Killing yourself to save others

well, i was wondering about this, what if you had to take your own life in order to save thousands of peoples lives, would it still be a sin?

let me give you an exagerated example, that God’s willing will never be outside a movie or a novel.

you get infected by certain virus by some terrorist, it was the only sample in existance, it has some incubation time and then it will start being contagious. scientist have already studied you and calculate that it will happpen in a day (99% posibility), while they might get a cure in a month, for that time millions would have died, you included. so you get the posibility to die and avoid it, what should be done there? (they already have enough samples of your blood to continue the studies)

If you are a Catholic, then you MUST obey the Pope.

The Pope says that a Catholic should NOT commit Suicide.
So, if you wish to devise a Scenario (as you did) to make Suicide a Good Thing … write to Pope Francis, and ask for Dispensation for a person to do this.

If not, it sounds to me like you are trying to push us into Opposition to out Pope.
Is this what you are trying to do?
If not, then what is the Reason in your head, for seemingly acting like Satan?
It’s Satan who is to tempt us to consider committing a Sin … and Suicide is a No-No.

Well its not like you would be running around in public - you would be heavily quarantined so the infection wouldn’t spread - you have said that scientist have studied you so you would be quarantined - highly unlikely millions would die - the senero doesn’t really will have to refine it differently to suit how the world would handle it.You wouldn’t have to kill your self.

Like hu324b said, this situation can be resolved without killing, so it doesn’t really work.

If you were to come up with a different situation, I think it would depend. I can think of a few scenarios that might be considered “suicide” that would really be justified. The most obvious example is jumping on a grenade to save other soldiers. Sure, you’re ending your own life instead of trying to get away. But the point of that sacrifice was to save a lot of other people, and there was no other way to do that quickly.

I hope we’re not going to start claiming that such heroes are have actually sinned in accepting death, but I’m not sure how you tell whether something like that is justified. :shrug:

Asking a hypothetical question is hardly “acting like Satan”. There’s obviously a proper answer, so why should we be afraid of discussing it?

I suspect that it would still be a sin, because taking a life is taking a life. However, perhaps due to the circumstances, it might be weighted less heavily than another scenario where those variables weren’t at play.

What about protecting someone from a weapon with one’s body? Like the grenade? It’s not really suicide, I don’t think, because you didn’t willingly choose to end your life. You were responding to an outside attack.

Maybe if you’re killed by something you didn’t willingly choose to happen, it’s not suicide? So, like, if you were infected with a deadly virus and couldn’t get medical help without killing others, would it be suicide to not get medical help and allow yourself to die? I know killing yourself prematurely would be a sin, even in that situation.

John 15 13 answers this question. Christ could have, knowing His future, called upon His angels to save him, But He followed the Will of His Father and laid down His life for His friends.
I always think of Captain Oates of Scott’s failed attempt to reach the Pole. “I am just stepping out for a minute. Won’t be long”
I think of Maximilian Kolbe who offered himself in place of another man with a family for death at the hands of the Germans. (May that nation find forgiveness before the Lord.)
Jesus Himself and these men alone answer your question admirably.

The sin of suicide is ultimately a sin of selfishness, although your example is poor, there are certain other examples of when such an action would be plausible.

Think of the martyrs who have stepped in to die in place of another.

The classic example though is your hanging off a cliff by a rope and if you cut the rope all your climbing partners live, but if you don’t you all are pulled to your deaths.

First, cutting the rope is not suicide. It is cutting a safety line that will likely result in death but you’d hope not. See how that’s different motivation than suicide.

Jesus tells us. “No greater love hath a man than this, to lay down his life for a friend”.

Good point.

Is it suicide for a pregnant woman with cancer to refuse chemo to save the child. No absolutely not.

Suicide is sin because if it’s selfish nature:

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.

I think OP was trying to come up with a random, far fetched scenario to get his point across. The specifics of the given scenario are irrelevant.

I think killing yourself to save others, personally, is heroic and something Jesus would have done: laying down one life to lift the others.

Yeah, suicide IS a selfish sin, but only if for selfish reasons. The whole point of suicide to save others is to not be selfish by keeping your life and damaging others, right?:shrug:


yeah, the point was, if there was some situation where killing yourself was the only chance to save many lives, would it still be considered a sin, since i’ve seen places where it says it is at least venial since you should not do anything to take your own life, no matter how many other people you could save by doing that.

you know, i asked this not to create problems, but to understand this, since something we have been told since we are kids is that someone who dies to protect the others is a hero, but suddenly im told that it is not praiseworthy but sinful, so i want to understand if i got the idea wrong, and if no other method was available it is permissible, or if it should always be avoided.

It is both really. If a person finds themselves in this situation, they need to make a decision that aligns with what they believe best fits God’s will. For some people that might mean preserving their life. For other people that might be sacrificing their life. Take the example of going into a burning building to rescue people that are stuck. For a married man with kids, the best decision is probably not going inside the building. His family depends on them. It would generally be irresponsible to put his life in that kind of danger. On the other hand, a young single man with few responsibilities might decide the risk of his death is worth it. He, of course, wants to stay alive, but the harm to others if he died will not be as great compared to the married man. Then again, what if this single man is the primary caretaker for his elderly parents? Then he’d probably not want to risk his life either.

Hopefully our responses helped you. Sinful suicide is when you take your life to take your life.

I would say directly killing yourself to save another (for example stabbing yourself) is questionable.

But laying your life down for another like cutting the rope or jumping on the grenade is a saintly act that demonstrated the greatest love for neighbor possible. The same love Christ showed us in his passion.

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