A few quotes from the CCC with my comments in blue:
1257 …God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments. So here we see that God is not limited to the sacraments even though he created them for our benefit. He can still work “outside” of them.
1259 For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament IMO, this is where you may be having a hiccup, since it doesn’t explicitly say “inquirers” as well. However, we already know from 1257 above that God can work outside the sacraments. So I think it is reasonable to feel confident that this would include inquirers as well.
1260 "Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery."63 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.Lufty, if God can save someone who was ignorant of the Gospel, but seeks truth and desires the will of God to the best of their understanding, I believe he can (and will) save an inquirer who is on the path to baptism.
My own experience with RCIA has been touch and go. It took me 2 1/2 years of trying out (and withdrawing from) various RCIA programs and going splat before I finally found an RCIA program that is a good fit for me. I got baptized as an adult after a LOT of study about Christianity, and in all honesty, I found these RCIA classes to be too basic for the level of learning I already had done on my own. But even if I had found my beloved RCIA class the first time around, I am not sure that I would have been ready to join the CC.
I feel that I have a lot more patience and maturity now than I did when I was initially dipped my toe into the RCIA pool. I know that I will appreciate entering the CC more now than I would have back then.
I am not trying to say, nor imply, that you lack maturity. Afterall, I don’t know you at all but for a few of the threads that you have writter here on CAF. However, I do sense an air of restlessness and impatience when I read your posts. I am not saying that it is a bad thing, just that it does seem to be present.
And this reminds me of my own RCIA experience when I first tried it. Back then, I wanted things on my terms. I wanted to enter the Church when I wanted to, and I thought it was silly/annoying that I had to wait. And I was really impatient, sitting through classes that were too basic for me.
This isn’t the exact same thing as your situation, of course, but I do see some similarities. The RCIA program’s timing may not be your timing. Like me, I can see that you are struggling to find an RCIA program that is a good fit for you, and that you either have done or are considering independent study with a priest (I looked into this as well.)
I sense a lot of struggling when I read your posts. I cannot say where this is coming from, nor why this is happening. I just hope/pray that you can find a process to enter the Church (either thru independent study or thru RCIA) that will give you some peace in your heart. To that end I have prayed for you already.
Just know that you are not alone. I can really relate to the struggles you have written about!