I have a question for my Catholic brothers and sisters in the faith, which I desperately need advice on. I believe in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, and also the fullness of truth which comes to us from the Catholic faith.
That being said, I have a friend of mine who belongs to a Protestant church. She has invited me to go with her to her church for a number of weeks now. At first, I did not see anything wrong in doing so, as I looked at it as fellowshiping with our “seperated brethren”. However, the other day I was reading an important verse from Sacred Scripture which placed a burden on my heart regarding this situation. Let me list the verse below:
2 Thessalonians 3:6 We instruct you, brothers, in the name of (our) Lord Jesus Christ,**to shun any brother who conducts himself in a disorderly way and not according to the tradition they received from us. **
Protestants don’t hold to Sacred Tradition (the tradition spoken about in the above verse which is used by the Catholic Church to show why we follow Sacred Tradition, along with Sacred Scripture, which is infallably interpreted by the Magesterium of the Catholic Church). They believe in Sola Scriptura, Bible Alone, as I’m sure everyone here already is aware of.
My question is, given this verse, and others like it, is it alright, according to Catholic teaching, to attend a worship service at a Protestant church? I attend Mass everyday, and I always fulfill my Sunday obligation. Also, I realize that these Protestant “services” are not the Mass, nor are they on the same level as the Mass with regards to worship, our Sunday obligation etc.
I know that the Catholic Church views the Eastern Orthodox Church as a part of the Catholic Church. And I’m aware that there are efforts being made (if they are not already completed, forgive me but I am not sure where the situation stands at the present time) to allow Catholics to attend Mass at an Eastern Orthodox Church as well as to allow Eastern Orthodox Christians to attend a Catholic Mass, and it counting as fulfilling the Sunday obligation. However, I know this is different with regards to Protestant churches, as I’ve already stated above. I guess what I’m basically trying to find out is, is it alright to continue going to service with my friend at her church, provided I continue to view it as I do now?
Also, would it be alright to attend a synogogue or a service at a mosque? Would it be alright to attend a buddhist “gathering” (I’m unsure what they call their services, my apoligies)? I know that a devil-worshiping gathering would be wrong, but where exactly is the line drawn with regards to other religions, and other non-Catholic Christian communities?
Thank you, in advance, for your help and responses.
May God bless you and Mary keep you in her prayers always.