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Dear Brethren in Christ:

I have a question pertaining to the Holy Mystery of Baptism and being a sponsor for this.

I've read alot on how in Byzantine Church canonical tradition, Baptism establishes a spiritaul relationship not only between Godparents and Godchild but also between their families. When a couple becomes Godparents, as a result, their children become spiritual siblings to the other family. Traditionally the Church's canons do not allow marriage between children of families connected through Baptism. I'm not exactly sure how modern Eastern Catholic Church canons deal with this question. Recently a family asked my wife and I to be Godparents. I am concerned that by so doing, I am eliminating the chances of my children being able to marry their children. Perhaps, if it were God's will for this to happen, they could be granted economia (or a dispensation) from this rule. But I wouldn't want to assume this. Canons 808 - 812 in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches seem to deal with this question on but I'm not sure if they agree or disagree with the ancient canons which forbid this.

Forgive me if this is the wrong forum for this question and please feel free to move the thread to its proper location.

Thank you,
Sub-Deacon Lazarus

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Godparents cannot marry godchildren. God-siblings cannot marry God-siblings. Both are canonical impediments on par with consanguinity.

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Dear StuartK,

Thank you. Could you please define "God-siblings"?

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Stuart, that doesn't seem to be what the CCEO says:

Canon 811 - §1. From baptism there arises a spiritual relationship between a sponsor and the baptized person and the parents of the same that invalidates marriage.
§2. If a baptism is repeated under condition, a spiritual relationship does not arise, unless the same sponsor was employed for the second ceremony.

The relationships ruled out would seem to be godparent with godchild and parent with godparent, not siblings of any sort?

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That's how I'm reading it also. It would seem the impediement to marriage has been reduced to only involve parents, godparents and godchild.

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I don't consider the CCEO to be consistent with the Tradition. It's basically the Latin code with some fancy hub caps.


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God-siblings would refer to unrelated or related persons who share the same Godparent(s).

So a man and a woman who share at least one Godparent and are otherwise unrelated by blood may not marry. They are considered spiritual brother and sister.

However, in the example above, the natural brother of the Godson may marry the Godsister of his brother.

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I imagine it would be easy to get a dispensation in any case.


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Originally Posted by StuartK
I don't consider the CCEO to be consistent with the Tradition. It's basically the Latin code with some fancy hub caps.



I know what you mean but the fact we even have seperate Codes between East and West is a step in the right direction. At least they got the name right. In Eastern tradition, I have read, it is mistaken to consider canons as synonymous with laws. Hence the title "Code of Canons" is much better than "Canon Law."

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Thank you Fr. Dns. Lance and John for your helpful insights on this subject. The canonical implications of Holy Baptism on marriage remain something that parents and godparents should consider.


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