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Italian diocese bans godfathers from baptisms for 3 years

It’s an angle headline writers can hardly refuse: a bishop in Sicily has imposed a three year ban on godfathers at Catholic baptisms.

“Godfather whack!” opened a headline in the New York Post

“In the Land of the Godfather Comes a Ban on Them,” heralded the New York Times, which wrote: “Church officials warn that secularization more than anything led them to rub out the godparents.”

Msgr. Salvatore Genchi, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Catania, in eastern Sicily, estimated that 99% of the godparents in the area are not qualified for the role, which assumes that such elders be able to set a good example for the baptized.

Primarily, the problem is creeping secularism in society and among members of the Church, the Times explained. But there is a concern about the Mafia as well. 

“Church officials argue that the once-essential figure in a child’s Catholic education has lost all spiritual significance,” said the newspaper. “Instead, they say, it has become a networking opportunity for families looking to improve their fortunes, secure endowments of gold necklaces and make advantageous connections, sometimes with local power brokers who have dozens of godchildren.

“God parenting, Church officials said, had fallen to earth as a secular custom between relatives or neighbors — many deficient in faith or living in sin — and was now a mere method of strengthening family ties.

Read more at Aleteia

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