Catholics can't attend Protestant services?

Fr Serpa wrote:


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?

What would be the reasoning for attending said services… that’d be a good starting point. :slight_smile:

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.

KJK and Wisdomseeker,

The reason is irrelevant. I want to know whether it is acceptable. And KJK, the link you gave contradicts what Fr. Serpa said.

Thank you

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…

Personally, I have the truth in my Catholic church, why would I go elsewhere? I haven’t even an inkling of a desire to ‘worship’ anywhere else.

We have catholic’s join us in our service, and Bible studies. I would hate to lose them.

I know there are boundaries and issues in this area, but for me I see no problem with attending other services.

For The Lord

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.

God Bless

Of course the reasoning is relevant for the individual case. If the Catholic is going to the Protestant service based on a false belief that all religions are the same, then yes, that matters.

But my question was related to attending Protestant services in and of themselves, IOW, is it EVER acceptable.

Yes, I have attended Baptist bible studies before because it is difficult to find a good Catholic Bible study. The people there know I’m Catholic; it’s not a problem to them.

I’ve never read otherwise, except for your original post from Fr. Serpa… which I take as opinion in relation to a specific situation. Not an absolute set forth by the 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.

I am very glad to hear you say that, it never should be a problem.

For The Lord

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.

Oh please…there is bible study in four of the churches I attend.

I interpret it the same…

However, this is a pre-VII understanding, to the best of my knowledge.

Under Vatican II, I don’t know of any reasoning why one cannot attend a Protestant service–but receiving their communion, is still disallowed… to the best of my knowledge.

I’m going to try to stay as upbeat as possible here… but the Catholic “Bible studies” I’ve been to, are rather uhmm, well, not what I would call a Bible study… :slight_smile:

Just because they exist, does not make them interesting. :slight_smile:

I agree. I’ve attended 6 parishes, only 2 of which have had Bible studies. Neither have been that great.

Definitely receiving communion is not allowed, but attendance itself does not seem to be forbidden from what I’ve read.

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.