PCS 299-305: Rite of Penance for the Sick and Dying

The PCS has one appendix. It deals with the Rite of Reconciliation of Individual Penitents.

299. This form for celebrating the sacrament of penance is for use when it is necessary in the following cases: during communion of the sick; during the celebration of anointing; during the celebration of viaticum. As far as possible, the indications contained in the pastoral notes preceding these rites should be observed.

In other words, adaptations are largely accomplished here. The basic outline includes:

PCS 300: Invitation to Trust
301: Revelation of State of Life
302: Confession
303: Acceptance of Satisfaction
304: Penitent’s Prayer of Sorrow
305: Absolution


The invitation to trust reads like an extended ritual greeting. Here’s option C:

The Lord does not wish the sinner to die but to turn back to him and live. Come before him with trust in his mercy. R. Amen.

The revelation of the state in life is known to most Catholics as the preface before the confession: how long has it been, particular difficulties, and “anything else which may help the priest to exercise his ministry.”

The Confession is preceded by a general formula like the Confiteor or something similar “where it is the custom.” As we’ve read before a “generic” confession may be judged sufficient by the confessor.

What sort of act of satisfaction might be given a sick or dying person? The rite explains a bit:

This act of penance may suitably take the form of prayer, self-denial, and especially the uniting of sufferings with those of Christ for the salvation of the world. This will underline the fact that sins and their forgiveness have a social aspect, and will emphasize the important role the sick have in praying with and for the rest of the community. 

#304 refers to the penitent’s act of contrition. The rite gives two options I’ve never seen memorized before. Each is well-soaked with Scriptural references: Peter’s denial and forgiveness, the prodigal son, the repentatn thief.

In giving absolution, the priest is cautioned about not permitting the gesture of extending his hand to be confused with the ritual acts in the sacrament of anointing. And that finishes up the Pastoral Care rites. I may take a day or two to reflect and offer some final comments. Meanwhile, the floor is all yours.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, 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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