“A Priest’s Suicide: A Sign of Hopelessness?” stems from French journalist Celine Hoyeau’s interview of essayist/historian Francois Huguenin on the recent death of Father Jean-Baptiste Sebe at his own hands. Catholics far beyond the boundaries of his French diocese were saddened and puzzled over the circumstances that could lead a Catholic Priest to take his own life. There is speculation that Fr. Sebe’s acknowledgment of “inappropriate gesture” with a young woman, may have lead to his death.
However, this story is not about the current sexual abuse crisis, but rather another plague – suicide. Here in the United States, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, killing approximately 45,000 people annually; 123 people a day.
In answering the question posed in the title, Huguenin commented: “Suicide is a call for help, a sign that the life one is living is no longer bearable. Nonetheless, it is not hopelessness…because a priest commits suicide, it does not necessarily follow that he no longer believed and that he abandoned any hope in the ultimate victory of life.”
Please select this link to review the complete Huguenin interview regarding Fr. Sebe published in LaCroix International.
As a Priest, you are called to fulfill many roles. Whether you’re ministering to a family healing in the aftermath of a loved one’s suicide or trying to aid a Parishioner/colleague who is struggling with severe depression, here are a couple of related articles that may assist you in this difficult task:
How one Catholic ministry Is Helping Families Deal With the Devastating Aftermath of Suicide, featured in America Media.
For those thinking about suicide, Prayers Help—But Are Not Enough – America Media.