Suicide is an extremely difficult event to deal with for all people involved. Suicide is a complex and difficult loss to mourn, understand, and requires forgiveness: of oneself as a loved one of the person who killed themselves, and forgiveness of the person who committed suicide. Suicide is a horrific tragedy in so many ways and creates wounds that truly only God can heal.
We have created this page for families and friends who need help grieving a loved one who died from suicide, as well as for those who are contemplating ending their life.
WHAT THE CHURCH TEACHES ABOUT SUICIDE
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states (2280 – 2283)
Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of. Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God. If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal. Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law. Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide. We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to Him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.
In the same way parents grieve the loss of their child and come to accept their child was God’s child and they were stewards of their children’s wellbeing- not owners- so must we apply this thinking to ourselves. It feels like we own our bodies because we have Free Will, which allows us to cooperate with God or turn our back on Him. But let us not be mistaken that Free Will gives us the right to extinguish life, be it our own life or the life of another.
If you are considering suicide, please reach out to someone. This includes your family, your friends, a priest, or someone in your faith community. We can help you get back on the road of love and fulfillment; it won’t be easy but it’ll be worth it.
If you require immediate assistance for suicidal thoughts, call:
Lifeline at (585) 275-5151
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
If you are struggling with constant depression and experience suicidal thoughts occasionally, seek help by speaking to your Doctor or Nurse Practitioner as soon as possible, who can refer you to counseling services.
A documentary titled, “The Ripple Effect” is coming out next year. Here are some previews of the movie which will hopefully draw you to seek help. You’re not alone: thinking you’re alone is a lie from the Evil One: allow God to remind you how loved you are by seeking someone who loves God.