Suicide: What does the Church teach? Resources to help those in need

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Two celebrity suicides. News this week that it’s a growing problem in the United States.

What does the Church say about the salvation of those who take their own lives? What resources are available for prevention and awareness? What can we do? In times of great need, we turn to Mother Church.

A primer on Catholic teaching about suicide 

Two excellent articles on this topic (links below) direct us to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

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. (CCC, 2280). 

However …

Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide. (CCC, 2282). 

This final excerpt is beautiful:

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. (CCC, 2283).

For more information see:

“What Does the Church Teach about Suicide?” by Simcha Fisher, National Catholic Register, Aug. 12, 2014.

“If a Person Commits Suicide, Is He Automatically Lost?” by Jimmy Akin, Catholic Answers, Nov. 4, 2014.

Prayer resources

Chaplet of Divine Mercy Novena

The Chaplet of The Divine Mercy

As Catholics, we are blessed to be surrounded by the Communion of Saints. Ask them for their intercession. St. Dymphna, Ven. Matt Talbot, St. Joseph Benedict Labre, St. Christina the Astonishing, and Our Lady of Lourdes are saints mentioned in “Mental Illness: Five Patron Saints to Invoke” by Whitney Hetzel (Get Fed, April 7, 2016). 

Organizations who can help

This Catholic News Service article list several groups who can provide assistance, including these:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide, or LOSS, an entity of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago

National Catholic Partnership on Disability and its Council on Mental Illness 

For additional resources, see “List of organizations, resources on suicide prevention, help for families” by Tom Tracy (Catholic News Service, Aug. 14, 2014).

‘I am with you always’

Reach out to your family and friends. Pray for them. Help them. Call a friend or a relative whom you haven’t spoken to in a while.

And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)

Hail Mary …

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