What does the Bible and the Catholic Church say about Suicide? Is Suicide a Mortal Sin?

Suicide is the act of one who causes his own death, either by positively destroying his own life, as by inflicting on himself a mortal wound or injury, or by omitting to do what is absolutely necessary to escape death.

The Bible mentions seven specific people who committed suicide: Abimelech (Judges 9:54), Saul (1 Samuel 31:4), Saul’s armor-bearer (1 Samuel 31:4-6), Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23), Zimri (1 Kings 16:18), Razias (2 Maccabees 14:37-46), and Judas (Matthew 27:5). Five of them were wicked, sinful men (although not enough is said regarding Saul’s armor-bearer to make a judgment as to his character). Haydock Bible Commentary however relates, “that to avoid a little shame and temporal punishment, they [both] rushed into those [punishments] which are inconceivably great and eternal [i.e., hell]”).

People will definitely lose their soul by committing suicide. Suicide is the ultimate statement of unbelief. People commit suicide because they don’t have faith that God will help them, and we are saved by faith. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). One must persevere and trust God to the end, not end their lives through suicide.

Suicide is a mortal sin.

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Bull Cantate Domino, 1442, ex cathedra: “… it [the Holy Roman Church] condemns, rejects, anathematizes and declares to be outside the Body of Christ, which is the Church, whoever holds opposing or contrary views.”

Pope Gregory X, Council of Lyons II, 1274: “We define also that… the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go straightaway to hell, but to undergo punishments of different kinds.” (Denz. 464)

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Letentur coeli,” Sess. 6, July 6, 1439, ex cathedra: “We define also that… the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go straightaway to hell, but to undergo punishments of different kinds.” (Denz. 693)

The fact that the Catholic Church denies suicides Christian burial is precisely due to the fact that they are not saved.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 72: “Christian burial is refused to suicides (this prohibition is as old as the fourth century)…”

1 Corinthians 3:16-17: “Know you not, that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? But if any man violate the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, which you are.”

The Bible views suicide as equal to murder, which is what it is—self-murder. God is the only one who is to decide when and how a person should die.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 14, "Suicide", 1912: “That suicide is unlawful is the teaching of Holy Scripture and of the Church, which condemns the act as a most atrocious crime and, in hatred of the sin and to arouse the horror of its children, denies the suicide Christian burial [thus affirming that persons eternal damnation]. Moreover, suicide is directly opposed to the most powerful and invincible tendency of every creature and especially of man, the preservation of life. Finally, for a sane man deliberately to take his own life, he must, as a general rule, first have annihilated in himself all that he possessed of spiritual life, since suicide is in absolute contradiction to everything that the Christian religion teaches us as to the end and object of life and, except in cases of insanity, is usually the natural termination of a life of disorder, weakness, and cowardice.”

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