This past week, we read the reports of the deaths by suicide of fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain.
We pray for the repose of their soul and the consolation of their families. Statistics state that suicides have shockingly gone up tremendously over the past few years in our nations. We need to look at a few questions that people are asking about suicide. First, what does the Church have to say about the immortal soul of one who commits suicide? Second, why are we a nation in despair and what can be done about it?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that God is the author of life. Life is a precious gift, given by God and we are called to preserve it, nurture it, and protect it, from conception to natural death. All life – the able, the disabled, born and unborn, no matter what race, creed, or gender – has intrinsic value.
“Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life,” it says.
“Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law.”
But the Church also acknowledges, “Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.”
We all need to be more aware of depression and other forms of mental illness that could lead one to contemplate suicide. We live in a world that is more competitive than ever and that can seem cruel and unforgiving. Do we look out for each other? Practically, this week, look out for another human being. Check in to see what others are doing.
For those who need help, who are feeling desperate, there should never be shame involved. Help is available by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number at 1-800-273-8255 or call NYC Well Today: 1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355), press 2.
This week, pray for the repose of the souls of those who have taken their own life through suicide. May they know the healing and peace only available from the Lord.