Attending my brother's church (and vice versa)


#1

My brother has invited my family several times to attend his nonCatholic church on a Sunday. A part of me knows he’s just happy and would like to share that, but he has let me know that he’s planning to get my DH up to say the ‘sinners prayer’. :rolleyes:

My brother and I were baptised Catholic as infants, but that’s as much as our parents did. (Our mom is Catholic - Dad ??)
So, he felt the tug and started attending a church that apparently preaches against the Catholic church. (Not sure about that, but he has mentioned to me there’s no Biblical basis for confession (I know that’s not true) and spoken negatively about Mary.
He’s never studied Catholicism from a Catholic source…so I know where he’s coming from.

I’m on a different path, currently attending RCIA to be in full communion with the RCC.

Well, I decided it might be nice to attend his church. I didn’t want to give an ‘us vs them’ attitude. HOWEVER, I was thinking that I should invite him to attend Mass. Now, he’d NEVER come to Mass on Sunday because he wouldn’t miss his church service.
So, I’d be the one that needed to make accomodations by either attending Saturday evening mass the weekend I’d go to his church OR attend his service, then find a Mass at another church in the afternoon or evening on Sunday…because our church doesn’t have one.

Finally, to my question :o would it be very rude to say something to the effect of, “I’ll attend your church if you’ll attend mine.” ? What if he won’t attend Mass with us? It feels rude to say since you won’t come to Mass w/ us, then I’m not going with you.

(which I KNOW he would NOT miss his Sunday church service so we’d all have to go Saturday night)

Thanks for reading all that. If all that made sense to you :smiley: I’d appreciate your thoughts.


#2

It would give a great witness to attend his service and invite him to Mass the following Saturday when you agree to attend his with him. If he won’t come, go to his anyway and show that your faith is apparently more secure than his. Get a copy of Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating to brush up on quick answers/critiques he may offer about the Catholic religion.


#3

If I’m wrong, I apologize in advance, but I think I see your fear. You’re afraid that somehow he will get your husband up there to say the “sinner’s prayer” at the altar call, aren’t you? And you’re afraid that somehow he is going to try to derail your plans for your Confirmation, huh?

I don’t see the harm in asking him to go to Mass with you on Saturday. If you feel he is baiting you, or trying to derail you, then you ar the only one who can answer the question: Do you feel you and your husband are strong enough to attend his chuch on Sunday without the reciprocation of his attending Mass on Saturday?


#4

While you may decide that attending would be the best course, there are many factors to consider when making that decision.

Would attending endanger your faith? Do you understand the Catholic Faith well enough to understand the theological differences? If your brother or another member of the congregation attacks the Catholic Church using some of the common misconceptions (worshipping Mary, worshipping cookies, worshipping the Saints, being sexist, corrupt popes disprove the Catholic Faith, etc.), how will it affect you? Do you have sufficient confidence in the Catholic Church that even if an argument against the Catholic Faith is presented that you cannot refute on the spot or do not know the answer to, it will not shake your faith?

Would attending endanger the faith of your family? If you have children, this is especially an issue. Would your attending the service of another faith lead them to indifferentism, the belief that it does not matter which faith you belong to?

How would your brother interpret your attendance? How would your brother’s children interpret your attendance? Would this lead them to believe that you support their faith? Would they think that you don’t see a significant difference between different faiths, between their faith and the Catholic Faith?

Do you know what is allowed when attending the service of another faith? Would you (or your family) be tempted to participate in ways that are not allowed? (receiving communion, altar call) The attraction of either fitting in or having everybody celebrate your actions can be quite strong.

What purpose would be served in attending?
What harm would be done by not attending?

I would in general be cautious of attending without a specific reason. On the other hand, if I thought doing so would result in someone gaining a greater appreciation of the Catholic Faith, that could be a noble reason. A special celebration, such as a family member’s baptism or marriage (assuming that there is no reason that those sacraments would be invalid), would be more than sufficient reason. There are also other good reasons; I’m not trying to list them all. Likely, if there is a good reason to go, you’ll have no difficulty recognizing it, I’m more interested in listing possible concerns that you may not think to consider.

Also, congratulations on your upcoming Confirmation. You might consider inviting your brother to the ceremony. (They tend to be incredibly beautiful and inspiring services as well; I love Easter Vigil at the Newman Center here.) Since you are in RCIA, your sponsor might also be a good person for advice on this question.


#5

[quote=Maria3m]My brother has invited my family several times to attend his nonCatholic church on a Sunday. A part of me knows he’s just happy and would like to share that, but he has let me know that he’s planning to get my DH up to say the ‘sinners prayer’. :rolleyes:

[/quote]

Don’t go. He’s already let you know that he’s planning to “divide and conquer” you and your DH, why invite that kind of discord into your marriage? It would be nice if you could go in the true spirit of supporting each other, but he’s made it clear that he’s not going to support you and he’s aggressively challenging your marriage (thinking that if he can hook your DH, your DH can make you fall in line with what your brother wants). Sorry to be so blunt or sound uncharitable, but I have a brother who is also of a different faith, I’ve been through this and your story sounds oh so familiar.


#6

Tell him that you say the “sinner’s prayer” in every Mass, it goes like this “I confess to Almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault…” and just grin :slight_smile:


#7

[quote=Maria3m]My brother has invited my family several times to attend his nonCatholic church on a Sunday. A part of me knows he’s just happy and would like to share that, but he has let me know that he’s planning to get my DH up to say the ‘sinners prayer’. :rolleyes:

[/quote]

What is the “sinner’s prayer”?

And who says that DH has to go with you?

Is you hubby a Catholic?


#8

[quote=jazzbaby1]Don’t go. He’s already let you know that he’s planning to “divide and conquer” you and your DH, why invite that kind of discord into your marriage? It would be nice if you could go in the true spirit of supporting each other, but he’s made it clear that he’s not going to support you and he’s aggressively challenging your marriage (thinking that if he can hook your DH, your DH can make you fall in line with what your brother wants). Sorry to be so blunt or sound uncharitable, but I have a brother who is also of a different faith, I’ve been through this and your story sounds oh so familiar.
[/quote]

I completely agree. Maria, you and your dh are under no obligation to attend your brother’s church. All he wants is to pull you out of the Catholic Church. As a former Pentecostalist, I know this is the case. All you have to say is the truth–that his new religion doesn’t interest you or your dh. You are perfectly happy in the Catholic Church where Jesus is the center of worship and the reason you are Catholic. That will throw him for a loop. He will not be happy and might shun you, but eventually he’ll soften and then you will have the opportunity of sharing your faith with him, especially since you will have completed RCIA and have studied your faith a bit more.


#9

[quote=DJgang]What is the “sinner’s prayer”?
[/quote]

It is a prayer that Protestants, esp. evangelical, Pentecostal, and Anabaptist stylings of denominations use to “bring people to the Lord”. Its elements are along the lines of, “Lord Jesus, I am a sinner. Thank you for dying for my sins. Please come into my heart.” Most Protestants who advocate such a prayer teach that this is ALL that is necessary for salvation, and once a person says this prayer and means it, that person need never worry about salvation again.


#10

[quote=OutinChgoburbs]It is a prayer that Protestants, esp. evangelical, Pentecostal, and Anabaptist stylings of denominations use to “bring people to the Lord”. Its elements are along the lines of, “Lord Jesus, I am a sinner. Thank you for dying for my sins. Please come into my heart.” Most Protestants who advocate such a prayer teach that this is ALL that is necessary for salvation, and once a person says this prayer and means it, that person need never worry about salvation again.
[/quote]

Oh, like the altar call…and you whisper the prayer after the preacher, on your knees in front of everyone.

I just had never heard it called the “sinners prayer”…

Guess that’s why I left the Baptist church, I didn’t want my children raised thinking they HAD to come forward , etc. like I did! :frowning:


#11

[quote=DJgang]Oh, like the altar call…and you whisper the prayer after the preacher, on your knees in front of everyone.

I just had never heard it called the “sinners prayer”…

Guess that’s why I left the Baptist church, I didn’t want my children raised thinking they HAD to come forward , etc. like I did! :frowning:
[/quote]

One of my Protestant (Baptist) cousins used to attempt to get us to say it. His sister tried to get us to teach the “incantations and spells” she was told we learned from the sisters at Catholic school. :wink:


#12

A lot of Evangelicals (especially Baptists) are very big on the whole, dramatic emotional alter call, people coming forward in droves, tears and all to make a big public profession of their faith. No offense to any who are sincere in their hearts, but it all seems a bit showy to me. My first moment of realization as to the truth of Christ as my Savior came when I was alone in my room, just me and my Bible. But apparently, when I started attending church with my father (a Baptist church), I had to say the whole sinner’s prayer in front of somebody to make it official. I didn’t like the implication that my accepting Christ as my Savior didn’t count without a witness. There’s a reason I was never very comfortable in those kinds of churches.


#13

[quote=OutinChgoburbs]One of my Protestant (Baptist) cousins used to attempt to get us to say it. His sister tried to get us to teach the “incantations and spells” she was told we learned from the sisters at Catholic school. :wink:
[/quote]

Oh, my gosh :rotfl:


#14

[quote=Maria3m]My brother has invited my family several times to attend his nonCatholic church on a Sunday. A part of me knows he’s just happy and would like to share that, but he has let me know that he’s planning to get my DH up to say the ‘sinners prayer’. :rolleyes:

My brother and I were baptised Catholic as infants, but that’s as much as our parents did. (Our mom is Catholic - Dad ??)
So, he felt the tug and started attending a church that apparently preaches against the Catholic church. (Not sure about that, but he has mentioned to me there’s no Biblical basis for confession (I know that’s not true) and spoken negatively about Mary.
He’s never studied Catholicism from a Catholic source…so I know where he’s coming from.

I’m on a different path, currently attending RCIA to be in full communion with the RCC.

Well, I decided it might be nice to attend his church. I didn’t want to give an ‘us vs them’ attitude. HOWEVER, I was thinking that I should invite him to attend Mass. Now, he’d NEVER come to Mass on Sunday because he wouldn’t miss his church service.
So, I’d be the one that needed to make accomodations by either attending Saturday evening mass the weekend I’d go to his church OR attend his service, then find a Mass at another church in the afternoon or evening on Sunday…because our church doesn’t have one.

Finally, to my question :o would it be very rude to say something to the effect of, “I’ll attend your church if you’ll attend mine.” ? What if he won’t attend Mass with us? It feels rude to say since you won’t come to Mass w/ us, then I’m not going with you.

(which I KNOW he would NOT miss his Sunday church service so we’d all have to go Saturday night)

Thanks for reading all that. If all that made sense to you :smiley: I’d appreciate your thoughts.
[/quote]

I don’t know about the rudeness of saying, “I’ll attend your church if you’ll attend mine.” I don’t think I’d find it rude if someone said it to me. You can certainly tell your brother that you object to going to a church where your beliefs are going to be misrepresented and/or attacked. Judging from your brother’s anti-Catholic statements, I’d say this is probably the case at his church. In my mind, it’s rude to invite someone to a place where you know they and their beliefs will be demonized. I could very well be wrong about the situation, but I would question your brother on his motives and ask him whether his pastor is likely to say anti-Catholic things from the pulpit.


#15

I don’t know that having your brother attend Mass with you would even be the best thing. If he has misconceptions about the Catholic Church, I don’t think being at Mass will change those misconceptions and might possibly confirm his “fears” when he sees people genuflect, bow, pray to “ask the Virgin Mary and all the angels and saints”, those are just some thoughts off the top of my head. For sharing your Catholic faith, I would recommend the book route. Catholicism and Fundamentalism is a great one that someone recommended, also Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic is a great one.

I wouldn’t necessarily decline going to church with him, but I would be careful about taking my family there, especially if you have children that might be confused. Maybe go by yourself once just to satisfy him, but let him know that your beliefs are very different from his, and you won’t be attending there on a regular basis.

In the meantime, just give short and sweet answers to his comments–I like that one about the “sinner’s prayer”, that we say it every week! Catholic Answers has some great resources for apologetics–study up so you will have an answer for him, and even if you don’t have an answer right away, look it up later, and email him an article or give him something to read.

God bless! Those non-denoms are hard to deal with sometimes. I know, I’m married to one!


#16

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.