Catholic Diocese in Sicily Bans Naming Godparents at Baptisms for 3 Years

The Roman Catholic diocese of Catania, Sicily, has issued a three-year ban on naming godparents at baptisms, saying that almost all of them were not spiritually fit for the role, The New York Times reported over the weekend.

“Church officials argue that the once-essential figure in a child’s Catholic education has lost all spiritual significance” and that being a godfather has “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.”

Catholic Church leaders in the region have also expressed concern that the custom can embolden organized crime figures, with the Times reporting that “Italian prosecutors have tracked baptisms to map out how underworld bosses spread influence.”

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