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A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

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DEATH WISH

The conscious and deliberate desire to die. This desire for death may be lawful, unlawful, or lacking in moral perfection. It is lawful to desire death when the hope is inspired by a good motive, such as the desire for union with God in heaven. It is unlawful when animated by an evil motive, such as boredom or disgust with life. Such a desire, however, would rarely be a grave sin for lack of serious intention to carry the desire into effect. It is a lack of moral perfection to desire death when through sheer impatience one prefers to lose one's life rather than continue to endure the hardships that God sends to one.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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