LETTER : A godparent's duty is clear

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From The Rev David Lee

Sir: I have great sympathy for the person who wished to be a godparent, and yet was refused the opportunity because he is gay. One of the reasons for this seeming lack of charity lies in popular misunderstandings of what being a godparent involves. And you continue such confusion ("We prefer fairy godparents", 15 August).

An ideal godparent is a person who is a committed Christian. The godparent is asked to be the particular expression of the love which Christ has for children, and which the church as the wider Christian family seeks to express. Accordingly, as a representative of the church, the godparent is asked to devote particular love and care to the spiritual life of the child.

Such commitments are not "highly abstract" as you suggest, but clear and specific. Neither are these commitments about some general humane virtues.Rather, a godparent is invited to help the child grow up to know Jesus Christ as the child's personal friend and guide in life.

Accordingly, what the Lord asks of a godparent is simply what he asks of every disciple, though this may not sit well with the "consumerism" of your comment about "what most of us want from a godparent".

Yours faithfully,

David Lee

Middleton, Warwickshire