One of the real surprises of my experience of priesthood is the ministry of infant baptism. I had imagined that this would be an enjoyable and lighthearted part of the job. Instead, it is one of the aspects of the parish ministry that I look forward to the least and contains the most headaches. Mostly it's about trying to help parents choose appropriate sponsors, i.e. godparents. Many parents seem to try to elect godparents based on their personal and familial allegiances, rather than on the criteria held up by the Church. This wouldn't be a problem in a world where the average Catholic practiced the faith, but unfortunately we find ourselves in the opposite situation.
So one of my routine and most dreaded jobs is the disqualification of proposed godparents, because they have not received Confirmation, are not even Christians ("...but Father, Muslims love Jesus and Mary!" or, "but Father, we Jews know a lot about keeping tradition!") or are simply not practicing the faith and have no intention of taking it up. The canned line I have developed is, "You can't sponsor someone for a journey that are not making yourself."
Nevertheless, I have encountered gray areas. One of them is marital status. What about someone who is otherwise eligible to be a godparent, but who has failed in their obligation to marry according to canonical form, i.e. someone who is married, but "outside the church." Canon law does not address this explicitly, but just says that an eligible sponsor should be living a life of faith in harmony with the sacraments they have received, and be able to give good example. Does this "harmony" and "good example" extend to marrying according to canonical form, i.e. "in church"?
I think that many priests practice a kind of 'don't ask, don't tell' with this sort of thing, and maybe that's why it seems like a gray area: "..but Father, my wife was a godparent for so-and-so, so why am I disqualified?"
So what do you think?
Can a Catholic who is married, but not according to canonical form (and not actively seeking convalidation) be admitted to the role of sponsor for baptism?