Catholic worshipping at non-Catholic church


#1

I was shocked, saddened, and frustrated at my lack of response this morning as I found out from someone who often attends daily Mass (but who we haven’t seen much lately until today) that he has been attending Sunday service at a non-Catholic church with a pastor that he has been doing bible study with. He even assists with the service in some way and he and the pastor had discussed starting a church. Yet, he still plans on coming to daily Mass, but worshipping in another church on Sundays. He mentioned this all somewhat matter-of-factly.

In my shock and grief, all I could manage to say was “Don’t you think that’s a conflict of interest?” He apparently didn’t think so. I do believe that he has a great love, hunger, and devotion to our Lord, but couldn’t think of any words of wisdom – perhaps for the best. Any words of advice or resources I can lead him to? I think I have some tapes on “How I Led Catholics Out of the Church” (I forget by whom) that I’ll put in the car in case I see him again, and tell our pastor and give him a heads-up that I might try to send him his way.


#2

I think it is great that he can be a positive catholic witness to us protestants.

What I would suggest is giving him good catholic devotional literature to strengthens his walk with our Lord so that he maintains a positive view of the catholic church.

Also, become his friend, spend more time with him. That would be better than any apologetic literature because often people change or maintain church attendance based on who they hang with.


#3

there is only one reason why a Catholic would leave the Catholic Church…he or she does not know what they are leaving.


#4

It’s clear that he suffers from a kind of religious indifferentism. I would ask him why, if Jesus wants us to be one, he wants to create yet another division, yet another church with it’s own version of what is truth. How can all these churches be right? I wonder if he understands the Eucharist and its importance: how is this new church going to deal with that, symbolically or real? If it’s symbolic, then why would he want to participate, and if he believes in the Real Presence, then the pastor has no power to confect the consecration, and I would wonder why he would not want to lead others TO the Eucharist.

This guy needs our prayers. Perhaps some Scott Hahn cds or books—or maybe Jeff Cavin’s “My Life on the Rock”, as he went off and became a minister, only to return.


#5

I had been away from the RCC for 14 years. I attended a non-denominational service and bible study in 2004 because I knew a few of the people there. ( I was the only white face in this black church. I had watched the Blues Brothers just a few nights before and I was apprehensive of the possibility that once I entered the building, a beam of light would shine on me and I would have to do cartwheels and handsprings down the aisle! Fortunately, no one in the congegation could jump as high as the ceiling fans.)

Anyway… while I love all the people at this church very much, I found their “worship” to be loud, physical, and emotional but not necessarily spiritual. The absence of the sacraments, the emptiness of the bland decor, etc., helped drive me back to the RCC!

That following Saturday, I made confession for the first time in 30 years, and then attended mass for the first time in 14 years.

Perhaps you shouldn’t do anything regarding your friend. Almost everyone goes through such periods in their life and it is their right to learn from their mistakes. If he is Catholic at heart, he will return. If he is not, nothing you can do will keep him in the church permanently.

Thal59


#6

[quote=Thal59]I had been away from the RCC for 14 years. I attended a non-denominational service and bible study in 2004 because I knew a few of the people there. ( I was the only white face in this black church. I had watched the Blues Brothers just a few nights before and I was apprehensive of the possibility that once I entered the building, a beam of light would shine on me and I would have to do cartwheels and handsprings down the aisle! Fortunately, no one in the congegation could jump as high as the ceiling fans.)

Anyway… while I love all the people at this church very much, I found their “worship” to be loud, physical, and emotional but not necessarily spiritual. The absence of the sacraments, the emptiness of the bland decor, etc., helped drive me back to the RCC!

That following Saturday, I made confession for the first time in 30 years, and then attended mass for the first time in 14 years.

Perhaps you shouldn’t do anything regarding your friend. Almost everyone goes through such periods in their life and it is their right to learn from their mistakes. If he is Catholic at heart, he will return. If he is not, nothing you can do will keep him in the church permanently.

Thal59
[/quote]

so basically Black churches are loud, they act crazy in the aisles and every other stereotype that would need to be portrayed. i say this because it seems as if it was a point to include that this was a Black church and you were the only white person there, and what they “performed” for you. I just find it a bit insulting of your description. You were apprehensive because why? What did the Blues Brothers show you of Blacks or Blacks in worship?


#7

I don’t know your friend, and the gentle approach may, as recommended by most of the previous posters, may be the correct one. But I think you have the obligation to at least inform him that missing Sunday Mass for no good reason (and to attend a non-Catholic service is not a good reason) is a mortal sin in the eyes of the Church. Neither daily Mass attendence or attendence at a non-Catholic service fulfills this serious obligation.

Don’t pound his head with it, just inform him and let him do what he will with the facts.


#8

[quote=ReflectHim]so basically Black churches are loud, they act crazy in the aisles and every other stereotype that would need to be portrayed. i say this because it seems as if it was a point to include that this was a Black church and you were the only white person there, and what they “performed” for you. I just find it a bit insulting of your description. You were apprehensive because why? What did the Blues Brothers show you of Blacks or Blacks in worship?
[/quote]

It is your reply that is prejudiced and insulting. Read my words with an open mind…

I was the only white face in this black church. I had watched the Blues Brothers just a few nights before and I was apprehensive of the possibility that once I entered the building, a beam of light would shine on me and I would have to do cartwheels and handsprings down the aisle! (Meant to be a humorous remark showing that I had no idea as to what I would experience.) Fortunately, no one in the congregation could jump as high as the ceiling fans.(My testimony that what I experienced there did not conform to the stereotypes.)

Your reply is biased and prejudiced; and this is apparent in your misreading of my statements, your quickness to evaluate the post on racial terms, and your apparent disregard for my statement that I love the people there very much.

Since you are only interested in scandal, I cannot give credibility to your inferrences, and I will not address your remarks further.

Thal59


#9

[quote=ReflectHim]so basically Black churches are loud, they act crazy in the aisles and every other stereotype that would need to be portrayed. i say this because it seems as if it was a point to include that this was a Black church and you were the only white person there, and what they “performed” for you. I just find it a bit insulting of your description. You were apprehensive because why? What did the Blues Brothers show you of Blacks or Blacks in worship?
[/quote]

no, basically, God works in unexpected ways … and we benefit when we are open to His will.

The “negatives” of the service he described were a grace to him… [1]they did not meet his needs and [2] they awakened memories of the Church that would meet his needs. How wonderful for him to be able to recognize the difference between

fellowship…and…true worship of God in His Mass

non-denom bible study…and…fullness of Truth found only in the Church Jesus gave us


#10

How I Led Catholics out of the Church is by Steve Wood: entertaining and interesting, but rather thin in terms of equipping an apologist to do his work.

If your friend is missing Mass on Sunday, remind him that Mass is an obligation for every Catholic and that he should not be receiving the Eucharist during the week if he is missing Mass on Sunday. (Duh!)


#11

[quote=Daniel Marsh]I think it is great that he can be a positive catholic witness to us protestants.

What I would suggest is giving him good catholic devotional literature to strengthens his walk with our Lord so that he maintains a positive view of the catholic church.

Also, become his friend, spend more time with him. That would be better than any apologetic literature because often people change or maintain church attendance based on who they hang with.
[/quote]

Thank you for the advice. I’m sure he has a good heart and means well, but what he is witnessing to – to both us and to the non-Catholic church – is that differences in belief don’t matter, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is not that important. That may not be his intention, but actions speak louder than words. Rather than accepting the fact that we are not united with our non-Catholic brothers and sisters, what he does would seem to promote a shallow, meaningless, superficial unity at best, which at heart just promotes further disunity in both.


#12

[quote=milimac]Thank you for the advice. I’m sure he has a good heart and means well, but what he is witnessing to – to both us and to the non-Catholic church – is that differences in belief don’t matter, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is not that important. That may not be his intention, but actions speak louder than words. Rather than accepting the fact that we are not united with our non-Catholic brothers and sisters, what he does would seem to promote a shallow, meaningless, superficial unity at best, which at heart just promotes further disunity in both.
[/quote]

He is, in his actions, guilty of “scandal”, in the sense that he is promoting religious indifferentism. I’m sorry that he is going this route. Do you think you could suggest to your priest that he talk to him? Do you have a good priest?


#13

[quote=Sherlock]He is, in his actions, guilty of “scandal”, in the sense that he is promoting religious indifferentism. I’m sorry that he is going this route. Do you think you could suggest to your priest that he talk to him? Do you have a good priest?
[/quote]

Yes, he’s pretty good. He went to seminary in the late 60’s and 70’s and sometimes it shows, but he counts it as a fault. It is a large parish though and he is also chaplain of a nearby high school and head of the deanery, so he’s difficult to catch sometimes.

Thanks for your responses. I’ve been depressed about it all day.


#14

[quote=Fidelis]I don’t know your friend, and the gentle approach may, as recommended by most of the previous posters, may be the correct one. But I think you have the obligation to at least inform him that missing Sunday Mass for no good reason (and to attend a non-Catholic service is not a good reason) is a mortal sin in the eyes of the Church. Neither daily Mass attendence or attendence at a non-Catholic service fulfills this serious obligation.

Don’t pound his head with it, just inform him and let him do what he will with the facts.
[/quote]

Thank you. I plan on finding relative paragraphs in the Catechism about our Sunday obligation, receiving the Eucharist in mortal sin (although he may not be depending on whether he knows he’s doing wrong), and my obligation to say something. If you know of some, let me know. I just want to use a few references to keep it simple and not bombard him with material.

I’ll also let our pastor know, because even though it is a large parish, I think he knows him, although lately our early morning Mass has been celebrated by the associate pastor or is a communion service, and since he doesn’t come on Sundays he might not see him. Then I’ll pray and leave it to God.


#15

Well, I gathered some information to share if I see him again. Pray for me that I may be gentle and charitable…

The Sunday Eucharist

2177 The Sunday celebration of the Lord’s Day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the Church’s life.
"Sunday is the day on which the paschal mystery is celebrated in light of the apostolic tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church."110

The Sunday obligation

2180 The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely: "On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass."117 "The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day."118

2181 The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor.119 Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.

2182 Participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and to his Church. The faithful give witness by this to their communion in faith and charity. Together they testify to God’s holiness and their hope of salvation. They strengthen one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

(From Catechism of the Catholic Church [/font]http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P7O.HTM)


Other references for future use:
catholic.com/library/Who_Can_Receive_Communion.asp
Responding to Scandals in the Church
Dies Domini - On Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy


#16

[quote=mercygate]How I Led Catholics out of the Church
[/quote]

is by Steve Wood: entertaining and interesting, but rather thin in terms of equipping an apologist to do his work.

If your friend is missing Mass on Sunday, remind him that Mass is an obligation for every Catholic and that he should not be receiving the Eucharist during the week if he is missing Mass on Sunday. (Duh!) Here’s the LINK to that article.


#17

[quote=Church Militant] Here’s the LINK to that article.
[/quote]

Thanks, Mil – for some reason the link doesn’t work ???


#18

[quote=mercygate]Thanks, Mil – for some reason the link doesn’t work ???
[/quote]

Works fine for me…just tried it. Probably a fluke.


#19

[quote=Thal59]It is your reply that is prejudiced and insulting. Read my words with an open mind…

I was the only white face in this black church. I had watched the Blues Brothers just a few nights before and I was apprehensive of the possibility that once I entered the building, a beam of light would shine on me and I would have to do cartwheels and handsprings down the aisle! (Meant to be a humorous remark showing that I had no idea as to what I would experience.) Fortunately, no one in the congregation could jump as high as the ceiling fans.(My testimony that what I experienced there did not conform to the stereotypes.)

Your reply is biased and prejudiced; and this is apparent in your misreading of my statements, your quickness to evaluate the post on racial terms, and your apparent disregard for my statement that I love the people there very much.

Since you are only interested in scandal, I cannot give credibility to your inferrences, and I will not address your remarks further.

Thal59
[/quote]

Both of you take a step back! :mad:

Each of you said something that unintentionally offended the other. Don’t perpetuate hatred when a simple - “Im sorry I offended you, I didn’t mean to but I can see how you misunderstood what I wrote.” There are many difficult problems in the world lacking obvious solutions: this situation is not one of them.
1Peter 5:5-6: "Clothe yourelves with humility in your dealings with one another… God opposes the proud, but bestowes favor on the humble. So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that HE will exhault you…in due time.

Phil


#20

Well, I didn’t see him this morning. I’m thinking of possibly getting him a gift subscription to This Rock (from www.catholic.com) or Lay Witness (from Catholics United for the Faith www.cuf.org).

His coming to daily Mass seems to indicate that he still has a love and need for the sacraments, so I don’t think it would be proselytizing would it? After all, as far as I know he hasn’t renounced his Catholic faith.
Any other suggestions as far as a gift subscription or cd?


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