Catholic convert Senator regularly attending Protestant services

We have a U.S. Senator here who converted to Catholicism (a good thing) several years ago.

Yet when he’s back here on weekends, he attends early Mass, then goes to services at the non-denominational “Bible Church” that he was a member of prior to his conversion. He doesn’t go to the Bible Church as a family thing - his wife and kids are Methodist. This is very prominently mentioned in articles about him.

I’m a cradle Catholic, and had always thought that Catholics were not encouraged to be regulars at Protestant services, and think that this could be a problem for a recent convert. I don’t want to believe that he is trying for the best of both worlds, vote-wise, but have to wonder about this.

Any thoughts, folks?

He is trying to have it both ways, either because of votes, or because of the two faiths his family is comprised of.

Whether his motives are sincere or not is up to people like you who know him better.


I know that he isn’t supposed to take communion there, bit why would he not be allowed to continue to go, especially if it is one that his parents or siblings go to? I could see some good that would come from it, for one thing, knowing that there is a Catholic in attendance, the pastor probably really would stick to just the Bible and not throw in any anti-Catholic references. In a way too it disproves what a lot of “Bible-only” Protestants believe, that the Catholic Church somehow really wants to keep its parishoners away from the Bible.

I don’t think it is such a good idea to try to read his heart and assume that it is just to get votes.

I can think of 6 good reasons off the top of my head why a person, newly Catholic, would attend Sunday Mass, fulfilling his obligation, and also visit a Protestant church.

he may have loyalties, family and friends, to members of that congregation and want to continue fellowship with them

he may have an eye to evangelizing members of his former congregation

he may have further questions about the Catholic faith, and be listening to the message in the Protestant church in order to formulate his question and ask for a rebuttal on the actual teaching of that church rather than relying on his memory

he may simply be politicking, perhaps at the social time following services

he may feel somewhat unwelcome and shut out of the community at his new Catholic church and be looking for some warmth and welcome–not, I assure you, an uncommon experience of new Catholics, sadly

he may be lonesome for some good old fashioned praise and worship music and preaching after struggling manfully to endure wretched music at his Catholic church.

may I point out that we are bound by Christian charity to put the best possible construction on any behavior we observe in another person, and to avoid making judgements. politicians too deserve this charity.

From my observation, the social interaction of parishioners of Catholics on Sunday mornings in miniscule to worshippers at Protestant churches. Many Catholics squeak in a few minutes or seconds before Mass begins, a number head for the door as soon as they have received Communion and most go straight for the door after Mass is ended. In the Protestant churches I have seen large numbers stay for coffee and visiting after the services have ended and parking lots empty gradually. Go to one of those Protestant megachurches and see how many times you are engaged, greeted and welcomed.

Thanks for the comments - I’m not trying to judge anyone - I’m sure he’s sincere in his Christianity. But I remember growing up hearing the Nuns discourage us from going to church with our Protestant friends. I don’t see the occasional visit as a problem for a Catholic, but we’re talking every sunday here, folks.

No one else in his family goes to the Bible Church (I know his brother), so it’s not because of family, dulcissima. And I don’t think a Senator has a problem with social interaction. He converted in DC with the guidance of an Opus Dei priest, so the active, regular attendance at the Bible Church really surprises me.

I don’t know anything about him, nor do I judge either. I remember reading this article in Rolling Stone when it came out:

I actually found the piece fairly respectful toward his faith (for a secular mag). He does seem quite eclectic. It states that a lot of his spiritual influence came from Chuck Colson as well as Opus Dei.

Father John McCloskey was influential in Sen. Brownback’s conversion. Several converts on The Journey Home have said they do the same thing or did the same thing. I know a convert who does just that. I find it particularly generous and sensitive to family and friends. Sen.Brownback is a great advocate for the unborn. I have also read where he is very knowledgeable re: international affairs.

Socializing should always come secondary God comes first.

So we go to Mass for God only, if we have any socializing that is a bonus and should only be done after or before worshipping God.

There is no problem with this Senator going to a non-denom service, heck I went to one last night. I talked and made friends there. The Pastor did the Bible study and we talked about it.

It is good for getting to know people. Even though the Pastor spouts silly lies about the Catholic Church such as we think the Pope is Jesus on earth, he is a nice man, who should know more about Catholicism. We should all be willing to share our faith everywhere.

In Christ

Well, if they don’t have the Real Presence, they have to offer something, right?

As to the parking lot: Heaven forbid if our parking lots (plural) emptied slowly! The many groups and ministries in our parish can meet for coffee etc., to their hearts’ content at other times and/or places, but when it’s time for Mass, room both in church and in the parking lots must be made for the hundreds arriving.


From my limited observation, the protestant churches are much more friendly and welcoming. Catholics are pretty cold - get in at the last minute and depart fast when Mass is over.

While there are Catholics who go to protestant services, there are protestants who go to Catholic masses with their families all the time. Some mixed marriage families go to protestant services one week and Mass the next. All the churches are welcoming to whoever comes in, even if the social hours after church are more extensive with the protestants.

I’m betting most of the readers of these forums have observed a lot of examples of this kind of thing in one way or another. From my observation, things are pretty fluid now.

Have you ever heard of the “dictatorship of relativism” ???


Oh yes. There is no sense of family as in belonging to the family of Christ on Earth. Folks don’t know one another and don’t seem tp want to know one another. Just my observation. I read somewhere most Catholic converts no longer attend Mass a year ot 2 out. I think this may be a factor why.

I don’t know about that statistic. In my case and others that I know that converted, they stayed because they knew that was what most Catholics were like but chose the Church, anyway.

Now I have heard that many young adults leave because of this. They never felt ‘loved’ at their parish and the other religions are so much more “friendly” and loving than those at their old church.

Take this forum for instance. Many come, many leave because there is so much focus on “who is sinning.” So heap guilt on top of a ‘ritual’ (Mass) that they don’t truely understand and off they go to a place that is more open and friendly and “reasonable.”

Way to go Annie. Another good post!. :thumbsup:

I’m guilty of doing this once in awhile - but not because I’m cold or unfriendly. Sometimes I’m just running late in the morning and today I left right after mass because I had family visiting that I hadn’t seen since Christmas. But I’m not cold. And neither is any practicing Catholic I know. We don’t go to mass to socialize, but to worship God. But to say that we’re cold is way too judgemental. :frowning: I’ve stayed after mass and talked with other parish members too. and we usually have greaters at the door. Our parish is very friendly :slight_smile: :slight_smile: - even those who run a little late or don’t stay around and socialize. Maybe its just that your watching and judging the wrong group of Catholics…and then using that as a generalization for all of us…please don’t!!:smiley:

I don’t have any problem with what this particular Senator is doing. In fact, I find it laudable that he attends 2 different churches on Sunday. Also, I agree with what others have said here about many of our churches being impersonal and cold.


Yes, lets tell everyone our churches are impersonal and cold!! that’s a great way to get people interested in the Catholic faith!!:rolleyes: ----maybe we should be the start to making our churches less this way if its a problem --!!! – as for me, my church and the other church I go to sometimes are just fine!!:smiley:

Sorry, that’s the way I see it. Also, there were a few others in this thread who were of the same opinion.

Back to Senator Brownback. He is a very pious man and what I think he is doing is fine. I saw an interview with him and I had the impression he attends a Protestant denomination due to that is the one he was married, raised his children in and those reasons. His wife and children apparently are not interested at this time in becoming Catholics. He obviously sees the benefits that attending a Catholic Church affords a person as most of us here do.


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