About two months ago my friend committed suicide. I was under the impression that this would mean that he would go straight to hell, no questions asked, but from reading some of the threads on this forum it would appear that this is not so. What is the Church’s position on the subject?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that because it contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate life, suicide if contrary to the just love of self and to love for the living God. (#2280-22830
However, grave psychological disturbances, anguish or grave fear of hardship, suffering or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.
At one time the Church assumed that one who would choose suicide had despaired of God’s love. With the development of modern psychology the Church recognizes the possibility of other motives. Many people who attempt to take their lives just want to stop the pain—whatever kind of pain it happens to be.
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.