While I respect Fr. Serpa’s answer, is his answer not his interpretation and “opinion” as well?
Well, Fr. Serpa has been to the seminary, studied this sort of stuff, is a Dominican, and, as a priest, he is God’s representative on earth.
His opinion is an expert’s opinion, wheras mine and I assume yours is a layperson’s.
So it is an expert’s opinion I have to respect; also, a priest has a pastoral duty before God to direct others to right action.
OK, this question came up on another Catholic website.
Basically, the reason it is forbidden for a Catholic to attend Protestant services, except for weddings, funerals, and ecumenical reasons, is that there is only one, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ’s which is the Catholic Church.
A priest who responded in this thread also mentioned a Papal Encyclical letter, which he said the Pope stated that Catholics cannot attend Protestant worship services.
OK, I noticed that web page from Catholics United for the Faith mentions Protestant prayer services.
Isn’t that were a group of Protestants gather in a church and just pray?
I’m specifically am referring to the Protestant Sunday Worship service, meaning their Sunday morning or early afternoon weekly service.
I’m not absolutely certain, but I think these are two different things.
There’s Worship services; and then there are prayer meetings.
Here is some of what the other priest wrote at the other forum:
It is wrong to miss Mass without a grave reason.
It is wrong to fully and actively participate in a non-Catholic service.
It is not wrong to attend, in the interests of domestic tranquility, a non-Catholic service so long as we do not fully and actively participate (for example, taking communion) and it is known to those to whom it is relevant (such as our firiends and family) that we do not endorse the service as “just another church service equally valid with the Mass”.
That is my undersatnding.
Jeff, I can cite papal encyclicals, especially **“Mortalium Animos” **of Pope Pius XI and the Vatican II Decree on Ecumenism.
These documents forbid “comunicatio in sacris” which means participating together in worship.
There is no distinction between “actively participate” and “passively participate.”
Do not get confused with the occasional participation in an ecumenical prayer service at which Catholic and Protestant clergy are present together. Those services are carefully planned out so that the faithful will not be exposed to anything which contradicts Catholic teaching.
Also, do not get confused with the occasional attendance at a wedding or funeral, which is done out of some urgent family need for attendance.
Even these ceremonies would be off limits where there is the danger of scandal or exposure to dangers against the faith. The case being discussed here is where one is routinely attending Protestant services and Catholic Mass has not been actively sought out first.
I don’t mind you disagreeing. But for the future, I ask that if you are going to enter a delicate pastoral question such as this, you need to research and back up your assertions with church documents. It gets very confusing when you take a contrary position and don’t cite anything more than “That is my understanding.”
“That is my understanding” sums up well why so many Catholics are Protestantized in their spirituality and approach to worship. The grave error of indifferentism, so vigorously condemned at Vatican I, and with pointed and scathing words against the US Catholic Church by Pope Leo XIII, is now mistaken to be the official Catholic position.
One does not know whether to laugh or cry at the lamentable state of affairs.
Sincerely in Christ,
Now, after I had “laid down the law” there came this quote from Jeff: “While I certainly agree that taking communion in a Presbyterian Church is a sin, I feel the need to specify that I am aware of no Church teaching indicating that we are prohibited from attending such services.”
I know Jeff meant well, but that comment contradicted what I had laid down in my post in that one could conclude that “Father’s advice was correct to the point of prohibiting communion, but then he went too far, got too strict, and presented more pre-Vatican II thinking.”
Now, Jeff did not say I was misleading, but he did say “I just want to make sure that the advice we are giving to Diana is accurate.” So, perhaps I am being too strict. And perhaps now I am not totally accurate.
At the end of his post, Jeff states again that in his understanding, “It is not wrong to attend, in the interests of domestic tranquility, a non-Catholic service so long as we do not fully and actively participate (for example, taking communion) and it is known to those to whom it is relevant (such as our firiends and family) that we do not endorse the service as “just another church service equally valid with the Mass”.”
This is what caused me to be a bit blunt. I wanted to present clarity for the sake of practical decisions that must be made according to the mind of the Church, the Magisterium. I am not trying to bully Jeff or anyone else from asking questions. I firmly believe that quoting our sources is essential and do not wish to see anyone tied down to my answers alone.
And I am glad that Jeff raised the issue of the Ecumenical Directory. It gave me the opportunity to state that although the Catholic Church has striven to reach out to Protestants with Christian fellowship and love, it has not abandoned its traditional caution in dealing with participation in Protestant worship
Sincerely in Christ,