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Question 204

Is it true pater than when a person takes his/her life the church wonít  bury the person?

 

Answer to Question 204

 

 It is true that in older times people who committed suicide were not given a Christian funeral and were not buried in a Christian cemetery. But this is not the case today.  The church condemns suicide because for someone to take his own life it means that he believes that he is beyond help and that even God canít help him. It is then a rejection of God himself by refusing to allow God into his life to save him.  God is the Source and Giver of lifeólife which is sustained by the Holy Spirit, Who dwells within each of us. Thus to wilfully take oneís life, is to wilfully cut oneself off from the Source of oneís life, to project a sense of hopelessness that cannot be reversed, even by God. Our faith teaches us that, no matter how hopeless our plight in life may seem, with God there is always cause to have hope.  Our lives are not our own but, rather, a gift from God, a sacred gift entrusted to us, which must be used wisely, nurtured lovingly, and accepted thankfully, regardless of the difficulties one may encounter. As such, our life is not ours to take, any more than taking the life of another is ours to take. In recent years we do bury those who commit suicide because the canons of the church has given us a loophole which allows us to bury someone who has taken his own life because of diminished capacities. In other words if at that moment he was not acting in a clear and conscious manner, being overcome by darkness or intense mental or emotional illness.  In Cyprus the coroner who performs the autopsy never writes that the cause of death was suicide, but gives some other suitable cause which allows the church to use the loophole and perform a Christian burial.