimey Helm - Odile is definitely a female French name. Have you never seen Swan Lake?
I am sorry, I didn't mean to offend you or anything Swan Lake Queen is referred as Odette (from the Russian original). I had never seen Odile before. So sorry! If I ever read a thread in which you refered "mother" it really escaped me...

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But are they in a legal sense?
Yes, Tom. Like with religious weddings, the religious ceremony imediately takes state accordance. We also have marriage godparents, who state-wise are called testimonies, and children godparents, guardians.

There might be nuances and law complications, but hei, I'm not a lawyer ^.^
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Old 17.06.2011, 14:04
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Re: Godparents

Ahahaha, Odile is the baddie! Not offended at all, just made me laugh.
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  #36  
Old 17.06.2011, 14:48
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Re: Godparents

As an expat father given all our relatives are overseas the idea of a godfather or guardian is specially attractive not because of the gifts at birthdays but for a helping hand in case of real need.
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Old 17.06.2011, 14:59
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Re: Godparents

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Yes, Tom. Like with religious weddings, the religious ceremony imediately takes state accordance. We also have marriage godparents, who state-wise are called testimonies, and children godparents, guardians.
Um. No. [EDIT: not in the UK or CH, anyway ]

(Religious) Marriages are legal usually because there is a civil authority present to make sure you sign on the dotted line - unless, I guess if you live in a country which is not secular, i.e. no distinction between state and religion. The distinction, in the UK, is blurred for CofE because of the link between this denomination and government/state, but for other religions, there needs to be a "civil" registrar present.

This is quite apparent in CH, where you have two wedding ceremonies - a civil one, which is the legally binding one - and the religious one. One is required, the other optional. I'll leave you to guess which one is which...

Godparents have no legal say what-so-ever unless you specifically have them noted as Guardians (in your will) - which is a legally valid appointment.
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Old 17.06.2011, 15:08
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Re: Godparents

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Um. No.
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(Religious) Marriages are legal usually because there is a civil authority present to make sure you sign on the dotted line - unless, I guess if you live in a country which is not secular, i.e. no distinction between state and religion.


Um... Yes

I was not talking about Switzerland, but Portugal, if you missed that Since I did marry there (with the all mighty complication of marrying a foreigner while living in a foreign country) I do know what I am talking about

There was no state person present on the wedding. You need to officially warn the state: I'm getting married on church X on month X. They will send all the documentation needed to the priest, so that the whole shebang is official. The signature you make on the church book is valid for both state and church.

The state is secular though. The line is diluted in terms of the marriage, though, because the state gets more money with married couples than single, so better not make the thing more complicated not to discourage the love birds

But we disgress from the main topic ^^

Joanna, if you feel it is important for the tradition of the family and/or yourself, do get godparents. If it is not important, do you really care what the swiss neighbour thinks about your child?

EDIT: Argh, something is going wrong on my post what is with the font type and break on the quote?
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  #39  
Old 17.06.2011, 15:23
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Re: Godparents

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I was not talking about Switzerland, but Portugal, if you missed that
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Old 17.06.2011, 15:38
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Re: Godparents

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As an expat father given all our relatives are overseas the idea of a godfather or guardian is specially attractive not because of the gifts at birthdays but for a helping hand in case of real need.
But I think that's why a guardian is important too.

If we were staying long term in Switzerland then my children would grow up being essentially Swiss. Again, if something happened to my wife and I, I would hate for the turmoil that would engulf the children to also include being sent away to an alien country, albeit to people that they know but without everything else that they know in live.

Hope for the best - plan for the worst.
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