Attending a Protestant Church


No problem, I think that it is good you go with your wife but I’m sorry for you that you get some kind of Protestant bashing from the Priest.

Have you ever considered becoming Catholic though?


Right it is not a sin to simply attend, but whether it is reasonable to go considering it’s just to meet and greet rather than to partake of the service is my dilemma.


I totally agree, and my wife had given me the option to not go last time we had this predicament, but that also puts me in a compromising position as my in laws and my wife would be displeased, and it would cause a conflict and resentment.

Things have changed a lot wife my wife and her growth in the faith but she still is thinking of going just to greet people. Like you said, it doesn’t sound like a good enough reason to sit through a service just to say hello and show your face.

For my in-laws it’s like hey look we got them to come and worship with us, and they are one of us, at least for today, when we really are not in agreement with their teaching or church all the way.

There are points which are good and true like in most churches but on the whole my wife condemns the anti-catholic ignorance more than I do.


Honestly, I just figured I’d convert sometime shortly after getting married but as I started attending Mass more and more with my wife after our wedding (that took two parishes to do, because the one my wife and kid’s are at now wouldn’t do it…because I’m not Catholic) and I saw how Catholics (especially around here apparently) looked down on NC’s and were very exclusive of NC’s (I wouldn’t be invited to church events, but my wife and kids would/are) and anything with my name on it (in the directory, church mailbox, mailers, etc…) had an asterisk next to it, I just don’t need to be a part of it if they don’t want me to. If they do, that’s one of the strangest strategies of evangalization I’ve ever seen.


Well, I have experienced similar behavior coming from Protestants, but I wouldn’t generalize and say all of them have the same attitude.

The reason to become Catholic is not for the social aspect, or because Catholics are nice and treat you nice. The only reason to believe in Catholicism is because it is true. That is the only good reason to believe in anything.

For every ten bad Catholics, there is a least one Saint, and I mean Saint. The Catholic Church produces more Saints and holy people than any other religion. If you can just socialize with that one near-saint in your parish, you would find your welcome. That is because Saints have submitted their wills to God and do God’s will. Those who look down on you and act accordingly are not doing God’s will.


You have both a religious problem and a cultural one. Your wife, as a good daughter, wants to please her parents. I can see that being made unwelcome doesn’t leave you with much desire to go to this church. You could ask your father in law, who you say is an elder in the church to ask his fellow church goers to show more respect to you and your family as good Christians should. If they are the ones who are inviting you they should behave as good hosts. I would make this very clear to them that whatever their objections to Catholicism, they should give you every courtesy when invited to their events.

Put the ball in their court. Let them know if you are made to feel uncomfortable then there will be no more visits to that church. And the kids go where you go. So if they want to show off their grandchildren to their church friends they will have to behave in a more Christ-like manner.

but spell it out, don’t dance around the subject or nothing will change


This thread reminds me of my first visit to Italy.

I’m a convert, the first Catholic for at least 3 generations. All of the rest of my family are devout Christians, many in full time ministry. My family is also very outgoing, smart, and we tend to love sarcasm and snappy repartee.

So, the same year I converted, we decided to take a “mom and siblings” trip to visit our youngest sib who was in the Military in Italy. Of course, it was a game for the first couple of days, every time we came across a statue (and there is a statue every meter or so!) my brother would ask “do we need to stop so you can worship that one?” In good jest, not in an ugly way.

Anyway, third night there was Wednesday evening. My sis and her family attended a small non-denominational congregation that had Wed evening Bible Study. We all head over to the little storefront meeting place.

Seems there was a flu or something, only a handful of people showed up, our family outnumbered the others. The pastor of this congregation was American, some other military folks were there and some native Italians.

We started the study, and we were going around introducing ourselves. As a new convert, I did mention that I was a recent Convert and was excited to be in Italy as we were going to Rome a few days later.

One of the locals almost came out of his chair. In his lovely Italian accent this young man started on how the Catholic Church was wrong and corrupt and how he had been saved and was never a Christian before - very passionate and very strongly anti-Catholic. That he was not allowed to read the Bible when he was Catholic, all of the same ole things.

Now, I’m a new Catholic, and my BIL was a little bit shocked how the native Italians had turned on me. The amazing thing, the pastor of this Congregation stepped in - he was working on his PHd in some form of Divinity School and he knew his history and his theology. He began to back up everything I said. When his own pastor was taking the side of the Catholic Church, that young man got up and walked out!

After all of those years, I have never again been “attacked” in person in a non-Catholic church event of any sort. I’m not at all hiding my Catholicism - heck, one Christmas visit our son habitually genuflected before entering the pew at my folks’ service! LOL!

I think that most people mirror back our own attitudes. If we focus on what we have in common, if we show joy and love and when these non-Catholics see that I love Jesus, read my Bible, pray, walk the walk, they are kind in return.


I agree

Yes, and I want to be a good son-in-law and husband. I surely don’t want to go against God’s will if for some good reason he can work through me being there, but in my experience it is like God is saying don’t linger too long. God’s will be done.


Thank you for sharing your story, I think of Italy as being nearly homogeneously Catholic, even if nominally Catholic in some places, with very few Protestant churches.

That’s funny about your son genuflecting, I can relate to that.

I wouldn’t mind if there was joking about my faith in good spirits and understanding, but blame from people who don’t know you and don’t know Catholicism at all it can be a turn off.

I guess I felt guilty because I was hiding my Catholicism when I visited their Church, and was just going along with everything they did to be a pleasant guest. Perhaps that is part of why I didn’t like being there, I couldn’t be myself. I have no one to blame but myself for that though. When people asked me if I’m allowed to have a Bible, or worship Mary though, I definitely refuted that, and so did my wife.

Whenever I went to their church I would try to focus on the commonalities, and there are many, and that is good, but on the other hand there is only so far you can go before you butt up against differences, and those are many as well.

I never said anything about what they believe or criticized what they believe even once, at least not in their presence, I would also talk to my wife alone later on about what was wrong or untrue.


Attending a non-Catholic church has to be that Catholic’s decision based on certain reasons that he/she are faced with. Somtimes it is the reality that we have to face and thus decide accordingly. I think you are fine.

My only concern is that you went many times. Perhaps you had to but since the first reason that you went was to be polite to your in-laws, I would question the other visits.

Number two, it seemed that you did not like to be there, then all the more why the subsequence visits.

I think you have no choice but to make it clear that you are Catholic, and it is important to you as much as their belief is important to theirs. You can visit because you are invited, and you were gracious enough to come, but it should stop there. Their community would know by now that you are a Catholic and you are not one if them. Sure they have all kinds of activities but which you do not have to keep up with.

I am concerned too that your wife should still participate in a major way (singing) in their service. It has come to a point in time when she left the old life and started the new; maybe some of those participations in her old church should be considered as things to be left behind too.

All the best and God bless.


I never said all of them had the same attitude, but here, in my experience that is the view they have of NCs so that’s what I have to go off and where I’d need to go to church. I can’t look down my nose at other Christians, how I’m viewed now. That’s not how I was raised. My wife has bounced between two parishes now due to thhe way I, as a NC, have been treated. Like I said, her home parish wouldn’t even perform her wedding because of me.

That is a hurdle and an experience that I may not get over. This parish is pushing away the few mixed marriage families. Kind of sad really

When I meet that person, the saint, you’ll be the first to know.


As I said, your first duty is to God. I would be more concerned about offending Him if I were you than I would offending your wife and in-laws. Your wife and your in-laws, whether they will openly admit it or not, are trying to get you to revert to Protestantism.

Remember, you can’t serve two masters. Your masters, in this case, are God and collectively, your wife (subconsciously) and her parents.

Before my mother became Catholic, she had been raised in the Protestant churches of her parents (Methodist and Church of Christ). I felt God tugging at me to get her back into church whether it was Catholic or Protestant. So we made a bargain. I told her we would go to a different service each week, one, of course, being Mass because I wasn’t going to give that up even for her. The fourth week, we would go to the church she had decided to attend and I would then continue going to Mass on my own.

So the first week, we went to Mass. She was terrified that everyone would know she was a Protestant and begged me to sit with her during Holy Communion. I agreed even though it hurt me deeply not to receive Him that Sunday. But a promise is a promise. I was afraid she’d bolt if I didn’t hold her hand.

After Mass was over, I told Mama she could choose which of her Protestant churches we’d go to the following week. I guess she’d seen how upset I was even though I was making this sacrifice for her. She decided to continue coming to Mass with me. A few years after that, she converted and became Catholic herself. i was her Sponsor. And the happiest moment for me was seeing her receive Jesus in the Eucharist for the very first time. I had tears of joy when that happened.

It sounds like your in-laws haven’t fully accepted that your wife has converted and that their grandchildren are being raised Catholic and are trying to use their parental influence over their daughter to get you and them to return to the church she grew up in.


Genuflecting is a sign of respect to God present in the Eucharist. Hence it is towards the Tabernacle. Or if it is one of those that put the Tabernacle away in some room, it can also be to the altar which is merely symbolic for Christ.
A protestant service does not have that!


Then this will concern you as well, I have been a guest soloist at non-Catholic churches and even at secular events. Singing is one thing we have in common, from singing with your family in the car on a long trip to singing carols to strangers, singing is part of the human experience.

Unless she is singing a hymn called 'All Hail How Bad Them Catholics Be", I’m guessing she is okay.


That really depends on the service, I’d be very slow to make such a blanket statement any more. You’re not likely to hear any exciting anti-Catholic sermons in an Anglican Church for example, you’ll probably get a better class of music though than in ours, in fact judging from the musical talent in my own parish you could hardly avoid getting better levels of music somewhere else. Been told not to make the sign of the Cross is something I’d not bear with I’m sorry to say for anyone, Also I would neve dream of running down someone else’s faith when they were a guest in my home, that is simply poor manners.


I believe you meant to reply to someone else?


Hi TheLittleLady. I does not concern me if you are singing (in a secular event). I too sometimes tried it out in karaoke in public functions. I tell you, my years of singing in praise and worship of the Lord does come in handy when it comes to singing.

My concern was taking part in a Protestant service, if you are a Catholic. I did qualify that it was alright to oblige the parents but it is a concern if it should become habitual.

As a Catholic, my advice would be that - why would a Catholic participate in a Protestant service and tangibly so?


To join in what unites us. To let your light shine before men so that they see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven. Because Jesus told me that by this will all men know I am His disciple, by the love I have for others.


Sorry, it is just relativism. There is no reason for a Catholic to participate in a Protestant service. He/she can go for her/his own mass, and if Sundays and days of obligation is not enough, go for the daily mass. There are many more to take part in, like Novenas, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, saying the Rosary together, go for the prayer meetings, join the Catholic women league and take part in their activities, etc., and etc.

No, Protestant service is not for Catholics. Only for certain reasons would they go there as in the OP but it should never to partake in their service or for religious reason.


I will sometimes attend a Protestant service for informational purposes. It is never instead of Mass, but in addition to. Sometimes you can pick up some very good info to later be used as an opportunity to evangelize.

If you never attend a service, you’re arguing from ignorance. If you have been there, you arguing from assurity.

One thing I universally seem to find. I have never felt Christ’s presence at a Protestant mega church. Contrary wise, I have never NOT felt Christ’s presence at the Mass.

Just my 2 centavos.


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