Attending a protestant church is a sin?

Hello! So this is only my second post on this site, but I received such great help the first time, I thought I would try again.(quick background: I am not a catholic, to start with. I did not grow up as a christian, but Christ called me to Him nonetheless. I have attended many churches, largely baptist, but I do not really associate myself with a particular faith, if that makes sense.)

I have been told (rather fervently) that a catholic attending a protestant church is near sinful. I understand someone not wanting to go to another church for various reason, but to consider it a sin?? I understand that there may be opposing beliefs even within the catholic community, but could someone shed some light on this? preferably through scripture?

Thank you!!

It’s not a sin if you attend one off events in a non-Catholic church.

Catholics are discouraged from regularly attending non-Catholic worship services. We don’t pretend that we are all the same although we share similar beliefs.

A lot of it has to do with the Sacraments and protecting the persons soul. The Sacraments are an outward sacred expression of an invisible grace. For example in the Catholic Church we do not allow non-Catholics to receive the Eucharist because to do so you need to proclaim the CC is the one true Church and that you believe in it’s Doctrines. When we say the Creed at Mass, we believe it and publicly proclaim it. It is not just an expression, it’s a public acknowledgement. It is placing a non-Catholics soul in danger to knowingly giving them the Eucharist.

Scripturally speaking we believe when Christ expressed that ‘whoever sins you forgive they are forgiven and whoevers sins you say are retained are unforgiven’ he gave the Apostles the right to forgive and retain sins. Christ also appointed Peter (the first Pope) as the head of his Church when he proclaimed ‘you are rock and upon this rock I will build my Church’. These appointments of the first Bishops are successive and have been unbroken and documented from the time of the Apostles till now. Succession of the Bishops first occurred when the eleven first task was replacing Judas.

Only if you’re a catholic and take communion at a Protestant church.

It’s not a sin, but don’t receive their communion or make use of any sacraments other than those within the Catholic Church.

It is not sinful to attend a protestant service. We are all worshiping the same God however it is advisable for a Catholic not to receive the communion as it is not the Eucharist and some may infer that you accept that there is no difference.
My wife is an Anglican and I will sometimes go to her services and she mine but we don’t receive communion in each other’s churches and you cannot substitute going to an Anglican mass with our Sunday obligation to attend a Catholic Mass.

It’s not a sin for a Catholic to occasionally attend a Protestant service. There are several problematic areas, however. First is Communion, which has already been mentioned. Second, a Catholic should not actively participate in Protestant worship. That doesn’t mean that you can’t sing along with a hymn but you shouldn’t behave like a member of the congregation either since a Catholic is there as a visitor. There is also the danger of giving scandal. If your attendance at Protestant services makes others believe that the Catholic Church is not true or that there is no difference between Catholics and Protestants, than your actions could lead someone away from the Church.

The only way it would be sinful is if you attended in lieu of going to mass. We are required to go to mass on Sundays and choosing not to is to not give God just one hour out if our week.

We also should not partake in Protestant communion since it’s not the Eucharist and we are not in communion.

I’m not sure what scripture your looking for, but anything about keeping The Lord’s Day.

Also it’s important you realize that you are our separated brothers. You have followed directly or indirectly schismatics in the church. As such we really should not be a part of it in the sense of going to your church instead of ours.

1 Corinthians 1:10 ESV / 67 helpful votes

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

1 Corinthians 1:12-13 ESV

What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

Ephesians 4:4-5 ESV

There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism,

Romans 16:17 ESV

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.

And St Ignatius if Antioch (BISHOP of Antioch from 57-107AD).

Keep yourselves from those evil plants which Jesus Christ does not tend, because they are not the planting of the Father. Not that I have found any division among you, but exceeding purity. For as many as are of God and of Jesus Christ are also with the bishop. And as many as shall, in the exercise of repentance, return into the unity of the Church, these, too, shall belong to God, that they may live according to Jesus Christ. Do not err, my brethren. If any man follows him that makes a schism in the Church, he shall not inherit the kingdom of God. If any one walks according to a strange opinion, he agrees not with the passion [of Christ.].

-Letter to the Philadelphians Chapter 3

I am a convert from baptist evangelical types of churches. I haven’t been back and feel no need to go back. So much is lacking in those churches, sadly, despite their fervor they are just missing out on so much.

I’m a new Catholic and honestly, most of my friends and family are of different faiths. I’m sure I will visit other non Catholic Christian churches and while I don’t think it sinful, it won’t be enjoyable.

My wife goes to a Mega Church that has very little spiritual depth. (a mile wide and half an inch deep). I grew up as a Southern Baptist and even growing up, I thought them wrong on doctrine. I hate the Mega Church and I feel like my Baptist friends, though I love them dearly, are wrong about so many things that seem so clear in the scriptures. Having said that, I will probably visit the Rock ‘N’ Roll Jesus Church (my nickname for the Mega Church) two or three times this year and probably visit my Baptist friends that many times this year. Pray for me!

this is a issue that absolutely perplexes me . It is the Roman Catholic assertion that only they have valid sacraments and somehow taking communion at a Protestant Church is somehow a SIN-(I forgot they are OK with the sacraments in the Orthodox Churches -but they {the Orthodox} will not give them to roman Catholics or indeed any type of catholic-oh the National Polish catholic Church is OK but actually the Old Catholics have a valid Eucharist but don’t go there) also the Assyrian Church of the east is OK as well( whatever they are)

Why is it a sin? -because they say so period -end of discussion

Lets take a middle of the Road Methodist service-they try to live Christianity to the best of their ability-they follow the formula as stated in scripture and distribute communion occasionally but for a Catholic to receive the communion from these good people is a SIN—

if the RC believe the Eucharist as celebrated at the Methodist Church is invalid-then the RC would only be receiving wine and carbohydrates -yet this is a SIN

I would advise you to follow your quest - it may bring you to Rome and that is fine or it may bring you to the Lutherans which is fine or indeed even my denomination-God gave you a brain and intellect use it

Did you bother to read any of the posts?

It is not a sin.

It is just not allowed because it is deceitful and wrong to say we are " in communion" when we are not.

Brandall,

Blessings on your entry into the Church!

For work, I take an elderly gentleman to a Lutheran service. Everybody now figures me out, most know I am Catholic, and so the dust has settled. Now my client has us sit in the back pew of this small church.

:thumbsup:

Just to be clear, it being deceitful and wrong would make it a sin.

Also, I would add that taking communion or even actively participating in a non-Catholic religious service implies submission to and agreement with the beliefs and institution of that group. I.e., if anyone walked in and saw someone acting as a member of a group, they would assume they were a member of that group. Therefore, one gives approval to that group by one’s actions. This would apply to those solely in schism as well as those with heretical beliefs about worship or other things.

Moreover, when Christian sacraments are in play, then things are more serious. The “sacraments” celebrated in Protestant churches are not true sacraments, but only simulation of sacraments. This would apply to all but baptism and marriage. It’s like the Catholic laywomen who choose to be “ordained” in favorable Methodist or Episcopalian congregations. This is wrong not just because they do not have permission to be ordained (or that their “ordination” is more of a protest). But also because they are not truly being ordained, they are only “aping” it so to speak. And, obviously, Catholics should treat the sacraments with such reverence that participating in distortions of them would be unthinkable.

Exactly. Receiving communion in a Protestant church would almost always be sinful. Other participation may be sinful and occasional attendance would usually not be sinful.

Simulating a Sacrament is a grave sin. Sadly, many Catholics go through years of CCE and never learn this.

Another person agreeing with this.

I’d go if it were something “one-off” as another said like a wedding or a funeral.

I’d also be concerned that it wouldn’t be fair to members of that group. They might infer from my presence that I’m a member or considering becoming one, which I’m not.

I’m sorry…although I get what you’re all saying (and thank you SOOOO much for all of the replies!!!), I still don’t fully understand something…maybe it stems from confusion elsewhere. I can definitely see how receiving communion at another church could be sinful…I guess what I don’t fully understand then is communion itself. Maybe the passages from the bible that I was hoping for pertain to why it is even performed the way it is. I do know the passages regarding the last supper, but, off the top of my head, Christ said something along the lines of -do this often in remembrance of me- …not do this everyday and oh btw this is my actual blood and flesh… I guess I am confused as to where all that came from…I don’t remember (not that it’s not there, just that I don’t remember) anywhere else in the bible that they mentioned consuming the actual body and blood of God on a regular or even rare occasion…it seems like that would be really REALLY important, especially in Paul’s ministry…at what point in “history” did this become a norm for the catholic church??

And thank you everyone for your answers! I am engaged to a catholic, but he has a hard time pulling scripture from the bible. It has all become second nature and was so long ago that he was told “where it all came from” (so to speak) that he has a hard time explaining it from my perspective.

I have visited my stepfather’s church several times when I would go to visit my family in another state (he is a Methodist preacher). I used to visit out of respect for my mom, since my stepfather and I do not see eye-to-eye. I will not receive communion in the Methodist church, because the Methodists, as well as other Protestant religions, consider the communion elements to be symbolic of the true Body and Blood of Christ. I cannot partake of anything that represents the Body and Blood; it has to be the real thing for me.

Matthew 26:26-28 (NABRE)

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins."

Mark 14:22-24

While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many."

Luke 22:19-20

Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.”

Luke 24:13-35

Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?” And he replied to them, “What sort of things?” They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

(continued below)

(continued from above)

John 6:48-69

I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us [his] flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.” These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.” As a result of this, many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

Acts 2:42-47

They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

Note: “breaking of the bread” or “breaking bread” is St. Luke’s term for the Eucharist (as seen above in Luke 24:35). As the above passage from Acts makes clear, the first Christians gathered together to do this every day.

1 Corinthians 11:23-30

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, “**This is my body **that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes. Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.