[I’ve been sitting on this post for about three weeks, trying to decide if I wanted to make it or not. I’ve finally decided it’s time to put it out there, so.]
This essay was originally going to be added to this post [link to be added once it’s posted] about Steve’s dog-tags, but I apparently have a lot of feelings about this and it ended up being ridiculously long and sort of tangential to the original post, so I’m simply linking the two. I’ve divided the essay into three parts: church history, immigration history, and speculation.
Disclaimer: I was raised Protestant (in a non-denominational Stone-Campbell church), and I attended undergrad at a Protestant Christian liberal arts college (also Stone-Campbell). My undergraduate degree included church history, but I am definitely not an expert, so I’ve included lots of Wikipedia links to compensate. I am currently attending a Catholic university for my masters, but again, the focus has not been church history (although I have interviewed and transcribed interviews with Catholic priests from the Brooklyn Diocese as part of my classes). I know enough about church history to feel comfortable making this post, but not enough to go into further detail than what is laid out here. If I have made any egregious errors in regards to either branch’s history, please drop me a note so I can correct them.
I subscribe to the theory that the MCU was lazy about dogtags, but let me add a different factor.
If Sarah and Joseph emigrated to the US separately without their families as teenagers and, let’s say, met at the beginning of WWI, or two years before Steve’s birth, there are two scenarios here.
1. Sarah is the Catholic and had had enough of the shit where everyone is in her face when she starts courting with Joe, when those same people were not offering her support earlier.
2. Sarah is the Protestant and gets married to Catholic Joseph (which would require her to vow to raise the children as RC. This is not actually canon law today, despite what some priests and bishops may tell you, speaking as a former Catholic who left Ireland at 22 and damn well had her priest uncle conduct her marriage to a non-Catholic. He’d had plenty of practice from 1988 onwards. Before that? None.) This was much easier than the other way round. Again, she does a “fuck you” because the only interest the Catholic community has is that Steve is a proper Catholic. See the Fethard Boycott for an even more recent incident. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fethard-on-Sea_boycott
Thinking about it, I’m inclined to Sarah being the Protestant in a mixed marriage. It makes it more likely that “interested parties” wouldn’t try to take her son away from her, but would offer her support.