Posted by Laura W on June 28, 1998 at 15:15:04:
In response to a little further note..., written by P. Bingham on June 09, 1998 at 23:26:30
] ] Also, please remember that suicice in Jane Austen's time was a very, very, serious thing, even more serious than now.Not only was it against the teachings of the church, but also, I think, it was a criminal act. A successful suicideee would be regarded as a criminal by society.]
] And so they were buried in separate cemetaries.
Not just separate cemeteries. Because they had committed the mortal sins of despair and murder, they were excommunicated, and therefore could not be buried in consecrated ground. So they were buried in a place that was specifically not consecrated, i.e., apart from the rest of the churchyard. This practice continued well into this century, although the current philosophy is that since we have no way of knowing if the person repented before dying, we give them the benefit of the doubt and provide a Christian burial, exercising forgiveness over righteousness (a notion foreign to people like Mr. Collins).
Also, I am not sure but I think that the criminal nature of the act of suicide meant that the unsuccessful suicidee was regarded as a criminal. Attempted murder.
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