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Old 31.07.2010, 04:13
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Godparents

Hi,
I'm after a bit of help! I'm Swiss-Australian (both parents were born in Switzerland but emigrated to Australia about 30 years ago) and due to have my first child in five weeks. I am really hoping to teach a lot of different traditions to my child, however, my parents didn't really teach me many so I have no idea what most of them are! My main question, is it tradition for a Swiss child to have a godparent? I am not catholic but my husband and I were both raised Christian. We don't really want to have a christening though. I only ask because all my extended family have godparents. Sorry if you think this is a stupid question but I am really interested!
Thanks for your help!
Jo
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Old 31.07.2010, 08:50
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Re: Godparents

In the French part it seems common.
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Old 31.07.2010, 11:08
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Re: Godparents

As far as I can see, as a member of no church, it is pretty common among member of a church to christen a child and appoint godparents. However those godparents have to be a member of that church. I, as konfessionslos, am not entitled to be a formal "godparent" to a child when it is christened. That, of course, doesn't stop you appointing informal godparents of whatever faith or none
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Old 31.07.2010, 13:14
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Re: Godparents

I have been appointed godparent. And I am not a member of any church. That said, my godchildren have kids of their own today, so my experience is slightly dated. It might even depend on the individual priest, if they let you in or not.

I don't think, that the official function, that godparents had in centuries past (to take care of the child, should anything happen to its parents), carries much worth in today's world, where, in an emergency, the kids would be at the mercy of some state officials, rather than the priests. But the tradition, that the godparents bring big birthday- and Christmas-gifts, is AFAIK still alive and well
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Old 31.07.2010, 13:25
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Re: Godparents

my godfather is not part of the family, by blood that is. My rents chose him and the church was ok with that. we dont practice religion anyway but thats how it happemned
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Old 31.07.2010, 14:37
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Re: Godparents

Godparents are still seen as adults who have a moral responsibility to help out if things went wrong. Doesn't have very much relevance nowadays, less if you don't already have a church christening or family tradition of it and in many cases that just gets translated into people who ought to remember your birthday, maybe even spend a small fortune on you, but that is their own choice to make.
Wouldn't have thought it had any more of a tradition in Switzerland than other oficially christian countries.
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Old 31.07.2010, 17:50
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Re: Godparents

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As far as I can see, as a member of no church, it is pretty common among member of a church to christen a child and appoint godparents. However those godparents have to be a member of that church. I, as konfessionslos, am not entitled to be a formal "godparent" to a child when it is christened. That, of course, doesn't stop you appointing informal godparents of whatever faith or none
Not true.... My goddaugther is Protestant, I'm Catholic. The Protestant church had no issues whatsoever in allowing me to be her godmother
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Old 02.08.2010, 09:52
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Re: Godparents

My daughter's Swiss friends all seem to have godparents, regardless of religious affiliation. I don't think the modern version around here necessarily requires church involvement. We are in the German part of Switzerland.
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Old 02.08.2010, 10:20
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Re: Godparents

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As far as I can see, as a member of no church, it is pretty common among member of a church to christen a child and appoint godparents. However those godparents have to be a member of that church. I, as konfessionslos, am not entitled to be a formal "godparent" to a child when it is christened. That, of course, doesn't stop you appointing informal godparents of whatever faith or none
I'm not so sure that this is true. As far as I am aware you must be baptised, but it doesn't matter into which church or whether or not you are still practising.
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Old 02.08.2010, 10:23
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Re: Godparents

OK; maybe it's changed or I was given bum info. I was certainly told that I could not be a godparent in a church christening in CH as a konfessionslos (because it's a GODparent) even though I was christened as a baby
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Old 02.08.2010, 10:38
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Re: Godparents

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OK; maybe it's changed or I was given bum info. I was certainly told that I could not be a godparent in a church christening in CH as a konfessionslos (because it's a GODparent) even though I was christened as a baby


As others have rightly pointed, you certainly don't have to be a member of the same Church to be a Godparent. There are elements of religion that transcend whatever faith you do or do not believe - i.e. humanity, compassion etc.

I have a story in the back of my mind of Cardinal Hume (RC) being involved in a christening that involved a Jew and, I think, a non-believer as Godparents. But Hume was always rather Ecumenical in that respect.

However, I could imagine that some (narrow-minded) priests may apply pressure to "keep it in the Church", hence, this may be the source of your info. Alternatively, it could be a Swiss thing, although I doubt it.

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My godfather is not part of the family, by blood that is. My rents chose him and the church was ok with that. We don’t practice religion anyway but that’s how it happened


AFAIK & believe, being a Godparent is as much as having someone who will look after your child and it's interest in your absence (i.e. death), as giving them someone to go to for spiritual or other (i.e. life) guidance.

Given this remit, it can be anyone and doesn't have to be someone with blood ties, and also explains why someone of a different or no faith can also be a Godparent. Not all religious people are good and not all faithless are bad.
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Old 02.08.2010, 10:38
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Re: Godparents

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As far as I can see, as a member of no church, it is pretty common among member of a church to christen a child and appoint godparents. However those godparents have to be a member of that church. I, as konfessionslos, am not entitled to be a formal "godparent" to a child when it is christened. That, of course, doesn't stop you appointing informal godparents of whatever faith or none
I understand that in most mainstream churches, godparents don't have to be a member of that church but it suffices that they are a member of a church. A good friend of mine is a cahtholic but his godchild is evangelisch. The minister who did the baptism said that wasn't a problem.
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Old 02.08.2010, 10:45
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Re: Godparents

Hi Joanna,

My wife is Swiss and our children all have godparents. This seems to be the norm here and is taken much more seriously than in England. The godparents are expected to play quite an active role and appear at birthdays etc. Good luck with your new family

Robert
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Old 02.08.2010, 11:58
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Re: Godparents

I'm an Australian, married to a Swiss, and earlier this year I was made godmother to our Swiss niece!

Her parents are lapsed Catholics and I'm an atheist, so religion had nothing to do with it. There is just an understanding that I will be another adult that is always there for her; to support her in her interests and achievements, to answer awkward questions, if she's fighting with her parents, to spend quality time with her etc.

And if something did happen to her parents, then of course my husband and I would be there to look after her.

I think it's a great idea for every kid to have a support system that stretches wider than just their parents...and I will be definitely be having 'godparents' for my children (or though, as an atheist, I might need to rethink the name).

Congratulations, and good luck with everything!!
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Old 02.08.2010, 12:21
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Re: Godparents

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...and I will be definitely be having 'godparents' for my children (or though, as an atheist, I might need to rethink the name).
Darwinparents or Dawkinsparents ??
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Old 03.08.2010, 11:54
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Re: Godparents

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Darwinparents or Dawkinsparents ??


Thanks for the suggestion. Richard Dawkins is the closest thing I have to a god, so Dawkinsparents makes perfect sense!
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Old 17.06.2011, 12:17
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Re: Godparents

I'm resurrecting this old thread because I have a related question.

Who chooses/appoints the godparents (in CH)? The parents? The kid? Do the godparents-to-be volunteer because they like the kid?

Let me elaborate on this. AFAIK it's usual for the parents to ask a friend to become godfather/godmother of their child. However, I know a couple whose friends volunteered to act as godparents.
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Old 17.06.2011, 12:34
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Re: Godparents

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I'm resurrecting this old thread because I have a related question.

Who chooses/appoints the godparents (in CH)? The parents? The kid? Do the godparents-to-be volunteer because they like the kid?

Let me elaborate on this. AFAIK it's usual for the parents to ask a friend to become godfather/godmother of their child. However, I know a couple whose friends volunteered to act as godparents.
It should be the parents who decide on who the Godparents should be. I think volunteering to be a Godparent is somewhat egotistic. I am Godfather to my friend's daughter, and regard it something of an honour. My Goddaughter was not baptised, btw, so I am not a Godfather in the traditional sense, more something akin to what Carlos described above.
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Old 17.06.2011, 12:50
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Re: Godparents

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I think it's a great idea for every kid to have a support system that stretches wider than just their parents...and I will be definitely be having 'godparents' for my children (or though, as an atheist, I might need to rethink the name).
As I'm an atheist I didn't have godparents, but wanted the equivalent, After asking for at suggestions, I got sponsor (she's not running a marathon), guider (she's not in any international youth movement) and n0n-god parents (which I thought would insult my Christian friends and family. In the end we went with spare parent.

We made her promise to always listen to our daughter, and to be there for her when she needed support, even if she wanted to moan about us. And to buy her American stuff (we're British but her spare parent is Texan), which I feel is pretty much what the role of god parent should be when you take out the god part.
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Old 17.06.2011, 12:50
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Re: Godparents

With Catholics, they can choose another set or a new set of Godparents when they have their Confirmation (probably age 15), no?
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