is it pointless to pray for those who have committed suicide?

I’ve been told it’s pointless, because they go to hell, but I’ve also heard we never really know what God’s judgment will be. My boyfriends brother committed suicide about 2 years ago…and I just hate to think he’s in hell, he was a good guy, he was funny, attended church, I know it doesn’t matter what a “good guy” someone was but…him being in hell isn’t something I want to think about, so when I say my prayers, I pray for him…and being told it’s pointless…really just breaks my heart and makes me feel kind of dumb.

I don’t think that faith, hope and charity is ever pointless. You should keep him in your prayers.

We don’t know that people who commit suicide go to hell, so you should certainly continue to pray for him. Prayer is never ‘pointless’ or ‘dumb’.

I think that most people that commit suicide are not in their right minds. So I am not sure an instant ticket to hell is in store for all of them anyway…never doubt the grace of God, and always remember to pray for the poor souls of purgatory every day.

Keep praying for him; no one in this life can know his fate. Our God is a merciful God, leave it in His hands.

I don’t know who told you it’s pointless. Pray for him. We don’t know what his last moments were like.


At the last second…he could have asked God to forgive him. :shrug:

As a Church, we don’t have 100% certainty that anyone is in hell. So keep praying. Even if the prayers cannot benefit this person, no prayer is ever wasted. The treasury of prayers aids the souls in Purgatory.

I’d keep praying. We never know what the last moments were like…

Please pray. Prayer is talking to God and no prayer is useless. Many people who commit suicide suffer from depression. Depression is an illness. God knows all and God is All merciful. We don’t know the last thoughts or communication the person who committed suicide had with the Lord. God bless you.

This, from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, says we should hope and pray for those who have taken their own lives:

2283 We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.

I agree that you should keep him in your prayers. You need to realize that only God sees all that is in one’s heart.

It is never pointless to pray.

From memory, full consciousness is one of the criteria for mortal sin, and people’s not being in their right minds = people’s not having full consciousness.

There’s several people I have been acquainted with who have committed suicide, and I pray for them every day. It’s a good thing that you’re doing. Keep it up. If they’re in Purgatory, they could really use our prayers.


In the past, the Church took a rather dim view of suicide and its victims. Suicide is the sin of murder, with the unusual condition that the perpetrator and victim are the same person. Thus, Christian burial in consecrated (Catholic) ground was withheld from them. Furthermore, since they were considered probably guilty of mortal sin at the time of their (self-imposed) death, there was little point in praying for them, because our prayers cannot help the condemned.

However, in modern times, our understanding of suicide has developed, and most mental health professionals regard suicide as a very unnatural act (because self-preservation is one of our most fundamental natural instincts), so a suicide victim is usually considered to have some mental impairment. The Church has considered this position, and has agreed that many (if not most, or all) of suicide victims probably lacked sufficiently formed knowledge and consent for their act to be mortally sinful.

Thus, the Church no longer withholds Christian burial in consecrated ground from suicide victims, and encourages prayers on their behalf.

The underlying doctrine has not changed - those who die in a state of mortal sin are condemned. But our understanding of the nature and culpability of the (potentially mortal) sin of murder had developed to possibly (or probably) exclude those who take their own lives.

I keep thinking of Robin Williams…everyone loved his upbeat personality…& never expected him to commit suicide. :shrug: :sad_bye:

Correct; the Church’s doctrine has not changed (it couldn’t) even if her response to suicides has evolved. Suicide is still objectively gravely sinful and like any mortal sin, can send one to hell when done with full knowledge and consent.

But those who suffer terrible mental illness often do not have full consent, since things like depression can be so bad it drives the person to just end it This is the illness talking, not the will of the person. The Church understands this clinical discovery and responds accordingly.

Don’t sweat what someone told you. Go with what we know the Church really teaches.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church


2280 Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.

2281 Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God.

2282 If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal. Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law.

Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.

2283 We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.

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