Can Catholics attend a Protestant service?

You know as well as I do that there isn’t a lot that Catholics agree on too. Look at all the factions in Catholicism. Something about people in glass houses…

try googling the percentage of Catholics that support abortion. Catholics are the ones that are allowing abortion supporting politicians to stay in office. If Catholics could be counted on to vote against pro abortion politicians, it would be difficult for abortion to exist.

I grew up in a Baptist Church and loved my time there. A very good friend of mine is now pastoring that church and I visit when I can. Last week was one of those times.

I love the Catholic Church and there are things there that I can find nowhere else. I’m more comfortable now, than I ever have been being in a body of believers where their doctrine was more like my own.

There are things about my old Baptist Church that are unique too. They are very friendly and outgoing, they love God and it’s a shame that there has always been a doctrinal wedge in between me and them. However, if you went to a Baptist Church for a month, there would be very little you would hear there that you would dispute. The sermons are better, the Baptist Hymnal is better and the Baptists actually sing the songs. I’ll visit again and it will be enjoyable. It’s not the Catholic Church but it is certainly an honorable worship.

Wait! Are you calling me a flawed and imperfect sinner??!

Put 'em up! :smiley:

You will find many differing opinions across the whole spectrum of Catholicism. For instance here is one from a CAL apologist…

In the first place a Catholic has no business attending Protestant church services even occasionally. To participate in a heretical worship service and especially a communion service can be sinful for a Catholic because such an act is an affirmation of what we believe to be untrue. To attend an ecumenical service or a wedding or baptism is allowed, but Catholics are not allowed to attend such churches for the main reason of worship. Now if there are no Catholic churches in the vicinity on a Sunday, Catholics are allowed to participate in the Liturgy of Churches whose clergy are validly ordained such as the Eastern Orthodox Churches—including the reception of the Eucharist. Although we consider them to be in schism (not in union with the Pope) with the Catholic Church, such Churches are not heretical and share our basic beliefs.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

I think the ecumenical benefit that the Catholic Church is talking about is a prayer service as Fr. Serpa is alluding to not an actual worship service in a protestant community.

I’ve read Fr. Serpa’s opinion on the matter and disagree with him.

You will note that the reason the OP cited for wanting to attend is NOT because he misses their services or wishes to worship as they do, but because he misses the PEOPLE who all happen to be there in one place at one time.

So while Fr. Serpa’s opinion has significant merit, I’m not sure I’d always agree with him and I don’t think the context of his opinion is directly applicable here.

To the OP, don’t mind us. We like to examine issues for the mental sharpening it provides. We’re not arguing. Really! :wink:

Why can’t the OP make friends in his Catholic church? That question has been in the back of my mind from the first of this thread.

I would say that the particular Catholic circles that you spend time in are not representative of Catholicism.

Would “Catholic circles” include this forum?

I’m reluctant to say yes or no because of the technicalities of the question. After all, it’s the “Non-Catholic Religions Forum”, not the “Catholic Religions Forum”. :o :cool:

But it was applicable to your comment…

You may take some flak for it from certain types of folks in the EF catholic community though. IMO, they’re just being snobs.

There are differing opinions about the value of attending a service at a protestant community by many in Catholicism not just Traditionalists and having nothing to do with snobbery.

Online, that’s correct. However, I do know a lot of Catholics in “real life” who don’t fit this profile at all, particularly in the academy.

The main reason I spoke as I did is not so much my experience with Catholics but my experience with Protestants, especially Episcopalians. My former priest, for instance, seriously believed that Catholics think themselves to be the only true Christians. (At the same time, my bishop was a friend of Fr. Richard O’Brien and both he and my priest clearly liked the fact that Fr. O’Brien told him that Anglicans were basically just as Catholic as Catholics, and might even have a better way of doing things. But when our diocese hosted an official Catholic-Anglican dialogue, then-Bishop D’Arcy insisted on Fr. Lawrence Cunningham rather than Fr. O’Brien as the Catholic representative. I think Bishop D’Arcy was quite right to do so–Fr. Cunningham is a much better representative of Catholicism as a whole than Fr. O’Brien on the one hand or Fr. Serpa on the other! But this reinforced the impression my priest had that someone as friendly to Anglicans as Fr. O’Brien wasn’t representative of official Catholicism. I should also recognize that Northern Indiana Catholicism is pretty conservative compared to Catholicism in some other parts of the country.)



Ah, I see. You took my first post as an assertion that anyone opposed to a catholic attending a protestant service is a snob. That’s not what I meant. I was responding specifically to the OP and for the circumstances he described, not making a universal and general statement.

I get the concern and share it generally. I’ve seen many partially formed cradle catholics evangelized by evangelicals and then persuaded that the reason it hadn’t happened earlier was because they didn’t attend a “bible believing” church that preached the true gospel. Nice and handy that scapegoating. Not MY fault that I was resistant to humbling myself, admitting my sin and need for a Savior for so long. It was THEIR fault. Perhaps not so humble yet after all, eh?..

I just didn’t think that the OP was in much danger of that scenario and my responses have reflected that. Thanks for making me clarify. My post shouldn’t be considered a general opinion on the matter, but a specific opinion on the OP’s circumstances.


I agree wholeheatedly, Brandall. It is from someone like you who actually liked and saw much value in his evangelical church experience that I would like to hear more about what Catholicism has to offer.

I think you did a good job of describing the kind of churches that I have attended most of my life. I would much rather hear from you about what is special about the Catholic faith that attracted you to it than I would from those who misrepresent and defame those same faith traditions that I hold near and dear.

I would automatically dismiss what the bashers have to say because if they disrepect and mischaracterize my faith, I already find their faith unattractive and not something I would want to be a part of if they are the norm. .

Tommy999! See if you can find a copy of Tim Staple’s CD “The Bible Made Me Do It”. Tim was raised Baptist, was a Youth Minister for an Assembly of God Church and attended Jimmy Swaggart’s Bible College. He has a very interesting journey. If you can’t find it, contact me and I’ll send you a copy. It deals exactly with your points and topics.

John Newbold

Thanks, getysbg (John). By the way, I am a Civil War buff and have been to Gettsyburg before and really liked it.

Tommy999, When I wake up in the morning, I pour a mug of coffee, walk past seven houses and take a seat on a fence. I’m “right smack dab” in the middle of Pickett’s Charge. For a CW buff, it doesn’t get any better than that. Let me know about the CD.

I really love this song! Thank you for the instruction.

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