Convince a non-Catholic "cousin" to be Catholic?

Important: For the record, I would like to admit that question does not - I repeat, does not - apply to my case. In actuality, it is something in the context of my next novel.

A main character of mine, a devout Roman Catholic of the Roman Rite, has a cousin who is not a Catholic. This cousin in question is neither Protestant nor Eastern Orthodox; she follows a form of paganism and heathenism that borderlines toward the ‘occult’.

What exactly should this character do to convince this cousin to become Catholic?

Any suggestions will be accepted.


Considering no one can convince anyone to be anything they don’t want to be, I think you are making your character try to do the impossible. :slight_smile: This is especially true if the cousin isn’t and never was a Catholic. Better for your character to be a good witness and a helper when thiings go badly for his cousin–ala G. K. Chesterton’s Fr. Brown.

Unfortunately, the word ‘impossible’ is not a word in this character’s vocabulary.

Of course, as the AUTHOR, you certainly can make a character do something.
The thing is, that’s not how it works in real life. A credible story is one people will get engaged in.
People who convert due to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and the good example of others.

This is rather interesting – you’re saying the cousin follows a form of paganism/heathenism that borders on occult practices… I don’t know how willing you are to incorporate supernatural events into your novel, but have you considered perhaps something “demonic” happen involving the cousin? Maybe during multiple sessions with a Ouija board or something reveals an otherwordly entity that slowly becomes more evil as the sessions go on, until it finally reveals its demonic identity, by which time it is too late, and it refuses to leave.

He finally cannot get rid of the demon, and summons the Catholic protagonist for help, who then calls upon a priest.

I think in those cases, something severe/life-changing has to happen to the cousin to cause them to rethink their position. Jennifer Fulwiler (while not pagan or heathen) talks about realizing their was a God after the birth of her first child. The love she felt for that child was something she strongly felt was derived from an eternal source.

Other instances are sickness, tragedy, or a supernatural encounter (like the many miracles that have happened in the Church). I don’t think there really is any way for your Catholic character to “convince” the cousin, per se. I think that the Catholic must be actively involved in the cousin’s life, praying, and just being at the right place at the right time when the cousin needs religious guidance.

Do you want the character to convert to appease someone? Or because he/ she has been converted?

Also, what do you want your readers to know about converting?

How do you want to come across as an author?

If this character is involved in the occult, your protagonist could help her out when she accidentally invites an evil entity into her home. Readers love a good exorcism.

Character would have to have an experience with the Holy Spirit.

What pagan/heathen religion that borderlines on the “occult” does the character follow?
It would help to know that.
And is the cousin male or female?

Without knowing those answers…I’d say…this character has to perform or show the cousin some sort of mind-blowing, Catholic-type miracle.
Something really big…like…biblical big.
I think she’d needs something very supernatural to happen…because the cousin will believe in supernatural events happening if she’s already into so-called “occult” stuff.
And the miracle has to have a Catholic bent, of course, or else it won’t steer her in a Catholic direction.
Maybe an apparition…of some biblical figures…Mary, Jesus…


I have, but nothing like what you have just suggested.

That’s not how it worked for Roman Emperor, Constantine.
And he’s one of the main people in history responsible for spreading Christianity!

Do you think Constantine’s story is “credible”?

I think Wiseman can find a way to do it and make it believable.


Good idea on the apparitions.

Yes, this is great^^^^^.

You need a intriguing backstory to solidify the relationship between the cousins and give it credibility. Something needs to happen to the pagan cousin that shakes (her) world. * It needs to be something so profound and possibly recurring that she seeks out the Catholic cousin to understand what has happened. She may not even know how it is even related to the Catholic Church but the Catholic cousin helps her. Maybe even a spiritual battle is taking place in which the cousin is emotionally and mentally paralyzed and the Catholic cousin keeps praying the rosary for her.*

If he’s a good Catholic, he knows that conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit, and there is nothing he can do to “convince” anyone to become a Catholic.

However, he can invite his cousin to events taking place at his parish, and accompany her, when the events have to do with things that are of interest to the cousin (ie: a music performance where the cousin knows some of the musicians, for example), and he could answer any questions the cousin has in a forthright and truthful way, if the subject comes up naturally.

Actually, if the pagan religion the person practices is as you describe, occult, bordering on magic etc…those people often have a more open ear to Catholicism because Catholicism has mystical elements, rich relationship with the supernatural, ritual, specific forms for the validity of sacraments etc.

Things that certain pagan religions also have, and things that they likely appreciate and are drawn to. They already understand the power of ritual, the use of vestments and altars, and specific paraphanalia and formulas ( as in the particular kind of bread and wine for Eucharist, the right sort of incense, chrism, etc)

That could certainly be enough to open up some interesting discussion between the cousins.

Another worthwhile point to pass up. Thanks!

Because conversion only happens through and with the Holy Spirit (as mentioned above), perhaps you could take your Catholic character down a path of prayer to the Holy Spirit. Meanwhile, daily “coincidences” start happening in the cousins life. More prayer…more coincidences, etc. The dual approach would show the Holy Spirit responding to prayer and intervening in the cousins life. That’s all I’ve got :shrug:

God Bless You.

“This Character” can do nothing on his own. However in your other post you wrote that the word impossible is not in this characters vocabulary. Jesus said that “Nothing is impossible with God.”

Remember in scripture that many, even most people walked away from Jesus Christ Himself. People have free will, something that God respects. There is no magic formula to convince anyone to become Catholic, the person’s heart needs to be open, that is where God comes in.

If your story is about your main character convincing someone to convert to Catholicism in an unrealistic way, I worry that your book will be unconvincing and people won’t read it. I suggest you read stories of real conversions from real people and find out who and what inspired them and that it was often a slow road. Best wishes to you and God bless.

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