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Q: Reincarnation and the Catholic Church ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Reincarnation and the Catholic Church
Category: Relationships and Society > Religion
Asked by: freihoffer-ga
List Price: $6.00
Posted: 31 Oct 2002 08:53 PST
Expires: 30 Nov 2002 08:53 PST
Question ID: 94272
Why doesn't the Catholic Church put forward Reincarnation?
Subject: Re: Reincarnation and the Catholic Church
Answered By: websearcher-ga on 31 Oct 2002 09:10 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi freihoffer:

Thank for the fascinating question. :-)

I was able to find several web resources on the relationship between
the Catholic Church and reincarnation. While some people claim that
reincarnation was a belief in the early church, many others refute
that claim quite strongly.

Since you've asked for reasons why the church *doesn't* put forward
reincarnation, I've listed below the two best sources of information
on this that I found. I've also pulled out some important quotes from
these pages - however, I recommend that you go to the pages to see all
the details.

Does the Catholic Church believe in reincarnation?


"It is believed that one lifetime is not sufficient to enable the
human spirit to become worthy of eternal union with God, but that in
each existence spiritual progress is made. As such, reincarnation is
directly opposed to all Christian revelation. The Catholic Church,
likewise, does not accept belief in reincarnation for the following

"1- Scripture reveals that we die only once and then meet God in

"2- Reincarnation comes from a philosophy that holds that material
creation is either evil or unreal."

"3- Reincarnation denies the basic truth of Catholic Christian faith,
'the resurrection of the body.'"

"4- In some way, reincarnation follows the motto 'If at first you
don't succeed, try, try, again.'"

Was Reincarnation taught in the Early Church until the Second Council
of Constantinople in 553?


"There is a widespread error that the Catholic Church taught
reincarnation in the first centuries after Christ, but that it was
then dropped after the Second Council of Constantinople in 553. This
view is most certainly false and is nothing more than a myth."

"To claim that the Catholic Church ever held such a false teaching is
to completely misunderstand the fundamentals of the Catholic Faith
regarding sin, death, judgment, and the justice of God. Hebrews 9:27
reads 'man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.'"

I hope this information helps. 

If you need any clarification of the information I have provided,
please ask using the Clarification feature and provide me with
additional details as to what you are looking for. As well, please
allow me to provide you with clarification(s) *before* you rate this
Thank you.        
Search Strategy:      
reincarnation "catholic church"

Request for Answer Clarification by freihoffer-ga on 31 Oct 2002 11:04 PST
First of all, let me say that I appreciate the incredibly fast
response time on my question and the information that was supplied was
informative.  However, (and I should have been more specific), I was
looking for more authoritative info possibly issued from a prominent
Cardinal (currently or in the past) or from the head of the Church
itself in the form of a doctrine.  Anyway, if there is anything you
can do for a further answer, if not I completely understand and will
have to re-submit a more specific question.  After I receive your
response to this I will leave feedback/tip etc.  Thanx!

Clarification of Answer by websearcher-ga on 31 Oct 2002 11:44 PST
Hello freihoffer:

Thank you for clarifying your request. :-)

Between the searching I did previously and some more that I have just
recently done, there appears to be quite a lot of controversy over the
existence (or non-existence) of any official Catholic doctrine on

However, most arguments seem to center around the writings of Origen
(185 - 254 A.D.) and the Second Council of Constantinople (also known
as the Fifth General Council) in 553 A.D.  Everyone seems to agree
that at that Council, lead by Pope Vigilius, the church officially
condemned Origen as a heretic, especially for his stand on the
pre-existence of souls (reincarnation) and the final salvation of all

The disagreement comes in whether the church, before 553, accepted (or
tolerated) reincarnation as an official church doctrine.

Ludwig Ott, in his book "Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma" wrote:

"This doctrine was rejected by a Synod at Constantinople (543) against
the Origenists, and by a Synod at Braga (561) against the
Priscillianists... The Fathers, with very few exceptions, are
opponents of the doctrine of pre-existence upheld by Origen."

It appears that since that era, the church has held the idea of
reincarnation so low that they have not even bothered writing official
doctrines about it.

The following are some articles about this subject (from both sides of
the argument) that might shed further light:

Reincarnation and Catholicism

Christian reincarnation - The long forgotten

reincarnation in early church

I hope this additional information is of help. :-)


Search Strategy: 

doctrine catholic reincarnation
freihoffer-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $2.00
Amazing and thorough answer even after I had to re-clarify due to my
own vagueness.  Extremely friendly and personable.  :)

Subject: Re: Reincarnation and the Catholic Church
From: pugwashjw-ga on 04 Jul 2003 09:29 PDT
I will let the Catholics speak for themselves, but if a person claims
to be a follower of Jesus, He/She must check the scriptures [The
Bible]. Even Jesus in his day quoted from the Hebrew texts written and
preserved by the Jews since the days of Moses. God warned the first
man, Adam, that disobedience would lead to death. Prior to disobeying
God by eating of the tree of Knowledge, good and bad, Adam had the
prospect of living forever. After disobeying, he had a family by Eve,
then grew old and died. And so did all his progeny right up to this
day. A bit like a cake being baked in a dented cake tin. Every cake
that comes out of that tin shows the dent. John 3;16,36 says that
everyone showing faith in Jesus will enjoy everlasting life, that is
believing what Jesus was teaching. He taught about God`s new system of
things, Jesus c alled " The Kingdom of God". Daniel 2;44 states " And
in the days of those Kings, The God of heaven will set up a Kingdon [
read government] that will never be brought to ruin, and the Kingdom
itself will not be passed on to any other people, It will crush and
put an end to all these [other] Kingdoms and it itself will stand to
times indefinite. This prophecy is obviously still in the future. This
is a finalization to the present system. If the theory of
re-incarnation was true, there would never be this finalization,
because people would be continually born and continually reborn. There
is no point in it.History shows that whatever technology we have , we
never learn from our past mistakes. Wars still happen, people still
fight. Ezekiel 18;4 says " The soul that is sinning, it itself will
die". Numbers 6;6 mentions a dead soul, so a soul is our total
physical and mental self, not some entity that leaves the body at
death. A dead soul is a dead person. Psalm 146;4 says " His spirit
goes out [ like a candle flame] he goes back to his ground, in that
day his thoughts do perish. The belief in re-incarnation depends on a
separate entity in the body, leaving the body at death and retaining
all their [its] memories and thoughts. The Bible states that this idea
is just not true. So by reading the Bible, an honest Christian cannot
believe in re-incarnation

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