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Dear Father Angelo,

I’d like to ask you if karma goes against the Christian Faith.

Thank you.


Dear friend,
1. Karma is a typical and fundamental idea in Indian religions, and generally in the oriental ones. It deals with the fact that every kind of action (karman) -even just a mental one- leaves some seeds, which grow both in our present and future lives. With this burden, men are reborn in new lives in higher or lower levels in the living beings hierarchy. It is the starting point for reincarnation. 

2. That’s why men live many lives, changing their body and personality as they change their older clothes with newer ones, according to karma. And this happens until they are freed from this swirling motion of continuous rebirths. Their aim is to be freed from the present life.

3. “This continuation of life from one body to another is thought of as an endless circle, which leads to nothing, and in which suffering is present, and from which everyone hopes to get out, according to the Indian point of view. Some images that come from ancient India clearly underline it. For example, you may remember the one in which a blindfold ox endlessly turns in order to make an object take water from a well. In doing so, it suffers immensely” (G. Magi, entry Karman, in Enciclopedia filosofica, Bompiani).

4. Karma gives men a lot of responsibility. Each of their actions is useful to the liberation from, or a return to, their body. 

5. However, as you can see, life in a specific body is seen as a condemn, a prison, or a place for purification. For this reason, karma goes against the christian faith according to which a man only dies once (Hebr 9,27). Moreover, according to christian faith, the present life’s aim is an eternal life in fellowship with God, and not a freedom from our body. This fellowship already begins in our present life thanks to grace that sanctifies us. At the end of our life, everyone will have what they have built in Christ’s name, or will have their failure.   

6. People who have built something in Christ’s name have already started living their Paradise here, and will profoundly live it there. People who have not will only have their eternal failures. It is what we name as hell.  

7. What is true in karma is that each of our actions has a good or a bad consequence, even the mental ones. It means that they mean something in our lives. Everyone has to carry around their own existence. However, we think of it in another way which is that our actions cooperate to create both our vices and our virtues. Also, we believe that they mean something in community life, too. Elisabetta Leseur once said that “each soul that rises is able to raise the world too”.  

8. Also the contrary is true, as Saint John Paul II stated: “To this law of ascent there unfortunately corresponds the law of descent. Consequently one can speak of a communion of sin, whereby a soul that lowers itself through sin drags down with itself the church and, in some way, the whole world” (Reconciliatio et paenitentia, 16).

9. So, to your first question about karma that goes against the christian faith, I will answer that it clearly does. Karma and christian faith will never agree. 

I hope you the best, I remember you to the Lord and I bless you.
Padre Angelo 

Translated by Giulia Leo

Proof edited by Sara Bellei