Q : 
Due to location factor, as a Catholic, can I attend a Protestant Church to fulfill the obligation of worshipping on Sunday if there is no any Catholic Churches nearby? Can I receive Holy Communion in the Protestant Church since their theological view and belief on Communion is different from ours?
【 Question from 】 Malaysia 馬來西亞

Fr. Francis : 

If you read Chinese, please also read http://askfrfrancis.org/qa/missing-mass-because-of-no-catholic-church-found.

A Catholic must pay due diligence to explore possibilities where he or she may attend mass. While there are still many locations in the world where Mass is hard to find, the importance is that we must try to locate it, or even consider travel for longer distance to attend it. Some less known options are:

  • embassies and consulates of Catholic countries, like France, Italy, Spain, etc. They sometimes have Mass for the staff that is not publicized but may be accessible upon request.
  • Catholic Churches of the Eastern rites, like Byzantine, Melkite, Maronite, Syro-Malabar, etc., but I don’t think they exist in Malaysia
  • Orthodox Churches: their sacraments are valid so attending their Divine Liturgy as well as receiving their Communion when there is no access to a Catholic Church can fulfill the Sunday obligation; however, depending on the priest or bishop, they may deny you Communion.

Attending a Protestant worship or fellowship, however, does not fulfill the Sunday obligation. Since they do not have valid sacraments, Catholics are to refrain from their Communion. Catholics however are permitted to attend their gatherings and participate in their prayers.

In any case, whenever access to Mass becomes impossible despite all efforts, Catholics are strongly encouraged to keep the Lord’s Day by prayerfully reading and meditating on the Sunday readings, and make an act of spiritual communion, like this one:

“My Jesus,
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment
receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You.
Amen.”