Since the godparents’ role is to assist the parents in raising the child as a Catholic, their selection is a very important decision. Canon 874 states that to serve as a godfather or a godmother, the following conditions must be met:
- To have been chosen and to have the aptitudes and the intention to serve in the function of godparent.
- To be at least 16 years of age.
- To be a Catholic who has completed Christian initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) and who lives a life in keeping with the faith.
- To be free from any canonical penalty imposed or declared.
- To be neither the father nor the mother of the baptized.
A baptized non-Catholic could serve with a Catholic godparent acting as a Christian witness to the baptism (meaning there would be one sponsor listed in the parish register and on the Baptism certificate; the other person would be listed as Christian witness)