Should Parents take their children of appropriate age to other faiths' services?


#1

Should Parents take their children of appropriate age to other faiths’ services??? By appropriate age, I leave the discretion to the parents to decide as each child and situation are different, and there is a reason that God entrusted the child to the parents’ care.

For the parents out there, do you think it is a good idea to take your children as a family to the services of another religion??? If so or not so, why??? (Assuming that you will still fulfill the Sunday obligation of Mass as well.) For the polling question choices will be : a Protestant service, a Synagogue, a Mosque, an Orthodox Church, an Eastern Rite (if you are Roman Catholic) or a Roman Rite (if you belong to an Eastern Rite Catholic) and you ARE allowed multiple answers if more than one but not all the listings. Thanks and God Bless.


#2

The following is taken from the Baltimore Catechism:

LESSON 16 – The First Commandmend of God

**198. What is the first commandment of God? **
The first commandment of God is: I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.
*Thou shalt not have strange Gods before me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. (Exodus 20:3-4) *

**199. What are we commanded by the first commandment? **
By the first commandment we are commanded to offer to God alone the supreme worship that is due Him.
*It is written, “The Lord thy God shalt thou worship, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Luke 4:8) *

**200. How do we worship God? **
We worship God by acts of faith, hope, and charity, and by adoring Him and praying to Him.

**201. What does faith oblige us to do? **
Faith obliges us: first, to make efforts to find out what God has revealed; second, to believe firmly what God has revealed; third, to profess our faith openly whenever necessary.
*Therefore, everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:32) *

**205. How does a Catholic sin against faith? **
A Catholic sins against faith by apostasy, heresy, indifferentism, and by taking part in non-Catholic worship.

**206. Why does a Catholic sin against faith by taking part in non-Catholic worship. **
A Catholic sins against faith by taking part in non-Catholic worship when he intends to identify himself with a religion he knows is defective.
This is why I was born, and why I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice. (John 18:37)


#3

A little note of clarification before I try to get some sleep here. I was asking if it was okay to take the family to observe another faith’s service NOT participate. The idea is not to identify with a religion that doesn’t contain the fullness of Truth. I am asking as an Apologetics experience as observation not identifying. Thanks and God Bless.


#4

I see no reason to take a Catholic child or teen to a Protestant service, unless it is a protestant family member’s wedding, baptism, etc. I went to a few Protestant friend’s church’s upon invitation in highschool, and found it to be rather disturbing to sit through an anti-Catholic sermon (it was a special “bring friends to church” day) I think it would be interesting to go to a synogogue and learn about the Jewish faith, but It might be better to learn more about it first and find a nice rabbi to discuss the fact that your family is Catholic but would like to have a better understanding of the Jewish faith for interfaith understanding, that way he could explain and answer any questions and you will know for certain whether you are welcome at a particular time. If the rabbi is not conducive to this, you could find another who would be. I would be cautious about going to a Mosque, unless you are going to one that is a historical site open to the general public. I would do it only if you had a good repore with a person who attends the particular Mosque, not just show up “Hey, we are here for a field trip, we have no clue what we are doing and we won’t pray to Allah, we are the infidel, but we are hoping you will welcome us in to treat this mosque like a living museum…” It would be kinda rude. I would like to take my children to an Eastern Rite Mass, because they are as important to the Body of Christ as the Latin Rite, and I want my children to understand this. I would enjoy taking my children to Catholic Churches all over the world to experience the Mass in various cultures.


#5

I can’t answer for anybody else, but I certainly wouldn’t.


#6

[quote=slinky1882]A little note of clarification before I try to get some sleep here. I was asking if it was okay to take the family to observe another faith’s service NOT participate. The idea is not to identify with a religion that doesn’t contain the fullness of Truth. I am asking as an Apologetics experience as observation not identifying. Thanks and God Bless.
[/quote]

No, it’s not OK. Unfortunately, I think we have lost the sense of the evil of heresy. False religions are very evil. In fact, believe it or not, a false religion is worse than the act of abortion.“The sin of unbelief [heresy] is greater than any sin which occurs in the perversion of morals.” (St. Thomas Aquinas).

An individual who is a member of a false religion may not necessarily be a bad person (naturally speaking), but the false religion itself is EXTREMELY evil. That cannot be emphasized enough.

Just as you would not want to take your family to an abortion mill to observe an abortion, because it offends God, so too you would not want to take your family to observe a false religious service for the same reason: because it offends God.

A false religious service may or may not offend you or I very much, but it offends God greatly - more so than abortion. That is why we should have nothing to do with it. Why does false worship offend God more than abortion? Because it is against the first commandment, which is the greatest commandment. Muder (abortion) is a direct attack on man and an indirect attack on God. Heresy (false religion), on the other hand, is a direct attack on God, which is why it is worse.

This truth has been kind of swept under the rug for the past 35 years or so, but it is still true. I think the new Pope may again begin to emphazise this.


#7

I have heard many Christians profess the idea that as long as a person is praying to Jesus it doesn’t matter what church they go to. They say this out of charity, but it is not* completely* accurate. The Catholic belief is that elements of truth can be found in all the various religions, but only the Catholic Church has the full Truth, passed down from Christ to the Apostles and held intact, protected by the Holy Spirit today. For a Catholic to know that Truth and turn against it would be heresy. My husband’s family is Lutheran. They tend to also be, to different degrees, against the Catholic Church. We have gone to my nieces’ and nephew’s Baptisms and have been to my husband’s grandfather’s funeral etc. We certainly don’t participate in Lutheran communion, although we were invited ,and encouraged, by the pastor and my husband’s sister to do so. We do not say thier creed. I say the Catholic Creed, but they are our family and we want to be there for these special moments. I am careful to explain ,with respect, the differences between the two religions to my children so that they know what is going on, etc. We still go to Mass if we attend a Lutheran service. A Lutheran service would not fulfill our obligation to weekly Mass, etc. My Mother in Law refused to go to my children’s Baptisms because they are in the Catholic Church, although my Father in law and sister in law, and her family, attended. The important thing to remember is to treat family members of various denomonations or faiths with respect, and love. Acknowlege the truths in thier faiths, but do not allow that to diminish or overshadow, the truth you know in the Catholic Church. Participation should not go against any Catholic teaching. Listening to the liturgy in the Lutheran Church is not a problem for me at all, the prayers are similar but when it comes to Communion and the Creed, etc. I dont’ participate because it woudl be heretical. I would not go if the denomonation was particularly anti-Catholic, because I would not be able to sit through something so heretical. A protestant wedding is usually short, and the Lutheran funeral service was much shorter than a Catholic funeral because they didn’t have communion. I certainly respect my husband’s family and do not want religion to divide us any more than it already has. My poor mother in law thinks her son joined some kind of cult that worships the Pope,( as well as many other misunderstandings) and no matter how much I have explained it, she holds her position. She even refused to call us Christian for several years.:frowning: It’s sad but I trust that God has a plan. I have been to Lutheran services about 5 times in my live, my daughter has been 2 times for her cousin’s baptisms and her great grandfather’s funeral, and my other two children have been once for their great -grandfather’s funeral. We only go for the “big stuff” Baptisms, weddings and funerals. Some might consider this wrong but I think it is important to share these moments with family, especially if there is a rift because of religious differences.

What do other members feel about going to historical sites from other religions? Would you go on a tour of the Pyrimids, Mexican ruins, etc? Would you tour a historical Protestant Church, Mosque or Synagogue, even if for architectural interest? Would you find this heretical? Just curious.


#8

I certainly would not “warn” children about the “dangers” of going into a non-Catholic Church (When I was a child, we thought they would eat us if we went in!)

But there is no point in taking them to a non-Catholic service. In an age when “feel-good” religion and morality is popular, children don’t need to think that all religions are as good one as the other.

Eventually, they may be taken to a christening or wedding or funeral. The children should understand that they are doing it to be nice to their friends.

I think it would also be all right to take them to authorized ecumenical services that take place, usually during Christian unity week, explaining that it is a tragedy that Christians are separated one from the other, and that it is proper to gather together to pray for unity.

Verbum


#9

Thank you all for your clarification. I do not want to participate in heresy in any degree. But I have a couple of questions as I want to explain why this thought came up. I was recently in a required wolrd religion class at the univeristy. An assignment was to observe another religion’s service. After praying and talking to my pastor, I decided to observe a local orthodox Jewish Synagogue. Was this an act of heresy??? (Out of curiousity, when Pope John Paul II visited the Roman Synagogue and prayed, and later in an address there said “You are our dearly beloved brothers and, in a certain way, it could be said that you are our elder brothers.” What should we make of this partial indentification with Judaism???)

I agree with your synthesis of the Mosque and the Protestant service, and I apologize if this thread was any sort of scandal :frowning: . Another poster has brought up ecumenical services. If the local ordinary is presiding, is it okay to go then???

Second given CCC and Canon Law:
The Eastern churches that are not in full communion with the Catholic Church celebrate the Eucharist with great love. “These Churches, although separated from us, yet possess true sacraments, above all - by apostolic succession - the priesthood and the Eucharist, whereby they are still joined to us in closest intimacy.” A certain communion in sacris…is not merely possible but is encouraged." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, number 1399)

“Catholic ministers may licitly administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist and anointing of the sick to members of the oriental churches which do not have full Communion with the Catholic Church, if they ask on their own for the sacraments and are properly disposed. This holds also for members of other churches, which in the judgment of the Apostolic See are in the same condition as the oriental churches as far as these sacraments are concerned” (CIC 844 § 3).

If Orthodox were formal heretics in the eyes of Rome, would they be allowed to receive Communion at a Catholic Church??? Thanks and God Bless.


#10

I must say that it would be unfortunate for any Catholic to be unaware of the worship and common practices of other religions. I firmly believe it is the duty of every learned man and woman to know what other men and women belive so as to ebtter understand their faith and their fellow human beings (paraphrase from Ghandi). I personally have atatended Eastern and Protestant services, Jewish services, a session at the local veadic center, and a prayer call at the local mosque. I feel all this was a learning experience and I did not participate in any actual worship. I recall that the early christian, prior to the gospels, worshipped in the Temple with their Jewish bretheren.


#11

I have friends who are “non-denominationals.” I have no qualms with anyone attending a “service” at their “church” because basically it’s a large bible study with a bunch of excellent music before-hand. I have gone to Mass and then went with them and enjoyed fellowship and singing praises to God. I don’t see how singing praise and talking about bible passages is hersay and i don’t see how this would be classified as a “false-religion” since they really don’t have one, and they know it.


#12

My very first question about this is, why? Why would one even think about taking their children to other services? Is the Mass not enough? I would think that if one wants to educate their children about what other people believe, it might be considered, though I am not sure how one would be able to do that with some religions (a non-Muslim cannot just enter a mosque, for instance).


#13

[quote=PandaBean]I have friends who are “non-denominationals.” I have no qualms with anyone attending a “service” at their “church” because basically it’s a large bible study with a bunch of excellent music before-hand. I have gone to Mass and then went with them and enjoyed fellowship and singing praises to God. I don’t see how singing praise and talking about bible passages is hersay and i don’t see how this would be classified as a “false-religion” since they really don’t have one, and they know it.
[/quote]

Hi there, cute name by the way, the only thing about it being a large bible study is the interpretation always supports their theology. Lutherans study the bible… so do Church of Christ and Mormons. Same scriptures, different interpretations. The non-denom church you visit probably believes in adult baptism (symbolic), eternal security & communion that’s symbolic as well so all passages read would be explained in a way to support their views. Not to say that you’d be swayed into thinking they are right, but others just might. Otherwise, why would so many former Catholics end up there believing it all??

But I agree, the music is excellent.

Peace,
CM


#14

[quote=Milliardo]My very first question about this is, why? Why would one even think about taking their children to other services? Is the Mass not enough? I would think that if one wants to educate their children about what other people believe, it might be considered, though I am not sure how one would be able to do that with some religions (a non-Muslim cannot just enter a mosque, for instance).
[/quote]

Granted, I agree with the Muslim and Protestant thoughts (unless it is an ecumencical serive presided over by the Local Ordinary loyal to Rome (i.e. onw in good standing with the Church.)) I listed them as options not out of my personal opinion merely as I have known people who have taken their children. The Mass is enough (which is why I said in my orignal post still fulfilling the Sunday obligation) and the question has nothing to do with that line of thinking. Nothing can replace or surpass the Mass as the Perfect Prayer of the Church.

I am asking for others thoughts if their teenager comes up and asks about the Jewish people after reading the Old Testament or hearing the Pope say the Jews are “our elder brothers in Faith” or they read in the missal at Mass that the Orthodox are allowed to receive Communion in the Catholic Church (Members of the Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Polish National Catholic Church are urged to respect the discipline of their own Churches. According to Roman Catholic discipline, the Code of Canon Law does not object to the reception of communion by Christians of these Churches (canon 844 § 3). Or, the Pope visits a Synagogue or Orthodox Church and the child asks about the Holy Father visiting or praying as seen on EWTN or the regular press.

My thoughts are after prayer and seeking out advice from a orthodox priest is observing a service once to learn of the roots of our Faith in Judaism or the Orthodox Churches (CCC 1399 "The Eastern churches that are not in full communion with the Catholic Church celebrate the Eucharist with great love. “These Churches, although separated from us, yet possess true sacraments, above all - by apostolic succession - the priesthood and the Eucharist, whereby they are still joined to us in closest intimacy.” A certain communion in sacris, and so in the Eucharist, "given suitable circumstances and the approval of Church authority, is not merely possible but is encouraged."238) may take place best as an appropriate age child attends with their parents (or guardians) so that any questions the child may have can be shared and discussed within a family setting and for apologetic reasons to defend their Catholic Faith. I find this far better than the child going alone when they are alone at college or falling away from the Church.

I do not wish to cause scandal by this post nor commit heresy, and I apologize in that was the interpretation others got. :o I wanted to know the thoughts of others. Thanks and God Bless.


#15

[quote=Peace-bwu]we won’t pray to Allah
[/quote]

But Catholics do pray to Allah. They have been doing so (under that name, if they were Arabs) since before Muhammed was born.

I also strongly disagree with the idea that Catholic young people can’t benefit from visiting Protestant churches. Protestantism has an important presence in this society and Catholics need to understand it. Besides, aren’t we your separated brethren? How can we overcome the separation if we never visit each other?

Still, I think you’re right that [Orthodox] Judaism and Eastern Orthodoxy (including non-Chalcedonians, if any are available) should have pride of place.

Edwin


#16

[quote=RSiscoe]No, it’s not OK. Unfortunately, I think we have lost the sense of the evil of heresy. False religions are very evil. In fact, believe it or not, a false religion is worse than the act of abortion.“The sin of unbelief [heresy] is greater than any sin which occurs in the perversion of morals.” (St. Thomas Aquinas).

An individual who is a member of a false religion may not necessarily be a bad person (naturally speaking), but the false religion itself is EXTREMELY evil. That cannot be emphasized enough.

Just as you would not want to take your family to an abortion mill to observe an abortion, because it offends God, so too you would not want to take your family to observe a false religious service for the same reason: because it offends God.

A false religious service may or may not offend you or I very much, but it offends God greatly - more so than abortion. That is why we should have nothing to do with it. Why does false worship offend God more than abortion? Because it is against the first commandment, which is the greatest commandment. Muder (abortion) is a direct attack on man and an indirect attack on God. Heresy (false religion), on the other hand, is a direct attack on God, which is why it is worse.

This truth has been kind of swept under the rug for the past 35 years or so, but it is still true. I think the new Pope may again begin to emphazise this.
[/quote]

How does going to a Jewish Synagogue or an Orthodox Church once to observe the service constitute “obstinate denial or doubt, after baptism, of a truth which must be believed by divine and catholic faith. Apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith. Schism is the withdrawal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or from communion with the members of the Church subject to him.” (Heresy as defined by CIC 751 and CCC 2089.)??? And since you brought Aquinas into this, the observation does not even fit his definition of heresy (Summa Theologica Secunda Secundae Partis 10. 9,11 and 11. 1,2.). Reply to Objection 3: “As Augustine says (Ep. xliii) and we find it stated in the Decretals (xxiv, qu. 3, can. Dixit Apostolus): “By no means should we accuse of heresy those who, however false and perverse their opinion may be, defend it without obstinate fervor, and seek the truth with careful anxiety, ready to mend their opinion, when they have found the truth,” because, to wit, they do not make a choice in contradiction to the doctrine of the Church.” (Summa Theologica Secunda Secundae Partis 11.2).

newadvent.org/summa/301102.htm

Second, the anology of an abortion mill to an Orthodox Church service is false (inductive fallacy) and is a grave injustice. Abortion is gravely contrary to the moral law and has a canonical penalty of excommunication (CCC 2271-2272 and CIC 1398, 1314, 1323-1324). The Church has not declared the Orthodox Sacraments to be “gravely contrary to the moral law.” as far as I know. And the Jewish faith is unlike the other non-Christian religions as Judaism is already a response to God’s revelation in the Old Covenant. (CCC 839). If attending in observation is an act of “heresey”, how could a Pope enter and pray at a Synagogue, Mosque or Orthodox Church and acknowledge the common bonds shared by each one in particular to Catholicism??? Observing a Jewish Service or Orthodox service once doesn’t constitute participation or identifying.

Please correct me if I am wrong, and again, I apologize if I have scandalized anyone by my question. Thank you for your insights. Thanks and God Bless.


#17

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