In the first place a Catholic has no business attending Protestant church services even occasionally. To participate in a heretical worship service and especially a communion service can be sinful for a Catholic because such an act is an affirmation of what we believe to be untrue. To attend an ecumenical service or a wedding or baptism is allowed, but Catholics are not allowed to attend such churches for the main reason of worship. Now if there are no Catholic churches in the vicinity on a Sunday, Catholics are allowed to participate in the Liturgy of Churches whose clergy are validly ordained such as the Eastern Orthodox Churches—including the reception of the Eucharist. Although we consider them to be in schism (not in union with the Pope) with the Catholic Church, such Churches are not heretical and share our basic beliefs.
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P."**
Can anyone point me to some (recent) source on this. I know Catholics shouldn’t receive communion at non-Catholic Churches, but I was under the impression that attendance is allowed.
I have read through the Principles and Norms on Ecumenism before, but it strains my eyes to read large portions of text online (at times I can barely manage these posts).
Can anyone point me to anything that substantiates (or refutes) Fr. Serpa’s claim?
I agree with father Serpa on this one. we as catholic have no business being on churches that do not teach what catholics believe. it only confuses and weakened our faith even more in a world that it is already chaotic on itself.
I didn’t say I agree or disagree… I realize the link disagrees… And I do think the reasoning is relevant…If I was a non-Catholic and attended a Catholic mass, there must be a reason for it… and I would certainly be discouraged from going to a Catholic mass, for example, as a protestant. Though, obviously, there would not be any “rules” pertaining as such…
I don’t think I know of any resources where I can look up magisterial or usccb material contradicting Father, but I think a major factor is why would someone be attending a non-catholic service? Is this a family situation where a Catholic has a non-Catholic spouse or family member? Or does someone attend a Protestant service because they aren’t being “fed” by worship in the Holy Mother church, perhaps they’re attracted by the more cohesive community? Or how about an organist who made their livelihood playing in Protestant churches?
I think there are major distinctions between the three situations I just mentioned. Certainly for the one that is looking for fellowship and perhaps a worship style that appeals more to their personal tastes in a Protestant Church is in a more precarious situation than the musician for hire. I can imagine this could happen with both extremes in Protestantism; one might be attracted to charismatic pentecostal worship, or one might be attracted to High Church Anglican worship that makes your average Catholic parish look like a Congregational church.
The question was why it’s wrong for Catholics to receive communion in Protestant services. His response was that Catholics must never go to such services, with the exception of “ecumenical services”, weddings, baptisms (and probably funerals, too), but he specifically says that “Catholics are not allowed to attend such churches for the main reason of worship.” I interpreted this to mean a standard Protestant worship service.
A Catholic would violate Catholic principles by attending services in a Protestant church, whereas a Protestant violates no principle of his religion by attending doctrinal lectures on Catholicism. Protestantism is essentially a religion based on private judgment; a Protestant is logically a seeker after truth. In view of the many doctrinal divisions among the sects, and the many different viewpoints of liberal thought, the logical thinker in the outside churches can never be certain of his position. He must at least admit that the Catholic Church may be the one Church of Christ.
Catholicism is essentially a religion based on a divine, infallible teaching; a Catholic is logically a possessor of the truth. Why, therefore, should he seek for that which he already possesses? His faith precludes all possibility of doubt; it rests on the authority of God. He can never admit that other churches, liberal or orthodox, may possibly be right.
Someone already mentioned this, but I am a musician, and I play at various Protestant churches, depending on the week. As long as I do not participate in Communion, and I attend mass each weekend, I feel no guilt in doing so, nor do I feel that my beliefs in the Catholic Church are weakened. In fact, I often find the opposite is true.
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