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Frequently Asked Questions
regarding
HUNGER STRIKES.

Q. 1. What is the teaching of the Catholic Church on the matter of hunger strikes?

A. 1. Hunger strikes fall into two categories. There are those who refrain from eating for a few days and then there are those who refrain from eating, in protest, until a certain demand is obtained or he dies from the hunger strike, whichever comes first.

The Catholic Church has no teaching against those who peacefully protest against a certain cause for a few days by going on a hunger strike, providing such a behaviour does not damage the person's health.

If the hunger strike is for the purpose of committing suicide if one's demand is not obtained, the Catholic Church condemns such a suicidal behaviour.

On the subject of suicide, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

C.C.C. # 2280 "Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of."

C.C.C. # 2281 "Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God."

To commit suicide through a hunger strike is a mortal sin that leads to eternal damnation. So are similar actions such as those of the suicide bombers and the Japanese kamikaze. Their actions are those of mass murderers.



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