The Funeral Of The Suicide
A person commits suicide; that is, he commits pretty much the worst sin available to mankind. Let us say that the suicide in question was a loving husband and father, very active in his church group, and otherwise admired by neighbours, pets and trees.
Let us also said that said suicide had troubles of his own: disease, bereavement, financial difficulties, you name it.
Find all the extenuating circumstances you want. Then add some more.
The question still remains: why should a suicide have a Catholic funeral?
Let us look at this as our forefathers did. Suicide is the worst sin. The scandal it gives is immense. Sadly, the suicide might act on other people tempted in the same way and suggest to them that yes, it can be done. You do not need a stellar IQ to understand how a Catholic funeral would amplify this effect in the eyes of the believer.
Whenever a suicide receives a Catholic funeral, scandal is added to scandal. It is as if Satan would receive this boost, that if he has not just obtained a victory he will be soon allowed to get other chances; courtesy of a nice Catholic community, led by a nice priest. Boy, how Satan must like this kind of niceness…
Let us look at it, then, from the point of view of the suicide. If he is in hell (which, unless you are blind and stupid, is still the most probable outcome in the majority of cases) then the Catholic funeral is a further gift made to Satan. But if the poor soul is not in hell, why on earth would he want something that might well lead to hell others? Is the soul in purgatory so concerned about being seen as “good” after he has committed suicide? No. He certainly would not want. Extremely grateful for having escaped hell, he would most certainly not want anything be done, remotely connected to his act, that might lead others to perdition.
Does this mean, then, that the absence of a funeral and the burying in not consecrated ground mean that the suicide is in hell? No, of course it doesn't. It never did, it never will. But certainly, it should mean that a terror and dread of hell should cause a shiver to run down the spine of the entire community, then a very concrete possibility of damnation is there, in front of everyone, plain to see. In Christian times, Satan's move was countered by a very powerful response. For one who was very possibly in hell, hundreds were terrified of going there.
Nowadays, Satan's move is accompanied by the nice community, who help him score a second time. After having very possibly taken one soul, Satan will take the funeral in his stride; and who knows, the atmosphere of understanding and near-certain salvation – many will be offended even at the hint salvation might not have been achieved – might well help him to get to further prey.
Were, then, our ancestors cruel? No. Very simply, they took heaven and hell seriously. If one had shot himself in the head, they did not go around saying “but he was so nice! Surely, whilst the bullet was on its way from the barrel to his head he had ample time to ask the Blessed Virgin for forgiveness?”
Look. The final word is, of course, God's. But God has given us a brain, and this brain is supposed to be used. Whilst we can only reason in terms of probabilities, there are probabilities that must make our blood chill. If they don't, it simply means that we have no fear of the Lord; because God can do everything, so He will save us whatever we do. Or because as we ultimately don't know, we are exempted from being utterly scared at what has very probably happened. This is another big door open to Satan, and every such funeral opens it a big wider.
Why, then, are such funerals, nowadays, universally celebrated? Because the fear of the Lord has given place to this fluffy feeling that we are all oh so nice, and therefore oh so evidently saved. It does not matter how bad the odds are, we are going to continue to believe in the most improbable of happy endings; because you see, how can there be any other? He was so… nice!
If I were so impious as to commit suicide, and if I were so lucky as to escape hell notwithstanding my terrible feat – temporal insanity, say; or even complete and conclamate madness – the last thing I would want is that an occasion be offered for others to go the same way. And no, the unconsecrated ground would not be bitter to me; on the contrary, having escaped hell after such a feat would be the sweetest thing, no matter how strong my suffering in Purgatory.
The funeral of the suicide does nothing for the suicide; but it does a lot for Satan, helping to spread an aura of general forgiveness around him, and contributing massively to the general loss of the fear of the Lord. It is, in the end, just another self-celebration of the community of the suicide, which is conveniently reassured that Satan cannot – I mean, we don't know exactly… but… really? How… cruel for you to even mention! – have struck just in their middle. Which, actually, he has, though we cannot be sure he succeeded.
Hell is real. The danger of ending there is very real for everyone of us. The right attitude is to keep this in mind, and go through life with a good dose of fear of what can happen to us. Funerals for suicides are not compatible with this view of life.
Our forefathers knew it. We don't.
But we understand niceness so well.