excommunication for attempted suicide victims?

At my job, we have a Dedication ceremony where people share why they are at this job. It gets very deep and personal.
This year, a troubled young man said he tried to commit suicide when he was away from home. He also said that his parents and his Catholic church don’t know because he is afraid he could lose the Eucharist. Could he be excommunicated for his attempted suicide?


Encourage him to seek spiritual counsel from a trusted priest. He clearly needs help.

Add a professional mental health counselor to this list.


The Church has for some time fully accepted and recognized that suicide or suicide attempts are usually the result of such things as brain disorders, chemical imbalances, mental illness, emotional illness, psychological problems or other such mental/physical ailments.

Sometimes a person is more a victim of these disorders than they are a knowing and conscious participant in sin. Certainly excommunication would never be warranted or even considered in the case you describe. Probably all that is necessary is confession, in terms of going to Communion. Perhaps not even that if it was not a mortal sin, which is pretty tricky to judge from someone in that state of mind. Compassion is the response of the Church, or should be.

Also, obviously the person should see a psychiatrist for an evaluation, and then the type of professionals that would be most helpful, based on what that evaluation reveals.

FYI, suicides are also no longer denied Christian burial, for the same reason that we have no idea what part illness played in the act, and therefore how much anyone is culpable.

I don’t know the church’s formal position on attempted suicide but I believe that the act of attempting suicide is an obvious cry for help. No one understood this more than Jesus, where in Matthew 9: 35-36 “Jesus went around to all the towns and villages…curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.” It is for this distraught young person that Jesus came, not for those who were well, but for the sick and lost.
If the church proclaims to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, I can only hope that they would look upon this young man as someone in need of serious help. Although the church may not be ready to deal with this kind of situation, in love, the body of Christ (the church members) ought to reach out to this individual and his family and offer whatever kind of help they can. It doesn’t matter if they don’t know what to do, what is called for here is compassion and understanding of the highest order. If Jesus did not turn His back on his sheep, why would the church?

When Ruth Graham, Billy Graham’s wife, was asked about God and suicide, she said, “God did not call him home, but He welcomed him!” That says it all! God bless all who have lost ones through suicide! He feels your pain!

This reminds me of a film I watched some time ago. The king/prince whatever was coming home from slaughtering some Turks during the crusades. His name was Vlad the Impaler. The wife thought he died so she committed suicide. The Bishops and clergy told Vlad when he got back that she had condemned herself to hell. He then screamed around and renounced God. Pretty disgusting film! Is this true? It was called Bram Stoker’s Dracula, 1992 film.

he simply needs to go to confession, like anyone else, if he is conscious of mortal sin. He should tell his parents so they can help him, and could also have gone to the church in his former living place for help. But when someone is that desperate it is usually under the influence of a mental imbalance that means they are not culpable for what is objectively sinful, attempting to take your own life. If there is an appropriate opportunity you can remind him as a fellow Catholic that the healing power of the sacraments are available to him, and no, he is not excommunicated.

There is only one chance in 1000 that anything you see about the Church in a Hollywood movie is accurate.

NO. Excommunication is for the following offences:

Ferendae Sententiae (imposed after formal proceedings):

Can 1378 The pretended celebration of the Eucharist or of Sacramental Confession
Can 1388 Violation of the seal of confession by an interpreter

Latae Sententiae (imposed automatically):

Can 1364 Apostasy, heresy, schism
Can 1367 Violation of the Scared Species
Can 1370 Laying violent hands on the Pope
Can 1378 Absolution of an accomplice
Can 1382 Episcopal consecration without authorisation from the Holy See
Can 1388 Violation of the seal of confession by a confessor
Can 1398 Procuring abortion

How could a priest be excommunicated for an Absolution of an accomplice? So if you tell a Priest that you stole something he’s excommunicated :confused:

For example, if a priest has a lover and he absolves the lover, he is absolving an accomplice.

If somebody was to ATTEMPT suicide, should they still receive Eucharist?

As long as we’re sorry for our sins and make a good confession, we’re in a state of grace and may receive . . no matter what the sin is that we have confessed and been forgiven for. . .

So one would have to go to confession first?

Before they should receive the Eucharist

This thread is over six years old…years beyond the limit for reviving a dormant thread.

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