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Catholics; Do you believe in reincarnation?

I am Catholic and I've been told in the past we don't believe that, but I think some form of that exists. For instance: The "guff" is a term the Talmud uses to refer to the repository of all unborn souls. Literally, the word "guff" means "body."

The Talmud says, "The Son of David (Mashiach) will not arrive until there's no more 'soul' in the 'body.' " This means that there are a certain number of souls in heaven waiting to be born. Until they are born, they wait in a heavenly repository called "the body." The Mashiach won't arrive until every single one of these souls has been born into the physical world.
I know it's a Jewish belief, but doesn't it make sense? Could someone die and be reassigned to Earth either because a new baby needs a soul, or because they want to relive their life better and make better choices?


Asked by mumma28 at 9:45 PM on Jun. 19, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

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Answers (5)
  • I'm Protestant, not Catholic but I do believe in the pre-existance of souls before the creation of earth. I believe that God does not fall under any timeline and certainly not one that can be described by finite human individuals. I don't believe in reincarnation or the recycling of souls into new bodies but rather the eternity of the soul. I don't think it is possible for one to know when a soul begins but we do rather know that one does not end. The creation of the soul takes place outside of our realm and capacity of understanding. I have to say, I'm confident in not having an explanation for every little thing. If I as a finite human being, could know and explain God in accuracy and entirety...he wouldn't be much of a God now would he? :-)


    Answer by NovemberLove at 10:44 PM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • Sounds like a plot of a movie I saw once.

    Nope - Catholics don't believe in reincarnation. It's my understanding that Jews of Jesus' day who believed in an afterlife (some, such as the Sadducees, didn't) looked forward to the resurrection of the dead, not to their reincarnation. Jews who affirmed the soul's survival after death regarded such a solitary survival as an unnatural existence to be remedied by a later resurrection. I don't know much about the guff.

    But the was a Church council in Constantinople that condemed the idea that souls exist in heaven before coming to earth to be born. And actually, that idea makes more sense to me.

    Answer by eringobrough at 10:26 PM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • Are you asking if the Catholic church teaches reincarnation or if a catholic person believes in reincarnation. If you are asking for the official church stance Eringobrough summed it up, however there are Catholics who believe int eh idea of reincarnation.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:35 PM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • Almost all religions teach reincarnation in one form or another. Christianity usually teaches that once we die out souls accent to become Angels or decend to hell... This rebirth as something new, or as something other than a living breathing person is the most basic form of reincarnation. Other faiths, Hindu, for example teaches that when we die we are reborn in the form of other creatures and even plants based on the life we led prior to death... Those are the two ends of the spectrum but all technically reincarnation. There are some faiths that teach, when you die, you're dead, end of story. But these are few and far between. Any rebirth or change in physical form from person to person, person to spirit or person to tree, is a form of reincarnation. So, yes, by definition Catholics DO believe in reincarnation. However they do not believe in it in the sence that most people think of.

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 11:25 PM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • Right, you all are, I think that souls obviously have a place to go (heaven, or hell respectively), I wasn't actually sure of the Catholic take on it. I'm certain of my opinion that souls maybe be recycled in a sense, such as someone dies, then someone is born, however as far as past lives and being able to be hypnotized or whatever, to find out what it is you did in a past life is foolish IMO. I don't think ur suppossed to know what happened before, just as long as u have a rewarding existance now. I don't know, It makes sense to me. However, I don't believe that we can come back as animals (or worse, bugs, ewww), i think people souls are for people. You all had good answers, and there might be truth in everyone of them.

    Answer by mumma28 at 10:59 AM on Jun. 20, 2009