© 2020, © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. In this article we argue that transnational social protection (TSP) is becoming the norm in the context of globalisation, heightened mobility and neoliberalism, but cannot be understood without addressing its religious components. TSP differs significantly from national welfare state regimes, which place the responsibility for providing social support firmly on the shoulders of the state. In contrast, TSP regimes involve multiple actors and opportunities in origin and receiving states and place most of the onus for social protection on individuals and families. This article investigates church and state interaction in the development of TSP across the Italian, Mexican and Filipino contexts. It advances scholarship in three key ways: first, it showcases how TSP is replacing state social welfare arrangements and brings to light those shifting church-state entanglements that are central to this shift; second, it highlights the historically rooted trajectories of church-state entanglements that these three cases have in common; and third, it shows that as TSP becomes a state tool in governing non-resident citizens, the church's critical stance in relation to state provisioning is central to TSP as a mode of migration government.