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1.5 The Reincarnation

The belief in reincarnation was one of the strong points of the Cathars philosophy. This belief is based on the opinion that our body is the material part made by Satan but in it we have a soul made by God that is not material and is indestructible. (e)

The parfaits were giving the following benediction to the believers they met while imposing their hands on their heads: “May God bless you! Let Him made a good Christian out of you and let Him leads you to a good end”. The Cathars believed in God. They also believed in the Holy Spirit who was more a kind of a link between God and the human beings. They also attached a big importance to the “Good End” that they asked from God for their believers. The Consolamentum of the Parfaits meant that they were already, up to a point, out of this material world. On the contrary the Consolamentum given to the dying believers did not grantee them eternity. If necessary they would still have to be reincarnated to reach the required purity. In other words the Parfaits could not redeem the sins of their believers. This was a very personal matter and only the personal behaviour could lead to eternity. (a)

Many people in all time have believed in reincarnation even if the great monotheist religions are against it. Buddhist and Hinduist religions accept it up to a point. The occult movements and the Gnostic religions of the past make it a main point of their teaching. The first Christians also believed in it but the official Church soon changed its mind about it. This is due to the fact that the official Roman Catholic doctrine took a certain time to be defined and also to the fact that at that time the influence of other sects proclaiming this possibility was still very strong. The adepts of the “Rose Croix” believe also in a form of reincarnation. Some modern philosophical groups – among them the “Rebirth”- have the aim to lead the way to a deep introspection that allows, in certain cases, to have access to what happened in a previous life. (a)

The Cathar books do not mention the reincarnation. However the Cathar preachers said that it was the normal way for a soul to reach perfection or purity for those who did not reach this state in their present stay on earth. This is due to the fact that there was no guarantee for the soul of the believers in their present existence to reach the spiritual heaven. The reincarnation was the only hope to reach it in the future. The Cathar preachers believed in reincarnation and taught it to their believers even if the few written texts that have reached us do not mention it. As a result we do not have any information concerning the theoretical concept of the reincarnation according to the Cathar faith. The Parfaits or at least the best among them escaped the reincarnation process. The believers who did not reach the required level of purity on the opposite had to submit to this process, hoping that they would do better in their next life. It is clear however that at the end of Time all souls would have crossed the door of Light that is outside the material world and gone to stay with God. (a)