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Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella also got a good godmother who has magical abilities, she has particularly good qualities, she is always very cheerful and spins her magic wand around until the teardrop turns into a smile; she bends over the newborn’s cradle and enriches your little one with gifts such as beauty, knowledge or grace.

This special creature, the godparent, did not come into our lives by chance from the storybooks: it is simply necessary in the risky and challenging upbringing of children, an accomplice who is not a relative, but a family member.

In the past, it was specifically considered that: if the child was orphaned and had no close blood relative, the godfather was primarily considered when appointing the guardian. Today, baptism no longer specifically means welcoming into the family, but the idea has remained in such a form that parents usually invite a brother, relative or childhood friend or girlfriend to their child’s christening, where the godfather holds a burning candle in his hand, which is a symbol of the light of Christ, the godmother and he holds the child in his hands while the priest pours holy water over the child’s head three times. At the end of the ceremony, the godparents sign the registry to have an objectified memory of their commitment.

Who and when can be a godparent, what does the law say?

It is a serious task and decision to ask someone to be a godparent, as it is not enough to hold your baby on your chest at the christening and then have a good lunch with the family. In the spirit of this symbolic holiday, the godparents will help the parents in the special moments of raising children, they will pass on the Christian principles and their faith, they will be present at the important events of the child’s life – so they help the parent, they are the confidant of the child, not by the way: for the child, the only ” chosen relative”.

The ceremony itself is not bound by time, but it is usually held before the child is one year old, taking into account that the little one already has an established agenda and can reliably endure a busy schedule without (preferably) crying. The child will need a photocopy of the birth certificate in order to accurately register the data, while the godparent will need a certificate that he can assume the position – there are conditions for this. According to the church code, in order to allow someone to assume the role of godparent, it is necessary:

  • that the person to be baptized himself or his parents, or the one who replaces them, or, in their absence, the parish priest or the person who administers the sacrament appoints him, and that he is suitable and intends to hold this office;
  • be a person who has reached the age of sixteen, unless the county bishop has established a different age, or for a suitable reason the parish priest or the provider sees that an exception should be made;
  • be a Catholic, confirmed person and have already received the most holy sacrament of the altar, and live a life worthy of the faith and the office to be undertaken;
  • not be bound by any lawfully imposed or declared canonical penalty;
  • not be the father or mother of the person to be baptized.

There are many misconceptions: does the godparent assume legal obligations?

Although the church code of law defines in detail who and under what conditions someone can be a godparent, and what kind of commitments this entails, at the same time, these commitments cannot be enforced by the state, authorities or courts, says lawyer Olivér Szép Árpád. It is therefore a misconception that godparents would take on any legal consequences, since the concept of godparents is a church law (canon law) category, even if this office is held by a relative.

According to the Roman Catholic religion, the primary task of the godparent is to help the person to be baptized “in Christian initiation, and to introduce the child to Christianity together with his parents, and to make sure that the baptized person lives a Christian life in accordance with baptism and faithfully fulfills the associated duties “.

It must be seen that becoming a godparent does not create any status or kinship relationship for the godparent in a legal sense, this is also indicated by the fact that neither the civil code contains a provision for godparent status, nor does our criminal code. It follows that if we look at and analyze the related concept, we will not find it among the taxative lists either. For this reason, it can be said that the position does not and cannot create a strictly legal obligation, but even more so a religious bond

says the lawyer.

Of course, it was not always so clear that baptism had no (criminal) consequences: during the period of church persecution during communism, baptisms were done in secret, within a narrow family circle, because it was forbidden in public, and the priest and the parents could be produced and imprisoned for it. Today, however, baptism, just like marriage, is a great holiday for the family and the entire church community – so boldly bring out the magic wands and fairy wishes.

(Cover photo: Philippe Huguen / AFP)