Will a person automatically be denied entry into Heaven if they commit suicide? Even if the pain they’re suffering is too much to bear and they can’t see any good future here on earth?
This is an incredibly nuanced topic, but I’m going to give it my best shot.
For starters, there are three criteria for something to be a mortal sin:
*]It must be grave matter.
*]The person must know that it is grave matter.
*]The person must freely chose to commit the sin.
Suicide is self-murder, and murder is an objectively grave evil; so we meet criteria 1.
Where questions start to come up are with criteria 2 and 3. With number two, I think it’s safe to say that most people understand that taking your own life is wrong. While that might not be true here in a few years with evil things like the “right to die” movement floating about, but for now it is objectively a given.
Criteria 3 is really the crux of the matter. In order for it to be objectively met, the person committing suicide would have to be doing so specifically to spite God and His gifts, or to cause harm to someone else (“I’ll take my own life, that’ll show him…”) Due to developments in psychology, we now know that this is generally not the case. Most people who commit suicide seem to do so as the result of severe depression or other chemical imbalance. These people are probably not doing it out of spite, but rather out of fear and pain. As a result, they may not meet fulfill the third condition for the suicide to be a mortal sin.
In closing, suicide is not necessarily an automatic ticket to Hell. We can hope in God’s mercy, and we are certainly called to pray for the person who takes their own life. However, we cannot deny that suicide is, objectively, a mortally-sinful act, and that it would be best to do everything we can to prevent it wherever possible.
I hope this helps!
It good be…it depends. I’d talk to a priest.
Prayers for whoever it is you are asking this for … wondering why you ask this…
Yes, the suicide is, objectively speaking, a mortal sin.
However, in order for the person to be guilty of that mortal sin, he must satisfy two more conditions:
He must know that the sin is grave.
He must consent to committing the sin anyway.
So, even though suicide certainly is mortal, people who commit suicide either not knowing just how grave it is, or who commit it when not full in control of their faculties (clinical depression, under drugs, under drunkenness, accidentally, etc.) are not necessarily fully culpable for the sin and may still make it to Heaven eventually, with God’s mercy.
The answer to your question is no, a person is not automatically denied entry into Heaven if they commit suicide.
This is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say on it:
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.
The extremes of diseases like bipolar disorder, clinical depression, schizophrenia, PTSD can so affect a person’s grasp of reality that they are unable to protect their own lives. I would discourage the use of the term ‘‘suicide’’ and let the Lord God of all Creation and the one true judge of another’ soul judge the person.
I can’t see a loving God turning away a child in pain. Even if they’re a quitter. The thing is though.
The thing is they make life a living hell for those of us left behind. So I don’t see them enjoying heaven a lot while they watch that kind of stuff going on.
In fact they might find out they’ve caused more hurt than they’ve cured. So I think if they’re trying to hide from pain God won’t let them. I think He’ll lay on them a show of the day to day pain of their pals. Of their family.
And they’ll know one thing for sure. They’ll know their full on answer to a passing problem has caused a permanent hurt for those who loved them. For those guys who are left behind.
Some of them might even turn to alcohol and drugs just to handle it. Some of them might end up head-on screw-ups.
So if you or anyone you know is thinking suicide. If you even get a hint of such a thing. For the sake of everyone they hold in their heart. For the sake of even the people they don’t even know that well. Steer the ship in a different way. Move far away from there. Please. Mortal sin or not. Please.
This is the correct answer.
The Church understands that some people are just horribly damaged, and frankly, not in their right mind.
We hope on the great mercy of God, and pray that people really don’t willfully choose it.
My first husband did, and it has done so much damage to our daughters.
Really. bad. but the girls hope their daddy is forgiven.
A distinction must be made between material sin and formal sin. Suicide, like many other sins that are materially mortal, can become venial as a result of a variety of mitigating factors, such as fear.
Culpability for sin is assessed by God.