Visiting other churchs

I was wondering if a catholic is allowed to visit another’s church if they visit ours? I’m not talking about converting but friendly visiting.

Of course. I’m married to an Anglican, I often attend my wife’s parish, while always being careful to fulfill my own Sunday/Holy day obligation of course. And she also attends Mass with me from time to time.

Now if they have communion, of course you shouldn’t take communion or otherwise participate, but you can certainly observe and pray any “safe” prayers like the Our Father.

Now mind you I’d never attend a JW assembly, or a church of a denomination openly and publicly hostile to Catholics. But I’d certainly attend most Protestant services for things like funerals, or on the invitation of a friend or relative; and also a Synagogue.

You know that’s very interesting. I just met a JW woman and we had interesting conversation. I told her I was Catholic and interested in facts about faiths. She told me that JW are not a part of christendom and I visited a website at she gave me and they said on that site they were glad to be called Christians. So I don’t know what she was trying to say. They also read the Bible. What should I look out for if they’re hostile to Catholics?

You may visit other churches, but this does not fulfill your Sunday Mass obligation.

No, they don’t. They read only an edited version of the Bible called the “New World Translation,” which has been reworded to be less hostile to their ideas.

They like to call themselves “Christian” to make them seem more appealing to other Christians. Many protestants don’t have any particular aversion to switching denominations, and they want to seem like any other denomination.

The JWs I have known have all been good and sincere people, but the organization is deliberately deceptive.

I go to an Evangelical/Non-Denominational church with someone close to me from time to time. I have been to many of them here in the deep-south.

I went to Pastor Johnny Hunt’s First Baptist Woodstock Church. Johnny Hunt used to be president of the Southern Baptist Convention and he gets animated when he preaches - that man can yell! I have also been to Andy Stanley’s Evangelical Church and would love to hear his father Charles Stanley preach.

I have visited a reformed Jewish Synagogue, Messianic Jewish Synagogue, United Church of Christ and my best friend is an ordained Pastor in the Methodist Church. The Messianic Jewish Synagogue was a mix between reformed Judaism and Evangelical - it was the weirdest thing I have ever seen.

I’ve also been to Ethiopian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox and Syro-Malabar Churches as well.

I consider myself strong in the faith and none of it bothers me. I am very careful about participation in their sacraments but I am not at all uncomfortable about listening politely nor uncomfortable about identifying myself as Roman Catholic. One who is not strong in their faith has to be careful because you will hear things that are directly opposed to Catholic beliefs.


What do you think of this page on their apoligetics ? Some of what they say sound true. To me “Pagan” is a catholic term denoting everyone else. Not of the faith when things were getting started. To convert the wrong ones (non-catholics). IMO

We must be careful that the we don’t expose ourselves to danger by “visiting” other churches of other faiths. Sometimes, the evil one puts before us “innocent” snares to entrap and confuse us when we think we are “strong enough” in our faith to see it coming.

We may hear a word or phrase that may put into our minds a question about*** our ***faith and perhaps weaken our path to God. Remember we are weak creatures and may easily fall when we put too much merit in our own abilities.

There should be no need to “visit” other churches even if we feel it to be “friendly visiting.” We would be putting ourselves in the near occasion of sinning if we allow deceptive and false teachings to reach our ears*** voluntarily***. You are putting your soul in danger.

Don’t be misled. The Church does not allow participation in services of other faiths, even if it’s to be reciprocal to another who has come to our Church.

The evil one is cunning and never sleeps. I would strongly suggest you pray to Our Blessed Mother for guidance in this decision. Pray the St. Michael the Archangel prayer remembering he will “defend us in battle, be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil.” You are in my prayers.



The Jehovah’s Witness religion is very anti-Catholic and unorthodox. There is much content on Catholic Answers regarding them:

From the link you provided above:

**Myth: **The reason why Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate Christmas is that they do not believe in Jesus.
**Fact: **We are Christians. We believe that salvation comes only through Jesus Christ.—Acts 4:12.


…Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus had a prehuman existence and in that state he was divine. **Although not Almighty God, the Word, as he was/is called, was a god. **

(Emphasis added.)

They actually deny that Jesus is not God Almighty. Although they try to sound Christian, when you read their literature carefully we see that they always deny the divinity of Jesus Christ.

Also from your link we read:

We believe that Christmas is not approved by God because it is rooted in pagan customs and rites.

Christmas is rooted in the celebration of the birth of God made Man. It has NEVER been “rooted” in anything pagan. Some of the traditions may have been borrowed from local customs, but that in no way makes them ‘pagan’.

Well, it’s almost bedtime, so g’night!:yawn:

  1. Jesus commanded that we commemorate his death, not his birth.—Luke 22:19, 20.

James: Um, Luke 22:19-20 is an excerpt from St Luke’s Passover narrative, the part in which Jesus commands the Apostles to “do this in remembrance of [him]”. It says nothing about Jesus’s birth at all. Unnecessary dichotomy.

  1.’ apostles and early disciples did not celebrate Christmas. The New Catholic Encyclopedia says that “the Nativity feast was instituted no earlier than 243 [C.E.],” more than a century after the last of the apostles died.

James: It takes time to organize Church-wide holidays when all the Church’s members are being, you know, executed en masse.

  1. There is no proof that Jesus was born on December 25; his birth date is not recorded in the Bible.

James: Jewish peasants of New Testament times had little to no way to keep track of dates or times. Nor did they celebrate birthdays. Only later did the Church realize the incredible importance of Christ’s birth.

As to the date, because we do not know the exact date of Christ’s birth, the date of December 25 for Christmas may have been arbitrary. The Church could have chosen another date on which to celebrate the birth of Christ. One reason December 25 may have been deemed suitable is its proximity to the winter solstice. After that date the days start to become longer, and thus it is at the beginning of a season of light entering the world (cf. John 1:5). The summer solstice—after which the days start to get shorter—falls near June 24, on which the Church celebrates the birth of John the Baptist, who declared of Christ, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
This link is also helpful:

  1. We believe that Christmas is not approved by God because it is rooted in pagan customs and rites.—2 Corinthians 6:17.

James: 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 is a command to separate from contact with pagans. It has nothing to do with celebrations. Either way, the site provides no sources for Christmas being “rooted in pagan customs and rites”, so it’s hard to refute. They may be referring to the Roman festival of Saturnalia, which took place on around the same date as the date Christmas would later become, and many theorize that one of the reasons Christmas was given that date was to “compete” with Saturnalia; however, this hardly constitutes the Christmas celebration’s “roots”.

Honestly, I’ve only gone to other churches for weddings of non-Catholic friends and family. I would probably have to for the funerals of my dad’s parents, as they aren’t Catholic and are very aged. As for general services, though, I’ve always declined them. I’m pretty strong in my faith - but, my thinking is, why would I even want to go to a non-Catholic church?

I used to work with a JW. We would constantly be going back and forth in a friendly manner about which one was true. Through talking with him, I found out that the only date they celebrate on the Christian calendar is Holy Thursday. They also believe that voting (in Catholicism considered a civic responsibility in order to try to shape the world into an image of the Kingdom of Heaven) is against God’s law.

He believed that Easter came from “Ishtar” (it doesn’t - though the pagan Germanic tribes did conflate their holiday of Oester (which is where we get the “Easter bunny” from) with the Christian Pascua - it’s important to note that the Romance and Semitic languages use the same word for Easter and Passover, which this man - and possibly many if not most JW’s don’t realize). But most importantly, the JWs proclaim that the whole idea of the Trinity is bogus. To them, Jesus is not God - he’s Michael the Archangel.

Many quasi-Christian sects and cults (what I like to call Mormons, JWs, and the like) completely reject orthodoxy and scholarship to accept the views of their “prophet”. I have found that, no matter how much you present them with facts like this, they generally just- don’t care. They ignore it.

If I could ask a JW one question, it would be this: name for me a single- just one- Church Father who equates Christ with Michael the Archangel. They wouldn’t be able to, but that doesn’t matter- their prophet said it, so it’s true.

The same goes for Mormonism and all the anachronisms and inaccuracies its ideas about ancient America and the Native Americans contain.

Sounds like a good time for St. Nicolaus to visit.

He knows if you are sleeping… He knows if you’re awake… He knows if you profess the eternal generation of the Son.

Well not quite the same…

Anyways, I don’t see how merely visiting another church – In either a capacity of architectural interest or of “faith involvement” – could be construed as an immoral act.
I would avoid conflict in that case. Evangelize with your decorum, so to speak, and if you must.

What do you mean about participation? I meant friendly mutual visiting. I understand we cannot take part in their Mass or eucharists. I just meant sitting and observing.

I think, under the old Code of Canon Law, Catholics were prohibited from attending non-Catholic worship services. However, since the Second Vatican Council, to promote ecumenism with other (Trinitarian) Christians and to promote interreligious work with other religions, Catholics, who know their faith, are permitted to attend non-Catholic worship serivces. As I understand things, if you chose to attend such services, you should respectfully witness but not join in their prayers. You should not receive their communion.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has some resources for ecumenical and interreligious work, here.

I would be very careful lay person or ecclesiastic with the “I’m right so everyone else is wrong” mentality. So the JW say Jesus is Michael that rings something. Hum. Perhaps that was in a previous creation. And as far as the Mormons go. Who says Peter, James and John didn’t appear to John Smith. God does what he wants and appears to whom he chooses. His ways are not our ways. What we are given is not the same as what others are. And there’s a reason for that I won’t get into. I’m just a sinner. But as Jesus said “He who seeks will find and reign over the entirety”. So someone isn’t going too.


:confused: Really? Seriously?

…and their doctrines are in error in so many particulars that most do not consider them Christian at all, since they deny the Trinity and the Deity of Jesus, which makes their baptisms non-Christian.

Yeah, the NWT is a real wreck. For example, look at John 1:1

         1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.

[size=4]We might also want to take a look at the following links from the Ask An Apologist forum.
*]Are non-denominational Bible studies ok for Catholics?
*]Is it okay to attend a Protestant Bible study?
*]Why can’t we evangelize at a Protestant Bible study?
*]Is it a sin to worship in other Christian churches?

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