See further below for more updated beliefs in accordance with Vatican II and conscience.
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 [I don't hold this belief anymore]. 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 [I don't hold this belief anymore].
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 . 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.”
Suicide on Catholic-Saints.Net
I recently came across a page on your site that described the Catholic Church's position on suicide http://www.catholic-saints.net/suicide/. I am concerned that what you have portrayed there is not an accurate reflection of Catholic teaching on this issue and politely request that you revisit this page and consider modifying what is currently written.
You have stated "People will definitely lose their soul by committing suicide," but paragraph 2283 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church declares "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."
Further, you have quoted the Catholic Encyclopedia on suicide but have added in brackets "thus affirming that persons eternal damnation". The Catholic church does not affirm a persons eternal damnation by denying them a Christian burial, it is instead a pastoral discipline and they leave the judgement of that person's soul to God. The Church does not presume to know the state of a person's heart nor the ways by which God may offer him or her a final chance for repentance. Additionally, your information is somewhat outdated. Since 1983 the Code of Canon law has allowed ecclesiastical funerals for those who have committed suicide.
This is not to say that suicide is not a grave matter. The act of suicide is indeed mortally sinful, however, for a mortal sin to actually occur the grave content is only one of three conditions that must be satisfied. The other two - proper knowledge of the sinful nature of the act, and a full act of the will to carry it out - are also necessary. As stated in paragraph 2282 of the Catechism "Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide." In other words, the mental state of the person committing the act of suicide may negate one or both of these conditions causing the sin to be venial in nature, though still obviously severe.
If you believe the information I have presented above (or my understanding of it) to be in error then please reach out and let me know, because I do not want to persist in a false understanding on any point of my faith. As a Catholic myself the accurate presentation of this information is important to me as too often I have seen our Church slandered or misrepresented both by non-Christians and by our Protestant brothers and sisters. If we are to work toward a unified church of all Christian believers then we must be able to communicate clearly and effectively the things we believe in common and the things we disagree on. I pray that you will agree and will work alongside me to faithfully represent the authoritative teaching of the Catholic Church.
Peace in Christ,
Answer: Hi Stephan, I agree with your email. I have just recently begun to change position on many topics, and I do no longer adhere too strictly to tradition, but have become more open and embracing of the teaching of Vatican II, mainly on salvation, i.e., that salvation is open to everyone.
I will change the information on the suicide article in due time, or perhaps I will just post your email and my response, and that would be sufficient for an explanation.
I also have a lot of other changes to make, since I have changed or updated my position on almost everything. Most changes are on the topic of salvation, conscience and what is or is not a mortal sin, and whether or not Vatican II is Catholic and whether one can be in communion with them (I now hold one can).
I agree that suicide is not necessarily a mortal sin and that the Church has taken a milder approach then what was done before. I also agree with that suicide does not necessarily imply the persons damnation. As I understood it then, I spoke in the sense as if the person was guilty of the "sin" of suicide, and hence lost. But I don't view it as such anymore, but believe in God's mercy above excessive and unjust punishment.
Even though suicide is a "grave sin" so to speak, I do not believe that it would damn a person even if the sin fell into the grave category of mortal sin that would "damn" a person. Do you know why? That is because I have come to understand that Hell and eternal damnation is evil -- even if someone died in a mortal sin. I would not want to damn or eternally torment my own children, mother or father, brother or sister, wife or husband, neighbor or elderly, so why then should I think damnation is a good thing or just? If I did this to someone else (i.e., damnation and eternal torments) or wished this evil upon someone -- then I would be evil. For the same reason would God be evil and a dictator if he actually allowed to be damned or tormented for all eternity billions and billions of souls, humans, children, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, husbands and wifes, for all these people are capable of love, and why then deny them this love for all eternity? That is why I believe God either made a white lie about Hell (even if there is no Hell or eternal damnation in reality) in order to make people live a better life and in order to make them have a greater love for souls; or that he changed position after hand on Hell and that he will no longer damn anyone!
That is why I have come to believe that there will be no Hell in the end, and why God will humble himself and change his position even though the Bible, the Church and the Saints etc. teach there is a Hell and that many or even most souls and humans are tormented there, because Hell is unjust, and therefore, it would be unjust for it to continue to exist and if God is truly just, he must listen also to human justice which condemns such unjust punishment, otherwise God would make himself a dictator and be unjust. But even the saints while they lived on earth wished with all their hearts that all souls should be saved even though they believed in sadness this might not be the case (such as with the Great Saint Gemma Galgani). Why then deny all the saints their wish of having all souls saved?
The Blessed Virgin Mary will also not allow her children to be damned for all eternity, and there is also a reason for that God obeys Mary and do her bidding. So if God does not change position by his own will concerning Hell, I believe he will change when asked to do so or forced to do so through the influence of Virgin Mary -- whom he always obeys.
If no mother on earth would damn their own children or allow them to be tormented in insufferable torments, why would Mary? That is why I believe that Origen was right, even though the Church wrongfully condemned him. Neither the Church, the Bible, God or the Saints stand above true justice, and true justice says that eternal Hell in insufferable torments without love or hope or forgiveness is unjust. No true just person or just judge on earth would agree with that such a punishment is “just” or “right” -- hence this shows us that human justice is above God's “justice” on this point of eternal damnation. That is why it is God who will fall* in the second judgment if he does not repent and not the damned, as is currently taught.
*He will not fall into Hell, but will rather fall from his place as God, and from his judgment seat, since he is unworthy of such a place, since he do evil upon his and our children, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, wifes and husbands. For just as just men on earth deprive evil men and rulers of their power in order to make them cease do evil, so will God be deprived of all his power even more so that he cannot do evil ever again against other men and souls.
Just as men need to be humble and learn to be good, so too does God himself need to be humble and learn to be good. That is why he will have to become like a child, and why he will have to learn to listen and obey others of his creation as well, since it is wrong to be a dictator and deny all other justices when these justices are true and right. One of these justices obviously is the justice that Hell and eternal torments is evil, since the natural law, the law of conscience and the Golden Rule (of doing good upon others, even upon our enemies) condemns such evil actions. That is why, again, we would not make such condemnation or damnation or torments over our own children, because we know it is evil and wrong to do so. Why God did not understand this is beyond me, but let's hope it was only a test in order to see who wanted to serve him better and live a better and holier life.
For my part, I will gladly condemn God and Hell and deny Hell and even deny this so-called Catholic God his title (since he then would be unworthy of it) if he will not change position on Hell and eternal damnation. I do not fear being damned for holding my position, because my position is true and does good, even more good then what God himself supposedly does. So why then would I be damned for holding such a position? That would be unjust. But if God would damn me or allow me to be damned, know for certain that it is God who would have to be ashamed of himself, and not me, since it was he who was wrong, and not me. But not only God would have to be ashamed, but also everyone that agree with him and his Hell doctrine -- even if they be Saints or even the Blessed Virgin Mary included. That is why the last judgment will be different from what has been described or thought, and why teachers such as Origen have been right.
I have written much more on this topic on my blog. Please look into this post and the other posts that I have made referrals too:
Sincerely. And God Bless!
Ville Hietanen (Jerome)