PCS 13-15: Asking, Plus Two Other Considerations

Liam is right in the comments on PCS 8-12: Catholics should learn and know to ask for anointing for mental illness as well as physical. Anointing recovering addicts should be a standard practice.

13 In public and private catechesis, the faithful should be educated to ask for the sacrament of anointing and, as soon as the right time comes, to receive it with full faith and devotion. They should not follow the wrongful practice of delaying the reception of the sacrament. All who care for the sick should be taught the meaning and purpose of the sacrament.

One delay I frequently see is delaying anointing until after surgery.

14 The sacrament of anointing may be conferred upon sick people who, although they have lost consciousness or the use of reason, would, as Christian believers, probably have asked for it were they in control of their faculties. (See Codex Juris Canonici (CIC), can. 1006)

This would include people who are comatose or otherwise impaired.

15 When a priest has been called to attend those who are already dead, he should not administer the sacrament of anointing. Instead, he should pray for them, asking that God forgive their sins and graciously receive them into the kingdom. But if the priest is doubtful whether the sick person is dead, he may give the sacrament conditionally (no. 269). (See ibid., can. 1005)

While the sacraments are not intended for the dead, there is a need for a pastoral sensitivity to mourners who have likely witnessed the death of a loved one and expect the priest to provide consolation and support.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Pastoral Care of the Sick, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

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