Murder and Suicide


If you murder becuase of mental illness, i.e. BTK or Dahmer, do you automatically goto Hell? Same goes for killing yourself. I know the Scriptures dont say its ok to murder, in fact it condemns it but where does poor judgement and mental illness part ways? Same thing for suicide…isnt every person that kills themself not all there?



God knows your heart and is infinitely just. He understands mitigating circumstances, I assure you. A mortal sin involves sufficiently grave matter, full knowledge of your actions, and full consent of the will. A subcontious compulsion or mental imbalance may not allow full consent of the will, and may reduce the punishment due - only God could say. BTW, the same is true for suicide.

Does that help?

God Bless,


Does any of that contradict Scripture? Actually, I should ask is Scripture not able to answer questions of mental imbalance since the bible was written at a time when little was known of mental and chemical imbalances and what not?



Peace be with you!

The Church teaches that people suffering from severe mental illness are incapable of sinning, as they lack the mental means of committing a sin (ie full knowledge, consent). The same goes for children under the age of reason.

In Christ,


In fairness, I think that we need to say that there is a difference between a mental illness where the person has no control over his/her actions, and someone who simply does not care about right & wrong.
I only make the point because, many–not all–serial killers can stop killing any time they want to, & often do, for longer or shorter periods of time.
If we are going to talk about accountability, about the “mental means of committing a sin”, I think we also have to take note of the fact that just because someone has a mental illness does not automatically make that person unable to understand that what they are doing is wrong, nor does it take away their free will.

I think that this is a very complicated area, & it is important not to generalize too much.
Some criminals may not have any understanding of what they are doing, like a child.
Others may well just want to do horrible things, & only care about whether they get caught–2 very different kinds of people, though neither comes under the heading of normal.


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