Catholics/why

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Question
Hi!
I am interested in understanding Catholicism. This question may sound strange but I am actually serious.
Why do Catholics who beleive in a loving God who gave them the gift of life commit suicide? Why would people that are faithful Catholics commit suicide? Is it true that being a faithful Catholic isn't enough to cope with life? I am aware that Catholics belive that you only fail life if you end up in hell so I guess you belive that God will love them even if they died that way. Could please explain?

Answer
Hi, here's a very good short article about this:

http://www.catholiccourier.com/commentary/other-columnists/what-is-the-churchs-s

With any kind of sin (suicide is regarded as a sin in Catholicism), there are many potential factors contributing to a person committing that sin. We can't even be sure if the person fully chose to sin, because severe psychological issues could obfuscate their judgment and hinder, maybe even eclipse, their ability to recognize and choose the good.

Sometimes people might even believe they are doing the right thing by suicide. Or God might have allowed it to happen for some greater good. It's very complicated. My point is that we can't know nor judge. And also, that there are physiological, psychological, social and spiritual factors leading to any decision---to include suicide.

Since only God knows us perfectly, we should leave it up to God to decide how to deal with suicides. My own feeling, which does not necessarily represent that of the Church's, is that God understands suicides and teaches them, in the afterlife, how their decision affected others. I don't believe they ALL go to hell. I think that's just a Catholic bias. But again, this is only my opinion. As I said, we should recognize our limitations and not pretend otherwise.

Leave it to God to judge.

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Michael Clark, Ph.D.

Expertise

I'm a progressive Catholic--not a liberal, conservative nor a single-minded critic of Catholicism. I simply believe that adults in the 21C should use the mind God gave them and not just repeat ancient and medieval modes of thinking.

I can probably help with questions that intelligently and respectfully question those aspects of Catholicism that are not infallible. But if you're looking for someone to vigorously defend or perhaps refute Catholicism as a whole, that's not me. So please ask another expert.

Experience

I run an educational website earthpages.org and know what the web has to offer. I might suggest hyperlinks and/or book titles as I have a Ph.D. in Religious Studies and a considerable personal library.

Publications
Print Media:
My table from "Religions and Cults" at earthpages.org is reproduced with permission in L. Lindsey, S. Beach and B. Ravelli, Core Concepts in Sociology, 2nd ed., p. 157

World Wide Web:
My online article "Letter to God" coauthored with Buddhist monk, E. Raymond Rock, appears on several different spirituality-based websites, including http://tinyurl.com/db7a5o

I've interviewed, as a Christian, a self-proclaimed mystic: http://tinyurl.com/cawykr

My articles appeared at the former New View magazine nuvunow.ca and are published at earthpages.org.

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Religious Studies
M.A. in Comparative Religion
B.A. Hon. in Psychology/Sociology
For more info, please see my CV and letters of recommendation and my blog at michaelwclark.com.

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