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Saints Who Commited Suicide?

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He's not a Saint but I've heard that some people think that Thomas Merton may have committed suicide.

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Devout Catholic
On 10/6/2009 at 4:07 PM, StColette said:

I would say that if she threw herself into the sea, I doubt she meant to commit suicide. It's quite possible to jump into the sea and survive.


On 10/6/2009 at 3:54 PM, Resurrexi said:

Jumping off a building in order to avoid getting raped by Roman soldiers is not the same committing the sin of suicide.

I think we need to start with a definition of suicide from Webster:  "Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death."  Seems to fit the bill. She wasn't going swimming.

Next we need to know that the Roman Legionnaires did not threaten her with rape. If we read the text they hadn't even found her.  Also Legionnaires had a strict code and any rape would have been punishable by death.  

Peliagia appears to me to have been distressed and extremely frightened-As are many people who commit suicide. St Peliagia is often referred to by Pastors when a child commit suicide to give comfort to a family. If this young woman who committed suicide can be declared a saint then then they have hope. After all does anyone who commits suicide fully know what they are doing? Pelagia was made a saint to celebrate suicide but chastity. ironic because she wasn't even threatened with rape and the comfort she has given has been to families that have had someone commit suicide.

Lastly as Catholics we need to acknowledge that the process of declaring Catholic Saints isn't exact, nor even one that Jesus spelled out  and often driven by other inspirations.  We just need to look the list of declared saints, prior to about 1970 there were no women Doctors of the The Church,with a big oops the Church has  since added 4.  As  a matter of fact there were relatively few women saints and even less lay saints-I think only about 50 lay saints. The ratio today on saints is I believe about 7 men to each 1 woman. Are men more saintly then women? As a man I ahve to say no way. The reason is probably the same one one of the best pitchers,if not the best of all time,  Satchel Paige-an African American,  was not in the baseball hall of fame until modern times. The  nominating process was controlled by all the same people-a closed loop if you will.  Same for the Church, it starts with a Bishop who nominates someone, then the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, (other  clergy) can accept or deny and it goes forward from there.  Once we understand that it is not a surprise that the most  canonized saints are/were members of the clergy nor a surprise that it too decades for Satchel Paige to get nominated nor a surprise that a frightened young women who leapt to her death was nominated and cannonized.  

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Don't use The Catholic Encyclopedia from New Advent as a source. It's out of date (1910.) We weren't allowed to use it in my Church History classes. We also couldn't use Butler's Lives of the Saints because it's devotional, not scholarly.

The New Catholic Encyclopedia currently has editions from 1967 and 2003.

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