My experience has been that it has been tough to get “into” the Catholic Church. I tried before, and having come from a protestant background where everyone welcomes you in and if you don’t show the following Sunday, they’re at your doorstep or on the phone checking to see if you’re “alright” I felt like the Catholic Church didn’t want me.
But the priests I encountered were right – I wasn’t ready at the times I inquired previously. I truthfully had absolutely no clue as to the differences – I just thought the Churches were beautiful and many of my friends were Catholic.
But I stuck it out, dove into the RCIA classes (even though they weren’t starting for months after my inquiry) and just kept going to Mass every Sunday. Finally I got it – the Holy Spirit does work magic – I went from a left-wing ACTIVIST to a confirmed Catholic who understands and supports the Church’s teachings (including birth control and abortion). Now THAT is a miracle.
Maybe I’m so dedicated and studied so much material (outside RCIA), so hard, for the past two years because it was so tough to fight my way “in.” Even though I resented it at the time, and thought how “bad for business” that attitude was, now I “get it.” I think it should be tough to break in – but more welcoming and encouraging to those who knock on our door.
And I think the quality of the RCIA instruction varies widely – our instructor was a convert and was really not prepared to teach the class (in my opinion) but the entire RCIA process was saved by the presence of our Deacons who are absolute masters of the Church doctrine and who have a gift for explaining the most complext issue clearly. Bless those people who attend these classes to “help” … they must know that the RCIA instructors need help and that we potential converts might be deterred if there were not competent answers at the ready.
And as encouragement, in a small, rural area of Texas, we had a class of about 40 in our RCIA class, and most of them were converts (almost all of them from the Baptist Church). How nice it was to have them in class – we all demanded (again and again) to know “where is that in the Bible” and the Deacons answered our questions.
Now, if only we can get more apologists out there working their magic!