Burial Mass Available?

Q. May a Catholic who commits suicide have a funeral through the Church, including a burial Mass?

A. Here’s a reply from Father Reginald Martin: 

St. John writes, “In this is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us” (1 Jn 4:10). God’s love enables us to love God, and then his creatures. We are the first of God’s creatures we learn to love. This is not mindless selfishness, but respect for God’s creation, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church observes, “Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality” (No. 2264).

However, we must remember our life is a gift given in trust. God expects us to give it back. The Catechism remarks: “We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of” (No. 2280).

The Fifth Commandment forbids all forms of murder, but we must leave to God’s mercy the judgment of those who commit suicide. Thus the Catechism teaches: “We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives” (No. 2283). For this reason the Church no longer forbids funeral rites or burial to Catholics who have committed suicide.