Can a Catholic worship at a Protestant Church?

Hi, as I mentioned in another thread, I’m considering becoming Catholic, but would like to know if I can:

  1. still worship at my family’s protestant church?
  2. take communion with them at their Anglican Service?

What would be the worst that would happen to me if I insist on going anyway (despite a Catholic priest advising me not to go) and taking communion from time to time: excommunication?


If you aren’t Catholic you are not bound by our teachings. So you are free to go to Church anywhere that you want. You can’t be ex-communicated from something you are not a member of in the first place.

But then I have to ask. Why are you considering becoming Catholic?

When you do become a Catholic, you can still go to their Church. However you have an obligation to attend mass on Sundays, and other Holy Days. So you can go to their church in the morning- but you would need to attend mass as well.
About recieving communion, when you become a Catholic you should not recieve communion at an Anglican service, as it is not truly the Body and Blood soul and divinity of the Lord. You can stay at your seat and say a spiritual communion however.

I’m not sure what happens if you do recieve communion, I just know we are told not to.

You can go to church with your family, yes. Just make sure to still fulfil your Sunday obligation :slight_smile: (which is not really an obligation but a joy, lol, receiving the Eucharist :D). To do this, we go to Mass on Sunday morning or Saturday evening.

  1. take communion with them at their Anglican Service?

No. As a Catholic, you can only receive Communion at a Catholic Church. THis is because taking Communion is a sign of unity. Protestants, including Anglicans, have separated themselves from the Catholic Church, so although we share a faith in Christ and baptism, the unity is not perfect. It would essentially be a lie to receive Communion with them. In addition, only the Catholic and the Orthodox churches have a valid Eucharist… because only they have Apostolic Succession.

What would be the worst that would happen to me if I insist on going anyway (despite a Catholic priest advising me not to go) and taking communion from time to time: excommunication?


You’re allowed to go… but if (as a Catholic) you take communion anywhere except a Catholic church, you are essentially (informally) excommunicating yourself from the Church.

Trust me it’s not worth it. My family is not Catholic, but when I go to their church, I don’t go up for Communion. (even though they’re Orthodox and also have the Eucharist.) When I visit my friends’ Protestant church, I don’t take Communion either. Once I began receiving the Eucharist, I lost the desire to take Communion anywhere else. I explained to my family that as a Catholic I can only receive Communion at a Catholic Church, and they understood.

God bless

Hi Kaste, I think that the questions were, for the most part, answered though I would like to add one thing. Many Anglican communities may soon become Catholic communities and the Church you currently attend may become one of those. Pope Benedict XVI, after seeing the outcry for unity from the Anglicans, has made it possible to bridge the gap (or swim the Tiber). Here is a link to an article written by Father Dwight Longenecker, himself a former Anglican Priest now a Catholic Priest who has become a source of information on this new movement:

You could attend their services on occasion, sure. Are you meaning every week? If so, then you would need to ensure there’s no danger of indifferentism or scandal. You would also need to fulfill your obligation as a Catholic, which is to attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation.


Well, Kaste, a better question would be what do you *really *believe about the Catholic Church if you see no problem thumbing your nose at its most vital teachings regarding the Sacraments and the Church’s authority over us?

First, welcome to the path of conversion! You will find it contains more than you can ever imagine now.

Cardinal Arinze, a particularly wonderful leader, stated that we should avoid going to another sect’s religious ceremonies. In unusual situations, like marriages and funerals, it is okay as with other very extraordinary events.

It is not acceptable to attend, let’s say, Episcopalian mass as a matter of practice. Those who suggest otherwise are mistaken on this point.

The reason for this is that God established a single, universal Church. With that comes a structure to govern and teach the faith. Some Protestants say that they are part of the ‘universal, catholic church.’ They might think they are, but they are not.

To be connected with the Church, one must accept all that the Church teaches. And this can be a scary notion for those considering conversion. I was in the same position you are now. My best advice is don’t get side tracked; 2 000 years of history (plus thousands before Christ’s coming) of every culture means there will be a LOT of stuff in the Catholic Church.

If you accept that the Church is the true Church, then you don’t have to worry about rationalizing every aspect of it. Similarly, you might find ways to serve and worship that differ somewhat from others. As long as we follow the same morals and dogma, this is perfectly fine and to be expected. Everything enhances our love, worship, and desire for perfect union with God.

One last thing: the word ‘Catholic’ has become charged and loaded, entirely unfairly. In other sects, ‘Catholic’ means ‘superticious’ or ‘legalistic’ or ‘ethnic’ or ‘scary men in elaborate robes.’ Catholic is derived from the Greek καθολικός, which just means ‘universal.’

Let us know how your conversion progresses!

On the issue Communion.

Catholic and Orthodox churches have valid priesthoods and offer proper words of consecration. With this proper form, intent, and matter, the bread and wine are transformed into the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ, at whose command we celebrate and receive this sacrifice.

Protestant communion, despite what may or may not be believed, is completely different in that the bread and wine (or juice) is not consecrated. It cannot be possible for a Presbyterian, Anglican, Lutheran, etc. to perform the miracle of transubstantiation.

Catholics absolutely cannot receive Protestant communion because even though the bread and wine (or juice) are not consecrated, reception implies unity with the sect offering the rite (or ‘service’).

But there is another side to this.

Catholics who are in a state of grace, have been to Confession since their last mortal sin, believe that the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood, and are not excommunicated are all called to receive this sacrament. Many do not follow this and thus create confusion for others and place in peril themselves.

It’s important not to see faith as a sociological institution, but as the most real and everlasting thing in the universe. As such, we should make it our prime directive to follow Christ, keep His commandments, and to obtain absolution when we fail. We should want to do nothing that would keep us away from the many gifts He calls us to receive, Communion being one of them.

When I was in college my roommate who was Lutheran and I would attend church together at times. She woiuld go to the altar and receive a blessing at communion and I would do the same at her church. My parish priest said that I could not receive communion there but I could receive a blessing.

Either you misunderstood or the priest was incorrect in his advice. We as Catholics cannot seek the blessings of other clergy (except the Orthodox Churches only for good reason, and they may or may not offer such).

More importantly, we should understand that there is no reason to seek a blessing from a Protestant clergyman. We have priests for this! Priests who trace their ordinations directly to the Apostles. However well-meaning, Protestants do not have valid or licit offices and they preach ‘another Gospel,’ not the true Gospel.

Remember, our priests give up their lives for us. I think we don’t appreciate how great this sacrifice is sometimes.

I was a Protestant and am rather new to the Church and continue to increase my awe and appreciation for the Church.

No excommunitcation since you are not Catholic. After you become Catholic, you should absolutely refrain from receiving communion, and your family should not receive when they attend mass with you.

In the meantime, however, on a practical level, since you have come to believe that Jesus is really present in a valid Eucharist (which is what Jesus intended us to celebrate), why would you want to express communion with something that you no longer agree with?

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