Is non-Christian worship attendance sinful?

As part of my examination of conscience, I am wondering about the following:

I have attended multiple Jehovah’s Witness meetings, even saying an Our Father and singing some of their songs (though omitting stuff I could not agree to) at them. Is that a mortal sin, or does it fall under the First Commandment? I read that “attending false or pagan worship” is a mortal sin, a statement that is obviously true. But a friend of mine argues that “as long as you were worshipping the True God, that’s no problem”. It makes some sense, yet on the other hand it feels odd.

Can you help?

I think it would depend on your intentions.

Attending a non-Christian worship service because a friend is getting married? Valid reason

Attending a non-Chiristian worship service because you’re considering converting to that religion? not a valid reason.

So I guess the question is: Why are you attending this particular service?

Why did you go?

I went in order to learn what it’s like there, not intending to convert or anything of the sort. A friend of mine was in that congregation and we talked a lot about religion, so I thought it might be interesting to see what their stuff was like.

Nothing wrong with that.

Glad to hear it, thanks! :slight_smile:

It is actually sinful to participate in non-Catholic ceremonies without due reason, such as a funeral or wedding. However, since you are not (yet) Catholic, I don’t believe it applies to you quite yet, Culter. :slight_smile:

So I won’t be able to go to sing Christmas hymns in my former Anglican parish when I’m a Catholic? That seems a bit odd :shrug:

I think the issues are your intention and degree of scandal.

If you are not a Catholic then scandal seems unlikely.

But what is your reason for going?
If you intend to be a Catholic then you need a reasonably good reason for going?

That is absolutely NOT correct. A Catholic is permitted to attend baptisms, weddings, and funerals in non-Catholic Christian Churches.
On the other hand Catholics are advised not to attend normal worship services in such Churches but may do if invited, albeit they must not participate in anything during such worship services that contradicts Catholic Church teachings.

Heh, not correct? You basically just repeated what I said, with some more details.

Catholics may not participate in the worship services of other religions, because their theology contradicts Church teaching.

You can go sing all you want. If you become Catholic you will not be allowed to partake in the Anglican communion since the Catholic Church does not allow such. You also have to attend Mass that week as well besides the Anglican Rite.

Sure Catholics can my friend. That may not take communion with the other denomination but they can attend non-Catholic services and Masses. Catholics still have to go to their Sunday Mass also.

No. You stated it is actually sinful to participate in non-Catholic ceremonies. It is not sinful.

My family goes to the Anglican (CofE) parish we’re quite rooted in, and for Christmas (4th Sunday of Advent) there’s a service with classic Christmas hymns and nativity play… It’s a tradition to go. It doesn’t even have communion, which I wouldn’t take anyway. I’ve not been taking it for months.

So I could go there, if I go to the Saturday evening Mass before, so I fulfill my obligation?



You are telling me it is not morally wrong for Catholics to worship with other denominations and other religions in their Churches? That is what I mean by participate.

I disagree. I can’t go to the nearby Hindu temple and worship with them. That’s paramount to accepting false teachings.

That is not to say that one cannot go to and observe a liturgy conducted by another religion, especially in cases of social obligations, but one should not participate in the worship.

Going to a JW service and participating is kind of sketchy, but going to another Christian denomination and participating beside partaking in their communion is not wrong. If he wanted to go to an Episcopalian Mass and then go to his Catholic Mass then there would be no issue. He can sing hymns, pray with them…etc but should not take communion.

How about I go and confess it anyway? :wink:

I understand and agree.

It seems the misunderstanding had more to do with vocabulary than anything else.

It is certainly not healthy, however, for a Catholic to regularly attend other services, even if he still fulfills his Sunday obligation at Mass. It is a distraction and could be dangerous if the person is swayed by it over time.

I recently ran across a letter on Father Z’s site, from the Vatican, in response to someone that asked if attending an sspx mass was sinful. The writer of the response said it was not sinful but it could not take the place of the Sunday Obligation.

It would seem to me that something that is so similar, SSPX and the Catholic Church, though still at such odds with each other, would be a greater danger than a communion that is so contrary to the Catholic faith.

Here is the link for Father Z’s page and the request and response.

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