What are the "rules" of a Catholic church? I wanted to start attending Church a few years ago (I wasn't brought up in a religious family - but I was baptized) and the lady at the Church basically told me that I cannot join the Church. Actually, I didn't even really know what she meant by "join the church".

Are there rules in the Bible that say anything about who can attend a Church and "join" it?

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    I won't include this as an answer, since you asked specifically about the Catholic church, but there are a lot of rules in Catholicism that are hard to trace directly back to the Bible. It would be extremely unusual for any Protestant church to turn anyone away for any reason --most Protestants would consider that act directly opposed to their religious mission. Oct 28, 2013 at 18:58
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    The Catholic Church would consider such an act as opposed to mission too. No-one is turned away; but there are procedures to go through so that you know exactly what you are letting yourself in for, and so that the Church knows you know that. None is particularly onerous, although (for those not confirmed in the Catholic Church) it's tied to the calendar as @crownjewel82 says. Go back and talk to the clergy. Oct 28, 2013 at 19:47

2 Answers 2


TL;DR Yes. Everyone is welcome. (Matthew 28:16-20)

The apostles were instructed to teach all nations in the Great Commission. There are many other verses that reiterate that everyone is welcome and I could be here all day going through all of them. One of my favorites on the subject is Paul's statement that he became all things to all men so that he might save some. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)

"Joining the Church" can mean one of two things. First, a professed Christian who is becoming a member of a church. Membership generally involves taking on the responsibility to support the church financially and to be an active participant in the operations and ministry of the church. Second, a person going through the process of converting to Christianity.

If you were baptized and confirmed Catholic then you only need to receive the Sacrament of Penance. If you were not baptized Catholic or if you were baptized Catholic but not Confirmed, you will be required to go through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. It involves some classes, receiving the sacrament of penance, making a profession of faith, then Confirmation and the Eucharist. Traditionally this happens during the Lenten season.

It's possible that she meant that you cannot become a member without becoming Catholic or that the process doesn't start until the Lenten season. Either way this is an important process that you need to discuss with the priest.


Anyone can join the Catholic Church, as others have said already. However, also as some have mentioned, this is not just a question of ticking a box and signing up.

If you just want to attend the Sunday Mass, or even the daily ones during the week, there is absolutely nothing to stop you.

You will hear the Bible readings and homilies that hopefully explain quite a bit about the Christian faith, and following the prayers of Mass will help you enter into the mystery of following Christ.

However, don't go up to receive Communion until you have been formally received as a Catholic as this would be a sign that you knowingly accept and understand the full teaching of the Church.

Just as others have said, ask the priest or deacon about how one formally becomes a Catholic. He might suggest some good books to read and maybe a parish group that you could meet to get to know other people better and explore the practical aspects of faith.

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