Can catholics go to Lutheran services?

I was invited to sing at a Lutheran service( the more traditional ones) by a good friend who is Lutheran. Obviously, I won’t partake in their communion I’m just there to sing. So can Catholics go to their services? I have gotten yes and no for answers so now I’m confused.

If you ask me as a Lutheran, you are most wellcome:). I do not know what the Catholics say.

Go, sing, worship, and have fun together. As long as you are secure in your Catholic faith there is absolutely no problem in visiting and participating in other Christian worship services.

Communion, as you have noted, would not be proper to participate in.

It won’t count as going to Mass, but I think it’s okay.

I enjoy Lutheran services.
I expected that that question was ONLY AN ISSUE FOR THE VERY old people among us.
Thankfully we are all at ease with each other now and can enjoy each others worship.
Hope fully we can also learn from each other. I attended a protestant church for seven years along with my own catholic mass. I learned lots. I was always more than satisfied with the answers my own church gave for questions raised there. We Catholics have so much to give our non Catholic Brothers. Be blessed and be a blessing at that Lutherin service.

“Unity is made by Charity” St. Thomas Aquinas.

Answer by Fr. John Trigilio on 6/11/2005:
Catholics** MAY attend Protestant services and may sing, pray, etc. but they CANNOT and SHOULD NOT ever receive communion in a non-Catholic church. **That is considered COMMUNICATIO IN SACRIS and is still forbidden by canon law (#1365). However, one can still be very devout, loyal, obedient and an orthodox Roman Catholic and at the same time be ecumenical. Attending non-Catholic prayer services is not forbidden. Receiving any sacrament or alleged sacrament in a non-Catholic church is forbidden. **Catholics cannot consider a Protestant worship service as fulfilling their Sunday obligation, however, and must still attend a Catholic Mass. **Only absolute necessity can a Catholic go to an Eastern Orthodox church for their Sunday obligation when there is no Catholic Church (Latin or Byzantine) in a reasonable distance.

ewtn.com/vexperts/showmessage.asp?number=441348&Pg=Forum2&Pgnu=1&recnu=2

We may attend services in other denominations, as long as we don’t participate in their communion AND we do not neglect our Sunday obligation to attend a Catholic mass.

You are free to go to the services of other Christian denominations. We all have a duty to work together ecumenically to understand and respect each other with an aim towards eventual Christian union. Going to other Christian services is not only permitted, it is a very good thing to do.

Pray, sing and worship with our Lutheran brothers and sisters in Christ, but don’t take Communion.

DIRECTORY FOR THE APPLICATION OF PRINCIPLES AND NORMS ON ECUMENISM
vatican.va/roman_curia/po…ectory_en.html

Sharing in Non-Sacramental Liturgical Worship
116. By liturgical worship is meant worship carried out according to books, prescriptions and customs of a Church or ecclesial Community, presided over by a minister or delegate of that Church or Community. This liturgical worship may be of a non-sacramental kind, or may be the celebration of one or more of the Christian sacraments. The concern here is non-sacramental worship.

  1. In some situations, the official prayer of a Church may be preferred to ecumenical services specially prepared for the occasion. Participation in such celebrations as Morning or Evening Prayer, special vigils, etc., will enable people of different liturgical traditions—Catholic, Eastern, Anglican and Protestant—to understand each other’s community prayer better and to share more deeply in traditions which often have developed from common roots.

  2. In liturgical celebrations taking place in other Churches and ecclesial Communities, Catholics are encouraged to take part in the psalms, responses, hymns and common actions of the Church in which they are guests. If invited by their hosts, they may read a lesson or preach.

If a Catholic, non-Lutheran, or a Lutheran that was a member of a Lutheran Church Body that was not in fellowship with the LC-MS, they would not be allowed to receive Communion but are welcomed to attend the church service. The same goes, I would not receive communion at a non-LC-MS church.

In very Lutheran Finland we do not have the problems of cross-denominational particiapation in Communion, except regarding members of Orthodox church, the only sizable minority Church in Finland. Of course the Orthodox are not officially allowed to participate in Lutheran Communion (and vice versa). In practice there maybe some “you do not tell-I do not ask”-attitude, because the Orthdox are so few and far between that 96 -98 % of the marriages of the Orthodox are inter-faith unions, in which the other partner is a Lutheran (very practical ecumenism in practice).

And I know at least one Orthodox priest, who says that he does not start asking questions about the particulal Christian denomination of the person who is in the line to receive the Communion. He trusts that no Muslim or Buddhist is approaching, anyway.

From the doctrinal standpoint, I think Catholics and Orthodox would in principle be anyday wellcome to the Lutheran Communion, because Luther very emphatetically stated that the Catholic baptism, Communion, and Reconciliation are valid, and there has been no discontinuation of the sacraments in Christendom. However, out of respect to the doctrinal stand of Orthodox and Catholic Churches, if the Lutheran pastor in charge knows that a person belonging to another Denomination intends to come to receive, he should advice him/her to go their own church for that. However, if a baptized person insists to receive Communion, I do not think that a Lutheran pastor has a right to refuse (at least I think this is the practice in Finland).

Under the heading, “Out of The Church of Christ There is No Salvation” on page 152 of The Manual of the Holy Catholic Church* (which bears the imprimatur of Archbishop James Edward Quigley as well as endorsements, acknowledgements and affirmations of 27 other prelates), a question and answer is written thus:

 **Q.  Is it lawful to have any communication in things of religion with those who are separated from the Church of Christ?**

 **A.  By no means; all communion or fellowship in any religious duties, rites or ritual is repeatedly and strictly forbidden by the Church.**

One also finds other teachings here such as:

only in her communion…the true faith of Christ can be found, ‘without which it is impossible to please God, ‘ Heb. xi 6.

Christ has declared, that all who refuse to hear her [the Catholic Church] are condemned by Him as heathens and publicans…

Christ, speaking of those who were not yet joined in the communion of his Church, but whom he foreknew would make a good use of the graces he would give them for the purpose, says, ‘Other sheep I have who are not of this fold, them I MUST BRING [into the fold]‘ …as a necessary condition of their salvation.

the Lord added daily to the Church such as should be saved,” Acts ii.47.

*Note: The manual, as stated in the preface, was written with the express purpose of carrying out the instructions of (St.) Pius X to counter the great evil of the times, i.e., the faithful’s ignorance of those truths necessary for salvation.

Simply put, a religion that doesn’t possess the Truth will have… falsehoods. False worship is not pleasing to God, nor would a Catholic’s willing participation in it. So while many people may think they are being charitable or a good influence by participating in protestant services, it’s still not a good practice. Why endanger your own soul in such a manner?

Thank you everyone for your replies!

So… Can Someone other than a lay person provide some clarification as to how Mortalium Animos (Pius XI) reconciles with the Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism?

Mortalium Animos:
“This being so, it is clear that the Apostolic See cannot on any terms take part in their assemblies, nor is it anyway lawful for Catholics either to support or to work for such enterprises; for if they do so they will be giving countenance to a false Christianity, quite alien to the one Church of Christ.”

“So, Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics: for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it.”

I’m curious… Does the Directory carry the same authority as Mortalium Animos? If so, how is that possible? I would be most interested in knowing how these two documents (which are seemingly at odds with each other) demonstrate the Church’s continuity on this subject.

we are all christians

Not everything written or said by a pope is binding on Catholics in all ages. Pius XI lived between 31 May 1857 – 10 February 1939, relations between protestants denominations and between those denominations and Catholics were rather different in those times. You may not need to look any deeper than the changes in relations to answer your question.

Mortalium Animos was written on the 6th day of January, on the Feast of the Epiphany of Jesus Christ, our Lord, in the year 1928. It is an ENCYCLICAL. It has significance, but the passage you quoted is disciplinary and hence subject to change as the needs of the Church demand. Furthermore the context of the encyclical ought to be taken into account. So I will quote the paragraph immediately preceding the one from which you quoted - it is directly relevant to your question.

  1. And here it seems opportune to expound and to refute a certain false opinion, on which this whole question, as well as that complex movement by which non-Catholics seek to bring about the union of the Christian churches depends. For authors who favor this view are accustomed, times almost without number, to bring forward these words of Christ: “That they all may be one… And there shall be one fold and one shepherd,”[14] with this signification however: that Christ Jesus merely expressed a desire and prayer, which still lacks its fulfillment. For they are of the opinion that the unity of faith and government, which is a note of the one true Church of Christ, has hardly up to the present time existed, and does not to-day exist. They consider that this unity may indeed be desired and that it may even be one day attained through the instrumentality of wills directed to a common end, but that meanwhile it can only be regarded as mere ideal. They add that the Church in itself, or of its nature, is divided into sections; that is to say, that it is made up of several churches or distinct communities, which still remain separate, and although having certain articles of doctrine in common, nevertheless disagree concerning the remainder; that these all enjoy the same rights; and that the Church was one and unique from, at the most, the apostolic age until the first Ecumenical Councils. Controversies therefore, they say, and longstanding differences of opinion which keep asunder till the present day the members of the Christian family, must be entirely put aside, and from the remaining doctrines a common form of faith drawn up and proposed for belief, and in the profession of which all may not only know but feel that they are brothers. The manifold churches or communities, if united in some kind of universal federation, would then be in a position to oppose strongly and with success the progress of irreligion. This, Venerable Brethren, is what is commonly said. There are some, indeed, who recognize and affirm that Protestantism, as they call it, has rejected, with a great lack of consideration, certain articles of faith and some external ceremonies, which are, in fact, pleasing and useful, and which the Roman Church still retains. They soon, however, go on to say that that Church also has erred, and corrupted the original religion by adding and proposing for belief certain doctrines which are not only alien to the Gospel, but even repugnant to it. Among the chief of these they number that which concerns the primacy of jurisdiction, which was granted to Peter and to his successors in the See of Rome. Among them there indeed are some, though few, who grant to the Roman Pontiff a primacy of honor or even a certain jurisdiction or power, but this, however, they consider not to arise from the divine law but from the consent of the faithful. Others again, even go so far as to wish the Pontiff Himself to preside over their motley, so to say, assemblies. But, all the same, although many non-Catholics may be found who loudly preach fraternal communion in Christ Jesus, yet you will find none at all to whom it ever occurs to submit to and obey the Vicar of Jesus Christ either in His capacity as a teacher or as a governor. Meanwhile they affirm that they would willingly treat with the Church of Rome, but on equal terms, that is as equals with an equal: but even if they could so act. it does not seem open to doubt that any pact into which they might enter would not compel them to turn from those opinions which are still the reason why they err and stray from the one fold of Christ

It ought to be observed that the encyclical is addressing the ecumenical movement among protestant denominations of the 1920s. Much has happened since that time. Many of the issues that once were regarded as essential to protestant identity are no longer so regarded by many who participate in the ecumenical movement today.

You’re more than welcome. Just don’t receive communion, as both the LCMS and the CC practice close(d) communion.

Jon

MoreCoffee,

Thank you for the post; however, I don’t think you dealt with the question I asked. Nor do I think you helped your position by posting more verbiage from Mortalium Animos.

You stated…
“Not everything written or said by a pope is binding on Catholics in all ages. Pius XI lived between 31 May 1857 – 10 February 1939, relations between protestants denominations and between those denominations and Catholics were rather different in those times. You may not need to look any deeper than the changes in relations to answer your question.”

I couldn’t agree more. Relations between protestant denominations and Catholics were much different in those times. That being said, it is the Catholic Church that changed, not protestantism (I grew up in the Baptist church). We, as Catholics, lost our identity and in so doing embraced something other than Catholicism; namely protestantism. So, instead of protestants converting to the Catholic Church, we see a great number of Catholics parading around as though they were protestant.

You stated…
“It is an ENCYCLICAL. It has significance, but the passage you quoted is disciplinary and hence subject to change as the needs of the Church demand.”

Let me provide my quotes once again…

Mortalium Animos
“This being so, it is clear that the Apostolic See cannot on any terms take part in their assemblies, nor is it anyway lawful for Catholics either to support or to work for such enterprises; for if they do so they will be giving countenance to a false Christianity, quite alien to the one Church of Christ.”

So, if we “take part in their assemblies” are we, or are we not “giving countenance to a false Christianity” which is “alien to the one Church of Christ”? If protestantism was a false Christianity in 1928, as this encyclical seems to be implying, would it not still be today? And if it isn’t a “false Christianity” please explain how it is that can be when protestantism still retains the same convoluted and misguided beliefs today as they did in 1928. If you continue to claim that this is simply “disciplinary and hence subject to change as the needs of the Church demand”, then please explain how this is so. How can a “false Christianity” in 1928 cease to be so today, simply by invoking the word “disciplinary”, when that “false Christianity” hasn’t changed?

Again, I ask what authority the Directory has. Is that authority greater than that of Mortalium Animos?

You stated…
“It ought to be observed that the encyclical is addressing the ecumenical movement among protestant denominations of the 1920s. Much has happened since that time.”

You’re right there really wasn’t much of an ecumenical movement in the 1920’s. We, as Catholics, were more interested in trying to convert our “separated brethren” than placate them with empty platitudes.

You stated…
“Many of the issues that once were regarded as essential to protestant identity are no longer so regarded by many who participate in the ecumenical movement today.”

I think you are seriously misguided here. I grew up in the Baptist church and I can tell you that the issues that define protestantism and its identity are the same as they were in 1928. If there is an identity that has changed it is the Catholic identity.

you can receive communion at elca:)

At some ELCA services, anyone -Christian or not- can receive communion; this does not mean everyone should.

Visiting churchgoers should follow their own communion’s teaching regarding Eucharistic sharing. Roman Catholics, the Orthodox, Confessional Lutherans, etc. should honor their own church’s teachings by not taking part in an open communion service under normal circumstances, regardless of whether the host church “allows” everyone to participate.

Likewise, church bodies that practice open communion (like the ELCA) should respect the conscience of visitors from close[d] communion church bodies. It’s disrespectful to encourage visitors from close[d] communion churches to participate in an open communion service (thereby breaking the practice of their own communion).

Contrary to what Don posted, the ELCA invites all baptized Christians who believe Christ is fully Presence in the Eucharist to commune in our parishes. Like children who are baptized but have not yet received their first holy communion, non-Christians are invited to come up during the distribution of the Sacrament to receive a blessing from the pastor.

Roman Catholics are not only welcome but many do commune in Lutheran churches.

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