Is it Avoda Zara to learn about Catholicism because I was interested in parts of their religion and wanted to do it, especially catholic confession? Is it Avoda Zara if I searched to see if there was a way to do it online and if there was I wanted to do it? Is it Avoda Zara if I went into the sanctity of a church and if I davened there (to Hashem), as part of a tour but not when services were taking place? Is it Avoda Zara if I entertained ideas about practicing other religions and imagined in my mind and heart that I was doing it, specifically their version of confession? Does it matter that I never believed in Jesus as god? Does it matter that internally I tried to disconnect Jesus from the rest of it? Is any of this something I need to do teshuva for? Will Hashem freely forgive me or will there be consequences?
We are not allowed to have any connection to the Catholic religion as it is considered Avoda Zara. We are not allowed to enter their churches, we may not daven there, and definitely not to confess to a priest. These are Catholic practices and not a Jewish thing at all. Jews do not confess to anyone except to H-shem Himself, (It is no one else’s business! In fact it says in Tehillim that when we are embarrassed by our aveiros we don’t want to expose them to anyone else, and want it to remain hidden.) In fact we are also not allowed to learn about their religion. H-shem wants us to distance ourselves from these false ideas, and the more we investigate it, the closer we are to getting influenced by their false ideas.