Q. 1. What is the Catholic Church's teaching regarding reincarnation?
A. 1. First of all, it is necessary to explain the meaning of the word "reincarnation" and what it stands for. The word "reincarnation" come from the Latin. It literally means "entering the flesh again". Reincarnation is the belief that when one dies, that person's body decomposes but the soul (the consciousness) is reborn in another body.
Some believe that you can be born over and over, as many as one thousand times before achieving perfection. Then one no longer returns. In those rebirths, some believe that you are born as a better person everytime. Other believe that you can be reborn as a human, an animal, a plant or even an insect, depending on the achievements you have accomplished in the previous life. Some believe the wrongs you do to someone in this life, those wrongs will be done to you in your next life.
When Jesus was dying on the Holy Cross, He said to the thief who was crucified beside Him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." [Luke 23:43] Jesus did not say "You will be coming back into another body."
In Hebrew 9:27-28, we read: "Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many..." This passage reveals two things to us. First of all, we are destined to die once. Secondly, Christ was sacrificed once to take away our sins. He was not sacrificed a thousand times for each reincarnation. His sacrifice was perfect, once and for all, for the one life of each person. There is no second life on earth in another body or form.