Let’s Decode Suicide

30 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    You make suicide sound ok ???? Like there is a short-cut to heaven , a nut-case might read this !
    Parents should practice their faith , pray , know their catechism & practice works of mercy , even if it is just inviting a priest for dinner once a month or so . If you concentrate on helping others as much as helping yourself , there is balance in your life .Television is the worst thing you can have in a home where you are trying to raise children , it fills your mind with ideas beyond your controll .
    You should learn from a young age how to controll yourself .

    Suicide is the biggest killer of youths in the world today .Religeon is a joke to them , because it has become a real joke , compared to the past .Dont worry , be happy .

  2. Kyle says:

    Thanks for your comforting words Father,especially for some of us who have lost friends to suicide.THe way you describe our Lord greeting a victim of suicide,brings peace to my heart.really it does!And the fact that you openly address the issue of suicide in a logical,mature and caring manner is also very inspiring,as in my previous years before I have heard “ministers” label it a sin.I agree with you all the way,Suicide is as much as a sin or choice as being gay/lesbian/hiv positive and so many other things people are afraid of and often cruelly judge.The simple answer of course is no,its not.Just wish there were more priests like you and a few others that show Gods love and Jesus’ nature in the world.Im privileged enough to read this,and Im inspired so much by the way you make Jesus real in terms of being a loving caring understanding friend,.The Jesus I know is all the above,not condemning or ready to judge anyone.Thanks Fr Russell,and blessings and peace be with you.Sincerely,Kyle

  3. Gnther Simmermacher says:

    Paul, read the Catechism of the Catholic Church on suicide.

  4. Paul says:

    Yes Gunter , extreme situations are for God to judge , we must pray , we can not know the persons mind , nor that of his judgement , I still think it is very dangerous to advertise excuses for it .To provoke is one of the ways to share in the sin of that person .

  5. Patricia says:

    Paul, we did all we could for our child. We went from doctor to doctor, we prayed & yes he was brought up to pray & go to mass on Sundays, he was a member of a prayer group! None of the above helped. I find your remarks hurtful & very narrow minded. Obviously you have never experienced the illness of depression or suicide of a loved one! God alone is the judge, I’m sorry for you.

  6. Gnther Simmermacher says:

    Ah, my heart breaks just reading that, Patricia. The stigma of depression is still very much alive, and comments like Paul’s perpetuate it. The Catechism is quite clear that most people who commit suicide are not culpable. Your child is with God.

  7. Patricia says:

    Thank you Gunther for kind words!

  8. Claire says:

    Paul, I pity you. You speak of this sin, suicide, yet think it is Godly to judge people who commit this act in a state you will hopefully never understand. I’m fascinated by your lack of knowledge, but big mouth- isn’t this always the case? Please explain to me how having the priest for dinner will ‘cure’ mental illness, because that’s what depression is? If all illness, both physical and mental, could be cured by having the priest for dinner or banning TV, what a pleasant place our world would be. It may be difficult for you to grasp in your God-like state, but has anyone close to you died of a physical illness, e.g. Cancer? Was ‘self-control’, ‘banning TV’ and ‘dinner with the priest’ enough to keep them alive? Doubtful. Depression is emotional cancer, it eats away at sufferers and sometimes results in suicide. Don’t make it sound like a choice. Furthermore, your use of the derogatory term ‘nut cases’ for mentally ill people is out of place on a Catholic newspaper site, and definitely not in keeping with your Godliness!

  9. Colleen says:

    May the presence of God be with all those, either living or dead, who suffer as a result of suicide.
    May we who ponder these deeply emotive issues, learn empathy of a nature that “touches” the human spirit.
    May our quest for answers in relation to suicide, not cause us to harden our hearts!
    May we “hear” the pain in others.
    Thanks Fr Russell for your insightful commentary.

  10. Paul says:

    To all.
    I am sorry .
    I was pointing out to the writer , that he makes it look like an option .

    There was onc a devout catholic woman married to man who was an athiest . With the money he made , she would buy flowers and place them in front of our lady , in hope for his conversion .
    One day he had enough , and jumped off a bridge .Her pain , you can imagine , was unspeakable .
    She felt like she was let down , and her prayers were in vain.
    Our lady personally apeared to her to inform her that her prayers were not in vain , but between the bridge and the water , her husband had changed his mind about everything .He repented .

    This story can be found in the secret of Mary .

  11. Paul says:

    What can be done to save lives ? The new cathechism of the catholic church contains a problem in the text pointed out to me .I am also tired of all this anxiety , I would like to go to heaven now .
    Do catholics today know why they must suffer , and that no servant is greater than their Master ?

  12. P.R.Margeot says:

    To all who have lost a child, a relative, a friend in this manner, even though I do not know you, I will pray today for your intentions and ask God to relieve your pain and suffering. As Paul wrote above, there is a lot of anxiety around, we share this with one another if possible, we offer this day’s suffering for us all on this ‘forum’ that we may always increase our Faith, never despair, and realize that God can intervene at the last instant.

    In passing, as it was mentioned above, though not directly related to the subject of suicide, let all families think seriously of limiting/eliminating tv at home: the children are too exposed to its dangers. Tv has destroyed the families in many ways. If I were a young man with a young family, I know NOW that I would have no tv in my home. I am not prescribing anything here. I happen to know young Catholic families and I can assure the readers that I find a world of difference between these children and the children who are exposed, bombarded by tv, cartoons, violence, and worse. The children without tv are absolutely normal children, but they are kinder, obey their parents, their young lives are centred around Jesus, the Church, the Saints, they are happy, they are smiling: they are normal ! And I also found that they have developed keen interest in the arts, in music, in nature.

    Oremus pro invicem.

  13. Vincent Couling says:

    I have refrained from posting, but feel strongly prompted to, and so here goes …

    The statement that “suicide is an illness” is perhaps often true, but is a little too sweeping. There are probably many reasons for contemplating suicide, and for actually going through with it.

    I will not go the route of a specific personal experience. It hurts too much.

    But I will post the following, to raise a contemporary instance of a great, scandalous cause for contemplation of suicide, and worse … for actually going through with it …

    “Studies indicate same-sex-attracted young people may be several times more likely than heterosexual young people to attempt suicide. . . . It strikes me as obvious that church teachings on sexuality are wildly complicit in this shocking statistic.

    The Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality is “objectively disordered”, that homosexual acts are unnatural and sinful. Since for most of us sexuality is inseparable from the essence of who we are, the church is teaching adolescents (at a time when their self-image may be particularly vulnerable) that they are in some way rotten at the core. The church’s unhealthy, misguided teachings and attitudes infiltrate and stain families and communities, conjuring up ancient, ignorant prejudices within us and validating them.

    Will Day
    “Don’t Tell the Cathedral”
    Casey Weekly
    May 28, 2012″

  14. Paul says:

    @ Vincent
    The church has the answer for all sins .The sacrament of penance ( confession) . No matter how bad your situation might be . No matter how many times you fall . Confessing it is partaking in a sacrament which gives grace , and with Christ you can only win .I try and confess my sins at least every two weeks . Some saints confessed every day , like saint Joan of Arc , even when she was just a child .

  15. Vincent Couling says:


    I do not understand what you are getting at … what on earth does the confession of sins have to do with a young person contemplating suicide (or actually committing suicide) because of their sexual orientation? I am flabbergasted by the irrelevance of your post.



  16. Vincent Couling says:


    Before you write some knee-jerk response, perhaps you would do yourself the act of walking a little in another’s shoes … to provide you with the opportunity for this experience, here is a link to a real story of a young Catholic university student who decided to end his life …

  17. Vincent Couling says:

    The young man in question had an “orthodox” Catholic father, who subsequently reflected as follows:

    “Eventually, at a few of these dinnertime discussions, the subject of homosexuality was ever so timidly broached. What do you think, Dad?

    I dont remember who asked the question, but it wouldnt have been Mark. It had to be one of the girls. They liked to challenge Dads agenda. While Id have preferred to avoid anything relating to sexuality, my answer was fairly easy, and it came quickly. I knew the words of the magisterium: An abomination. Sex is reserved for marriage. Love the sinner, hate the sin. Natural law. Et cetera. Concluding with a short lecture on the virtue of chastity, I clearly conveyed, End of discussion . . . next topic.

    It was a well-intentioned automatic response, but one that avoided open dialogue of a difficult topic. Little did I realize the struggle my son was undergoing at the time. My brilliant pontificating was stifling his attempts to communicate and secretly causing him to question the worth of his very existence.”

  18. Vincent Couling says:

    Here is waht the young man in question ended up doing …

    “Mark gazed out the small window of his dorm room. It was Saturday morning and the bitter cold bleakness outside matched his mood. He may have made a mistake going to school so far north and so far from home, but he had chosen this school in northern Michigan because he loved the natural environment of the north country where he could ski, hike in the woods and enjoy the serenity of this sparsely populated place. Mark also had thought college would bring people into his life who wanted a good educational experience, people with whom he could be open and find companionship. But the dream turned into a nightmare.

    His anguish realizing that he was attracted to some of the young men around him and the conviction that those feelings would disgust people fed his terrible feeling of isolation and left him feeling numb. He didnt think it was his fault; he wondered if God had made him that way. But it wasnt a problem he could talk about, not to family, not to friends. No one could help him. Even God didnt answer.

    So on this Saturday morning Mark realized nothing really mattered anymore. It could only get worse. And while it frightened him having considered it for quite a long time he also knew how he could fix it. The only way to confront this demon was to end it all. Nobody would understand it anyway. He didnt understand it. But he knew he was gay, and he knew being gay was an abomination. So he would put an end to his agony. Suicide, he had decided, would be less painful to his family than revealing to them who he really was.

    So Mark sat down at the small table at the end of his bed. He picked up his pen and wrote:

    The fog thickens . . .
    I try to see through it at my paper and pen.
    Through them to the world
    The fog thickens . . .
    They pound and laugh all around me,
    Their laughter a testimony to my despair
    All that you need is wine and good company.

    I can be like them,
    I am not alone.

    I can be like them,
    I will find happiness.

    I cannot be like them,
    I am alone

    Why not just rest and forget about it?
    Rest and forget about it.

    Outside the wind howls.
    Inside the silence howls.
    It has been snowing for some time now,
    And my soul is buried in a drift.
    The wind blows too hard for the plows to clear the roads.
    I am destined to die in a snow drift.

    Then Mark went to the window and gazed at the gray blur of the winter storm. He thought: It will be easy. Just take that bottle of prescription pain killers. No more anguish. No more self-hatred. No more struggling. The hell with it then. God forgive me.

    And the thought became the act.

    The pills went down easily, and he lay down on the bed to die.”

  19. Vincent Couling says:

    The rest of the story, posted in the University of Notre Dame magazine, can be read at


  20. Paul says:

    You said it . The only way to satisfy the demon . His duty was to satisfy God , but he chose to satisfy the demon . Do you think that demons only haunt gay people ? We are all in the same boat , the sacraments give grace , that is where you go for spiritual strength , it is always your call .

  21. Vincent Couling says:

    A little more from the story follows …

    “Marks act of ultimate despair was overcome only through courage and Gods amazing grace. Years later, when I learned of his suicide attempt, Mark would tell me that as he waited for death to release him, he went through what he could only describe as a unique religious experience in which God spoke to him in a special way. Somehow he abruptly realized that God had created him just as he was, and so there must be some good reason for being who he was. And that God surely accepted him as he had created him, and so Mark should do likewise. He ran to the bathroom and forced himself to vomit the pain killers he had taken. Had he reacted soon enough? The next 36 hours proved to be a benumbed and desperate struggle as he dragged through a drugged twilight, not daring to allow himself any sleep for fear there would be no morning.

    My son did survive his trauma. Mine was still to come.”

  22. Vincent Couling says:

    Do those who speak of our duty being to “satisfy” God preach the Good News? Or do they preach something else?

    I thought that our duty was quite simple …

    Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.”

    (expressed a little differently elsewhere … “This is what Yahweh asks of you: to act justly; to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God.”)

  23. Vincent Couling says:

    It’s not very charitable of me to say it, but I’m going to say it anyway … I smell a Lefebvrist troll (or two!) on these threads …

  24. Paul says:

    Vincent .
    You can call me whatever you want , but not a moffie , because that I am not . That is what you are , you will not manipulate me into saying gay is ok , because it is not .

  25. Gnther Simmermacher says:

    Paul, “moffie” is not acceptable language on this website. It can be taken as derogatory. You have used highly insensitive language before, such as describing people with mental illness as “nutcases”, which in response to a discussion on suicide is crass and utterly heartless, and it clearly has offended people. I realise that you are a bit overenthusiastic, but this can no longer be seen as a slip-of-the-tongue. Please moderate the way you express yourself.

  26. Vincent Couling says:

    Perhaps I could post the following OED definition, so that Paul might understand what I was getting at above:

    “Troll: Computing. A message posted to a newsgroup with the intention of inciting flame mail in response.”

    (Where flame mail is “an extremely critical or abusive posting in a public forum, often as retaliation”)

    I have tried to temper my responses, in spite of having the pejorative “moffie” used to describe me. I hope that I have succeeded in not stooping to Paul #2’s trolling depths! (The suffix #2 being used purely to distinguish from Paul Raymond.)

  27. P.R.Margeot says:

    There was no need to distinguish any one from any body : for the third time I say to the writer above that on this site, I am known as P.R.Margeot. I never said that my name was Paul and that’s it. Call me PR as many do, or PRM, it’s o.k. Should I start calling the writer above Victor Couling, or Vincent George Couling, or Thaddeus V. Couling? The writer above has a way of irritating people and enjoys doing it.Then he wonders about some people’s reactions.

  28. Vincent Couling says:

    Take the Siberian pine forest out of your own eye first, methinks!

    My name is Vincent William Couling.

    What’s yours, Paul?

  29. Vincent Couling says:

    Have you any words of criticism for the other Paul? You know, the one who refers to “nut cases” in the 1st response of this link (hardly any wiggle-room to claim provocation by others there, I daresay! Though plenty to claim provocation of others … utterly reprehensible if you ask me.)

    Oh, I forgot, he espouses similar views to yours, so he’s exempt from a stern dressing-down. He can enjoy irritating people to no end with nary a wag of the PRM index-finger.

  30. P.R.Margeot says:

    Good night all, a good night’s rest will be beneficial. I vote for some somno-therapy.
    I salute the guardian angels of all readers.