QUAERITUR: Can I have a job at a Lutheran church?

From a reader:

I recently got laid off from my job, and have been doing whatever side work I can find until I find a stable job. One of these jobs has been to help in a Lutheran Service, by simply changing the slides with the lyrics to the songs that are being played. My friend got me this job, who, in fact is also a strong practicing Catholic, along with the rest of the band playing there. My question is, am I doing anything wrong by doing this?

I don’t partake in their communion services at all, I’m just in the back pushing buttons on a computer. The only thing I have been apart of is the their sign of peace, that they do in the beginning, where everyone goes around greeting and saying peace be with you. […] I of course go to Mass immediately after. I would just like to have a piece of mind knowing if this is wrong or not.

Yes, you can have a job at a Lutheran church.

Make sure you fulfill your Sunday and Holy Day Mass obligation and do not participate in Lutheran “communion”. Otherwise, you can be cordial and give a sign of peace. You can pray an Our Father. But focus on pushing those buttons.

Similarly, a Catholic could work as a musician at a Protestant church, or as a construction worker in the building of a church, etc.

Maintain your strong identity Catholicism.

Pray to St. Joseph for a new and stable job.  I am sure the readers here will stop and say a pray for you as well.

Prayer to Saint Joseph for a Difficult Problem

O Glorious St. Joseph, thou who hast power to render possible even things which are considered impossible, come to our aid in our present trouble and distress.

Take this important and difficult affair under thy particular protection, that it may end happily. (MENTION YOUR REQUEST)

O dear St. Joseph, all our confidence is in thee. Let it not be said that we would invoke thee in vain; and since thou art so powerful with Jesus and Mary, show that thy goodness equals thy power.  Amen.

St. Joseph, friend of the Sacred Heart, pray for us.

My experience has been that, when praying to St. Joseph, it is best to be specific.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. persyn says:

    As someone with advanced degrees in Sacred Music, I can say that if you want to work, you probably HAVE to work in some ecclesial body outside of the Church, for two reasons:

    1. The Church, more often than not, does not live out the usual chants of “social justice” when it comes to paying their musicians, and

    2. Nobody goes through the years of study of Scared Music just to perform “Here I am”, “Eagle’s Wings”, and “Kumbayah” over and over and over, ad nauseam.

    Reason number 92,438 for Summorum Pontificum.

  2. The Masked Chicken says:

    When I was out of work many years ago, I worked as a temporary replacement secretary in the theology department of a Lutheran college. I typed up the Missal for the week (I got to see how the Lutheran service was set up) and typed up passages of Plato, answered phones, etc. Now, typing the Missal is just typing words. I can’t be responsible if they (gasp) actually USE the thing for something which is contrary to the Catholic Faith. In other words, my degree of separation was large enough so that I did not incur sin.

    Flipping slides at a Lutheran service is just flipping slides. You can’t help it if they are actually doing something with them. In other words. if you were at a history conference where they were looking at the order of the, now, outdated, Lutheran service of the Twenty-first Century (all of the Lutherans had, since, reverted to Catholicism due to the increase in wisdom afforded by the extra-planetary alien attack of the prior decade), you would be doing exactly the same thing. Context does matter, but, unless by your flipping slides you give someone the impression that you actually believe in their service or you, yourself, are a (gasp) Lutheran, you really are no different than a remote control.

    I do, suggest, however, that you wear a tee-shirt with a picture of Pope Francis and the caption: we’re waiting for you.

    The Chicken

  3. Alice says:

    I’m a Catholic who works for a Lutheran church. I go to Mass and am involved in my parish, but it’s better for my faith not to work in my own church at this time. Every.single.time I play for a Catholic parish these days, I find myself thinking, “This is why I work for a Lutheran church.” At least when Lutherans write a propaganda hymn, it’s beautiful. When Catholics try to use music for propaganda, not only does it insult those of us with traditional tendencies, it’s ugly too! Plus, the pastors tend to be well-educated. I’ve never had a Lutheran pastor give me a blank look if I said a word like, “Confiteor” or “Sanctus” and if I play a Gregorian chant, the pastor is likely to thank me for playing the chant and tell me what hymn in the Lutheran hymnal is based on it. I wish I could say our priests knew their liturgical tradition as well.

  4. Tim Ferguson says:

    I once had a job with a large Lutheran publishing house. I worked the phones in their subscription department, mostly addressing complaints from sweet little old ladies in North Dakota who had not yet gotten their monthly devotional magazine. I would have rather worked for a Catholic company, but it was a decent job.

    A coworker, in another department, a lovely, gentle, older man, found out at some point that I was Catholic. He had me come over to his cubicle and whisperingly told me that he was Catholic too. He had a small box upside-down on his desk and, looking furtively over his shoulder, lifted up the box to reveal a small statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe and a prayer card. He said he used his job to pray daily for the conversion of all Lutherans. Honestly, I don’t think his superior would have minded the statue, but I thought it was touching to know how devout he was.

  5. Simeon says:

    Prayer to Saint Joseph
    How extraordinary!
    I placed a valuable item in a “safe” place at Easter but three months later had no recollection of where I had put it. Long hours have I spent searching for it – all in vain.
    I used the Saint Joseph Prayer ten minutes ago. Then searched a cabinet in my office and within a minute found the missing item.
    Certainly the speediest answer to prayer I have ever experienced.
    Thank you Saint Joseph, Guardian of the Holy Family and powerful intercessor. Deo Gratias.

  6. Bea says:

    Prayer duly said for yon “reader” and was specific.

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  8. Jason Keener says:

    Personally, my conscience would bother me if I was to regularly assist at a Lutheran service because a Lutheran service is essentially a replacement for and supposed improvement upon the true Catholic Mass. As Catholics, we know that Christ established the one true Catholic Church whose rites we are obliged to use in our solemn worship of God. There is much that is true in Lutheran worship and Lutheran Christianity, but I generally feel it is better for Catholics to lend their physical, monetary, and spiritual support only to causes strictly affiliated with the Catholic Church so as to avoid possibly causing the scandal of religious indifference or making it appear that worship apart from the Catholic Church’s rites, unity, and governance is an acceptable alternative. Again, this is my personal preference. I can see where others might come to a different prudential decision.

  9. Transportsjoie says:

    I appreciated seeing this post tonight and do sympathize with the person doing work at a Lutheran church; I have a similar problem but with a different twist. Like persyn, I am an experienced and well-trained organist/choir director , and became a Catholic (from Anglican) 10 yrs ago. I am currently organist at a Novus Ordo parish in Canada – I play for only one Mass and volunteers supply music at the other two weekend Masses. The pastor always had volunteer musicians, but was not able to find a volunteer for this Mass, so I was hired. Fr has been very kind to me in many ways. The problem is, I can’t stand the casual attitude and especially the noise before Mass – its almost like being at a sporting event – and actually he encourages people to talk because it builds community – every week it truly grieves my spirit…and as you can imagine, the music I’m forced to play does too – but I need the income. My alternative is to try to build on my modest non-musical income, try to use my music skills in other ways, or else look for a position in a Protestant church. Here in Canada, homosexual marriage is legal, and the major Protestant churches – the United Church of Canada, and Anglican Church will perform gay marriages and/or bless same sex unions. I don’t want to work for an ecclesial body that does this and I don’t know if it would be morally right for me to work there under these circumstances. I’ve prayed the St. Joseph prayer tonight and also ask your prayers. One ray of hope is that a TLM has just been approved for two Sundays a month in the afternoon in my diocese.

  10. acricketchirps says:

    Uh-oh, Simeon. Hope you didn’t p***-off St. Anthony! His turf.

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