URGENT PRAYER REQUEST: For a priest who committed suicide.

We kick ourselves – after – for not having done anything when – before – we saw signs that something was wrong.  No?

Priests can tend to be “alpha wolves”.   They can be pretty hard to read.

From a priest friend, Fr. Byers:

Hello Father,

Hope all is going well with you.

A close priest friend just committed suicide. A prayer for the repose of his soul, please.


We are all so terribly, terribly fragile. We have no idea.

A note about him on my blog. A good soul.

Prayers and blessings. Always in solidarity.

Dear readers, whether you like this blog or hate this blog, please pray for the soul of that poor priest. Perhaps, in your goodness, you could pray for him everyday for an octave of days, begging God’s mercy, and praying also for priests in distress. Priestly life can seem overwhelming and – never forget – the Enemy of the Soul hates priests will relentless demonic malice.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Supertradmum says:

    One of my mother’s friends who was a priest did the same thing several years ago. I know the pain of this close at hand. I shall try and do a plenary indulgence for him tomorrow. God protect all priests, who are on the front lines.

  2. LisaP. says:

    I’m so sorry, yes, we’ll pray.

  3. lucy says:

    Will pray for him daily.

  4. AnnAsher says:

    Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord. I will pray an octave for him.

  5. RichR says:

    A reminder to all to examine their consciences as to whether or not they’ve been supportive of their priests, both in prayer and action. Personally, I think I’d have a nervous breakdown if I was a priest. They receive so many graces. The crown that awaits a faithful priest must be one of the most glorious sights in Heaven next to the Trinity.

  6. Bryan Boyle says:

    But of course, Father. Saw this before my mid-day prayer…and will beg for mercy on his soul.

  7. Philangelus says:

    May God in His unfathomable Mercy enfold this soul in His arms and allow him to finish shedding his tears. May perpetual light shine upon him.

  8. Laura98 says:

    I’m so sorry Father… none of us know what others suffer (except Our Lord). I will of course pray for his soul.

  9. Gregg the Obscure says:

    For this ugly circumstance, a most beautiful prayer:
    MEMORARE, O piissima Virgo Maria, non esse auditum a saeculo, quemquam ad tua currentem praesidia, tua implorantem auxilia, tua petentem suffragia, esse derelictum. Ego tali animatus confidentia, ad te, Virgo Virginum, Mater, curro, ad te venio, coram te gemens peccator assisto.
    Noli, Mater Verbi, verba mea despicere; sed audi propitia et exaudi.

  10. Centristian says:

    Yeah, well, I mean I’m surprised we don’t read that more priests lose it and end up doing this, to be honest. They’re priests, after all, in world that insists that nothing that they stand for or have sacrificed the “good life” for is real; that it’s all just a lie, a series of myths, residue from an unenlightened era that will soon be shown for the oppressive and anti-progressive hateful mind-controlling bilge that it all is. They’ve simply been unwitting proponents of a wicked fairy tale designed to rob men of their joy. And it doesn’t help matters that the heirarchs and clergy of the Church, itself, cannot seem to get their stories straight any longer. We’ve got priests and nuns who abuse kids and say that masturbation is awesome, on the one hand…and we have bishops who punish priests for protecting the Blessed Sacrament, on the other. It’s easy to lose sight of the many unsung good souls who aren’t screwing around, and whose examples would encourage us, if only those stories were given as much coverage as the awful stories.

    It’s difficult enough for the Catholic in the pew and in the world to juggle all of it and keep the faith (and his sanity) in this world that dumps tons and tons of “evidence” against what we believe in on top of us and which drowns us in a sensory overload that demonstrates to us every moment of every day the joys of the flesh and the material world that we’re stupidly depriving ourselves of for the sake of what we believe in…which is all a just a terrible lie wickedly composed by sadistic power-hungry liars who delight in making us all miserable.

    It occurs to me that, in light of all these almost absurdly enormous challenges we Christians are faced with today, God is probably not going to expend his wrath on a poor confused soul like this poor priest who got himself completely twisted up by a relentlessly punishing church and world scenario. I would have to believe that mercy, not wrath, would be the first instinct of a Father who loves mankind (especially those few men who are actually trying to please Him) towards such a man as this. I’ll certainly remember him in my prayers, however. The poor man.

  11. cpf says:

    Prayers promised. It is especially painful for priests to read of the suffering of one of their brothers, particularly in a case such as this. I will remember him at Mass and in the Office.

    Requiescat in pace. Cor Iesu: miserere!

  12. chantgirl says:

    May Blessed Fr. Sopocko, confessor to St. Faustina, intercede for tormented priests. Sadly, this is one of several priest suicides I have heard of in the last couple years. I will pray for his soul and the souls of those who are driven to doubt when a priest loses hope. Jesus, Mercy!

  13. I will add this priest to my daily Divine Mercy Chaplet and prayers for the dearly departed.

  14. Mariana says:

    Of course. So very sorry!

  15. pfreddys says:

    Just reading this post made tears come up in my eyes! There is no one more opposed to suicide than me, I have always said that it is far more respectful to reality to take out other people than to take your own life. That being said, I also appreciate the despiration that can bring a person to do this. My prayer is that he was hopelessly insane and completely not responsible for his actions, PLEASE let that be the case; in which case I will ask him to pray for me.

  16. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Praying. My Jesus, mercy!

  17. MouseTemplar says:

    Oh. Dear. God.

    I have a weekly adoration hour on Thurdsays which I offer up for priests. This evening I will dedicate it to this dear soul.

    I want to cry right here at work. But I know Mercy trumps Justice every time.

  18. APX says:

    I will, to the best of my ability, offer up the plenary indulgence I was going to get for myself this weekend attending my friend’s first Mass.

  19. Indulgentiam says:

    Fr. Wolf FSSP during a homily spoke of a Saint, whose name I can’t recall just now, who relates the story of a suicidal soul as revealed to him/her by Our Lady. It seems this poor man jumped off a bridge. Between the bridge and the water he was saved b/c of a particular devotion he had to Our Lady. We will offer many prayers for the soul of this Priest in addition to our daily prayers for all Priests.
    Requiescat in pace. Cor Iesu: miserere.

  20. jameeka says:

    We are all human beings, even priests, and even Jesus Christ when He walked the earth. It is a gift to even be able to “see through a glass, darkly”.
    Pray for priests.

  21. timelord says:

    A dear priest friend of mine also took his life. He was only ordained five years and was still young himself. He was plagued with the most persistent types of clinical depression. He came from a devout and happy family. Despite therapy and treatment, medication, etc., he was tormented with periods of extreme darkness which clouded his mind and emotions with such profound sadness, words fail to properly describe. Every priest and layperson who knew him are convinced he did not of his own free will and deliberation embrace despair. It was involuntary but that did not take away its powerful grip on his mind and heart. One moment he could be happy and content, and in less than a few minutes, hours, days or weeks, he could plunge into the dark abyss with no provocation whatsoever. Mental illness is so misunderstood even in our high tech and very sophisticated medical age we live. I see many tormented and tortured souls who battle daily with depression, anxiety, bi-polar and schizophrenia yet they have moments, even long periods of time, where they are as normal and as calm as anyone else. This is why Holy Mother Church gives the benefit of the doubt to suicide victims and no longer denies them a Catholic burial unless there is moral and metaphysical certitude the person took their life and was in complete possession of all their faculties. An example would be a terrorist who blows himself up in order to kill innocent bystanders. That person is a murderer and is also guilty of suicide. In most suicide cases, the victim is precisely that, a victim of mental illness. Mortal sin requires deliberate consent and full knowledge as well as grave matter. Taking your own life is grave matter but someone with clinical depression lacks the requisite freedom for it to be mortal sin. A criminal who takes his own life rather than surrender to police and go to jail knows what he is doing and freely commits the act. Some veterans from war are plagued by post traumatic stress syndrome which can throw them into despair. Terminal illness like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s can cloud someone’s judgment so that it is difficult for them to judge moral acts properly or to give sufficient consent. That is why assisted suicide and euthanasia are never permitted and always considered mortal sins. People in full control of their mental capacities cannot indulge the weaknesses of those battling mental and/or physical illness.

    I also buried a young man my first assignment as a parochial vicar who took his own life in his parent’s home. I saw him two days before at a New Years party and he appeared happy and content. He did not show classical signs of depression and he left no suicide note. There was no reason for his sadness or his desperate action, yet it happened nonetheless. When my priest friend did the same thing, I realized how prolific mental illness truly is and how powerful a force is depression. You just don’t snap out of it and one does not wake up one morning and freely choose to be so sad. It is involuntary and warrants our prayers and vigilance for those who are susceptible.

    I will offer a Mass for that poor priest and ask the Good Lord and His Holy Mother to shower divine mercy on his tormented soul and beg he finally have rest. At the same time, I will continue to admonish my parishioners and the general public that we need to stay sober and alert at all times, keeping an eye on ourselves and on others.

  22. Bea says:

    Memorare going up for this suffering priest and all priests who suffer at the hands of the laity.
    Will pray for them during this Fortnight 4 Freedom. That they may be freed from oppressive thoughts and continue the brave fight in the knowledge of God’s Love for them and their own love of God’s Truth.

    I think it was the Curé of Ars who approached a sorrowing widow and told her that it had been revealed to him that her husband had repented before he hit the water. It was his joining his wife occasionally in saying the rosary, that saved his soul.

    Another thing I remember Fr. P. Wolfe FSSP saying is: “When you’re getting flack, you know you’re over the target”
    May our priests rejoice when they get flack because they know they are doing a good job of reaching someone with the Truth.

  23. irishgirl says:

    Oh, this is so sad….
    Just sent up an Ave for the soul of this priest, asking Our Lady to take care of him and not have the taking of his own life be held against him. A priest is, after all, a spiritual son of Mary.
    Be merciful, O Lord, be merciful to him!

  24. irishgirl says:

    @ timelord: I forgot to let you know yesterday; I’m sorry to read about the suicide of your priest friend. Please accept my condolences. How awful for you….and he was still so new in his priesthood…only five years’ ordained….
    This morning when I offered my extra Hail Marys at the end of my Rosary, I added the intention, ‘For the souls of priests who have taken their lives by suicide’. It’s the least I can do….may Our Lord have mercy on them in their sufferings….

  25. St. Epaphras says:

    timelord: I just saw your comment. Thank you a million times for what you said re. mental and emotional illnesses. Yes!! These conditions are very misunderstood by many, and they do sometimes come and go. People can judge others harshly because they have absolutely no idea the degree of outright PAIN those with various mental or emotional conditions (including severe depression, which most of us know something about) are going through. Maybe it becomes so intense and disturbs their minds so much that they will do anything — out of desperation — just to put a stop to that pain. In such a case someone is not acting from a sound mind.

    Reading about these poor priests and their sufferings reminds me to pray — and do it much more often — for those who are in a bad way mentally, because we often don’t know who they are. Especially a priest would probably try hard not to show things are wrong on the inside. (I don’t know this, just guessing.) Plus priests are all targets of the enemy already. Lord, have mercy.

  26. Kathleen10 says:

    Along with everyone else Fr. Z., please accept my most sincere condolences. How terribly, terribly sad. I read your friend’s blog about this poor young priest, and how clear what an exemplary human being he was! My favorite kind of people are those who demonstrate great loyalty and fidelity even when it is not convenient, and this poor priest had those very admirable qualities. The kind of person I’d like to know! I feel great “sympatico” seeing that he defended truth, despite that always and everywhere leaving you an outsider, the most likely social side-effect. It hurts. It is lonely making.
    No one knows the mind of God, but suffering a neurodegenerative disease…no one but He knows the accompanying torment of that situation…it’s horrific to even contemplate.
    The people left behind have their own problems when a friend takes his or her life.
    I have regrets of my own to share Fr., because when someone commits suicide it is so painful.
    In graduate school, 14 years ago, a much younger student, a young classroom friend, brought me out of a class to tell me she had been diagnosed with a lung disease so terrible she was now suddenly taking 18 pills per day. She would have to have a lung transplant. I tried to comfort her, but I did not keep track of her daily, or even less often. I had a child in college, worked full time, went to school full time, and drove home every weekend to a neighbor state to see my Mom and family. But knowing all that doesn’t help sometimes. My young friend committed suicide. She was beautiful, only about 20 years old.
    How I do wish I had done more, but I’m sure every one of her family members and friends feel the same.
    We can’t know what even dear friends are contemplating. The loving, merciful Jesus in His compassion knows exactly how frightening a life-threatening disease is. If we, given our tiny hearts, would feel compassion and loving sympathy, and long to provide comfort and gentle love, His care would be far, far more. Jesus, we claim your mercy for our departed friend, because of your loving and sacred heart.
    I’m heartily sorry for your loss, Fr. Z.

  27. Kathleen10 says:

    Of course, I wrote this last night, and during the night realized that my dates are off. We were in undergraduate school, and that makes it 15 or so years ago. I think about her even more now though. You know, there’s so much change between 30ish and 50ish! It isn’t just teenagers who change. I think we love even more as we get older. I knew so little at 30.

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