Live and Let Die


#1

Hello, all! The following situation seems like a grey area to me (I could be wrong), and I wanted to get others’ thoughts.

Charlie doesn’t value his life. He’s come to the conclusion that, in general, life isn’t all that worth living. He just doesn’t have the strength to go on. He won’t commit suicide, though, because that’s a sin, and he does care about his immortal soul. To him there’s no sense in exchanging his temporary Hell on earth for an eternal one.

At any rate, Charlie *unexpectedly *contracts cancer, which will certainly kill him. As a result of his general outlook on life, he refuses treatment and any efforts to cure himself. He decides to let things take their natural course, i.e., to death.

Is this suicide? Would such a decision, taken with these intentions, be sinful?

I reckon it would be, but I’m not sure. This appears different than someone jumping off of a building.


#2

I don’t personally see how letting things take their natural course could be suicide. People smoke and drink themselves to death all the time but that doesn’t seem to be considered suicide by society. In my opinion I don’t even see letting take their course as a wrong view-then again intention often plays a part in things. Stay safe.


#3

catholic.com/quickquestions/what-is-the-churchs-teaching-on-extraordinary-care-for-the-sick


#4

It sounds like Charlie has clinical depression and he should seek treatment for that. Generally speaking, a person with cancer has the right to refuse chemotherapy or radiation and to choose only palliative care. Such refusal is not suicide. It might be different if that person was caring for small children and the treatment had a high probability of success.

See:

catholic.com/quickquestions/would-i-be-committing-mortal-sin-if-i-refuse-medical-treatment


#5

God’s will be done…no sin here, move along, move along.


#6

+God’s Holy :bible1: Word presents . . . both . . . our . . . Living Wonderful God . . . and . . . man . . . before . . . his fall in the garden when he walked and talked in all holiness with his Creator and his **God **. . . and . . . after . . . as man in his fallen darkened sinful state of separation from God . . . as realities to study and learn about . . .

The “Charlie” spoken of in the orignal post seems to still be living . . . asorbed essentially . . . in the latter state . . . that of a man living . . . in his awareness state . . . still in a fallen sinful state of separation from God . . . without any awareness or vision of . . . Jesus . . . **the Blessed Christ of God **. . . our Saviour and Redeemer . . . anywhere in his life . . .

For such a . . . truly forlorn soul . . . who appears to be consciously living separated from . . . and without an awareness of . . . our **Wonderful God’s Presence ** in his life . . . perhaps one could prayerfully recommend that he study and read . . . portion by portion . . . . the Gospel of John in **Sacred Scripture **. . . wherein the LORD reveals Himself to us all as;

:bible1:
Jesus
saith unto him,
I Am
the Way, the Truth,
and the Life:
no man cometh unto the Father,
but by Me.”
- John 14:6
And since “Charlie” doesn’t seem to understand the precious gift from God . . . which is life here on this earth . . . a simplified excellent treatise on the meaning of this extraordinary gift of life from God is contained for us in the . . . Baltimore Catechism . . . a portion of which is quoted below . . . which portion of this Catechism I absolutely treasure. It’s so marvelous for both students and the teachers since it is in the exceptionally **user friendly **“question and answer” format . . .
[INDENT]The Purpose of Man’s Existence

Lesson 1 from the Baltimore Cathechism

1. Who made us?
God made us.

:bible1: In the beginning, God created heaven and earth. (Genesis 1:1)

2. Who is God?
God is the Supreme Being, infinitely perfect, who made all things and keeps them in existence.

:bible1: In him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28)

3. Why did God make us?
God made us to show forth His goodness and to share with us His everlasting happiness in heaven.

:bible1: Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love him. (I Corinthians 2:9)

4. What must we do to gain the happiness of heaven?
To gain the happiness of heaven we must KNOW, LOVE, and SERVE God in this world.

:bible1: Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth; where the rust and moth consume and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven; where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. (Matthew 6:19-20)

5. From whom do we learn to KNOW, LOVE and SERVE God?
We learn to KNOW, LOVE, and SERVE God from Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who teaches us through the Catholic Church.

:bible1:* I ***have come a light into the world that whoever believes in Me may not remain in darkness. (John 12:46)

**6. Where do we find the chief truths taught by ***Jesus Christ *****through the Catholic Church?
We find the chief truths taught by ***Jesus Christ ***through the Catholic Church in the Apostles’ Creed.

:bible1: He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me. (Luke 10:16)

7. Say the Apostles’ Creed.
(continued next post)
[/INDENT]

[RIGHT]. . . all for Jesus+
[/RIGHT]


#7

Question…is it suicide when the old eskimo woman feels the end is near and goes out onto the iceberg to let nature take its course? WOW! What a subject you have brought up this morning…


#8

[size=]
:signofcross:
The Apostles Creed****[/size]

I believe in **
God,**
the Father Almighty,
Creator
of heaven and earth,
and in ***
Jesus Christ, ***
his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the **
Holy Spirit,**
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of **
God the Father Almighty
;
from there he will come
to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the **
Holy Spirit
,
the Holy Catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.
Amen.

Link to Baltimore Catechism: catholicity.com/baltimore-catechism/lesson01.html

[RIGHT]. . . all for Jesus+
. . . thank** You Dear LORD**+
. . . thank You Gracious Heavenly Father+
. . . thank You Sweet Spirit of our Holy God+
. . . Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow+
:harp:
[/RIGHT]


#9

If you would otherwise live and take action to die, that is a sin.

If you would otherwise die and take no action, that would be a sin only if you refused “ordinary” means of treatment. Dying because you are bleeding and refuse to stem the wound could be a sin. Refusing to undergo surgery would not be.

ICXC NIKA


#10

I believe that dying naturally when it could be otherwise treated or prevented is called extraordinary means by the Catholic Church and is not considered suicide. Charlie here is dying because of the cancer, not because he chose to die by taking the means into his own hands.

He is simply allowing nature to take its course. If he were to have himself euthanized, that is suicide, and a mortal sin if that case meets the three conditions (grave matter, full knowledge, and full consent).


#11

Thank you for your sober response. I’m just gonna give you a little push back here in regard to the quoted section above (emphasis added).

I want to point out Charlie is refusing treatment because he wants to die. I guess one could rephrase it this way: He can’t kill himself (that’d be a sin), so he’ll just have the cancer do it for him. Something tells me that such a mindset changes things a little in regard to what you’ve said here. But what do you think?


#12

Charlie has opted to let nature takes its course, he knows the end result will be death. He has done NOTHING to hasten that outcome… It’s the epitome of “thy will be done”

No foul on Charlies part.


#13

We have to make a distinction between Charlie’s will and the course of action he has chosen.

Cancer treatment is not an ordinary means of preserving life, and none of us are obligated to pursue such a course of action. As the old Catholic Encyclopedia points out:

In fact to neglect the ordinary means for preserving life is equivalent to killing one’s self, but the same is not true with regard to extraordinary means.

But … if Charlie is actively willing his own death, then this is certainly sinful in and of itself, whether or not his course of action is itself something that could be considered sinful.


#14

People may not consider smoking/ extreme alcohol use over many years to be suicide, BUT I would imagine God probably sees it a little different, with smoking, we can no longer claim we dont have all the facts, its very clear, it is dangerous and will kill you eventually. There is NOT ONE single beneficial use for tobacco of any kind.

So I dont think it matters to God how long it actually takes someone to commit the suicide, a person who smoked for 50 years and then died from lung caner would be guilty of suicide in my opinion, its death by poisoning, only done very very slowly.


#15

Indeed, so it appears my suspicions were correct. Why he refuses treatment can make his decision a sin in some respect, i.e., the fact he is actively willing his own death. I appreciate your input.

Unless someone has a substantial rebuttal to this point of view, I believe the matter is settled, then.


#16

That sounds perfectly consistent.


closed #17

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.