Catholics Are Forbidden to Worship
With Those Who Are Not Catholic… and This
Is Where the Catholic Church Has Said So!
21 September 2009
Well, it has taken a month or more to fulfill your request, but here it is:
The Church teachings & rules which make it clear that a Catholic cannot participate in the prayers or religious services of non-Catholics.
I apologize for the wait. My many family duties, work tasks, religious obligations & limitations of strength have monopolized my time, not to mention the effort necessary to gather the information you need, re-examine it carefully (to make certain I have not misunderstood anything) and write it down in a coherent fashion.
By the way, please note that I have put the teachings & rules --- which I have quoted from authoritative Church sources --- in bold highlight, so as to make them easily found in the following pages. All other non-bold words are merely there to tie the quotes together, or to explain them in some detail.
To begin with, we look at the Church’s Code of Canon Law from 1917, which is the Church Law that is still in effect since anything after Pius XII is irrelevant, coming from those who are antipopes and thus without any authority in the Church.
“It is unlawful for the faithful to assist in any active manner, or to take part in the sacred services of non-Catholics.” (1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon 1258, Paragraph 1. All emphasis or annotation added in this & other quotes, unless noted to the contrary elsewhere.)
It is true that the 1917 Code of Canon Law contains several laws that are foolish & hurtful. (For instance, it permits Catholics in danger of death to confess to a schismatic priest if no Catholic priest is available, something the Holy See never permitted prior to 1864.) Nevertheless, this Code of Canon Law is a good representation of Catholic teachings & practices otherwise.
For instance, we find the Catholic Church solemnly legislating during the 7th century:
“If any ecclesiastic or layman shall go into the synagogue
of the Jews or the meeting-houses of the heretics to join in prayer with them,
let them be deposed and deprived of communion. If any bishop or priest
or deacon shall join in prayer with heretics, let him be suspended
from communion.” (3rd Council of
The 3rd Council of Constantinople is, of course, an ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church and hence supreme. And need we point out that all priests & bishops who subscribe to the false council of Vatican II in the 1960s violate this decree regularly? Because they will often enter the meeting places of non-Catholics “to join in prayer with them”!
Yet we continue. The Catholic Church ruled during the 16th century:
“And since truth cannot contradict truth, we define that every statement contrary to the enlightened truth of the faith is totally false and we strictly forbid teaching otherwise to be permitted. We decree that all those who cling to erroneous statements of this kind, thus sowing heresies which are wholly condemned, should be avoided in every way and punished as detestable and odious heretics and infidels who are undermining the Catholic faith.” (5th Lateran Council in AD 1513, Session 8)
Now, obviously, unless a Catholic leaves this world or becomes a hermitic monk, then he cannot avoid “odious heretics and infidels” completely. All the same, no Catholic needs to join in with the religious acts of those who are outside the Catholic Church. We need not enter their places of worship to worship with them, we need not attend their religious services --- whether held in an official ‘church’, a private home or a common public area --- to join in a religious ceremony with them, we need not follow the prayers of a heretic who leads them in these prayers, and so forth and so on. To the contrary, we are strictly forbidden to do such things since they are hateful to God, injurious to souls and violate our baptismal vows.
(Incidentally, the decree from the 5th Lateran Council also refers to those who once were themselves personally Catholic, but who left the True Faith to espouse heresy. These kinds of people, especially in a Catholic country, are to be “avoided in every way” possible, even in everyday life, until they come to their senses and return to the bosom of the Catholic Church.)
These are the brass tacks. Canon 1258 is supremely authoritative, being the mind of the Church since earliest days regarding religious association with those who are not Catholic, and the 3rd Council of Constantinople and the 5th Lateran Council are just as authoritative, if not more so, having the full power of the Papacy behind them as well.
However, other pronouncements of the Church bear weight, too. They may not be supremely authoritative (say, from a council that, while legitimate, wasn’t ecumenical) or directly pertinent (say, a law that, while true, doesn’t mention attending the services or prayers of non-Catholics), nonetheless, they are highly respected & at least indirectly relevant. E.g.:
“No one shall pray in common with heretics and
schismatics… It is not permitted to heretics to enter the house of God
while they continue in heresy.” (Council of
“One must neither pray nor sing psalms with heretics,
and whosoever shall communicate with those who are cut off from the communion
of the Church, whether clergy or layman, let him be excommunicated.”
“A person who of his own accord and knowingly helps in any manner to propagate heresy, or who communicates in sacred rites [in divines] with heretics in violation of the prohibition of Canon 1258, incurs suspicion of heresy.” (1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon 2316)
“A person who is suspected of heresy, and who after admonition has not removed the cause for suspicion, shall be forbidden to exercise legal ecclesiastical acts; if he is a cleric, and after repeated admonition has not removed the cause for suspicion, he shall be suspended a divines [from sacred rites]. If a person suspected of heresy has been punished with the penalties here stated, and does not amend within six months after their imposition, he shall be considered as a heretic and be liable to the penalties of heresy.” (1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon 2315)
“Mass may not be said in churches of heretics or schismatics, even though they were in the past properly consecrated or blessed.” (1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon 823)
It is also very helpful to read knowledgeable & orthodox commentary on these Canon Law quotes. For instance, Fr. Szal, a Catholic theologian from the middle of the 20th century, has this to say about Canon 1258 from the 1917 Code of Canon Law:
“Communication is forbidden in virtue of the divine law, but the Church has more clearly defined what kind of communication is forbidden and what type of participation can be permitted with non-Catholics. This law of the Church which regulates religious communication with non-Catholics is stated in canon 1258 of the Code of Canon Law. Paragraph 1 of this canon is in general a restatement, if not of the natural law itself, then certainly of the divine positive law. It reads as follows:
“‘Canon 1258: It is unlawful for the faithful to assist in any active manner, or to take part in the sacred services of non-Catholics.’
“...One may not be present at non-Catholic prayers, services or sermons either in a church or elsewhere.
“It may here again be noted that the present law of the Church is concerned with only that type of participation which is known as communicatio in sacris, or religious communication. The communicatio in profanes, or civil communication, is forbidden by Canon Law only in the case of vitandi [those who once were personally Catholic but have been excommunicated from the Church in the gravest way].
“…Schismatics as such are not vitandi…
“Active religious participation with schismatics is always intrinsically illicit. The reasons for this absolute prohibition of canon 1258, §1, have their origin in the natural and positive divine law. These reasons are: 1) The Church is the only de jure existing true religious society in which it is licit to render to God the worship that is due Him; 2) the giving of scandal through one’s quasi-approval of a false sect must be avoided; and 3) the danger of perversion from the true faith must remain effectively neutralized.
“… All types of active religious communication with non-Catholics are gravely illicit. Such assistance is intrinsically and gravely evil for a) if the worship is non-Catholic in form (as in the Mohammedan ablutions, or in the eating of the Jewish paschal lamb), it expresses a belief in a false creed symbolized in the ceremony, and b) if the worship is Catholic in form but is undertaken under the auspices of a non-Catholic body (as in the celebration of Mass by a schismatic priest), it expresses either faith in a false religious body or rebellion against the true Church.
“The obligation to avoid exposing oneself to the danger of perversion and to prevent giving scandal to others proceeds from the natural divine law. The positive divine law on the other hand forbids one to perform such an action which would be tantamount to at least an external denial of faith and a quasi-profession of a false sect. This prohibition is expressed in the words of our Lord: ‘He that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven.’ [Matthew 10:33, Luke 12:9]” (The Communication of Catholics with Schismatics by Rev. Ignatius J. Szal, A.B., J.C.L., pages 42-8, from the Catholic University of America Canon Law Series #264 printed by the Catholic University of America Press in 1948)
And, if this were not enough, we have the words of the Triune Catholic God in Sacred Scripture as given to us by the Roman Catholic Church. The quote above from the eminent theologian, Fr. Szal, ended with one such example from the lips of Jesus Christ as found in the Gospels of Matthew & Luke:
“But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33 DRC)
“But he that shall deny me before men, shall be denied before the angels of God.” (Luke 12:9 DRC)
Because, of course, to appear in public with non-Catholics at their religious ceremonies --- whether in a place of common worship or not --- is to appear as if you approve of their false religion. For either you act as if their false religion is true, which is a lie, or else you act as if it doesn’t matter that their religion is false, which is also a lie. Whichever the case, public scandal is given and Our Lord will deny us before His Father in Heaven, causing us to be damned forever if we die in such a terrible state of mortal sin, having gravely violated the 1st Commandment (‘no false gods or false religions’).
Yet we may remember these words of Jesus, too:
“But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6 DRC)
Not to mention:
“And whosoever shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me; it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” (Mark 9:41 DRC)
“It were better for him, that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should scandalize one of these little ones.” (Luke 17:2 DRC)
For although Catholics “scandalize” non-Catholics by seeming to condone or spiritually tolerate a false religion were they to participate in such false religions by their presence at the religious ceremonies or prayers of non-Catholics, they additionally --- and even far worse --- “scandalize” fellow Catholics who may be “little ones” in terms of their Catholic Faith. That is, who may be led astray by bad example or made to despair due to a fellow Catholic’s apparent apostasy from God’s One & Only Religion of Truth.
Still another quote from the Bible which is extremely pertinent is this:
“Look to yourselves, that you lose not the things which you have wrought: but that you may receive a full reward. Whosoever revolteth, and continueth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that continueth in the doctrine, the same hath both the Father and the Son. If any man come to you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him, ‘God speed you.’ For he that saith unto him, ‘God speed you,’ communicateth with his wicked works.” (2 John 1:8-11 DRC)
Indeed, Haydock Bible commentary has this to say about these verses:
“This admonition is in general, to forewarn the faithful of the dangers which may arise from a familiarity with those who have prevaricated and gone from the true faith, and with such as teach false doctrine. But this is not forbidding a charity for all men, by which we ought to wish and pray for the eternal salvation of every one, even of our enemies.” (Commentary of Haydock Bible on 2 John 1:10)
And we do well to look again at Our Lord Jesus Christ’s instructions, this time at His words regarding those who are cast out of the Catholic Church:
“But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother. And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more: that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand. And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican.” (Matthew 18:15-17 DRC)
The point is, persons who are inside the Catholic Church have nothing to do, religiously speaking, with those who are outside the Catholic Church. This is for a very simple reason, and it gets to the heart of everything, of this whole subject. For while authoritative Church pronouncements, decrees, law & Sacred Scripture itself are very necessary & helpful, it really doesn’t take too much brain to understand certain very simple & easy spiritual principles.
To wit, if the Roman Catholic Church is Jesus Christ’s One & Only Body and there is no Salvation outside the Roman Catholic Religion, then only those who are inside Jesus’ Catholic Body can be pleasing to God and God wants those who are His --- Roman Catholics --- to have absolutely nothing in a religious way to do with those who are not His, who are not Roman Catholic.
Otherwise, what’s the purpose of saying that the Roman Catholic Church is Jesus Christ’s One & Only Body, and what’s the reason for insisting, infallibly, that only Roman Catholics can be saved?
To think differently makes, literally, no sense in the light of these most holy dogmas. Which is why a pope as recently as the 1920s stated the following:
“These pan-Christians who turn their minds to uniting the churches seem, indeed, to pursue the noblest of ideas in promoting charity among all Christians: nevertheless how does it happen that this charity tends to injure faith? Everyone knows that John himself, the Apostle of love, who seems to reveal in his Gospel the secrets of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and who never ceased to impress on the memories of his followers the new commandment ‘Love one another,’ altogether forbade any intercourse with those who professed a mutilated and corrupt version of Christ’s teaching: ‘If any man come to you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him: God speed you.’[2 John 1:10] For which reason, since charity is based on a complete and sincere faith, the disciples of Christ must be united principally by the bond of one faith. Who then can conceive a Christian Federation, the members of which retain each his own opinions and private judgment, even in matters which concern the object of faith, even though they be repugnant to the opinions of the rest? And in what manner, We ask, can men who follow contrary opinions, belong to one and the same Federation of the faithful?…
“So, Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic
See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of
non-Catholics: for the union of Christians can only be
promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who
are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it. To the one
“Furthermore, in this one
Pius XI wrote, of course, to stop Catholics from working with Protestant heretics or Eastern schismatics who were seeking to ‘unite’ with each other religiously, as if this ‘union’ would come about by nice feelings alone --- a supposed ‘charity’ of all of them for one another --- and regardless of the teachings they disagree upon, or the infallible dogmas of the Catholic Church that such men refuse to believe.
Yet the clear point is also made:
Catholics are absolutely forbidden to have “…any intercourse with those who professed a mutilated and corrupt version of Christ’s teaching…” and the “…Apostolic See [a pope in his supreme authority] has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics…”
Which is why
“You cannot drink the chalice of the Lord, and the chalice of devils: you cannot be partakers of the table of the Lord, and of the table of devils.” (1 Corinthians 10:21 DRC)
Because any adult practitioner of a false religion is serving the Devil, being the child of this Devil. And any practice of his false religion is a partaking “of the table of the devils.” This means the religious ceremonies & prayers of this false religion.
“Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?” (1 Corinthians 10:22a-b DRC)
Whereby we remember the words of the Lord through St. Moses:
“Adore not any strange god [false god in a false religion]. The Lord his name is Jealous, he is a jealous God.” (Exodus 34:14 DRC)
“Because the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” (Deuteronomy 4:24 DRC)
And the Triune God of the Catholic Church via St. Zacharias says:
“I have been jealous for Sion with a great jealousy, and with a great indignation have I been jealous for her.” (Zacharias 8:2b-c DRC)
Our Almighty Creator said these things to members of His One True Religion, which is what “Sion” signifies. And He is appalled when His children soil themselves with the filth of false religion. So while it is wrong to be at the ceremonies & prayers of a false religion because it misleads non-Catholics & scandalizes Catholics, more than anything by far it is gravely sinful because it betrays God Himself. He commands all men to worship in His Religion of Catholicism, and He is exceedingly angry when Roman Catholics violate this most important of His commandments.
My dear X, I trust that this gives you what you were seeking. For instance, based on what we have just studied, it is plain that a wedding led by a man or a priest who are heretics --- and which involves ceremonies of a religious nature or prayers unique to a false religion --- is totally off-limits to those who are real Catholics. For though the priest or leader might go by the name of Catholic, appearing to be Catholic in many ways, even one basic dogma violated by them makes them rebels and not Roman Catholics.
Very sincerely yours in the Most Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary,
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