Wonder why.

Inspired by a question here I would like to know more about it. Why should a Catholic not attend other Churches services?

In a modern society people mix, and some are Catholic’s, some Lutherians, some maybe are Babtists and attending weddings and so on is normal, and as I see it, pretty rude to say “sorry, can’t come, wrong Church”. Or is it different in US, here in Europe nobody would say “sorry, can’t come…”? And what harm can it do? I mean, they serve the same God as we do, and personally I don’t see why not. Not so long ago my granddaughter was baptized in a Lutherian Church and I was there. (Do I need to confess it?) And this is kind of a question inside a question, but I have noticed that US Catholics are not liberal as we are in Europe. Except for Northern Ireland we accept other Churches and what is different in the Mass and so on. And I accept all kind of people, they are all created by God. Are we doing something wrong here, and are I doing something wrong accepting people as they are, no matter what skin-color or origin. To me a Muslim is a Muslim and I honor his/her faith because I know he/she honor mine. I mean, I like Wagner and German schlager-music but I do not like Hitler, and I like gospel-music that does not make me a Babtist or Methodist even if let us say Johnny Cash was a Babtist. I am Catholic, and I accept the fact that my neighbour is not, is it wrong?

With regard to non-Catholic Christians it is permitted for Catholics to attend baptisms, marriages and funerals.
It’s ill-advised to attend their services because by attending that’s akin to affirming that their belief in Communion (which differs from ours) is correct.

In addition to the above, and more specific to the person asking the question. He was 14 years old, which means he is very impressionable and easily influenced by his peers. This means that it would be easier for those at the non-Catholic church to convince him that the Catholic Church is wrong; more-so since he would have been there unsupervised by a true Catholic.

As Thistle points out - there really is no problem attending another groups service…or an event at another church. However - participation is something else.
We do not take communion at other churches because we do not believe as they do. Attending a wedding or a christening generally is not a problem.

Of course if you have a question on some specific instance you can always ask your pastor.


**“As Thistle points out - there really is no problem attending another groups service…or an event at another church. However - participation is something else.
We do not take communion at other churches because we do not believe as they do. Attending a wedding or a christening generally is not a problem.” **

You might want to ask Father Vincent Serpa about that in the Ask an Apologist section. He maintains that Catholics have no business attending non-Catholic services.

Best wishes,

Yes, we both love the same God. But at the end of the day, there is only One Truth. We believe that the Catholic Church is the fullness of that truth, being the Church that Christ established on Peter.

To go to another church is problematic.

  1. Let’s ask ourselves why. Will our Lutheran friend joyfully attend Catholic Mass with us? Or does she just want us to see how great the Lutheran church is and start attending it regularly? If the former, it could be permissible to attend it once with her while she attends Catholic Mass once with us-- after all, she may wind up converting to our faith seeing the love that we have shown to her. If the latter, don’t go. Though she seeks your benefit, she will ruin you.
    (Lutheran marriage and baptism are valid sacraments, unlike their Communion which is invalid. These can be attended, the latter should not)

  2. Do you celebrate that which is untrue? Attending another church is more-or-less giving a pat on the back to someone that, let’s be quite frank, is a heretic. Now we don’t go around calling our brothers and sisters in Christ heretics, because they were usually born into this and the Church has valued ecumenism more than fighting. But at the end of the day, we believe that outside of the true Church is heresy.

Love is not tolerance. Tolerance is not love.

Your asserting something which Father Serpa didn’t say. He may have used the term services, but if you study further into the faith you’ll know he is only talking about regular worship services and not special events such as baptisms, weddings, and funerals.

When he says “services” he is talking about worship services and not baptisms, weddings or funerals.

All good, and true, argument’s. And yes, it was Fr.Serpas answer that did made me ask, but that case I understand, someone who is only fourteen is not “stabil” enough and can indeed be influenced easily. But this do raise another question. I am Catholic, and I have faith in God and to mee The Roman Catholic Church is “the” Church. So I rely in it, but why does The RCC not rely in me, or other people? And Christ did say that those who are not against us are with us. For me it is “all or nothing”, has always been. I can not ignore one single word in The Bible because that is the Book of Truth. And I can’t be wrong if I declare that I believe in God, first and foremost, then in The RCC. However, I would never even consider to receive Communion in a let us say Lutherian Church. Here in Finland we have three major Churches, The Orthodox, The Lutherian and The Deutche Kirsche. The Catholic Church is very small in Finland, only about 12.000 members, but when I did convert there was only 6.000, so “we” grow all the time, and that is good. I understand that things are different in US. I reckon you must have close to one thousand small, more or less, independent Churches, and only a few big Churches. But why does The RCC don’t trust it’s members? One with strong faith will not “fall” if that is the right word for it.

In my younger days, I confess, I did attend occasionally/very rarely other christian denominations’ services. My experiences there only reinforced that the catholic church was the one true church, with, more importantly, the Eucharist as the centre and containing that which was true. Being a curious person, who has to decide things for themselves, I am prone to investigation, and I do investigate (not advising anything here). God puts me straight. the truth is, I found such faith in people within the other denominations; I could not decide that God was not with them. They often put the ‘fallen away’ catholics I knew to shame. However, there is more in the catholic church, and as a seeker of God, I follow wherever He is. I am ambitious like that. After a while, God grabs your heart and takes it for Himself, and even if you wanted to, you could not choose otherwise. I would advise all those who do not know the catholic mass, to GO!! (again and again) :wink:


It’s not that the RCC doesn’t “trust” its members. It’s that we protect our members. Would you permit your son or daughter to hang out with a “bad crowd”? Presumably not… because not all of those who are in a bad crowd originally thought that it was a good idea; they fell into it. That’s why we use the term “fall”. No one trips on purpose. Falling is a surprise. No one who is worried about falling will fall, because they will be so very careful. Anyone who walks carelessly because they trust in their own feet will be prone to falling.

Again, ask yourself: why? Why go? To prove that you won’t fall away? To whom do you wish to prove it?

Just because you are surrounded by beautiful members of the opposite sex, scantily clad, doesn’t mean you’ll fall into lust. But it’s sure not helping. And you probably will, anyways. What did you benefit from this being surrounded by lustful temptation? Anything? And what will you benefit from attending a service not your own, that, by faith, you declare to be invalid in the case of Protestant or at least lacking in the case of Orthodox/AACoE/etc…?

Look, no doubt there are those (as shown above) who can benefit from seeing the service and redouble their vigor in their own strength. But a 14 year old is not a prime candidate for that; nor should we intentionally play with fire.

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