Sicilian church leaders ban godparents at baptisms

Religious leaders in Catania issued a three-year ban on naming godparents at baptisms this month. They claim many families enlist local power brokers to be their children’s compari because they are more interested in securing gold necklaces and networking opportunities for their family than spiritual leadership, according to the New York Times.

Bishops and priests in the Sicilian region also shared concerns that the now mainly secular custom can embolden organized crime figures, as Archbishop Giuseppe Fiorini Morosini reportedly argued in a letter to Pope Francis in 2014.

“It’s an experiment,” Msgr Salvatore Genchi, the vicar general of Catania, reportedly said of the ban.

Although Genchi is the godfather to at least 15 godchildren, he argued that most of the diocese’s godparents were not cut out for juggling so many responsibilities, according to the article.

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