The Catholic saga, that is. I just read commentary that it takes a year, maximum, to become Catholic. The comment was in response to my *yes, I’m sorry, sarcastic* question about whether it’s easier to be ex-communicated from the church than it is to join it, the general accusation being that the church never ex-communicates, even when they ought to. As far as joining, I’m going on two years and counting. It’s all right. I mean, yeah, I’ve heard the stories of those who powered through RCIA and were confirmed at Easter nine months later. But alongside those stories are the ones of people who languished in limbo for years. My baptism issues have been resolved; for more on that, read this post. My marriage issues, however, have not been. In my diocese — maybe in all US diocese; I’m not exactly sure — a marriage convalidation is treated like a new marriage. Therefore, I’m required to obtain four witness statements swearing that my husband and I are fit to be married. That we’ve been married for almost 26 years and this paperwork baffles the friends and family I’ve tried to get on board with it is irrelevant. My Protestant family doesn’t know how to fill it out. Worse, the witness statements require a church seal at the moment of signing, which also baffles Protestants. Protestants don’t have church seals. Where will they acquire this? One enthusiastic friend sent a letterhead from her church, hoping that would do the trick. I don’t think it will. At the same time, my kind friend is only one witness. I’m still waiting for the others. I’ve been waiting for months.
People whose confirmations went smoothly don’t seem to comprehend how difficult the Catholic church can make it to join. You’d think Catholics didn’t actually believe one’s eternal soul depended on being Catholic. Honestly, I don’t think it does. But Catholics believe that. At the very least, they believe Protestants are Christians lacking the full truth, the full Scripture, etc., and will consequently spend a long time in Purgatory. I’m now imagining heaven itself as a bureaucratic nightmare where you wait in a long line before being told, I’m sorry, you never finished the endless streams of paperwork. We can’t let you in. That sounds like hell, though, to be stuck in an endless bureaucracy, relying on appropriate stamps and witnesses that can never be obtained.
For the sake of your sorrowful passion, Jesus have mercy on me.