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I have been told that the Catholic Church teaches that anyone who commits suicide goes to hell. Is this true?

Full Question

I have been told that the Catholic Church teaches that anyone who commits suicide goes to hell. Is this true?

Answer

No. What the Church teaches is that anyone who commits a mortal sin and does not repent before death goes to hell. Mortal sin requires three conditions: grave matter, full knowledge of the gravity of the action, and full and free consent to the action. If any of those three conditions are missing, there is not mortal sin. All we can say for certain is that suicide constitutes grave matter. Given the fact that people who take their own lives often are very ill or under psychological stress, those factors can impede their knowledge and consent, making their actions tragic but not mortally sinful. Only someone who freely chooses to commit suicide with full knowledge of the gravity of the sinfulness would commit mortal sin by his suicide. Even then, between unconsciousness and final death, God might offer the person one final chance to repent, even if such an opportunity is not apparent to us.

The Church says this about the eternal destiny of those who have taken their own lives: “We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives” (CCC 2283).










14 comments

  1. Elizabeth Reed Reply

    thank you so much for the church view on this , does it also coincide with the bible?

    1. LA Green (@lancelogic) Reply

      the bible doesn’t really give an answer…. what it does, however, is affirm life. It also takes seriously suffering and oppression, all of which are common factors in someone’s suicide. Rome’s response is a theologically constructive one. Catholic and non-catholic alike can find some really helpful things in their moral reasoning.

    2. P.M.S. Goodrich Reply

      Elizabeth, the deeper and more profound truth to consider is that the Bible “coincides” with the teaching of the one, true, holy, catholic, and apostolic church that Christ founded on his personal authority as the One to whom “all authority in heaven and earth has been granted.” IOW the Church precedes and has precedence over the Bible and not vice-versa.

  2. viajoan08 Reply

    This is good, I’ve read somewhere about a soul in purgatory who committed suicide but later regret that decision and ask for God’s mercy when he’s in a brink of death. So, yeah, people who committed suicide doesn’t necessarily went straight to hell. Now, that’s what I call God’s unconditional love. He’s like give us so many loop-holes or excuses or chances to save us as many as He can.

  3. Teryl-Leigh Reply

    It says what is spoken on earth shall be cleared in heaven- there for- if the church has spoken it- yes it is biblical 🙂

  4. anthony c. dolores Reply

    Is Judas one of the apostle of Christ go to hell? or is pardoned by our Lord Jesus Christ because of it’s role if Judas pre-distined is there any passion of Christ/ crucifixion?

    1. Luke Reply

      It is impossible for us, in this mortal coil, to know the final fate of souls, unless those in heaven, by God’s grace, reveal themselves to us in miracles and the like.

      Judas is a tough, tough case. But he is also the classic case of the “unforgivable” sin of denying the Holy Spirit. Judas betrayed our Lord, Peter also betrayed our Lord by denying to know him. One sought forgiveness, the other, in his despair, refused that possibility, and took his own life. Judas’ greatest sin is not the betrayal, or the suicide, the failing to believe that he could be forgiven.

  5. Felipe Reply

    1 Corinthians 6:19-20
    Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
    Revelation 21:8
    But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."

  6. Pingback: I have been told that the Catholic Church teach...

  7. Sylvia Crockett Reply

    I feel if someone commit suicide, that is between God and the person. He will make the decision where to go. If involved mental illness, they commit suicide, they do not what they are doing, I am sure God will grant them. Like for example, Judas who betrayed Jesus, he knew he was wrong. We do not know what Judas judgment is so therefore God will decide. Jesus stood the pain he went through while on the cross, died for our sins, we must thank him for saving us. Once he had that pain, we should feel the pain as same way Jesus did.

  8. Romeo Agtarap Reply

    When I was growing up I’ve been told that committing suicide will go straight to hell…until I reach the “age of reasoning” my question is but what will happen if that person is mentally ill and suffering from severe depression? and your reply here in Catholic say.com suffice the answer.It’s crystal clear….Thank you….God bless

  9. nia Reply

    I was told if someone commit suicide, the church won’t accept his body. Is this true?

  10. Gayle Hughes Reply

    Can someone who commits suicide have a funeral in a Catholic Church?

  11. bill Reply

    Bill Dempsey Dec31, 2015 Re these messages. Today is the first day I see them. I am not reading them but then my curiosity got the best of me so here I am on this one. Some of these questions become very involved and cannot be answered with a short answer. And who is the person answering you? Are they giving you the correct answers or do they really have honest and correct answers/
    Suggestion: Ask a Priest in your parish if one of these questions upsets you, or try a catholic book Store. I shortly will be putting lessons on face book re my teaching CCD pre-Confirmation classes.
    Loving God is really easy. Get rid of small bad habits (Which CAN be done) and develop good ones. This will take time but it is not hard and the rewards are great. Talk to Catholic Priest or a Catholic that knows his or her religion and can be a mentor to you.
    As soon as my home page is ready (2 months or less)It will be on. It will be easy to read and understand.

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