. . .if no one has a private right to kill even a guilty man (and no law allows this), then certainly anyone who kills himself is a murderer, and is the more guilty in killing himself the more innocent he is of the charge on which he has condemned himself to death.  We rightly abominate the act of Judas, and the judgment of truth is that, when he hanged himself, he did not atone for the guilt of his detestable betrayal, but rather increased it, since he despaired of God’s mercy and, in a fit of self-destructive remorse, left himself no chance of a saving repentance.  How much less right has anyone to indulge in self-slaughter when he can find in himself no fault to justify such a punishment!  For, when Judas killed himself, he killed a criminal, and yet he ended his life guilty not only of Christ’s death, but also of his own.  One crime led to another.  Why should a man who has done no wrong do wrong to himself?  Why should he kill the innocent in putting himself to death to prevent a guilty man from doing it?  Why should he commit a sin against himself to deprive someone else of the chance? – Augustine (354-430), from On the City of God Against the Pagans (413-427), excerpted from 1.17 (in Henry Bettenson’s translation)


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