What is the Church's teaching on karma?

Does the Church recognize karma? If so, what does it say?

Karma is a Hindu concept. The Church doesn’t say anything directly about it but it does fall under the list of foreign spirituality that we must avoid.

So, what goes around, comes around - not proper Catholic thinking. Sorry. Reatively new Catholic.:o

I am not Catholic, but I think many people who believe in karma do not even realize it has to do with Hinduism or even a religious concept. But as for Christians, I think we can all agree that God will punish or give mercy to people depending on what they deserve. I do not believe in karma, since I’m Christian, not Hindu. I believe in God and His power and will.

Uh, yes it does.

You reap what you sow. Remember?

Again, wrong. We have our own version of Karma. It’s called: “You sins have consequences.”

No. Karma states that all wrongdoing will eventually be justified, all good deeds will eventually be rewarded. Christianity is all about mercy. God forgives us our sins. Even if we live a life of evil, if we truly repent at the last minute like the thief on the cross, we will be with Christ in paradise. Where’s the karma there?

The fact that you had to feel remorse and express repentance means karma was already at work.

Again, actions have consequences. If they did not, the Church would have no need for confession or repentance.

Ironically, the decision to not repent is also an action. The consequence? Hell.

Interestingly, I never understood Purgatory until I understood Karma. I think this is one area where the Eastern cultures are better suited to understanding this particular revelation than contemporary Western cultures.

No, karma has nothing to do with feelings of remorse. That is conscience, not karma.

Yes, actions does have consequences. That is where mercy comes in and changes everything.

Again, karma is a Hindu concept. To follow a pagan spirituality is a sin in the Catholic faith.

I’d rather take Eastern Christianity than a pagan Eastern faith. Catholics may not like St. Mark of Ephesus for calling the Pope and all of Roman Catholicism as heretics, but he has the best explanation of what Purgatory is. And that is from someone who rejected the teaching on Purgatory.

There is a sort of “karma” in that God will judge you based on your actions in this life, but it is not the eastern spirituality form of karma. The eastern karma is sort of an ancient/pagan idea about having positive thoughts making positive things happen and negative thoughts making negative things happen. Which is not true, and people can drive themselves mad by trying that. We can also note that there are people who are very sinful and yet they get lots of rewards in this life, such as wealth, good fortune, etc. It is not because they are good people, it’s because they were willing to do whatever it took, good or bad, to make it to the top. There are also people who do good deeds, feed the homeless, give clothing to the poor, volunteer to help the needy, and yet remain poor their entire lives. And of course there are rich people who do good and poor people who commit violent crimes; I am not saying all rich people are bad and all poor people are good. But there is no “karma”.

I said remorse AND repentance. The popular concept of karma being actions having consequences only justifies this system.

If you don’t repent sincerely and make reparations, you will suffer the consequences.

Mercy has its own price: repentance and penance.

And for that to happen, you must atone and take responsibility of your actions and their consequences.

Giving free passes to sin is an atheist concept. Guess what you’re implying with your insistence on mercy.

So how did the remorse of the thief on the cross paid back for all what he did? Again, karma is about “an eye for an eye” which Jesus himself said is the wrong way to do things.

No, read Jesus’ parables on the rich king who forgave debt. Karma will always seek repayment, mercy doesn’t.

And hell, as a consequence, isn’t about “an eye for an eye”?

You said it yourself, mercy. However, mercy is only given to the truly repentant.

Follow your own advice. Look at what happened to the unforgiving servant. The entire parable is a fine example of karma: being a chain of actions and consequences.

King forgives servant.

Servant refuses to forgive another who is in his debt.

King finds out. Changes his mind.

Again, karma: You reap what you sow.

I don’t know that there is a church teaching of this. The idea of “Whats goes around comes around” I have seen as a teaching tool very early by Catholic Fathers, in particular in NYC when Fr O’Brien opened Daytop which is a therapeutic community, long-term, in-patient for substance abuse. Herioin-Cocaine etc.

The concept is based on all Catholic Theology in self-understanding, self-honesty, thus honesty with all, responsible love and concern, thus to respect others and view them respectively.

The concepts of reaping what you sow are in Galatians 6:7. But yes we used this as a teaching/learning tool. In other words “Whats goes around comes around”. In essense what we taught were Catholic morals and values without using Bible/Religion in a secular atmosphere. There are various facilitys now which stick to a strick Catholic teaching such as the Friars in the Bronx NY use a completly Catholic approach now which I find refreshing. Abide by the simple rules and you have the opportunity to get your act together and life a rooted life in faith, substance free.:shrug:

As to the historical aspect I believe it has roots in Hindu. Though this becomes much more complicated than the simple aspect of it explained above.

Self understanding regardless is valuable and imperative, now to take into a different realm which breaks from Cathicism is another situation. In other words to Love Thy Neighbor, you must correctly understand how to Love Yourself, thus understanding the Lords love for you, this manifests outward. Sin we didn’t and couldn’t teach, however consequences for ones actions is covered by this simple example. Hope this helps.


No. Because the Roman Catholic Church teaches that you can a long, faithful and holy life on earth, and if you commit one mortal sin before you die and did not get a chance to repent you will go to hell. The converse it true, you can live a full life of sin and repent at the last second and enter heaven.

No, mercy is given to all.


If that is the case, then we do not need confession.

If God only forgives those who forgive, why did God become man and died for all? Shouldn’t he just have died for the just?

And that is not karma? That is not eye for an eye?
Is that not a fine example of actions resulting in consequences.

Methinks you’re arguing for the sake of arguing.

Doesn’t change that mercy requires repentance.


You’re missing the point. Every action that was made in the course of the parable had its consequence. Read again.

No, it is not. I will repeat it again, mercy is forgiving debt. Karma dictates that all debts are repaid. No Christian theologian in his right mind will say Karma is compatible with Catholicism. If you can quote me a saint, Orthodox or Catholic, that accepts Karma, I will believe your position.

Repentance isn’t equal payment of the debt. That is why it is not Karma.

Because the Sacrament of Confession forgives our sins even if we do not “pay back”. For example, you can be forgiven of murder even if you don’t have to surrender yourself to the cops. Karma dictates that you go to prison, or that someone close to you be murdered. God’s mercy is not such.

I think you are the one that is missing the point of Karma. Karma dictates not merely a consequence, but a consequence of equal value. That is what eye for an eye means. What mercy shows is that if you take one’s eye, you might just get a slap on the wrist. That is not Karma.

Yet only merits mercy through penance and repentance.

I’ve already quoted the Bible. You reap what you sow. That’s karma as it is popularly known.

Uh, yes it is. If not, people would just commit the same sin over and over again. What do you think penance is for? Pomp and ceremony?

Uh, yes you do. Don’t think this doesn’t happen. I’ve read about priests who actually encourage murderers to turn themselves in as part of their penance.

If you insist otherwise, I shall gladly open a thread discussing the matter.

Again, is hell not karma? Are you suggesting that penance is not a consequence of equal value?

Sure. But that still isn’t Karma.

C’mon now, we all know quoting the Bible doesn’t prove anything. We’re both Filipinos here, we know of “Ang Dating Daan” and “Ang Tamang Daan”. They quote the Bible like there’s no tomorrow. Do you believe in what they say?

Show me a theologian of the Church, a Church Father, Doctor, or saint who have taught about Karma.

So going to confession and saying 3 Our Fathers and Hail Marys is Karma for punching someone in the face?

First, all you claim is hearsay. Second, the Church actually forbids the priest to make someone confess their sins to someone else, such as a temporal authority, as condition for absolution. So even if there is indeed a case of a priest doing this, he is not doing it according to what the Church actually teaches. He is in fact in error.

I don’t have to insist anything. The Church has conclusively declared on the matter and it is not up for discussion. A priest cannot compel a penitent to reveal their sin to anyone else for any reason.

No. Again, Karma dictates that if you kill someone, you should also lose a life. Either your own or someone who you really care about. That is not what the Church teaches. If you become truly repentant and sought forgiveness, then you will be granted forgiveness. You don’t have to die, nor does anyone else you care about.

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