Reasons for Conversion
People who convert have many reasons for their decision. Many say that something was missing in their lives until they discovered the fulfillment of faith through the Catholic Church. Some are influenced by Catholic friends and their lifestyle. Some come to admire Catholic heroes for their lives of service or other admirable qualities. Some are influenced by writers such as Thomas Merton or St. Augustine, both of whom detailed their own conversions in their writings.
Often it is an intellectual approach that leads converts to the Church. The Episcopalian and Anglican church followers who converted to Catholicism in the 1800s were biblical scholars who were disillusioned with their own faith and believed the Catholic Church had a better approach to Christianity. Today's evangelical and fundamentalist Protestants who convert often plumb the teachings of several Christian faiths before settling on Catholicism. Scholars who have studied the Bible and the history of Christianity are attracted to Catholicism because of its place at the very roots of Jesus' ministry.
Many converts are attracted to the moral structure of the Church and its demands that Catholics accept a Christian lifestyle and all of Catholic dogma. Some converts are attracted to the Church's teaching on family planning and sexual morality. Others seek out Catholicism because they agree with its emphasis on good works as a route to salvation.
The journey to the Catholic Church must be taken of your own free will. During Vatican II, the Church declared firmly that coerced conversion is wrong and is not supported by Catholic dogma.
Converts to Catholicism also cite emotional and spiritual reasons for their conversion. The beautiful rituals and mysteries of the Catholic Church appeal to many of the faithful and can lead to a deep commitment. Many of those who convert recall the role of a supportive church community or parish in helping them feel as if they were coming home.