Tuesday, August 05, 2008

More Rolheiser dissent - now on suicide

Briefing: Ronald Rolheiser, who writes the same column for the Catholic Herald, the Scottish Catholic Observer and a large number of other Catholic papers, always has something boring and unorthodox to say. In the 25/07/07 issue it was about suicide: see his column (on his own website) here.

Rolheiser's article, like the last one we commented on, simply has no point of contact with Catholic thinking, or for that matter common sense, about its subject. Since this is suicide, the article is more directly dangerous than usual. Rolheiser's repeated insistence that suicide is a 'disease' is simply half-witted (suicide is an act, or an event, not a state); his insistence that suicides will, regardless of their attitude before death, meet with with mercy from God after it, denies both the reality of free will and God's justice. Overall, the article misses both the Church's teaching and the social reality that suicide is frequently undertaken as a form of attention-seeking, in light of the celebrity status all too often accorded to young suicides by the press.

In an excellent earlier article in the same paper, Freddie Gray sums up (29/02/08): 'We have always understood that there are those who attempt suicide because they are of unsound mind. But for those who commit suicide on impulse, it is a terrible, evil thing to do; we should glamorise or romantise what they do, but neither should we excuse them. For as long as we withhold judgment on any act of self-destruction we'll be condemned to stand around wondering why the fire continues to spread.'

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this:
2280: Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.
2281 Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention the rest of the CCC's treatment of suicide ...

"2282 If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal. Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law.

Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.

2283 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."

Perhaps Fr Rolheiser comments are more focused on CCC 2282-3

Webmaster said...

Rolheiser dissents from CCC 2283 since he suggests that we can know that all suicides go to heaven.

It's not clear what you are driving at.

Webmaster said...

See also a good letter in the following Catholic Herald responding to Rolheiser. He won't reply, of course, since the CH is only one of a whole gang of Catholic periodicals in which this article appeared.

Anonymous said...

Rolheiser is much loved in this country, I pray that you never feel the pain of losing a loved one to suicide only to find them condemned to hell by a bunch of people with no authority to make such pontifications. What he is trying to get at is forgiveness and compassion, something you know nothing about.

You are blinded by your rigid worship of dogma, why don't you just go an join SSPX

Anonymous said...

he says "suicidal depression is usually a terminal disease and is not a free choice that connotes moral and psychological delinquency." Suicidal depression could be a level of depression and one does not choose to have it.

Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen