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Saint Thomas More was martyred during the Protestant Reformation for standing firm in the Faith and not recognizing the King of England as the Supreme Head of the Church.
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Popular Blogger Pens Viral Post Calling Robin Williams Suicide a Choice Heres His Response to the Hateful and Violent Reaction He Received

tinyurl.com

I struggle with the concept of "choice" being used in this context. Is it really someone's choice when depression has them by the neck and they see no way out, and I mean no way out? I don't know the answer; I am just posing the question. It is one that has a murky response from those who have been suicidal and/or deeply depressed. From those who have never contended with the chronic illness of depression, there can sometimes be what seems to be a cold response -> It is always a choice and always about free will.

Thoughts?

Aug 13th 2014 new
The other aspect to consider is culpability. Even if a person willfully chose suicide as if they could so freely do so, how culpable are they? And come to think of it, when one gets married, they must do so willfully. If they don't, that is cause for a Decree of Nullity to be issued. So is it the same with suicide. It's difficult to say they do it freely and willfully, so does their culpability come into play on their judgment day?
Aug 13th 2014 new
Just thinking about this...what if depression has, in fact, removed the ability to 'choose' whether or not to commit suicide, so that any suicide which occurs is more like the act of an automaton? (it would have to be that or close to that to remove culpability).
The depression could, however, be not only a cause (in this case, of suicide) but also a consequence of earlier sinful decisions -- for example, the decision to leave a marriage for an adulterous relationship with one's boss's spouse, which when discovered led to career breakdown and economic hardship; followed, perhaps, by the decision to drink heavily, which would worsen the depression even more. One would be culpable for all these sinful decisions along one's way, but that wouldn't translate into ultimate culpability for suicide following on depression so severe that the final decision was not a true decision.
And what if all these decisions along the way grew out of a childhood abuse trauma that was itself so severe that it compromised one's ability to make more constructive life choices ever afterwards?
I can only assume that a God who embodies both mercy and justice would work all this out, clearly we can't.
Aug 13th 2014 new
It may be a choice, but one made while not in one's right mind, with inability to make a sound judgment.
Aug 13th 2014 new
(quote) Susan-1048377 said: It may be a choice, but one made while not in one's right mind, with inability to make a sound judgment.
May I ask how you KNOW what level of reason Mr. Williams was capable of at that moment?


Aug 13th 2014 new
(quote) Paul-1049651 said:
I can only assume that a God who embodies both mercy and justice would work all this out, clearly we can't.
Precisely!

Aug 13th 2014 new

My impression from the link is that the blogger didn't mean to downplay the seriousness of depression or indicate that suicide is a perfectly free choice, but using words like "choice" or "decision" in this context is problematic, and the blog post's title is worse than problematic. I lived with my father for a few months before he shot himself, and found him still alive a few minutes later on getting home from work, and finally saw him die in a hospital about two days later. It was five years ago the week before last, and is still a heavy cross to bear. I've sometimes called the experience "the head of Medusa," because to see it is like death, and it burns its image perfectly and permanently into any surface. Of course, over those few months it had become clear that he was very far gone and, in effect, not the same person. Anyway, one sometimes hears the metaphor that suicide is often something like leaping to one's death from a burning building, and I think that is the kind of "choice" it is, at least in many or most cases, even when the suicidal ideation has been a long process and become an unstoppable drive, and the person has made the rounds of his/her life saying goodbyes and putting things in order. It's not just a perverse rejection of life, the goodness of life, the love of God, etc. Someone in a diseased or impaired mental state does not make choices in the sense that they would in a normal state.


Aug 13th 2014 new
(quote) Paul-1049651 said: I can only assume that a God who embodies both mercy and justice would work all this out, clearly we can't.
Yea, I have been thinking about God's mercy while writing my posts. St. Faustina. The Divine Mercy Chaplet. I often raise my chaplet up for those struggling with bipolar and depression, and for the sick and suffering alcoholics throughout the world. I think I'll tack on those who were or are suicidal, those who have attempted it and thankfully failed, and those who took their own lives. theheart rosary
Aug 13th 2014 new
(quote) Sean-693950 said:

Anyway, one sometimes hears the metaphor that suicide is often something like leaping to one's death from a burning building, and I think that is the kind of "choice" it is, at least in many or most cases, even when the suicidal ideation has been a long process and become an unstoppable drive, and the person has made the rounds of his/her life saying goodbyes and putting things in order. It's not just a perverse rejection of life, the goodness of life, the love of God, etc. Someone in a diseased or impaired mental state does not make choices in the sense that they would in a normal state.


There may be some cases where the jumping from a burning building analogy is truly accurate; however, I think the reson most people who agree with it do so is because of a completely disordered understanding of the nature of suffering and how it is essential for salvation. Instead of viewing it as something to be embraced, or at least accepted, and offered to God, he vast majority of people today see it as something to be avoided at all costs, and lamented when it cannot be avoided.

God allows suffering to bring us closer to Him. While most people wait fair too long to make that move, some eventually do; unfortunately, in today's world many do not. And so the suffering continues, and may eventually escalate to the point where it is beyond control. So the situation that is not a choice now may well be the result of many previous choices to reject God and His mercy.

In any given case, only God knows all the details, so we must have hope in His mercy and pray for the departed.

At the same time, it can be very dangerous to presume His mercy for those still alive, especially those who won't ask for it themselves. It is modern sentimentality, not the teaching of the Church, that God will hand out His mercy to everyone who is in a bad situation; the teaching of the Church is, and always has been, that they must first ask for it in whatever way they are able.

The link below is to a video recording of a homily by Bishop Edward J. Slattery of Tulsa, in which he explains the necessity of suffering and how we can use it to our advantage rather than our disadvantage.

youtu.be


Aug 13th 2014 new
Was Robin Williams Catholic?

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