Joyful Papist is Judith Knighton (Judy), a writer and editor from New Zealand.
Raised Anglican/agnostic, I began exploring the logic behind my faith in my teens. I tried a number of churches – and religions – for size before returning to the Anglican church.
When I was 19, I met a papist. Even though I knew – because my elders had told me so – that everything he believed was wrong, that he was an idol-worshipper, a blasphemer and the scion of the anti-Christ, he seemed like a nice guy. He was also hot. I fell in love.
Many long and passionate debates on religion later, we married. I remained an Anglican; he remained a Catholic. We made a conscious decision to support one another to be the best that we could, and to respect one another’s faith tradition. We attended one another’s services every Sunday, and my vicar assisted the local parish priest and the Catholic Youth chaplain at our wedding.
My grandmother forgave me; some of my friends didn’t.
I knew I disagreed with Catholics on specific doctrines about Mary, papal infallibility and transsubstantiation. But several years after my marriage I realised that these weren’t the root question, which was much simpler.
Did Jesus intend to found one Church? Yes, obviously. He said so.
Was this church to be found in visible form in the world today?
That was the question I needed to answer. If the answer was yes, then the rest followed, since authority to teach went with the territory (or so said my bible).
The rest is history.