Should you attend a Protestant service?


#1

Does the Church consider it patently immoral or sinful (redundant? :o) for a Catholic to attend a Protestant Sunday worship service if the Catholic also attends a Catholic Mass?

I would never consider participating in their version of “communion”, but simply attend to pray, worship, and participate in Bible study.

I personally don’t see any problem with it, though I believe I understand enough of Catholic teaching to take the exegesis with the appropriate grain of salt.

I’m certain there may be opinions that differ, though, so please respond with your thoughts.

javelin


#2

I have studied these requirements since I use to be a Scoutmaster of a Boy Scout troop where we had to deal with having Scouts of mixed denominations at both Protestant Sunday services and Catholic Sunday Mass at different times of the year.

There is no problem for a Catholic to attend a Protestant service as an observer. You can sing along, pray with the group, and participate in Bible study. As you said, attending the Protestant service does not fulfil the Sunday Obligation, you are still obligated to attend Sunday service.

If the Protestant service has communion you are not supposed to partake of the communion.

One caution is that you need to remember that depending on the Protestant group their theology may differ in small amount or large amounts from the Catholic church, so you should be well grounded in what the church really teaches, not the Protestant groups opinion of what the church teaches.


#3

I attend my husband’s Bretheren Church on Sunday morning. I go to the Vigil Mass on Saturday night.

My husband said he would support my conversion as long as it didn’t ‘split up the family’. I talke to my priest about it and he said it was ok to go with him for now. I also do so in order to play on my husband’s sense of fairness. If I go to his church, he should also attend services at mine, which he has.

I only go and take up a seat. I do not take part in the service other than to sing a few songs. I do not attend any Bible studies or anything else there. I have no desire to. I already know what they teach so what would be the point?

dream wanderer


#4

As long as you remember that attending a non-Catholic worship service does not relieve you of your Sunday obligation, and that you are not to partake of their version of the Lord’s Supper, you are okay.


#5

And, you can freely go to non-Catholic churches for social functions such as weddings, funerals, and christenings.


#6

Just be very careful! Make sure you are completely grounded in your Catholic faith. The main reason why many Catholics leave and join a Protestant church is because they do not know their faith well enough.

Protestant churches seem to also be good in the area of socializing in small groups settings. Often people can feel at home and very welcomed in Protestant churches and be led there for mainly that reason only. But nothing takes the place of Truth, and the Catholic Church has the complete Truth.

There may be little messages of anti-cathoicism that will gradually over time make you doubt your Catholic faith and it’s foundational teachings. That is the danger with attending a Protestant church. The subtle approach of bits of anti-catholicism mixed with a loving smile and open arms can lead a fairly grounded Catholic away.


#7

[quote=dream wanderer]… I only go and take up a seat. I do not take part in the service other than to sing a few songs. I do not attend any Bible studies or anything else there. I have no desire to. I already know what they teach so what would be the point?

[/quote]

I agree completely with what you said, except for the last statement. Our Lord calls us to not only know about Him, but to praise Him, worship Him, and read and absorb His written Word. Protestants are very good at all these things, even though their doctrinal knowledge and interpretation of scripture may be imperfect. You can learn a great deal from their zeal, their passion for God’s Word, and from how normal people examine the depths of knowledge and faith in the Bible. While there are not multiple “different Truths” on a subject in the Bible (that would be an oxymoron), there are many facets and levels to a Truth that talking with well-meaning Christians can help uncover for you.

And you would also be an informal ambassador for the Catholic Church. Who knows, perhaps your participation could help the Bible Christians learn more of the Truth that is professed by the Catholic Church!

God Bless,
javelin


#8

[quote=copland]Just be very careful! Make sure you are completely grounded in your Catholic faith. The main reason why many Catholics leave and join a Protestant church is because they do not know their faith well enough.

[/quote]

Yes, copland, that is certainly possible. But an exposure to something different can also lead one to search more fervenly than ever for the correct answers. I would only suggest attending a Protestant service if the Catholic’s home parish has a sufficient support system in place, where Catholics feel comfortable asking questions and seeking guidance. If that is the case, then complete groundedness is not necessary (IMHO).

I think our Church, in general, treats us too much like children in our faith, who must be protected at all costs from everything that might lead us astray. Granted, the poor formation that most Catholics have received is largely the fault of the Church itself, and that poor formation is what makes many Catholics ill-equipped to venture out beyond their parish walls without fear of being “picked off” by a devout and clever evangelical protestant or secular “theology”. However, there seems to be no plan for continuing formation to fix this glaring problem. I’m thinking another discussion on this topic is probably in order.

In Faith,
javelin


#9

It is important for a Catholic attending a protestant Bible study to always be ready to interject the Catholic view. Or question something that is not correct or misrepresented and be ready to defend the Catholic Faith and beliefs.

Many however come away more confused and questioning their Catholic beliefs not sure where to turn in their confusion.


#10

Good Morning Church

I remember when one of our Parish groups (once a week meetings) were having a big discussion on this topic and other religions.
There was about 3 weeks worth of talk on evangelical non denomination types. We also talked about some of the others. We made it a point to bring up positive things as well as negatives.

When this series came to an end, Father addressed us all.

He said we had pointed out as main positives about these other religions, sort of as follows. This has been over 15 years so be patient with my memory. :wink:

The Jehovah Witnesses are great at evangelism. They take every sort of abuse but continue on. They study and know their material.

Mormons are well known for their family values. They also do charitable, good works. They tithe from the top of their income. They do missionary work.

Evangelical non denominationals are hospital. They have great fellowship and welcome everyone in. They openly sing praises to God. They look like happy Christians. They pray with people whenever asked. They visit the sick and homebound, usually with a meal in their hands to share.

These are the ones I can remember clearly and I am sure I left things out.

At any rate, Father tossed out the zinger.
He asked what are Catholics known for? He said, shouldn’t we be known for every one of these things equally as much as anyone else is? Dead silence. He then gave us 4 more weeks to evaluate ourselves. It turned out to be one of the best Spiritual growth times I have ever sat through.

Why not fix ourselves so that we do not see a need to go anywhere else. We could do it without losing a single bit of Truth.


#11

Thank you, robertaf, point well made!

What is the Catholic Chruch known for? For many, it’s rules and rubrics, and almost no one will follow those without trusting in the Church that gave them. IMHO, the Church has done a poor job developing and fostering that trust.

In conversations with troubled Catholics who yearn to engage in the things that Protestants do so well, I remind them that the Catholic Church can be all those things. Yet I am constantly battling the fact that we are not, and that frustrates and troubles many.

Jesus said that we would be known fby our Love. Is that how we’re known??

God Bless!
javelin


#12

[quote=javelin]Does the Church consider it patently immoral or sinful (redundant? :o) for a Catholic to attend a Protestant Sunday worship service if the Catholic also attends a Catholic Mass?

I would never consider participating in their version of “communion”, but simply attend to pray, worship, and participate in Bible study.

I personally don’t see any problem with it, though I believe I understand enough of Catholic teaching to take the exegesis with the appropriate grain of salt.

I’m certain there may be opinions that differ, though, so please respond with your thoughts.

javelin
[/quote]

Why would a Catholic want to attend Protestant services? Tell me please. Attending religious services is not like choosing a play to attend, a drama or a movie. Yes, it would be perfectly fine for a Catholic to attend the wedding or funeral of a good Protestant friend, sing hymns and join in prayer. Provided that the content of the prayers and songs is not contrary to the Catholic faith. But you cannot attend regular sunday services in a non-Catholic Churh. So yes Catholics can attend Protestant services, a Catholic may not, however, have a liturgical part or regularly attend non-Catholic services. Catholics may be guests at non-Catholic services - weddings, funerals, baptisms, in connection with a family gathering. But in the case of mixed spouses, the Catholic cannot consider it a level playing field, as if divine worship can be divided between the Catholic Church and the spouse’s non-Catholic Church. That would be the error of indifferentism. While the non-Catholic spouse could accompany the Catholic to Mass without limit (Communion excepted), the reverse is not true. The Catholic in a mixed marriage must respect the truth about the Church, and thus God’s will for our salvation, as well as the spouse’s conscience. That is difficult, and why the Church discourages mixed marriages to begin with.


#13

Greetings

I do occaisionally attend evangelical worship services. Not often but occaisionally.
I am a Catholic Charismatic and we do not have an active Prayer group any longer in our area.
I love the form of praise and worship. I love singing praises to the Lord, lifting my hands to worship Him. I love folks who look and act as joyful as I feel for all He has done in my life.

And **NO, **I do not go to be entertained. I am so sick of that accusation! It is simply untrue and tossed around by folks who have no idea at all what they are saying.


#14

[quote=robertaf]At any rate, Father tossed out the zinger.
He asked what are Catholics known for?

[/quote]

Ahhhhh, let me see. Bingo?

:smiley:


#15

Yes, copland, that is certainly possible. But an exposure to something different can also lead one to search more fervenly than ever for the correct answers… I think our Church, in general, treats us too much like children in our faith, who must be protected at all costs from everything that might lead us astray.
[/quote]

I understand your point, javelin, and there is some validity to it.

But in an age when Catholics are deliberately targeted by evangelical groups, “picked off”, and led away from the Church, I do believe that copland’s warning is prudent and not to be casually dismissed.

You may be comfortable in your faith, and/or have a terrific parish. But copland’s warning may help someone else hesitate enough to avoid the pitfall.

Speaking as a revert, I know how easy it is to get outside the Church. And once you do, it is like the bicyclist who gets dropped from the large group of riders and can no longer benefit from their slipstream. Often, the rider never makes it back to the safety of the pack.


#16

[quote=javelin]Does the Church consider it patently immoral or sinful (redundant? :o) for a Catholic to attend a Protestant Sunday worship service if the Catholic also attends a Catholic Mass?

javelin
[/quote]

Dearest “javelin”

Come on–are we “one in the Lord” or not? Is not the worshipping of our precious Lord and Savior of #1 importance?

Let’s not be pig-headed here----for we love the Lord and want to worship Him. By all means attend a Protestant worship service and glorify Him with all your heart. This is the point of our lives!!!

Bless You~~


#17

No!

I feel that Catholics should remain true to the faith. They should not attend Protestant services unless there is a compelling reason (funerals, weddings, etc.). When we attend a Protestant service, we are giving some level of approval of those services.


#18

[quote=robertaf]Greetings

I do occaisionally attend evangelical worship services. Not often but occaisionally.
I am a Catholic Charismatic and we do not have an active Prayer group any longer in our area.
I love the form of praise and worship. I love singing praises to the Lord, lifting my hands to worship Him. I love folks who look and act as joyful as I feel for all He has done in my life.

And **NO, **I do not go to be entertained. I am so sick of that accusation! It is simply untrue and tossed around by folks who have no idea at all what they are saying.

[/quote]

Then why do you go? Your stated reasons are inadaquate. You can lift your hands and sing praises at MASS. I used to be the loadest singing voice at Mass. Not any more. Pray your zeal becomes infectious. You no longer have a Prayer group? Start one. You have stated no Canonical reason to attend a non-Catholic service. You should not be going. And how can you LOVE their form of Worship when it lacks the very object and centerpiece of Christian Worship, our Lord in His Blessed Eucharist?


#19

[quote=javelin]I agree completely with what you said, except for the last statement. Our Lord calls us to not only know about Him, but to praise Him, worship Him, and read and absorb His written Word. Protestants are very good at all these things, even though their doctrinal knowledge and interpretation of scripture may be imperfect. You can learn a great deal from their zeal, their passion for God’s Word, and from how normal people examine the depths of knowledge and faith in the Bible. While there are not multiple “different Truths” on a subject in the Bible (that would be an oxymoron), there are many facets and levels to a Truth that talking with well-meaning Christians can help uncover for you.

And you would also be an informal ambassador for the Catholic Church. Who knows, perhaps your participation could help the Bible Christians learn more of the Truth that is professed by the Catholic Church!

God Bless,
javelin
[/quote]

I grew up in that atmosphere.I repeat… there is nothing new they can teach me. and I"m also just not interested.

dream wanderer


#20

I wonder how we are going to entice people to become interested in the fullness of Jesus’ truths if we continue to support lesser traditions of that truth?


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