CATHOLIC ATTITUDE ON SUICIDE EXPLAINED

Vatican (CWN) -- Father Gino Concetti, the Franciscan theologian who writes regularly for L'Osservatore Romano, today published a column in Il Tempo explaining the new Catholic attitude toward suicide. The Church no longer refuses Christian burial to those who commit suicide, he observed; instead she entrusts them to God's judgment. The Roman daily carried a grim story on the ten people who had killed themselves on May 26 alone. "A suicide always presupposes a disintegration of the personality," Father Concetti said. But he cautioned against excessive publicity, since "suicide is a contagious phenomenon." He suggested that news about suicides could be "dangerous for psychologically fragile people." While the Church regards suicide as a grave sin, the Franciscan continued, "human sciences have shed light on the fact that suicide isthe product of multiple causes which sap the will." However, the Church cannot fail to condemn the act of suicide, "because it offends against the plan of the Creator to safeguard human life."

Father Concetti suggested that one step which may be necessary to overcome the disposition toward suicide is to instill in young people a culture of life. Parents, he continued, should encourage the virtue of hope among their children. He lamented that in many cases, "the only voice speaking inside the walls of the home is that of the television, which makes life seem banal and exalts acts of frustration and violence."