Friday, November 2, 2007
A godparent, in many denominations of Christianity, is someone who sponsors a child's baptism. Judaism has this equivalent in the circumcision ceremony. A male godparent is a godfather and a female godparent is a godmother. The child is a godchild (godson, goddaughter).
In the Catholic church, only church members who have undergone Confirmation are accepted as godparents. Someone who belongs to another Christian denomination cannot become a godparent but is known as a Christian Witness, with most of the regular role of a godparent. Non-Christians are not at all eligible to any religious role formalized by the Church. This is based on the view that the godparent-godchild relationship is not something which is just between the persons and God, but a whole-Church event wherein the Holy Spirit dwells.
A Godparent is regarded as a patron saint on earth, who prays for the newly baptised, looks after them spiritually and gives them guidance. The Catholic Church sees Baptism as an entry into the Kingdom of God, and entry into the Church.
There are two roles in the Jewish circumcision ceremony which are sometimes translated as godparent. The sandek holds the baby boy while he is circumcised. Among Orthodox Ashkenazi the kvater (or kvaterin if female) is the person who takes the child from his mother and carries him into the room in which the circumcision is performed.
In some cultures, the word for "godparent of one's child" is used for any, or certain, very close friends. This is the meaning of the Spanish compadre and comadre, the French commère and compère, and the archaic meaning of the English word gossip (from godsib, "god-sibling").
Godparent is also used, in absence of a "religious reason", as a stated person (be it family member or close friend) who is responsible for the child in the event of both parents' demise or incapacitation.
Folktales often feature a fairy godmother, a fairy who acts as a mentor to a main character.
Posted by so2374 at 11:09 AM