15 Things Strong Catholics Aren’t Allowed to Do (But Everyone Else Can)

🌺  Written by Brittany Ann

As Christians, we are called to be “in the world but not of the world.”

This phrase originally comes from 1 John 2:15, which says, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.”

In other words, though we live here on Earth the same as everyone else, our lives should be set apart, distinct, and focused on glorifying God above all else — not primarily chasing after and prioritizing worldly desires like wealth, fame, or even comfort.

Of course, different denominations have their own “rules” and guidelines for what this should look like. And the Catholic Church’s rules are pretty strict…

Recently, on a popular social platform, someone asked:

“What are some things that secular society approves of, that Catholics must always be opposed to, no matter what? And why?

I don’t want to fall victim to what is considered ‘popular’ in today’s society. I want to follow the teachings of the true Church. But there is so much misinformation nowadays. So what are some things that the majority of secular society is accepting of, that Catholics must always be opposed to?”


1. Living Together Before Marriage

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Cohabitation (a man and a woman living together before marriage) may be perfectly normal and acceptable in our culture, but it’s a practice the Catholic Church strongly discourages.

Sharing a residence isn’t the problem. (It’s not immoral to have a roommate or multiple roommates of a different gender.)

However, when romantic couples choose to live together, the temptation to wait until marriage is often too great to overcome.

Someone responded,

“Cohabitation. ‘Couples’ living together out of marriage. It is almost universally accepted as normal, but it is still fornication, and each partner showing disrespect for the other. If they really love each-get married!”


2. Using Contraceptives

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Did you know that the Catholic Church is strongly opposed to all forms of birth control?

While there are some exceptions (such as medical necessity to treat other conditions) and Natural Family Planning (with strict guidelines on how it should be used), the Catholic Church believes that using most methods of actively preventing pregnancy without good reason can cause a person to go to Hell. 

They believe children are a gift from God, and the intimate act should be procreative in nature.

One person said,

“Contraceptives. Many Catholics also use a loophole and think you need to be on birth control from the age of 9 or 13, depending when you first get your period, because it is unhealthy, dangerous and can kill you to not be on it. It is no longer a rarity, an exception, it is common for westerners to be on contraceptives from 9 to 59, menopausal age.”


3. Overeating

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Despite being one of the 7 deadly sins, according to Catholic teaching, gluttony is one sin that most churches don’t like to talk about.

While, of course, there are many factors that can lead to a person being under or overweight other than food consumption (thin does not always equal healthy), it’s difficult to deny that our country has a serious problem with gluttony.

Your pastor or priest may never mention it, but gluttony is a sin, according to official Catholic Church teaching.

One person stated,

“Gluttony, as it pertains to food. It’s very popular for people to pig out or eat until they burst in America, especially with places like Golden Corral, or supermarkets that place all the colorful sugar-filled sweets right near the front door. Your body also has a way of telling you if you’re consuming more food than is necessary. It’s a very visible sign, quite hard to ignore, and will make your life very difficult.”


4. Having “Adult Time” Outside of Marriage

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It’s likely no secret that the Catholic Church prohibits “grown up time” outside of marriage.

This is a common rule or guideline among many Christian denominations… though many people don’t follow it.

Someone said,

“I’ll add fornication. A man and woman have the power to unite as one flesh and create a new immortal body and soul. Our secular world reduces this extraordinary power to some kind of recreational sport or hobby to escape boredom. It’s gravely disordered and leads to all kinds of problems.”


5. Doing In-Vitro Fertilization Treatments

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Did you know that the Catholic Church prohibits in-vitro fertilization?

In fact, at least one Catholic school teacher was fired for undergoing the medical procedure, though the jury later decided in her favor, granting her nearly 2 million in damages.

Not only is in-vitro fertilization considered unnatural, but it typically leads to excessive loss of life when not all of the fertilized eggs make it all the way to birth, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

One person responded,

“The ‘right’ to parenthood is so prevalent that kids are often forgotten as gifts.”


6. Using a Surrogate

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Similarly, the Catholic Church also bans surrogacy for the same reasons.

While surrogacy may be a beautiful, selfless practice in the eyes of most Americans (including Christians of many other denominations), the Catholic Church does not allow it.

One person stated,

“Surrogacy in general is not in line with Catholic faith.”


7. Divorcing

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Divorce can be a very tricky subject in any Christian church, even when it’s clear that the couple should separate.

Yet, while other Christian denominations allow divorce for specific reasons (including adultery and abuse) and the culture at large allows for divorce for any reason, the Catholic Church doesn’t believe in divorce at all.

Instead, Catholics are sometimes able to receive an annulment, which basically says that the marriage was invalid at the time the couple got married. Divorce is not an option, however. (Though separation is.)

One person shared,

“Divorce, for ANY reason. There’s a common misunderstanding among Christians that adultery is a valid reason for divorce… It’s not.”


8. Dressing Immodestly

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Ask 100 people to define what “dressing modestly” means and you’ll likely get 100 different definitions or guidelines.

The Bible never spells out exactly what is and isn’t okay, and the Catholic Church doesn’t enforce a specific universal dress code.

However, it is understood that both men and women should dress in a way that’s appropriate for the occasion, not revealing bits that are meant to stay covered and private.

Someone responded,

“Irreverence and dressing immodestly, especially in holy spaces. Some places are meant to be quiet and attention directed to God. This is a HUGE problem in the US.”


9. Watching Certain Movies or TV Shows

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Similarly, there is no universal list of approved or banned TV shows, movies, music, or other types of media.

The choice of what type of media to consume is left up to the viewer/listener, and individual Catholics can have very different ideas about what is or is not acceptable.

Yet, it is expected that, if you are a Catholic (or any type of Christian), you shouldn’t be consuming content that glorifies sin or draws you away from God.

This informal “rule” is widely ignored, but it’s typically understood as beneficial, especially among those who follow it.

One person said,

“Some movies and television should not be consumed. There is an increasing number of movies that are basically just p**nography or advocate a hedonistic lifestyle or advocate lifestyles opposed to the church.”


10. Hoarding Wealth

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There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Catholics (or any type of Christians) having great wealth.

In fact, the Bible is full of examples of men and women who were materially blessed by God, including Abraham, Job, King David, King Solomon, Lydia, and more.

The problem occurs when Christians (of any financially status) become greedy with their wealth and choose to spend all their earnings on their own comfortable lifestyle, rather than using their God-given resources to help others in need.

It’s definitely a balance. You should enjoy the gifts God has given you, but you should also steward them well to help and serve others.

One person stated,

“Hoarding wealth (against charity, brotherhood of mankind, universal destination of goods).”


11. Gossiping

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While the Internet does love a good petty comeback, most people would agree that gossipping is wrong and hurtful.

It’s no surprise, then, that the Catholic church frowns upon this incredibly common practice.

This doesn’t merely include talking about coworkers or family members behind their backs, however. Gossipping also includes tearing down celebrities, politicians, religious leaders, and musicians — people we sometimes forget are real people with real emotions.

Someone said,

“Not just saying nasty things about people we know, but constantly talking about people in a negative light and seeking to learn the nasty things about the lives of celebrities and public figures. Lots of modern politics and reality TV seem aimed to just be constantly negative about others.”


12. Not Baptizing Babies

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While other Protestant denominations wait to baptize their members until they are old enough to make the decision for themselves, the Catholic Church strongly encourages all of their families to have their children baptized as infants.

This doesn’t deprive the children of their choice to follow Christ or not. The children still make their own confession of faith at Confirmation, typically between the ages of 7 and 13.

But Catholics believe that baptism does leave a permanent (positive) mark on a person’s soul and that it washes away original sin.

One person responded,

“Not baptizing children so they can ‘choose’ later. And then not catechizing so they have no framework with they are older.”


13. Thinking that Everyone is Going to Heaven

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In Protestant circles, it’s common to comfort the grieving by saying that their loved on is “in a better place.” Yet, this saying, while well-intentioned, doesn’t exactly line up with Catholic Church teaching.

Catholics do believe that faithful Catholics who seek to love and serve God during their time on Earth will go to Heaven, but that they first go to a place called purgatory to have their remaining sins fully taken care of so they can enter Heaven holy and spotless.

No one knows exactly how long purgatory lasts, but Catholics do say prayers for their deceased loved ones to help shorten their time until they can transition to Heaven.

Someone shared,

“Thinking that everyone is going to Heaven. Forgetting about purgatory.”


14. Practicing Yoga

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While the Catholic church hasn’t officially prohibited yoga in its entirety, many individual Catholics warn about the dangerous of the practice, given it’s non-Christian origins.

Simply performing the stretches is completely fine.

However, Catholics are strongly encouraged to stay away from any of the spiritual elements of the practice, which can run directly against Church teaching or lead to problems later on.

One person commented,

“Yoga is a religious practice first and foremost. It’s been so popularized by western white women that we’ve forgotten its origins.”


15. Being Prideful

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Pride is a tricky sin to pin down.

While it’s perfectly fine to be proud of yourself for your accomplishments, Catholics must be careful not to become too prideful, as this is a serious sin.

When a person is too prideful, they begin to believe they are better than they truly are or they begin to take credit for the things God has done in their lives or the gifts He has given them. Essentially, they put themselves in God’s place, taking credit for His work.

One person asked,

“Is it too obvious to point out pride?”


Should Christians Do Yoga? Some Warn: Stay Far Away

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Ask 100 different Christians for a comprehensive list of things “good Christians” should and shouldn’t do, and you’re likely to get 100 different answers. This is because, while the Bible is crystal clear on some thoughts and behaviors, more often than not, it leaves a lot of room for interpretation.

As a result, it’s incredibly common for devout Christians of any and all denominations to disagree over exactly which behaviors are and are not acceptable for Christians — especially those that have both pros and cons.

Recently, one social media user asked, “What’s your opinion on Christians doing yoga? I read and study the Bible daily and feel convicted on doing yoga. The poses depict their deities of Hindu culture.”

Not surprisingly, several Christians had plenty of thoughts and Scripture to share, and their interpretations didn’t always match up.

Should Christians Do Yoga? Some Warn: Stay Far Away


7 “Sins” the Bible Never Actually Prohibits

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If you grew up in a conservative Christian household (like I did!), you may have learned that some actions weren’t appropriate for Christians.

For example, I was definitely taught that “you don’t smoke, drink, cuss, gamble, or spend time with those who do.”

Imagine my surprise, then, when — as an adult — I learned that not all Christians find all of these actions (or others) wrong in the slightest!

No matter your personal preference (and I still prefer not to do most of these things myself), here are 7 things the Bible never actually prohibits as sin.

7 “Sins” the Bible Never Actually Prohibits

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Brittany Ann is an ECPA bestselling author and founder of Equipping Godly Women and Monetize My Ministry. She’s also a Christian speaker, podcaster, and conference host. Her work has been featured on numerous TV, radio, and online ministries, including CBN, MSN, Christianity Today, Evangelical Alliance, Patheos, Crosswalk, and more.

Brittany Ann Equipping Godly Women

About the author

Brittany Ann is an ECPA bestselling author of “Fall in Love with God’s Word” and “Follow God’s Will” and the founder of EquippingGodlyWomen.com, a popular Christian-living website dedicated to helping busy Christian moms find practical ways to go "all in" in faith and family. Her work has been featured on CBN, The Christian Post, Crosswalk, and more.

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