Choose a topic from Vol 2:


Proof of God's existence
God's nature
Supreme control over all things and the problem of suffering and evil


Destiny of man
Immortality of man's soul
Pre-existence denied
The human free will
Determinism absurd


Necessity of religion
Salvation of the soul
Voice of science
Religious racketeers
Divine revelation
Revealed mysteries
Existence of miracles

The Religion of the Bible

Gospels historical
Missing Books of the Bible
The Bible inspired
Biblical account of creation
New Testament problems
Supposed contradictions in Sacred Scripture

The Christian Faith

Source of Christian teaching
Jewish rejection of Christ
Christianity a new religion
Rational foundation for belief
Causes of unbelief

A Definite Christian Faith

Divisions amongst Christians
Schisms unjustified
Facing the problem
The wrong approach
Is one religion as good as another?
Obligation of inquiry
Charity and tolerance

The Protestant Reformation

Meaning of "Protestant"
Causes of the Reformation
Catholic reaction
Reformers mistaken
The idealization of Protestantism
The Catholic estimate

The Truth of Catholicism

Meaning of the word "Church"
Origin of the Church
The Catholic claim
The Roman hierarchy
The Pope
The Petrine text
St. Peter's supremacy
St. Peter in Rome
Temporal power
Unity of the Church
Holiness of the Church
Catholicity of the Church
Apostolicity of the Church
Indefectibility of the Church
Obligation to be a Catholic

The Church and the Bible

Catholic attitude towards the Bible
Is Bible reading forbidden to Catholics?
Protestant Bibles
The Catholic Douay Version
Principle of private interpretation
Need of Tradition
The teaching authority of the Catholic Church

The Dogmas of the Church

Revolt against dogma
Value of a Creed
The divine gift of Faith
Faith and reason
The "Dark Ages"
The claims of science
The Holy Trinity
Creation and evolution
Grace and salvation
The Sacraments
Holy Eucharist
The Sacrifice of the Mass
Holy Communion
The Catholic Priesthood
Marriage and divorce
Extreme Unction
The resurrection of the body
The end of the world

The Church and Her Moral Teachings

The Inquisition
Other superstitions
Attendance at Mass
Sex education
Attitude to "Free Love"

The Church in Her Worship

Magnificent edifices
Lavish ritual
Women in Church
Catholics and "Mother's Day"
Liturgical Days
Burial rites
Candles and votive lamps
The rosary
Lourdes water
The Scapular

The Church and Social Welfare

Social influence of the Church
The education question
The Church and world distress
Catholic attitude towards Capitalism
The remedy for social ills
Communism condemned
The Fascist State
Morality of war
May individuals become soldiers?
The Church and peace
Capital punishment
Catholic Action

Comparative Study of Non-Catholic Denominations

Defections from the Catholic Church
Coptic Church
Greek Orthodox Church
Anglican Episcopal Church
The "Free" or "Nonconformist" Churches
Church of Christ
Seventh Day Adventists
Plymouth Brethren
Catholic Apostolic Church or Irvingites
Salvation Army
Christian Science
British Israelism
Liberal Catholics
Witnesses of Jehovah
Buchmanism or the "Oxford Group Movement"
From Protestantism to Catholicism

To and From Rome

Conversion of Cardinal Newman
Why Gladstone refrained
The peculiar case of Lord Halifax
Gibbon the historian
Secession of Father Chiniquy
Father Tyrrell, the modernist
Bishop Garrett's departure
Judgment on lapsed Catholics
Protestant apathy towards conversion of Catholics
Principles for converts to Catholicism
God's will that all should become Catholics


1034. Is suicide a mortal sin?

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.

1035. Does the Catholic Church grant burial to one who takes his own life?

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.

1036. What penalties does the Catholic Church inflict upon relatives of a suicide?

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.

1037. You said that, according to the Catholic view, we must refrain from judging that any given soul has actually forfeited salvation.

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.

1038. I once attended the funeral of a suicide who was buried outside consecrated ground, and who was denied Catholic burial rites.

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.

1039. The refusal of Catholic rites shows the contradiction between the attitude of the Church, and your verdict that Catholics are forbidden to judge that any particular individual has actually died in mortal sin and lost his soul.

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.

1040. As a Catholic I found it painful to witness such a burial.

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.



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