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Maddie Nagel wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • What does the Catholic Church teach about suicide?


  { What does the Catholic Church teach about suicide? }

Paul replied:


Suicide is the taking of an innocent human being, hence it is objective self-murder. It is a grave violation of the fifth commandment.

Whether everyone who commits this grave evil is guilty of the serious sin of suicide is another question. Keep in mind, for someone to be guilty of mortal sin three elements must be present:

  1. it must be grave matter (suicide is)
  2. the person must have knowledge of the gravity of what they're doing, and
  3. the person must fully and freely consent to it

It is at least possible that mental illness may mitigate a person's knowledge [and/or] freedom at the time the act is committed and hence diminish their guilt.

This is why the Church allows for Christian burials for suicide victims; only God can judge the level of their understanding and free consent, therefore only God can judge their personal guilt.



Maddie replied:

Dear Paul,

Thank you so much for your help this really clears things up as I am researching this topic for my Study of a religion assignment at school.

Many thanks,


Paul replied:

No problem, Maddie.

Thanks for writing.

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