Catholicism and Other Religions

I’m a Catholic since birth. I went on a journey to many different countries a few years back before all this unrest and war. While there I got to experience different religions, customs, ethnicity and cultures… And, I enjoyed it immensely. Does this make me a traitor to my own religion?

No, unless you converted or something.

It is good to learn about other cultures and religions. Learn what you have in common and what is different. This is important for inter-faith dialogue and will help bring more souls to Christ.

Hardly a traitor. You’re as Catholic as you were before that. In fact, you can better yourself in understanding the different religions in this world, so long as you understand that there is no other True faith than the one to which we belong.

Of course not! In fact, it’s probably beneficial to learn about as many religions as possible so you can help in the conversion of people from other religions. Last summer I was in a mad study craze of other religions (I studied just about every other Christian denomination, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Gnosticism, Shintoism, Wicca, Greek/Roman/Norse/Egyptian mythology, you name it), and in the end, it only reaffirmed my faith in Catholicism.

Thank you guys so much! I feel a lot better knowing that I’m not considered a traitor. I kind of figured it was just my want to learn. And my fascination with everything, ha.

I am delighted that there is such a welcoming for knowledge of other religions. I know own my life would be less joyful without the mystical poems of Rumi and more recently the songs of Kabir who bridged 2 religions and was considered one of the holiest men of both Hinduism and Islam during and after his life.

This is correct.

It’s good to learn about other religions, provided it’s not an occasion of sin in persuading you to convert, or to participate in another religious ceremony foreign and alien to those of the Church. Other than that, it’s okay.

Benedicat Deus,
Latinitas

Hello Jess,

First let me state as others already have, no you are not a traitor. I would caution against going to other faith based worship. It could give rise to scandal. An example would be, you fulfill your Mass obligation and then go to a friends Baptist service. You could by your curiosity, be telegraphing to your friend and those in attendance that one faith is the same as the other.

We have been warned by Holy Mother Church that Relativism is one of the greatest evils we are facing. If you want to know what another faith believes then I would encourage using internet. Even then I would make certain, whatever faith you are interested in studying, go directly to their website. By doing this you can use primary sources. As you well know there is so much misinformation on the internet, and to be fair we must always go to the source. I am also a cradle Roman Catholic and have looked at many faiths, it’s fascinating in many different way’s. In fact it made my love for The Church stronger. It made me realize I could spend the rest of my life studying every facet of The Church and never come close to mining the treasure given to us by Our Lord.

Pax,
Tarpeian

Hello All,

Thank you for your insightful answers. I guess I should explain myself a little better as I didn’t have much time to when starting this thread. I do not want to convert in any way shape or form. I’m just coming back to the Catholic faith after many years astray, actually my first confession in about 10-15 years is this Saturday and my first Church attendance will follow on Sunday.

I went to travel to gain insight on myself, soul-searching. When I was in my “straying period” if you will, I did travel to other places and watched different religious ceremonies and the like. I never participated, just watched and learned. I read up on a lot and believe me, I’ve covered the gamut from any religion and every religion anyone of you can think of, even those people call taboo and not “real” religions. BUT and there is one, towards the end of my travels when I had exhausted myself in my studies, I ended up in Jerusalem/Bethlehem. I felt something so warming and loving and accepting, none of which I had felt anywhere else. In fact, I had felt a lot of fear and anger in plenty of other religions I had studied. I then traveled to Italy and ended up in the Vatican/St. Peter’s Basilica and felt that SAME feeling. These experiences only solidified that I should be back in my rightful place here in Catholicism. It strengthened my faith and my love for God.

Now you know my whole story and why I’m happier then ever to go to confession this weekend and to re-join my parish on Sunday.

Hello Jess,

You will be walking on water when you come out of the confessional!!! Welcome Home!

Pax,
Tarpeian

Paul journeyed to Greece to convert the pagans. Hardly a traitor.

If it were not for heroic missionaries Christianity might never have spread throughout the world.

I too have visited many non-Catholic places of worship. The absence of the Eucharist always struck me as palpable.

This isn’t something non-Catholics are at all likely to think about Catholics. Many of them do think, however, that Catholics completely despise other faiths. Your concerns are therefore seriously misplaced.

We have been warned by Holy Mother Church that Relativism is one of the greatest evils we are facing.

But the Church does not draw from this the implications that you do. In fact, there’s an entire Vatican document (Principles and Norms for Ecumenism) that lays out how Catholics can and should participate in the worship of other Christian churches (other religions are, of course, a somewhat trickier proposition, but even then your approach seems unnecessarily fearful).

Your attitude is actually fostering relativism, like all extreme conservative attitudes. If you tell people that attending worship services of other faiths fosters relativism, then you are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. When people attend worship services of other faiths and find something valuable there, they will think, “Well, I guess that relativism stuff I was warned about is good after all.” They will be unlikely to think critically about what they are doing, because you have told them in advance that this is next to impossible.

Edwin

Hello Edwin,

Edwin,

You state: “This isn’t something non-Catholics are at all likely to think about Catholics.” You go on to say, “Many of them do think, however, that Catholics completely despise other faiths.” You seem to take offense because I made a reasonable and known observation. For the sake of argument, let’s say I assumed to much but then if we do, haven’t you done exactly the same? Maybe your concerns are seriously misplaced? In fact, one can’t turn on the news or internet on a daily basis without seeing The Faith despised and Our Lord mocked.

I’m well aware of the Vatican document, (Principles and Norms for Ecumenism). Where in that document am I instructed to attend a protestant service? However I take the totality of all that Holy Mother Church teaches. I just finished reading The Syllabus Of Errors Condemned By Pius IX. How many of the faithful will proclaim it boldly? How many know it exists? How many would squirm in their seats when they read that document? I for one proudly submit to all of Church Teaching.

papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9syll.htm

Protestantism is Faith without Reason. Without The Fullness of Truth, Caritas degenerates into sentimentality.

I’m neither fostering Relativism nor “extreme conservative attitudes.” I don’t subscribe to Liberalism or Conservatism. Liberalism is a sin. And I’m no “extreme conservative.” Especially when some of today’s well known “extreme conservatives,” subscribe to abortion in “hard cases,” “same sex marriage,” and sodomy behind closed doors because, “it doesn’t effect me.”

I am a Roman Catholic who subscribes to The Kingship of Christ. I pray and work to convert souls to Holy Mother Church through the Holy Ghost but never under false pretenses.

Is Father Serpa fostering Relativism when he opines:

“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.

Pax,
Tarpeian

Is there a need to have a theology constructed on the basis of Indian and Chinese thought, and beyond that a christian spirituality, which will draw on all the resources of eastern spirituality, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist and Confusian?

Bede Griffiths thought so:

“This is a task that has hardly begun. In India we need a Christian Vedanta and a Christian Yoga, that is a system of theology which makes use not only of the terms and concepts but of the whole structure and thought of Vedanta, as the Greek Fathers used Plato and Aristotle; and a spirituality which will make use not merely of of the practices of Hatha Yoga, by which most people understand Yoga, but of the great sytems of Karma, Bhakti, and Jnana Yoga, the way of works or action, of love or devotion, and of knowledge or wisdom, through which the spiritual genius of India has been revealed through the centuries.”

He thought that there is a Christ to be uncovered and brought forth in other religions.

Of course you are not a traitor. I enjoy learning about other faiths as well. But you must make sure you are very well informed and strong in your own faith. The mere fact that you asked the question at all probably indicates that you should learn more about and enjoy immensely your own faith. Otherwise you could be susceptible to falsehoods in other faiths.

And another question.

a few years back before all this unrest and war.

Tell me, what was the Pax Romana like?

It depends on what one means. Can there be a reasonable and good learning? Yes (with great caution…and a firm foundation in the Faith etc).

Can there be a sin in say participation in rites - yes. Can there be sin in endangering ones faith? Yes. Can there be sin by taking an approach of relativism or indiffertentism (oh it does not matter etc) - yes. Can there be sin in giving scandal by such? Yes.

Can there be seeds of the Word present? Yes. Can there be certain though partial truths there in? Yes.

Catechism:

843 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as "a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life."332

844 In their religious behavior, however, men also display the limits and errors that disfigure the image of God in them:

Very often, deceived by the Evil One, men have become vain in their reasonings, and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and served the creature rather than the Creator. Or else, living and dying in this world without God, they are exposed to ultimate despair.333

845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is “the world reconciled.” She is that bark which “in the full sail of the Lord’s cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world.” According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.334

scborromeo.org/ccc/ccc_toc.htm

It depends on what one means. Can there be a reasonable and good learning? Yes (with great caution…and a firm foundation in the Faith etc).

Can there be a sin in say participation in rites - yes. Can there be sin in endangering ones faith? Yes. Can there be sin by taking an approach of relativism or indiffertentism (oh it does not matter etc) - yes. Can there be sin in giving scandal by such? Yes.

Can there be seeds of the Word present? Yes. Can there be certain though partial truths there in? Yes.

Catechism:

843 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as "a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life."332

844 In their religious behavior, however, men also display the limits and errors that disfigure the image of God in them:

Very often, deceived by the Evil One, men have become vain in their reasonings, and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and served the creature rather than the Creator. Or else, living and dying in this world without God, they are exposed to ultimate despair.333

845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is “the world reconciled.” She is that bark which “in the full sail of the Lord’s cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world.” According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.334

scborromeo.org/ccc/ccc_toc.htm

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