An Urgent Message to Godparents
Take care "lest any of you have an evil and unfaithful spirit and fall away from the living God." Hebrews 3:12
When a Christian falls away from the faith, the whole world, not only the fallen-away Christian, is in a most dangerous situation. The Lord warns us: "When men have fled a polluted world by recognizing the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and then are caught up and overcome in pollution once more, their last condition is worse than their first. It would have been better for them not to have recognized the road to holiness than to have turned their backs on the holy law handed on to them, once they had known it" (2 Pt 2:20-21; see also Lk 11:26). This helps us understand Paul's statement: "My fear is that, just as the serpent seduced Eve by his cunning, your thoughts may be corrupted and you may fall away from your sincere and complete devotion to Christ" (2 Cor 11:3). As would be expected according to these Biblical warnings, many of the worst atrocities ever perpetrated have been done by baptized Christians who were not living their faith and were therefore in the worst state possible for a human being. This is one of the reasons why the Catholic Church will usually not baptize adults until they are catechized, scrutinized, and prayerfully supported by the local Catholic parish. This is also why the Catholic Church will not baptize an infant unless at least one of the parents is living the faith. Moreover, the extreme potential destructiveness of a fallen-away Christian is one of the reasons for having sponsors (often called godparents) for those baptized.
Our world is reeling due to the massive destruction caused by baptized, fallen-away Christians. To stop the exponential expansion of our culture of death, baptismal sponsors can make a very significant contribution. Sponsors by virtue of their calling have a special grace in helping their godchildren. Even if sponsors have not done a good job, if they have not been in touch with their godchildren for a long time, or if their godchildren are adults, sponsors still have an anointing to make a difference in their godchildren's lives no matter what the circumstances.
The Church teaches that sponsors are to "help the baptized to lead a Christian life in harmony with baptism and to fulfill faithfully the obligation connected with it" (Code of Canon Law, 872). In Confirmation, "it is for the sponsor to see that the confirmed person acts as a true witness to Christ and faithfully fulfills the obligations connected with the sacrament" (Code of Canon Law, 892).
- for the salvation and holiness of your godchildren,
- to stop the self-destruction of the world, and
- to build a civilization of love in place of a culture of death,
- thank the Lord that you have been chosen to be a sponsor.
- pray for your godchildren daily.
- increase contact with them or renew contact with them no matter how long it may have been since you have seen them.
- share with them your responsibilities according to the law of the Church.
- share with them your love for Jesus and His Church.
- pray with your godchildren if possible.
- offer to serve them.
- don't be discouraged if your godchildren are not immediately receptive.
- be faithful to your responsibilities as a sponsor and persevere.
The Lord does not give us a job to do without giving us the grace to do it. No matter how bad the circumstances, sponsors can be catalysts for large numbers of people returning to the Lord and the Church. Sponsors can help the Church grow significantly in holiness and can prepare us for Christ's final coming.
Sponsors, we need you now more than ever. You have special graces. Love your godchildren. Renew the Church. Change the world.
Nihil obstat: Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, March 18, 1999
Imprimatur: Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 23, 1999