OK to participate in a non-Catholic funeral?


In my family only my elderly father and one orf my cousins and my husband DaveBj (a convert) are Catholic. We live here near many of hubby’s family, and most of the ones we know best are elderly, some of our generation but many in their 80s or above. David’s step-grandmother Granny Denson is now 98. In the last 6 months or so there have been 4 funerals I think. Granny’s son was one of them and we were asked to participate in it, David playing the paino and I singing in the choir.

Now with this age group there are going to be mroe funerals.
The big question is can we continue to participate as we have been doing. We do the same thing annually at Decoration Day, out of respect to family members who have passed. Canwe continue with that? They all know we are Catholics. I owuld think it would be a better thing to continue as we have been doing and not cause offense or criticism about our being Catholic. But I don’t know the rules. Cetainly we never take “communion” at these services. Adn when I sing solos, as i’d done for yearas while out of the Church I choose a hymn that I know is also in our Catholic hymnal and make a remark about being Catholic and that we also sing this hymn at Church. I try to be a good witness as a Catholic Christian.

Need some input from those who are “in the know,” so to speak.

I would certainly hate to stop going to the funerals and David’s musicianship does give glory to God and comfort to the bereaved. And that is a corporal work of mercy. Their differences in various of the Christian beliefs does not change our Catholic Christian beliefs at all.


Of course you have to take precautions, and you obviously have. Not taking Communion is the only real concern, and you’ve covered that. I’d personally feel a little awkward entering a Protestant church (I would probably genuflect, for instance), but you’re probably used to it.

Once you make sure not to do anything problematic, you can continue to attend such funerals. “Burying the Dead” is a Work of Mercy, even non-Catholic dead. I seem to recall something about Franciscan missionaries endearing themselves to the Apache (who have taboos about going anywhere near corpses) by burying their dead for them.


Well, I’m not uncomfortable entering the churches, per se, since I am a revert and had been Chruch of God (pentecostal, fundamentalist) and S. Baptist (fundamentalist). These people are very dear to us and very sincere in their Christian beliefs. The difference for me now is that I know the True Presence of the Lord is absent, so they are mere buildings, rather than places housing the One True God. They believe that “where 2 or 3 are gathered together in My Name, there I am also.” But I always had the feeling that something was missing, that there was a certain sterility. Of course, now that I’m back in the Church I know what that was.

I would not go to any services except for the funerals and the annual Decoration Days.


I believe that you should participate in family [and close friend] events, especially funerals. Weddings come to mind as well. You are not being ask to convert; only to show respect for the life of a fellow Christian and/or member of your family.

Also, I never genuflect upon entering a non-catholic church as Jesus is not present in the Eucharist, nor do they have an altar to reverence. I do respect the life of the Christian community that worships there in that building and the Scritures that we share in common along with baptism, etc.

Do not forget that our Cathoic faith recognizes the faith [through baptism] that we share with our seperated brethren. We share a life in Christ that they might llive out more fully and genuinely in their faith communities then we might in our own. Be a witness to the world as a Christian and the Catholic Church will be reflected positively.



Im not catholic but my hubby’s family is. I have been to many weddings and many funerals in the CC. I do not feel uncomfortable. I just dont take communion. I respect their beliefs. I think you are doing the same.:thumbsup:

My daughter has gone to 2 Batmitzvas(sp?) and I see nothing wrong with that either.:smiley: Her Jewish friend wanted her there and she went to support her friend.:smiley:

Its all about showing love and respect for the people regardless what religion they follow.


Thanks for the input. I feel much relieved mpw about this matter. There will be more funerals this year I’m sure, and I’ll be able to goto them and participate and sing w/o worrying…


Of course you can. My husband is Catholic and he has participated in atleast three non-Catholic funerals in the past
2 1/2 years


I just want to make mention, that many Protestant churches have altars. Presbyterian (PCUSA), Methodist (some), Episcopalian, Lutheran, and I’m sure that there is more. However, I will not bow in a Protestant church with a pulpit stand, you know where a preacher stands to speak…that’s definitely not an altar. I just wanted to make mention, because it appears that you possibly have never been in a church such as mine. :smiley: We have a altar, we prepare the Eucharist there and we bow and show great reverence. :thumbsup:

Hi BONNIE!!! I’m your neighbor!..go to church right down the road from ya!


I used to know a very devout Catholic who played the organ for a local Protestant church’s services. It was just another job for her – she was going there to work and get paid, not to worship. You’re attending non-Catholic services to respect and honor the dead, not to convert. I can’t think of any reason your participation would be a bad thing in any way :slight_smile:


how about this - when a U.S president died, we had a day off to remember him. Surely, we all wanted to have a day off and we never thought about if was ok or not ok :smiley:

Bottom line, nothing is wrong to participate a funeral as long as you don’t practice the belief that you don’t believe in.


I believe you answered your own question


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