Suicide question; warning: rather bizzare scenario ahead

Please no complaints that the scenario seems unlikely, but the question popped up in a discussion i have, and i try to understand, what would be correct from a catholic POV.

A rapes B. A is quickly sentenced to some years in prison. A also relapses into catholicism, repents, apologizes to B and tries to live as a good catholic, however much that is possible considering his crime.

B got pregnant from the rape. A and B live in a country and the rape also happened there with parental rights absolutely blind to how the child was conceived. Furthermore, there is also a right for the child to see its father and a vice-versa right, which both cannot be limited or forfeited as long as the father poses no threat to the child (which A certainly would not be, as he now tries to be a good catholic).

Due to the legal situation B wants to have an abortion, as in no way she can tolerate that the child would bring the risk that A interfers again in her life, for example by enforcing his right to see the child.

A receives this information and to convince B not to abort, offers her whatever promise she wants, that he will leave her and the child alone. But as these are just promises (A cannot forfeit his right to visit nor the childs right to see him permanently) and B doesn’t trust A, B still plans to abort the child.

A also cannot act prior birth in any way, that would meet the criteria of him being a threat to the child (so that the visitation rights are forfeited permanently), as he is imprisoned.

Hence, A offers B to commit suicide for permanently ensuring that the child’s existence is no threat for B, that A might again interfere in her life, if she promises not to abort; B is fine with that and promises not to abort the child if A is dead.

Is A sinning with this or is it a moral action, as A sacrifices his own life, to ensure the survival of his child?

On the one hand, suicide is a grave evil. On the other hand, A’s action might be considered to be similar to jumping on a grenade, to save someone else.

An interesting scenario. The answer is that it would not be morally permissible.

Here is another question for you. If A commits suicide, would B then incur guilt?

It would still be morally wrong for A to commit suicide. He could hope that God has mercy as his motives were noble, but he still risks hell.

We can never do evil that good may come of it. Suicide would still be immoral.

I believe this is the point in life where trust in God becomes absolutely imperative, with no ‘if’s’, ‘and’s’ or ‘but’s’ about it. You can’t act against God and say you love your neighbor. I do believe if one acted like that, it would be nothing but a huge mass of PRIDE. So yes, A would be sinning… placing another’s wishes above God’s, also not trusting in God that somehow God would make it so as said in Romans 8:28.

I don’t know how this factors in your mind as an analogy to jumping on a grenade- that decision is a SPLIT second decision, not something discussed and milled over. Two soldiers discussing over which one is going to jump on the grenade doesn’t happen-if so, they both discuss how to save each other and neither one would let the other get hurt. Jumping on a grenade to save another is a reaction OF someone’s love, done without thinking… it just happens because of the love. Also, there is the possibility of someone jumping on the grenade might not be an act of love- maybe that person wanted to die and saw to it that the moment can come where he gets to look like the hero and will be loved and admired by people, who never know the real truth behind the action. … Which reminds me a story of how a soldier admired the bravery of another solider, but it turned out the other soldier was totally apathetic to life and didn’t care about his life, or any one else’s for that matter, not brave like it appeared. It could be a matter of false humility. Anywhoo… I digress…

The most loving thing we can do is not to shower another with love and affection as the world usually glorifies, but is to make sure we love God the MOST and want to please HIM above all else. (That is to say, each person needs to seek God and seek to fulfill God’s will) God would not be pleased with killing, with abortion, or with suicide. What you speak of here sounds like false humility and pride.

Could A not just approach B and render himself a threat to the child, therefore forfeiting his rights? Problem solved.

:smiley: I think the OP means that, since the guy is in prison, he could not do this even if he wanted to. Although he could break out of prison to approach B. That would be preferable to killing himself.

I think this is where the scenario stretches credulity. For the guy to get arrested, tried, convicted, put in prison, and then experience a dramatic conversion is going to take longer than the nine months the girl would be pregnant. :shrug:

In the USA. But rights as described do not pertain here; and other countries do not have the slowly choreographed waltz of legal process that we do.


I believe it is a Catholic doctrine that the end never justifies the means.

Fortunately for A, he “relapsed” into Catholicism, so he knows that committing suicide goes against God’s 5th commandment, thou shalt not kill. Your theoretical scenario would never happen. Peace be with you.

True. Is there any country in which such a man would have full legal parental rights in this scenario?

B could give the child up for adoption. She could even change her name. This would be the most obvious solution.

Great ideas, Esieffe.

Yes, the US for example:
“Having fought this injustice for the past several years, I have come to believe that ignorance is to blame for this legal absence. Opponents argue no woman would ever choose to raise the child she conceived through rape. The only two studies to analyze the choices made by pregnant raped women indicate otherwise – at least 30% of women who conceive by rape make this choice.
Others argue that no rapist would ever seek parental rights. Not only does my experience and that of others I know prove otherwise, but it is not surprising that a man who cruelly degrades a woman would also seek to torture her in an even more agonizing way, by seeking access to her child.”

As the answer seems to be, that it would be immoral, can someone suggest what the difference might be, that makes jumping on grenade somewhat moral, while this is immoral?

The reason offered of a split second decision does not hold i think, because if suicide is immoral, then it would be immoral whether one thought long or short about it; cupability would just change; and i think at least some soldiers might think or through their service actively and intentionally condition themselves to sacrifice themself in this or other ways if it saves their fellow soldiers. So there would be a long term intention to be ready to do it, if the situation arises.

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