Suicide is a delicate and disturbing subject.
After the recent suicide of Brittany Maynard, many people are discussing it, and some are asking perennial questions, like whether those who commit suicide are automatically lost.
While suicide can be a mortal sin, it is not always one, and the Church both prays for those who have committed suicide and encourages us not to despair of their salvation.
Here is a video in which I discuss the subject.
Here are is the Catechism’s discussion of the conditions necessary for mortal sin.
1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.”
And here is the passage from the Catechism of the Catholic Church on suicide:
2280 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.
2281 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.
2282 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.
2283 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.
As I said in the video, let’s pray for all those who are tempted to commit suicide, for all those who have committed it, and for all those who have lost someone to suicide.