With section 97 of the rites of Pastoral Care, we arrive at Chapter IV, the particular introduction to the sacrament of anointing. Let’s read, then discuss if you wish:
The sacrament of anointing is the proper sacrament for those Christians whose health is seriously impaired by sickness or old age. It may be celebrated in the home, in a hospital or institution, or in church. This chapter contains three rites for use in these varying circumstances: anointing outside Mass, anointing within Mass, and anointing in a hospital or institution. Several sick persons may be anointed within the rite, especially if the celebration takes place in a church or hospital. While the sacrament will be celebrated more frequently outside Mass, the celebration may also take place within Mass.
Commentary: As we read in the general introduction of the PCS, a serious impairment of health is the basic requirement for anointing. The rite foresees a necessary adaptability for a number of possible settings for the celebration of the sacrament. We’ll look at the three rites and their different expectations in future posts. The post-conciliar innovation, as it were, is the combination of anointing with the celebration of Mass. In some parishes, that happens fairly regularly. Is this connection between the Eucharist and anointing “forced?” Is it a pragmatic exercise? (If the priest is here already to anoint, he may as well just say Mass.) Or does the combination really work for those who have experienced it?