Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 2:
In itself, the action of taking one's own life is mortally sinful. God is the Author of life and of death, and He has never delegated to each individual the right to take his own life. The commandment, "Thou shalt not kill" extends to one's own life as well as that of others; and to take one's own life is to usurp an authority which belongs to God alone. But whilst I say that suicide is a mortally sinful action in itself, it does not follow that every man who commits suicide is guilty of mortal sin. To be guilty of mortal sin a man must not only do what is seriously forbidden by God; he must also know clearly that it is so forbidden, and be so in possession of his reason that the choice of his will is made with full freedom and deliberation. If we consider, not the action, but the man, charity demands that we give him the benefit of any doubts, and believe that he was not quite himself at the time.
The normal law of the Church forbids the Christian burial of a suicide, when there is no reason at all to think that he was not in his proper senses at the time. She refuses her rites in such cases to impress upon people the gravity of such a crime against oneself, society, and Almighty God. But when there are good reasons to believe that a suicide was not in his normal senses, and it is fairly common knowledge that the person was in ill-health or oppressed by worries, the Church permits Catholic burial.
None. The additional trial and the greater sorrow of relatives demand still more charity and sympathy than that extended to those who have suffered an ordinary and normal bereavement. And this law of charity holds whether the suicide were in his proper senses or not. No fault attaches to his relatives, and it would be both unchristian and inhuman to make their trial harder to bear by any unkind treatment of them in word or deed.
Correct. We cannot, in any given case, say that God's mercy has not found a way to secure the repentance and salvation of a soul.
The laws of the Church forbid Catholic burial to suicides unless there are sufficient signs to warrant a prudent judgment either that they were not sane at the time, or that they repented of their crime between the attempt at self-destruction and their actual death.
There is no contradiction between the two things in question. The law of the Church forbids Catholic burial to deliberate suicides in order to inspire Catholics with horror of such a crime. In the administration of that law in the external order, the authorities, being human, must form their judgment according to the external circumstances. If a suicide gives no external signs warranting a human judgment of insanity or subsequent repentance, then men cannot but admit that, to all appearances, it was a deliberate and unrepented violation of God's law in a very serious matter. To counteract any impression that she is indifferent to such conduct, the Church forbids any external religious privileges due to those of her children who observe her laws.But, when we go from the external order to the invisible order of grace and the interior dispositions of a soul, the Church admits that this is beyond her external cognizance. There is always the possibility that factors have been at work of which the Church is unable to judge. And it is because of this possibility that the Church, although she must administer her laws in accordance with the external realities, refuses to judge for certain that the soul of any suicide is actually lost.
It is precisely because all who still retain the Catholic faith would find it painful to see a Catholic deprived of religious burial rites that the Church has appointed such a penalty. Most penalties create a painful impression. We can never check a grave evil by rewarding it with pleasant consequences; nor, for that matter, by merely being passive. Equal treatment of those who die natural deaths and of those who die by suicide would leave the impression that the Church did not mind how human life is terminated. But she does mind; and the more painful the impression created in Catholic hearts, the more they will realize how very much the Church deplores suicide. But she expects us to realize also that the really painful thing is not so much the penalty as the evil action which deserves such a penalty; and we should be saddened indeed by the sight of any human being taking his own life in defiance of God's law.