Re: Suicide ... a sin!

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Posted by Kathy S on August 10, 1998 at 18:48:15:

In Reply to: Re: Suicide ... a sin! posted by Elaine on August 10, 1998 at 16:12:09:

: ": I attended Catholic schools for 12 years, and it was repeatedly drummed into us that a woman must not submit to a man, outside of marriage. It was considered a wondrous thing to die rather than lose one's virginity, especially in the face of rape. The Church is loaded with virgin martyrs.(I hope they're still not teaching that to the kids)."

: Whoa!!!!! Kathy, hold on here. You are seriously mistating Catholic teaching. Up to now this discussion has remained within the realm of emotional and physical planes (pun?), but since you are bringing a religious aspect to it, which is possible, let's be careful about the facts.
: First of all, the Church did not, does not, and will not teach that is a "wondrous thing to die than to lose one's virginity" ... especially not within the context you have presented. What you are referring to when you say "submit to a man" is the Church's teaching against pre-marital sex (man or woman). And the virgin martyrs? These are women who died virgins, young and old, by various ways. But not ONE committed suicide!!!! Some just died. Some were MURDERED. But none killed themselves. The Church
: would hardly exalt them as martyrs had they done so.

: ": I think this was a common notion among many Christian women of days gone by, not just Catholics."

: I think this was a common notion among many women, Christian or not. It's a dread that many women feel, even today, and has nothing to do with spiritual teaching, but everything to do with emotional repulsion.

: ": When Hawkeye told Cora to submit, I think he was telling her to disregard that kind of thinking. Today, that is something most of us would not have to be told. He was adamant in his plea and reassurance that he would find her. He was making sure she knew he wanted her back no matter what. Even today, in our enlightened times" some men have trouble coping with the rape of a loved one."

: Hawkeye was telling her TO BE STRONG! No matter what happens, submit, and survive. He wasn't saying disregard "silly religious teachings, Babe ... you've come a long way!" He was giving her hope and support to persevere. (Note that he didn't advise jumping as an option.)

: ": Alice may have believed jumping was the only way to avoid being raped."

: Alice wasn't even THINKING, let alone anticipating rape. And, Kathy, you yourself said she "knew death was imminent" and that Magua was about to kill and torture her (which I disagree with totally). She hadn't a clue what was to become of her, she only knew whatever it was, she didn't want to face it.

: "Who knows? Rape must have been one of the things she feared. I think it is worth considering. LOTM is a story set in another time, and the morals were different. It follows that some of the solutions to moral dilemmas might seem odd, as well. She may not have believed she was as much taking her own life, as saving her soul. I know this may sound nutty to some, but we spent years discussing just such moral dilemmas in my religion classes."

: Again, I doubt very much that Alice was thinking of rape. I don't think she was thinking of much at all other than she didn't have the strength or will to go on. And there's no way, if she was thinking within a framework of moral dilemma that she could have concluded that she was saving her soul.

: Alice's background would have been Anglican/Presbyterian. Catholic teaching regarding suicide, sin, rape, etc. wouldn't have been
: an influence even if Alice was reflecting upon religious tenets.

: Interesting points, however, Kathy. Now aren't YOU glad you encouraged us to post!!!! :)

: Elaine

Dear Elaine,
Glad to have you back on my back!

And I stand by what I said. Dying to protect one's virginity is considered a ticket straight to heaven, by the Catholic Church. Suicide is a ticket straight to hell. I know the rules. (Although, I just heard a priest say on tv that the attitude about suicide and hell is changing in view of medical research on depression.) And Whoa....hold on, yourself. I don't know where you think I said the Catholic Church advocated suicide in the face of rape. I did NOT state that at all. You read it wrong. I said Alice might consider suicide in that context, and even be able to justify it in her own mind. Anyway, a moral dilemma could arise here, for someone who was confused. It wouldn't be the first time a person had to choose between evils.

I know Alice was not a Catholic, and said that I believed the idea that it was worthy to die rather than submit was not a strictly Catholic one. I think it bears pointing out that the Catholic and Anglican Churches were very similar at one time. The big difference originally was pertaining to the issue of Papal authority. Henry VIII started the Church of England only because the pope would not give him a dispensation to divorce and remarry. But for a long time after, the two churches were otherwise quite alike. So she could have been influenced by tenets which had their roots in the Catholic Church. Besides we don't know what Alice believed in the religious sense, whatever her religious affiliation.

I only brought all this up because virgin martyrdom is what I was taught, but had competely forgotten about. Can't help it if you don't buy it. That doesn't make it untrue. I repeat, I never said the Catholic Church ecouraged suicide as a means to avoid rape.

You said, "I doubt Alice was thinking of rape", "I don't think she was thinking of much at all". These comments are valid as opinions, but can't be used to prove or disprove anything. So anything and everything is possible. You believe she was vacant and unable to think, I believe she was overwhelmed with ideas and thoughts. Just something to mull over. I'm open to new theories about everything.

Yes, I am glad you are back.

Kathy S

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