Can a Catholic participate with a non-Catholic Christian organization?

To what extent can a Catholic participate with non-Catholic Christian organizations: churches, non-profits, NGOs, mission organizations, ministries, charities, schools, etc?


Well of course,tsring, it is a good thing to promote and encourage goodness, good works no matter the source, however, we Catholics have many , many excellent charitable helps to associate with,not only in the world over but also in our very own parishes. God bless and Peace, Carlan

You can participate to the extent that the organization is not at odds with the mission and teachings of the Church.

Thanks for the answer, but do not all non-Catholic Christian organs have some element that is at odds with the mission and teachings of the Church? :hmmm:


It depends upon the organization and what it does.

I think most would be OK, but it’s a case by case thing.

If they support things that are against the Catholic faith (and some do), then you shouldn’t work with them.

What about this one: or (

I’ve worked with the first, though not as a Catholic. I’m wondering if I should continue to work with them and in what capacity (assuming they would continue to work with me).

What if they teach salvation by faith alone? What if they plant non-Catholic churches?

There is no reason why a Catholic cannot participate in ministries with non-Catholics that benefit others in some ways, such as soup kitchens, food drives, shelters, etc. In our areas there are churches that have come together to serve community meals for the homeless or have food pantries together. Our local Right-to Life organization has members of many different churches that support it and work together.

If an organization is prosetylizing, though, to their belief system, I would stay away from it. Works of charity should not be a front for trying to prosetylize people into a particular denomination. I have seen that done. But there is no reason why Christians cannot come together to serve the poor or for some other good cause.

Those organizations look like someone wants their outdoor vacations to be tax deductible. LOL. And get others to donate to pay for their vacations! :eek:

So, these organizations are totally cool with you standing up and evangelizing that Jesus founded one churched, prayed for its unity, and you know what that one church is? Then you whip out your yellow and white flag and start sharing how to be a part of Christ’s body in His Church!

Yeah. I didn’t think so.

Some seekers never want to find.

If you like outdoorsy stuff, why not try to get a job with Wyoming Catholic College in Lander WY? Lovely place–I’ve camped and climbed there myself.:thumbsup:

I agree, this is a great way to foster unity: “…- collaboration among Christians in various areas of service to mankind. ‘Human service’ is the idiomatic phrase” (CCC 820-821 - talking about steps toward Christian unity)

:hmmm: You got me thinking on this one. I agree that works of charity shouldn’t be a front for proselytizing. They should be genuine - meaning they should be done without strings attached. But does that exclude leading people to Christ? Doesn’t He pretty much sum up the word charity? Isn’t He the reason we do these works of charity? Isn’t the very real and powerful way to meet Him by participating in the Mass and taking the Blessed Sacrament? If so, why wouldn’t we invite everyone to come to the table? :rolleyes:

Personally, I believe in a holistic approach, the Church does what Jesus did - converts sinners in charity. He fed the hungry, and he preached the kingdom. My patron saint - St. John of God - converted several of his patients to Christ and the Catholic Church. Remember there are both corporal and spiritual works of mercy:

“To teach in order to lead others to faith is the task of every preacher and of each believer. Lay people also fulfill their prophetic mission by evangelization, ‘that is, the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life.’…This witness of life, however, is not the sole element in the apostolate; the true apostle is on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers…or to the faithful” (CCC 904-905).

Good article by our Pope the way: :thumbsup:


I have an old pamphlet entitled “Why a Catholic Cannot Join the YMCA”. The thesis is that the Ys (both YM and YW) were started by Protestant laity and still have bits and pieces of Protestantism attached. For example, in this city the Y has a chapel and it sponsors an Easter sunrise service.

Yet, I find that the YM here has a very large number of Catholics. Several Catholics are on its board. 

 That seems to be a classic case where the position of the church changed over the years. 

 Then, of course, it was a serious sin for a Catholic to worship in a Protestant church when I was a kid. Since Vatican II this has changed, and now there are ecumenical services. Church Women United was first organized by Protestants, but in this community Catholic women are very involved.

 I think the changes are great. Wasn't it silly, arrogant and even sinful to assume such a hostile policy toward fellow Christians in years past? I think so.

There has been a huge change in the Catholic Church toward ecumenism with other Christians since Vatican ll, but unfortunately there are a lot of Protestant Churches out there that have not returned the favor.:shrug:

A Catholic can participate in these organizations to the extent that he is not contributing or supporting activities contrary to the Gospel and Christian morality. For instance he cannot support an agency that promotes directly artificial contraception, abortion, or other anti-life oppressive policies, that does not protect the family, that teaches doctrine contrary to the Faith, and so forth. For instance he could participate in an outreach that builds homes for the needy, but not one that preaches a false doctrine to those aid recipients. He can support an agency that researches cures for disease but not one that funds amoral research such as fetal stem cell.

Catholics here in the valley had a dilemma for a long time, because the only private pregnancy counselling service that worked against abortion was founded and run by Evangelical Christians (some of the most Christlike, courageous and dedicated people I have ever been privileged to know). However their approach did include proselytizing their clients and so support & volunteering was problematic. Now some equally Christlike, dedicated and courageous Catholics have started pregancy centers to carry on the work without the overt preaching aspect directed to clients. The agencies are mutually supportive, not competetive, and together strengthen the Christian pro-life witness here immeasurably, and the response of Catholic laity and clergy has been great.

It would seem that way at first glance, but in actuality no. The leader of Climbing for Christ quit his job and hasn’t received any income since. All their money goes to their projects like building an orphanage in Africa; bringing clean water, medical supplies, and building churches for Haitians and Nepali; supporting persecuted Christians, etc. When they had an evangelistic project to mountaineers on Denali - he shut it down, because he felt like the focus was too into climbing the mountain itself (too vacation like). Personally I spent 3 years of my life organizing a training project for Chinese mountain guides (these people are poor, but guide climbers up their mountain for extra income) so they could better their safety and start a sustainable tourism business while during that time I received no support. Instead, my wife and I worked in China for our own income while doing it (and now that we’re back in the States - we are well below the poverty level). And the guiding instructors who came with us used their own hard earned money as well. The only donations given were from our own pocket books as we bought some starter equipment for the local guides to help get their business going. (Sorry I’m a little defensive about this).

Certainly I would do this. Whether they would let me…I don’t know? Most of them are certainly uncomfortable with the division between their own denominations, and are really looking for the universal Church. This division is acutely felt in ecumenical protestant missions and para-church organizations, as believers from different backgrounds strive to work together. If me being amongst them does not cause them to consider unifying with the Catholic Church, maybe at least they could gain some respect, while dispelling some of the prejudices against Catholics that are so ingrained in some protestant circles. Or maybe since they are working in some Catholic countries, I should persuade them to not try to convert Catholics (this happened in YWAM some time back and now YWAM has Catholic teams as well).


Now that’s an idea :thumbsup:

OK, I didn’t mean to put you on the defensive–I just didn’t know enough.

As a door to door Catholic evangelist previously, our focus wasn’t necessarily on converting everyone to become Catholic, but to encourage people in their Christian faith journey and practice, please go to church, you’re welcome at ours if you want to come to ours, here’s a picture of Jesus (free gift), if you have questions about the Catholic faith, we’re happy to answer them, let’s pray the Lord’s Prayer together. In the poor neighborhood, we’d explain our Martha’s Portion thrift store and give a coupon–a quarter to fill up a brown grocery sack of anything they want in the store and explain what we had in the store.

People were really heart-warmed to ave a kind, encouraging visit to share and build up faith, with no obligation, and free gifts! We had a tote bag with pamphlets about different topics–apologetical and devotional. The most popular were the devotional ones, especially How To Read The Bible. A lot of Bible Christians haven’t actually read the Bible! If you just clue people in to read the Gospels first, it helps.

Why weren’t we trying to make everyone Catholic? Because all Christians are already Catholic, however imperfectly. :thumbsup: We recognize the validity and gifts and graces of different traditions.

A lot of Christian organizations that proselytize don’t view Catholics as Christians. Are they encouraging people to invigorate their faith life within their Catholic faith? Or take them away from it? I don’t view the latter approach as legitimate.

Ask an Irish Catholic about why their forebears were proud not to have “taken the soup.”

“We didn’t take the soup!” - a proud Irish Catholic claim. :smiley:

There are certainly some non-Catholic Christian organizations that do lead Catholics away from their faith. Do the two organizations that I previously worked with actively promote this? I haven’t seen it, but I haven’t been with them on their trips to countries that have Catholic populations. And like I said, since I do have a relationship with them, I think this is an issue I should raise.

When I was a missionary in China, I was resolved to do evangelism with non-Christians. Many were atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, and Muslims.

I appreciate hearing your experience of door to door evangelism though. :slight_smile:


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