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Scott Nelson wrote:

Hi, guys —

A friend of mine committed suicide last week. As a life-long Catholic, I want to pray for his soul, as I always do when someone passes away, but is this a lost cause?

I was always taught that suicide is the only unforgivable sin. If that is the case, then praying for his soul is useless.

  • Is the person's soul destined to be locked out of heaven forever?

His religious background was not Catholic, but Baptist. I don't know what Baptist are taught about suicide.

Scott

  { Does suicide lock a person out of heaven forever? }

Paul replied:

Scott,

I'm sorry for your, and the world's, loss. My condolences on this tragedy.

The truth is we don't know how much of a "lost cause" your friend's salvation is, so please do continue to pray for him.

It used to be assumed in many quarters that suicide victims were a hopeless cause, but it is not necessarily so. If that were the case, the Church would not hold funeral masses for them.

Only God knows if he was in his right mind when he made his decision and if he had total freedom in doing it. Both elements are necessary to be guilty of mortal sin and both are legitimately questionable in someone who would do such a terrible and final act. It is our hope that untainted knowledge and freedom were not present.

Even if mental illness did not reduce his culpability, there are always those X number of seconds that a person lives after the fatal wound, where one can still possibly sincerely repent. Only God knows the answers to these questions, and hence, it is honorable to hope for the best and to act as if your prayers can help him.

No prayer is ever wasted with God.

Peace,

Paul

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