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Michael Voisinet wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have been attending my neighbor's church for the last two months. It is a Pentecostal church.

  • Did I commit a mortal sin by attending a Protestant church?

Michael V.

  { Did I commit a mortal sin by attending a Protestant church? }

Paul replied:

Hi, Michael —

No, as long as you fulfill your Sunday obligation, you can visit any legitimate establishment. If you feel, however, it may be an occasion of confusion or sin for you, you should definitely think about discontinuing the visits.



Eric replied:

Michael —

Just to clarify:

Catholics are obliged on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation to attend liturgy in a Catholic church of any rite; Protestant churches do not count. If you have exclusively been attending a Pentecostal church for the last two months, that is a problem. However, since you did not know for certain that it was wrong, it doesn't rise to the level of a mortal sin (if that's what you've been doing). Mortal sin requires:

  1. grave matter
  2. the knowledge that it is wrong, and
  3. full consent of the will.

You presumably did not meet the knowledge part. But now that you know that it is wrong to neglect attending a Catholic church on Sundays (or on Saturday evening's anticipated liturgy), you need to be sure to attend a Catholic church on Sundays, either in addition to or instead of, the Pentecostal church. It's probably best to discontinue attending the Pentecostal church, anyway, at least for most people.


Mike replied:

Dear Michael,

On this topic, I would tend to empathize more with Eric's reply.

Under certain circumstances, attending any non-Catholic church or denomination can weaken your faith because what they believe about Jesus and His Church is different, sometimes very different, then what we believe as Catholic Christians.

We are not in a Common Union with Protestant Christians.

Friendships and interacting in fruitful faith-sharing dialogue (where we both share our faith differences and similarities) is good and should be encouraged. Like having a weekly pizza party to discuss faith issues . . . maybe a different topic per week.

That said, when we attend someone else's non-Catholic faith services on a regular basis, we are implicitly saying,

There is something you have in your congregation that I am not getting at mine.

Here we have to separate Teachings from practices and activities. Someone may belong to a weak Catholic parish where there is little, to no, parish activity or anything to challenge the mind and intellect. For Catholics in this situation, they should work to be that source of activity which is lacking at the parish level.

Even though you may feel more inspired, challenged, and motivated to spread the Gospel in an active manner at a Protestant congregation, you can't lose sight of the fact that you are believing less and implicitly rejecting more as a Catholic when you attend a Protestant worship service.


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