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On the day when we marked Respect Life Sunday in the United States, the good people of Ireland marked a Day for Life. And the bishops there released a pastoral letter on a subject many would rather not talk about:
The Irish bishops are sending a message to those who struggle with thoughts of suicide: You are precious in God’s sight.
This is affirmed in a pastoral letter by the Irish bishops’ conference for the country’s Day for Life, which is being celebrated today.
The letter, titled “You Are Precious in my Sight” (Isaiah 43:3), focuses on the theme of suicide, in particular on the pastoral dimensions of this subject, building on last year’s theme of mental health.
Bishop John Fleming of Killala launched the letter on behalf of the other prelates, affirming that it “highlights why the Church believes that life is worth living and looks at some of the reasons why people may contemplate suicide.”
He continued: “In particular, we reflect of the issue of mental illness, the stigma which tends to surround it and the resources which are available to those who suffer from it, as well the need for the promotion of positive mental health in our society.”
The prelate underlined the “support that the professional services can bring to those who suffer,” and expressed the bishops’ desire to “reduce the stigma so often associated with mental illness, depression and suicide.”
He affirmed his hope that this day “will help raise awareness of the vital role played by families and a supportive parish community in sustaining those who may be struggling to cope.”
The bishop stated: “Life matters. It is commonly accepted that those who die by suicide don’t want to die; they simply wish to end their pain.
“Suicide prevention is, therefore, a duty of everyone in our society. In this area we need to be particularly concerned for other people and sensitive to their difficulties.”
You can read the pastoral letter for more.