And the Lord spoke all these words:
I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Thou shalt not have strange gods before me.
Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them: I am the Lord thy God, mighty, jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me: And shewing mercy unto thousands to them that love me, and keep my commandments. (Deuteronomy)
A recent report by the World Health Organization states that one person takes his own life every 40 seconds, meaning that an average of 800,000 individuals die by suicide every year. And while rates have fallen internationally by nearly 10 percent, suicide rates in the Americas rose by 6 percent between 2010 and 2016.
Their prescription? With more people dying annually by suicide than by war, homicide, malaria, and breast cancer, WHO officials are now urging governments to adopt more suicide prevention programs to help people cope with the stress they regard as its cause. They also advocate reducing access to guns and drugs which, along with hanging, are the most common methods of suicide.
“Suicide is a global public health issue,” intoned the WHO report which also reported a sharp rise in suicide among young people between 15 and 29. Among teenage girls 15 to 19 suicide is the second biggest killer after unspecified “maternal conditions,” while among teenage boys, suicide ranked third behind road injury and interpersonal violence.
Suicides are surging in the U.S. as well. A new study suggests that between 1999 and 2016, 453,577 Americans died by suicide – and that 20 percent of those died in the last three years alone. Which means that in less than 20 years, suicides in the U.S. have jumped by 40 percent, according to Ohio State University researchers.
Meanwhile in Canada, an average of 10 people take their lives every day. And of the approximate 4,000 suicides annually, more than 90 percent have been living with mental illness or another health problem. Among children, suicide is the second leading cause of death with males accounting for 41 percent of deaths among 10-14 year olds, increasing to 70 percent of 15-19 year olds. Among young adults aged 20-29, suicide is the second leading cause of death, with males accounting for 75 percent. In addition, for every death, there are 5-self inflicted hospitalizations and 25-20 attempts.
Such findings are consistent with recent British national statistics which indicate that the number of young people dying by suicide in Britain is now at a record high. Among females aged between 10 and 24, the number soared by 83 percent from 2013 to 2018 while the rate for boys in the same age group jumped by a quarter between 2017 and 2018, marking an overall increase of 11 percent in a single year. Nor are the rocketing numbers restricted to young people. The latest UK statistics show that the highest suicide rate in 2018 was among 45-49 year olds who accounted for three-quarters of all suicides for a total of 4,903 deaths in that category alone.
To all these statistics, the bureaucratic response has been predictable, not to say anemic. Tom Madders of the UK charity, YoungMinds, said the reported rise in suicides among young people was “concerning” and that a new government strategy was needed to look into the factors fuelling the crisis in young people’s mental health. There has been “some much-needed investment in NHS mental health services,” he said, but “we need much more action to ensure young people can get early help, long before they reach crisis point.”
That sentiment was echoed by Samaritans’ chief executive Ruth Sutherland: “Whilst the overall rise has only been seen this year – and we hope it is not the start of a longer-term trend – it’s crucial to have a better understanding of why there has been such an increase. We know that suicide is not inevitable; it is preventable, and encouraging steps have been made to prevent suicide, but we need to look at suicide as a serious public health issue.”
The true causes
As for the true causes, well, just as predictably no one wants to go there. No one wants to ask politically incorrect questions about the cultural and personal destruction that a century of Leftist revolution has wrought across the West and all the spiritual starvation thereof.
No, WHO and all the ‘helping’ organizations, along with their empty toolboxes of bromides and superficial solutions, would rather blame the methods of suicide – such as guns, drugs and even the widespread use of pesticides (I’m not making this up) – for the onslaught of despair and its myriad symptoms of which suicide is only one.
The international opioid-heroin crisis is another warning light which has seen deaths from drug overdoses triple since 2000, making it an epidemic rivalling HIV-Aids at its peak. Ditto for the international push for euthanasia – aka ‘assisted suicide’ – another false and spiritually lethal ‘solution’ to the pain of a spiritually starved life, which is often romanticized and cloaked in such deceitful phrases as ‘death with dignity’ while simultaneously transforming physicians from healers into murderers.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, suicide is a grave evil, though personal responsibility for it can be greatly diminished by factors such as psychological disturbance and fear of suffering. Nor does the Church despair of the salvation of those who take their lives but prays for them, knowing that God may lead people to repentance at any time in ways known to Him alone.
A Civilizational Shift?
Nevertheless, the dramatic rise in suicide and its often related mental illness is grim evidence that a huge civilizational shift is currently underway, a shift every bit as massive as those triggered by the sudden arrivals of the Black Death and bubonic plagues of the Middle Ages.
Emile Durkheim, the father of modern sociology, observed that when the suicide rate soars, this is always a signal that the affected societies are hitting a civilizational break. A major turning point.
What’s missing here, however, amidst all the high-minded rhetoric surrounding these latest deadly statistics, is their real cause. And the consequences that follow that cause as night follows day.
In a phrase, the real cause is this: Remove God – and His order-producing laws – from the public square, from the home, from the educational systems and from the day-to-day culture in general and this is what you get. Remove God and death follows inexorably. And in every possible way. The only surprise is that anyone is still surprised that families break down and depression and general wretchedness ensues as a direct result of the private and public denial of God as the Alpha and Omega that He is, and as the Creator of all life and all order. And that anyone is still surprised by the carnival of false gods such denial invariably produces along with all the false promises. Just like the serpent’s promise to Adam and Eve in Genesis: “Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil!”
Oh, but that’s so simplistic, the human psyche is far more complicated than that, many will argue. Is it? Is it really?
Oh, but we know so much more now than in biblical times, they’ll also argue. Yes, as far as the technical secrets of God’s fabulously intricate universe goes. But when it comes to the nature of man himself, all of history indicates that his nature has not evolved at all; he is as he always was – from Plautus to Shakespeare to the present day – as hungry for God as ever, while simultaneously denying His very existence.
The entire universe should be laughing out loud at such folly, were it not so pathetic. Even worse are the results of such ongoing denial, which are referred to repeatedly throughout Holy Scripture: “The fool hath said in his heart: There is no God, They are corrupt, and are become abominable in their ways: there is none that does good, no not one.” Psalm 14: 1.
And from Hosea 4:6: ‘My people perish for lack of knowledge.”
Yet the folly persists. And destruction and death continues. Death by spiritual starvation –regardless of where it occurs – in wealthy neighbourhoods and in impoverished ghettos.
Deprive human beings of that God-created space where He is to reside – aka the human soul – and eventually they go crazy with a spiritual illness no psychiatrist can heal. Or they’ll try to fill that yearning space with the temporary relief of drugs and then end wandering the streets homeless as their bodies break down under the strain of addiction and the chaos of street life where diseases such as typhus are now making a comeback. Or they’ll try to fill that empty space with worldly distractions which may satisfy for a time but never ultimately. Or by filling it with ideology. Or they may even try to escape the spiritual vacuum in their souls, and its maddening loneliness, by filling it with demons. Hence the rise of witchcraft, pantheism, paganism, occultism and Satanism in the West and the general turning away from Christianity towards atheism.
“Where is my Lord?”
Thus, today’s macrocosm – as reflected in the broader society and its unintended commitment to civilizational breakdown – is being mirrored in the microcosm where the individual – the false religion of self-worship having failed him – is also breaking down. A breakdown without remedy since the only remedy – God – has been rejected, discarded or reduced to a self-soothing pseudo-religion so soft as to be worthless.
“Where is my Lord?” asked a weeping Mary Magdalen when she went looking for the body of Jesus after His burial. And now the souls of untold millions are asking the same question, albeit silently and often in anguish as cannabis is smoked and limbs are injected with ever more numbing drugs. Where is my Lord?
Answer: He’s been despised and rejected and now ignored and discarded altogether.
So no surprise either that the resulting vacuum of godlessness is about to be filled in a very big way – as per Durkheim’s dictum – by a whole new wave of Socialism, the logical totalitarian tyranny that results when societies fall apart and a new generation of youth embraces the very atheistic ideology that will enslave them as surely as the Jews were enslaved in Egypt and oblivious to the fact that as the ruling Elite continue to follow their program of implementing a communist model to orchestrate the downfall of Western civilization, most remain oblivious as the western world once known as Christendom nears the point of no return.
Elites empowered by ignorance
Which is why for the reigning Elites, it is critical that upcoming generations, including millennials, remain ignorant of Jesus Christ and the Sacred Scriptures. And ignorant of the fact they are unknowingly involved in a war “against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places,” as St. Paul describes our enemies. And that these upcoming generations remain unaware of their critical need for the armour of God and the weaponry they need to fight the very spiritual wars destroying their world and so many souls inhabiting it.
So, given Hosea’s warning that his people perish in their ignorance, what hope is there for the spiritually ignorant without the Sacraments, without the intercession of the Communion of Saints, without daily prayer and fasting and without the Rosary? When the enemy of all mankind is sin and the spiritual blindness it causes? And when the remedy is spiritual? Because, as St.Paul taught: Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against dark spiritual forces busily engaged in suppressing the truth about Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Literally.
Christ’s suppression is visible and deeply felt. And the resulting suffering is manifest around the world to the point of weeping. Just as Mary Magdalen was distraught when she couldn’t find Our Lord’s body after He was taken down from the cross where He was crucified for our sins.
She stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” John 20: 11-15.
A plea as soulful today as it was then.