Protestant service in catholic church


I am a member of a Catholic parish in new Brunswick, Canada. Recently our parish council / pastor were approached by leaders of an Anglican church down the street. They apparently don’t have the financial resources to heat their church for the winter and asked if they could use our church for their Sunday service temporarily. Our council / pastor seemed to be very receptive to the idea, but now there are a number of families in the parish who are strongly opposed to the idea. There have been a lot of arguments put forward on both sides, but it seems to me this isn’t an issue for the parishioners (or for that matter, the council or pastor) to decide. I assume that this is a matter of cannon law or some church teaching and we need only find the answer. Or if not, I would think it is a question that should be asked of the Bishop.

Is there any church teaching or cannon law that speaks to this issue? I think it is a given that the blessed sacrament would have to be removed during their service. Any insight would be appreciated!


This is specifically addressed in 1993’s “***DIRECTORY FOR THE APPLICATION OF
PRINCIPLES AND NORMS ON ECUMENISM”***Sharing Other Resources for Spiritual Life and Activity
137. Catholic churches are consecrated or blessed buildings which have an important theological and liturgical significance for the Catholic community. They are therefore generally reserved for Catholic worship. However, if priests, ministers or communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church do not have a place or the liturgical objects necessary for celebrating worthily their religious ceremonies, the diocesan Bishop may allow them the use of a church or a Catholic building and also lend them what may be necessary for their services. Under similar circumstances, permission may be given to them for interment or for the celebration of services at Catholic cemeteries.

  1. Because of developments in society, the rapid growth of population and urbanization, and for financial motives, where there is a good ecumenical relationship and understanding between the communities, the shared ownership or use of church premises over an extended period of time may become a matter of practical interest.

  2. When authorization for such ownership or use is given by the diocesan Bishop, according to any norms which may be established by the Episcopal Conference or the Holy See, judicious consideration should be given to the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament, so that this question is resolved on the basis of a sound sacramental theology with the respect that is due, while also taking account of the sensitivities of those who will use the building, e.g., by constructing a separate room or chapel.

  3. Before making plans for a shared building, the authorities of the communities concerned should first reach agreement as to how their various disciplines will be observed, particularly in regard to the sacraments. Furthermore, a written agreement should be made which will clearly and adequately take care of all questions which may arise concerning financial matters and the obligations arising from church and civil law.


Exactly what I was looking for! Thanks Phemie!


Happy to help.

I’m also from NB although I now live in Labrador.


Exactly what I was looking for! Thanks Phemie!


Small world!


Several years ago when my parish at the time was just getting started we shared quarters with an Episcopal parish. Different Mass times of course. The Episcopalians had their own tabernacle on the altar, and ours was in the sacristy.

We got on well in that city and shared sometimes. We gave them a thurible and they gave us a pulpit.


I once belonged to a parish that let a new Baptist congregation use its Church while they were fund raising and building theirs. It was a great thing for the community. There was a a little over an hour between the end of the last Mass and the beginning of the Baptist service. Once a month, we had a joint pot luck lunch with both congregations.


Other side of the coin. My grandparents’ church (UCC) hit hard times financially, so they sold the building to a Chaldean Catholic parish. The Chaldeans use it most of the time. My grandparents’ church gets their one service every week and use of the facilities.


There is certainly a precident around here. A non-denominational community used our Parish school’s gym for their services after a storm took off their room. Meanwhile, a local Methodist community allowed Catholic Masses to be said in their historic chapel for months while their sanctuary was repaired from a fire. (That might have been a special circumstance though since the chapel had once been a Catholic Church.)


My last parish was in a very rural area of the deep south. Monsignor let almost every church use the parish and the hall until their got theirs up and running.
When he passed away, there were hundreds of people outside of our parish who showed up to pay respects to the one who was so generous and kind to them. They even shut down the highway fro the afternoon in his honor while the funeral Mass was taking pace. We had to have the service on closed circuit television so everyone could pray together. 70 priests, countless ministers and preachers of other denominations. Many of them had also converted due to his approachability and warmth. Sure do miss him. heaven:


that is a beautiful story, thanks for sharing.


There is actually a quasi-Parish in Virginia Beach, VA (Diocese of Richmond) which was founded as part Catholic and part Anglican.

They are part of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia and the Catholic Diocese of Richmond.

There are also some old Churches in Germany which are both Catholic and Lutheran. They each have their own Altars.


In my state, there was up until fairly recently a Lutheran congregation and a Catholic one that shared the same Church. I’m not sure if either is using the Church building now (it’s well kept, so perhaps they are) as its near some other towns that do have churches.

in our city, our Church once also housed the Greek Orthodox congregation, which held their services at a separate time. Oddly enough there was a Greek Knights of Columbus chapter during that period. They later built their church after a donor donated the land for it.

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