The Catechisms on Suicide

Gravestones 1

A couple of weeks ago I followed a brief discussion about suicide on Facebook. This got me thinking about suicide, especially in light of the ability to prolong life in our medically advanced culture. Is a refusal to take medicine the same as suicide? This and some other thorny questions arise as we consider the issue of suicide. A wise place to begin exploring these questions is the teaching of our fathers in the faith. Here are the teachings of various catechisms and commentaries on catechisms on the commandment, “You shall not murder.” I have put in bold certain lines that pertain to the issue of suicide.

Luther’s Small CatechismĀ 

What does God forbid in the 5th Commandment? God forbids us to take the life of a fellow man and our own life? God forbids us to hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, that is, to do or say anything which may destroy, shorten, or embitter his life. Continue reading