But Priests Are Supposed To Condemn Suicide – It’s The Ultimate Sin

4
1345

A strange case here, where a priest is under fire for having stated standard Catholic doctrine. Sure, if he was a Methodist, Baptist perhaps, then stating what is Catholic theology might be a little odd, but he’s a Catholic priest and this is rather his job. It might not be all that polite nor common to make such statements at the actual funeral but it is indeed what the Church does teach. Suicide can or will mean non-entry into heaven, in fact suicide is regarded as the ultimate sin.

A Catholic priest in Michigan is facing criticism after he presided over the funeral of an 18-year-old who killed himself earlier this month and told mourners at the service that the teen may be kept out of heaven due to the way he died, reports said. The parents want the priest who presided over his funeral removed after they say he disparaged and condemned their son during the service.

To disparage and condemn a sinner? That’s part of the job description rather, isn’t it? Sure, maybe not as the sobbing mother regards her child’s coffin but that makes it a matter of politesse, not theology. The underlying point being made here is correct:

A family whose son died from suicide expressed outrage after a priest suggested he might not get into heaven and ‘called him a sinner’ at his funeral, according to the boy’s family. Maison Hullibarger, an 18-year-old from Temperance, Michigan, died on December 4 after taking his own life.

Umm, well, standard Catholic teaching is indeed that he won’t get into heaven. Of course, it’s always open for Catholic teaching to be incorrect but perhaps a Catholic priest officiating over a Catholic funeral isn’t quite the place to expect the proof of that contention. And it wasn’t all that long ago that a known and acknowledged suicide wouldn’t have gained burial in consecrated ground, nor even perhaps a funeral service.

Instead, during the funeral at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, the Hullibargers listened from the pews as the priest spoke the word “suicide” six times. He told mourners, local media reported, that Maison may be denied admittance to heaven because of the way he died. LaCuesta wondered aloud, the Hullibargers said, if Maison had repented enough in the eyes of God. “He basically called our son a sinner,” Linda told the Toledo Blade.

Well, within that Catholic teaching he was indeed a sinner. Suicide being the ultimate sin in fact. It’s despair at the reality of God’s forgiveness, a very major sin indeed. Perhaps something more historically emphasised than today but still a big deal. And yes, one that is normally taken to mean no entry into heaven. For one has died without being shrived, one has died in the process of committing that ultimate sin.

Yes, quite obviously, one can not believe in this entire set of Sky Fairy stuff. But why would you expect a Catholic priest not to? Even if Catholic congregations seem to have problems with it these days.

4
Leave a Reply

avatar
4 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
4 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
4 Comment authors
bloke in spainRoss W.MattJonathan Harston Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Jonathan Harston
Guest
Jonathan Harston

I find that my belief in the absolute sovereignty of a person over their own body results in me finding it insulting bordering on obnoxiousness for me to interfer with somebody destroying their own body. It is their body, they have complete and absolute authority to do whatever they want to it. “I’m going to kill myself!!!” Ok, duely noted. It’s your body, do what you want.

I find it is best not to raise this in polite conversation….

Matt
Guest
Matt

I didn’t think it was necessarily the case that suicide is a more serious sin per se but simply that it prevented any chance of repentance, hence you go straight to hell.

Ross W.
Guest
Ross W.

This article represents a view of psychology that is stuck in the 1950s. One of the positive transformations that came out of the recent decades is a greater understanding of psychology in the Church, and how it can be used to determine if something is a sin. Prior to the 1950s, all suicides were considered to be “of Despair”. That is, suicide is the rejection of hope in God that things can and will get better, or at least that God is with you and supporting you throughout your current trials. To intentionally and willfully commit suicide out of despair… Read more »

bloke in spain
Guest
bloke in spain

Bit tricky for Catholics, this one isn’t it? Catholic teaching is that Christ is the Son of God but also the the Son, the Father & the Holy Ghost are indivisible. And that God is omnipotent. So how do they square the crucifixion? Omnipotent implies can do whatever he wants to do. Or not do whatever he doesn’t. Surely that makes the crucifixion suicide-by-cop, doesn’t it?