IMPORTANT NOTICE: Due to medical reasons, please expect sporadic delays in all correspondence & services (including processing of posts) over the next few months. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for any prayers.


Please Bookmark This Site, Link To Us & Tell Your Friends!

My Catholic Source.com Christ the King of All Nations My Catholic Source.com My Catholic Source.com

My Catholic Source.com Home

Help

Join E-Mail List

Support This Site

Bookmark Site

Tell a Friend

Link to Us

FAQs

Feedback

By Using This Site, You Agree To All Terms

Search

 

Catechism of the Council of Trent

Return to Catechism/Council of Trent | Sacraments Sectn.

Extreme Unction

The Catechism of the Council of Trent On: 

  The Sacrament of Extreme Unction

Note: Various changes touching on the Sacraments were implemented in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, however it should be noted that the Church is unable to change items which are integral to the Sacraments. Further, it should be noted that traditional religious orders may continue to follow traditional practices. Also see 'Important Notice' below.


THE SACRAMENT OF EXTREME UNCTION

Importance of Instruction on Extreme Unction

Names of This Sacrament

Extreme Unction is a True Sacrament

Extreme Unction is But One Sacrament

Essential Parts of Extreme Unction

The Matter of Extreme Unction

The Form of Extreme Unction

The Ceremonies of Extreme Unction

Institution of Extreme Unction

The Subject of Extreme Unction

The Subject Must Be in Danger of Death

The Danger Must Arise From Sickness

The Person Anointed Must Have Attained the Use of Reason

Administration of Extreme Unction

Dispositions for the Reception of Extreme Unction

The Minister of Extreme Unction

The Effects of Extreme Unction

Admonition


THE SACRAMENT OF EXTREME UNCTION

Importance of Instruction on Extreme Unction

In all thy works, the Scriptures teach, remember thy last end, and thou shalt never sin, words which convey to the pastor a silent admonition to omit no opportunity of exhorting the faithful to constant meditation on death. The Sacrament of Extreme Unction, because inseparably associated with recollection of the day of death, should, it is obvious, form a subject of frequent instruction, not only because it is right to explain the mysteries of salvation, but also because death, the inevitable doom of all men, when recalled to the minds of the faithful, represses depraved passion. Thus shall they be less disturbed by the approach of death, and will pour forth their gratitude in endless praises to God, who has not only opened to us the way to true life in the Sacrament of Baptism, but has also instituted that of Extreme Unction, to afford us, when departing this mortal life, an easier way to heaven.

Names of This Sacrament

In explaining what is more necessary on this subject we shall follow almost the same order observed in the exposition of the other Sacraments. Hence we shall first show that this Sacrament is called Extreme Unction, because among all the unctions prescribed by our Lord to His Church, this is the last to be administered.

For this reason it was also called by our predecessors in the faith, the Sacrament of the anointing of the sick, and also the Sacrament of the dying, names which easily turn the minds of the faithful to the remembrance of that last hour.

Extreme Unction is a True Sacrament

That Extreme Unction is strictly speaking a Sacrament, is first to be explained; and this the words of St. James the Apostle, promulgating the law of this Sacrament, clearly establish. Is any man, he says, sick amongst you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick man; and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him. When the Apostle says that sins are forgiven, he ascribes to Extreme Unction the nature and efficacy of a Sacrament.

That such has been at all times the doctrine of the Catholic Church on Extreme Unction, many Councils testify, and the Council of Trent denounces anathema against all who presume to teach or think otherwise. Innocent I also recommends this Sacrament with great earnestness to the attention of the faithful.

Extreme Unction is But One Sacrament

Pastors, therefore, should teach that Extreme Unction is a true Sacrament, and that, although administered with many anointings, each given with a peculiar prayer, and under a peculiar form, it constitutes not many, but one Sacrament. It is one, however, not in the sense that it is composed of inseparable parts, but because each of the parts contributes to its perfection, as is the case with every object composed of many parts. As a house which consists of a great variety of parts derives its perfection from unity of plan, so is this Sacrament, although composed of many and different things and words, but one sign, and it effects only that one thing of which it is the sign.

Essential Parts of Extreme Unction

Pastors should also teach what are the component parts of this Sacrament, its matter and form. These St. James does not omit, and each is replete with its own peculiar mysteries.

The Matter of Extreme Unction

Its element, then, or matter, as defined by Councils, particularly by the Council of Trent, consists of oil consecrated by the Bishop. Not any kind of oil extracted from fatty or greasy substances, but olive oil alone (can be the matter of this Sacrament).

Thus its matter is most significant of what is inwardly effected in the soul by the Sacrament. Oil is very efficacious in soothing bodily pain, and the power of this Sacrament lessens the pain and anguish of the soul. Oil also restores health, brings joy, feeds light, and is very efficacious in refreshing bodily fatigue. All these effects signify what the divine power accomplishes in the sick man through the administration of this Sacrament. So much will suffice in explanation of the matter.

The Form of Extreme Unction

The form of the Sacrament is the word and solemn prayer which the priest uses at each anointing: By this Holy Unction may God pardon thee whatever sins thou hast committed by the evil use of sight, smell or touch.

That this is the true form of this Sacrament we learn from these words of St. James: Let them pray over him...and the prayer of faith shall save the sick man. Hence we can see that the form is to be applied by way of prayer. The Apostle does not say of what particular words that prayer is to consist; but this form has been handed down to us by the faithful tradition of the Fathers, so that all the Churches retain the form observed by the Church of Rome, the mother and mistress of all Churches. Some, it is true, alter a few words, as when for God pardon thee, they say (God) remit, or (God) spare, and sometimes, May (God) remedy all the evil thou hast committed. But as there is no change of meaning, it is clear that all religiously observe the same form.

It should not excite surprise that, while the form of each of the other Sacraments either absolutely signifies what it expresses, such as I baptize thee, or I Sign thee with the sign of the cross, or is pronounced, as it were, by way of command, as in administering Holy Orders, Receive power, the form of Extreme Unction alone is expressed by way of prayer. Wisely has it been so appointed. For since this Sacrament is administered not only for the spiritual grace which it bestows, but also for the recovery of health, which, however, is not always obtained, we therefore use a deprecative form, in order to implore of God's mercy what the virtue of the Sacrament does not always and uniformly effect.

The Ceremonies of Extreme Unction

In the administration of this Sacrament special rites are also used, consisting principally of prayers offered by the priest for the recovery of the sick person. There is no Sacrament, the administration of which is accompanied with more numerous prayers; and with good reason, for at that moment more than ever the faithful require the assistance of pious prayers. All who may be present, and especially the pastor, should pour out their fervent aspirations to God, and earnestly commend to His mercy the life and salvation of the sufferer.

Institution of Extreme Unction

Having thus proved that Extreme Unction is truly and properly to be numbered among the Sacraments, we rightly infer that it owes its institution to Christ our Lord. It was subsequently made known and promulgated to the faithful by the Apostle St. James.

Our Savior Himself, however, seems to have given some indication of it, when He sent His disciples two and two before Him; for the Evangelist informs us that going forth, they preached that all should do penance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them.

This anointing cannot be supposed to have been invented by the Apostles, but was commanded by our Lord. Nor did its power arise from any natural virtue. Its efficacy, we must believe, was mystical, having been instituted to heal the maladies of the soul, rather than to cure the diseases of the body. This is the doctrine taught by St. Denis, St. Ambrose, St. Chrysostom and St. Gregory the Great; so that it cannot be at all doubted that Extreme Unction is to be recognized and venerated as one of the seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church.

The Subject of Extreme Unction

But although instituted for the use of all, Extreme Unction is not to be administered indiscriminately to all.

The Subject Must Be in Danger of Death

In the first place, it is not to be administered to persons in sound health, according to these words of St. James: Is anyone sick amongst you? This is also proved by the fact that Extreme Unction was instituted as a remedy not only for the diseases of the soul, but also for those of the body. Now only the sick need a remedy, and therefore this Sacrament is to be administered to those only whose malady is such as to excite apprehensions of approaching death.

It is, however, a very grievous sin to defer the Holy Unction until, all hope of recovery being lost, life begins to ebb, and the sick person is fast verging into a state of insensibility. It is obvious that if the Sacrament is administered while consciousness and reason are yet unimpaired, and the mind is capable of eliciting acts of faith and of directing the will to sentiments of piety, a more abundant participation of its graces must be received. Though this heavenly medicine is in itself always salutary, pastors should be careful to apply it when its efficacy can be aided by the piety and devotion of the sick person.

The Danger Must Arise From Sickness

Extreme Unction, then, can be administered to no one who is not dangerously sick; not even to those who are in danger of death, as when they undertake a perilous voyage, or enter into battle with the sure prospect of death, or have been condemned to death and are on the way to execution.

The Person Anointed Must Have Attained the Use of Reason

Furthermore, all those who have not the use of reason are not fit subjects for this Sacrament; and likewise children who, having committed no sins, do not need the Sacrament as a remedy against the remains of sin. The same is true of [persons with profound mental retardation] and insane persons, unless they give indications in their lucid intervals of a disposition to piety, and express a desire to be anointed. To persons who from their birth never enjoyed the use of reason this Sacrament is not to be administered; but if a sick person, while in the possession of his faculties, expresses a wish to receive Extreme Unction and afterwards becomes delirious he is to be anointed.

Administration of Extreme Unction

The Sacred Unction is to be applied not to the entire body, but to the organs of sense only, - to the eyes, on account of sight; to the ears, on account of hearing; to the nostrils, on account of smell; to the mouth, on account of taste and speech; to the hands, on account of touch. The sense of touch, it is true, is diffused throughout the entire body, yet it is more developed in the hands.

This manner of administering Extreme Unction is observed throughout the universal Church, and is in keeping with the medicinal nature of the Sacrament. As in corporal disease, although the malady affects the entire body, yet the cure is applied to that part only which is the seat and origin of the disease; so likewise this Sacrament is applied not to the entire body, but to those members in which the power of sensation is most conspicuous, and also to the loins, which are, as it were, the seat of concupiscence, and to the feet, by which we move from one place to another.

Here it is to be observed that, during the same illness, and while the danger of dying continues the same, the sick person is to be anointed but once. Should he, however, recover after he has been anointed, he may receive the aid of this Sacrament as often as he shall have relapsed into the same danger of death. This Sacrament, therefore, is evidently to be numbered among those which may be repeated.

Dispositions for the Reception of Extreme Unction

As all care should be taken that nothing impede the grace of the Sacrament, and as nothing is more opposed to it than the consciousness of mortal guilt, the constant practice of the Catholic Church must be observed of administering the Sacrament of Penance and the Eucharist before Extreme Unction.

And next, let parish priests strive to persuade the sick person to receive this Sacrament from the priest with the same faith with which those of old who were to be healed by the Apostles used to present themselves. But the salvation of his soul is to be the first object of the sick man's wishes, and after that the health of the body, with this qualification, if it be for the good of his soul.

Nor should the faithful doubt that those holy and solemn prayers which are used by the priest, not in his own person, but in that of the Church and of our Lord Jesus Christ, are heard by God; and they are most particularly to be exhorted on this one point, to take care that the Sacrament of this most salutary oil be administered to them holily and religiously, when the sharper conflict seems at hand, and the energies of the mind as well as of the body appear to be failing.

The Minister of Extreme Unction

Who the minister of Extreme Unction is we learn from the same Apostle that promulgated the law of the Lord; for he says: Let him bring in the priests (presbyters). By which name, as the Council of Trent has well explained, he does not mean persons advanced in years, or of chief authority among the people, but priests who have been duly ordained by Bishops with the imposition of hands.

To the priest, therefore, has been committed the administration of this Sacrament; not, however, to every priest, as holy Church has decreed, but to the proper pastor who has jurisdiction, or to another authorized by him to discharge this office.

In this, however, as also in the administration of the other Sacraments, it is to be most distinctly remembered that the priest is the representative of Christ our Lord, and of His spouse, holy Church.

The Effects of Extreme Unction

The advantages we receive from this Sacrament are also to be accurately explained, so that if nothing else can allure the faithful to its reception, they may be induced at least by its utility; for we are naturally disposed to measure almost all things by our interests.

Pastors, therefore, should teach that by this Sacrament is imparted grace that remits sins, and especially lighter, or as they are commonly called, venial sins; for mortal sins are removed by the Sacrament of Penance. Extreme Unction was not instituted primarily for the remission of grave offences; only Baptism and Penance accomplish this directly.

Another advantage of the Sacred Unction is that it liberates the soul from the languor and infirmity which it contracted from sins, and from all the other remains of sin. The time most opportune for this cure is when we are afflicted with severe illness and danger to life impends, for it has been implanted in man by nature to dread no human visitation so much as death. This dread is greatly augmented by the recollection of our past sins, especially if our conscience accuses us of grave offences; for it is written: They shall come with fear at the thought of their sins, and their iniquities shall stand against them to convict them. Another source of vehement anguish is the anxious thought that we must soon afterwards stand before the judgment seat of God, who will pass on us a sentence of strictest justice according to our deserts. It often happens that, struck with this terror, the faithful feel themselves deeply agitated; and nothing conduces more to a tranquil death than to banish sadness, await with a joyous mind the coming of our Lord, and be ready willingly to surrender the deposit entrusted whenever it shall be His will to demand it back. To free the minds of the faithful from this solicitude, and fill the soul with pious and holy joy is, then, an effect of the Sacrament of Extreme Unction.

From it, moreover, we derive another advantage, which may justly be deemed the greatest of all. For although the enemy of the human race never ceases, while we live, to meditate our ruin and destruction, yet at no time does he more violently use every effort utterly to destroy us, and, if possible, deprive us of all hope of the divine mercy, than when he sees the last day of life approach. Therefore arms and strength are supplied to the faithful in this Sacrament to enable them to break the violence and impetuosity of the adversary, and to fight bravely against him; for the soul of the sick is relieved and encouraged by the hope of the divine goodness, strengthened by which it bears more lightly all the burdens of sickness, and eludes with greater ease the artifice and cunning of the devil who lies in wait for it.

Finally, the recovery of health, if indeed advantageous, is another effect of this Sacrament. And if in our days the sick obtain this effect less frequently, this is to be attributed, not to any defect of the Sacrament, but rather to the weaker faith of a great part of those who are anointed with the sacred oil, or by whom it is administered; for the Evangelist bears witness that the Lord wrought not many miracles among His own, because of their unbelief.

It may also be truly said at the Christian religion, since it has struck its roots more deeply in the minds of men, stands now less in need of the aids of such miracles than it did formerly, at the commencement of the rising Church. Nevertheless, faith should be strongly excited in this respect, and whatever it may please God in His wisdom to do with regard to the health of the body, the faithful ought to rely on a sure hope of attaining, by virtue of this sacred oil, health of the soul, and of experiencing, should the hour of their departure from life be at hand, the fruit of that glorious assurance: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.

Admonition

We have thus explained briefly the Sacrament of Extreme Unction. But if these points are developed by the pastor at greater length and with the care the subject demands, it is not to be doubted that the faithful will derive very great fruit of piety from his instruction.


Also See...

Anointing of the Sick / Extreme Unction (General Information)

Sickness / Extreme Unction (Topic Page)

Selections From the Baltimore Catechism - Q & A Format! 

Tip: Select "Display by Lesson", then select lesson number corresponding to Extreme Unction.

Extreme Unction / Anointing of the Sick Reflections

Extreme Unction / Anointing of the Sick (Topical Scripture)

Catholic Basics


Important Notice: Items herein are provided for informational purposes only and may not be comprehensive. Some items herein may be subject to variation / change. Translation / wording may vary. We may change wording, punctuation, capitalization, shorten items, etc. Certain items herein, if applicable, may be relaxed by the Church in danger of death or in other special cases. We make no guarantees regarding any item herein. We are not liable for any occurrence which may result from using this site. Use of site is at your own risk and is subject to our terms of use. Contact appropriate Church authorities for current information, additional detail, etc. By using this site you indicate agreement to all terms. For more terms information, click here.


By using this site you indicate agreement to all terms. For terms information, see "Important Notice" above and click here.

Help | Terms of UseOther FAQs

 

 

Also See...

* Sickness/Extreme Unction (Topic Page)

* Sacraments (Topic Page)

* Sin (Topic Page)

* Death (Topic Page)

* Grace (Topic Page)

 

MCS Directory

(click here)

"Your Source For All Things Catholic!"

Click for Listings from 'Advertising' to 'Wholesalers'

List Your Catholic Product or Catholic Service FREE! Other listings just $24.95/yr.!+

List Your Business+

Sales & Specials

(click here)

'Click to Save on Catholic & Non-Catholic Products and Services'

Place Your Ad+

Catholic Community Center 

Completely Free!

Announcements

Answered Prayers

Catholic Basics

Catholic Book Review & Exchange

Catholic Events

Catholic Fun & Activities

Catholic Life

Catholic Links

Catholic News Links / Current Issues

Catholic Seniors

Church Talk

Coming Home

Feed Your Faith

Give & Take

Good News

Increase Holiness

Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition

Mary Our Mother

Non-Catholics

Notable Catholic Laity

Our Father's Love

Personal Stories of Inspiration

Prayer Requests

Prayers & Devotions

Priests & Vocations

Rosary

Sacraments

Saints

Scripture/Parables

Scripture Exchange

St. Francis Page for Pets

Vatican View

Volunteers' Corner

Why I Love Being Catholic

Support Your Community Center

'Pin it'

'Tweet This Site'

Notice: Clicking links above

leaves this site

More Information

Problem With Link?

Click to Support Quality Catholic Content - FREE!

Click for Vatican Gifts Starting Under $5.00

Our Pledge To Donors

What Your Donation Might Do

About Us

Classifieds

(click here)

Place Your Ad Today For Just $9.95!+

Announcements

Catholic Buddies

Catholic Organizations / Groups

Catholic Products

Catholic Services

Employment / Occupational

For Sale

Professional Services / Trades

Miscellaneous

Other Products

Other Services

Wanted

More...

 

 

   

 

 

 

Home

MCS Daily Digest

Quick Guide to This Site

What's New

Reception Desk

Notices

Coming Soon

Featured Sections

URL Shortcuts

Calendar

Goals / Purpose

This site is really free?

How can I add a "post" here?

Mission Statement

Privacy Statement

Imprimatur Information

Terms of Use

by using this site, you agree to all terms

MCS Directory

Community Center

Commercial Areas

Non-Catholics

About Us

FAQs

Tell a Friend

Invite a Business

Link to Us

My Catholic Source.com Blog & RSS Feed Info.

Third Party Programs

Awards

Feedback

Contact Us

This site powered by bfsnet.com

 Powered by bfsnet.com

Try Here For Great Catholic Apps!

Catholic Bible References (Click For More Information)

Catholic Bible References - Available on the App Store (click to download)

Catholic Bible References for Android - Available on Google Play (click to download)

Catholic Bible References for Android - Available at Amazon Appstore for Android (click to download)

iStations / Stations of the Cross (Click For More Information)

iStations - Available on the App Store (click to download)

iStations for Android - Available on Google Play (click to download)

iStations for Android - Available at Amazon Appstore for Android (click to download)

Saints4U (Click For More Information)

Saints4U - Available on the App Store (click to download)

Saints4U for Android - Available on Google Play (click to download)

Saints4U for Android - Available at Amazon Appstore for Android (click to download)

And Other Great Apps...

Speedy Dial! (Click For More Information)

Speedy Dial! - Available on the App Store (click to download)

Speedy Dial! for Android - Available on Google Play (click to download)

Speedy Dial! for Android - Available at Amazon Appstore for Android (click to download)

Just Checkin' In (Click For More Information)

Just Checkin' In - Available on the App Store (click to download)

Just Checkin' In for Android - Available on Google Play (click to download)

Just Checkin' In for Android - Available at Amazon Appstore for Android (click to download)

 

  


Click to shop at Amazon.com in support of MyCatholicSource.com

Click to shop at Amazon.com in support of MyCatholicSource.com [Click this image for Amazon Search - 'Catholic statues'] Click to shop at Amazon.com in support of MyCatholicSource.com [Click this image for Amazon Search - 'Catholic jewelry medals'] Click to shop at Amazon.com in support of MyCatholicSource.com [Click this image for Amazon Search - 'Crucifix'] Click to shop at Amazon.com in support of MyCatholicSource.com [Click this image for Amazon Search - 'Rosary beads'] Click to shop at Amazon.com in support of MyCatholicSource.com [Click this image for Amazon Search - 'Catholic artwork'] Click to shop at Amazon.com in support of MyCatholicSource.com

Notice: Clicking image/links above leaves this site. We do not recommend any website/product/service/seller/etc.

Reminder: Available items may differ from those pictured above.

More Information | Problem With Link?


iStations / Stations of the Cross (Click For More Information)       Catholic Bible References (Click For More Information)       Saints4U (Click For More Information)       Speedy Dial! (Click For More Information)       Just Checkin' In (Click For More Information)

Try Here For Great Catholic Apps!

Click For Android Versions


Please bookmark this site and visit often! 

| Home | Help | Quick Guide | Reception Desk | About Us | Terms of Use | Our MissionWhat's New |

| FAQs | Notices | MCS Calendar | MCS Daily Digest | Topic Pages | Featured Sections | Site Update |

| Check System Date/Time | URL Shortcuts | Question? | Code of Conduct | Privacy Statement |

| Section Info. | Your Posts | Timetables | Where to Post | Where to Find Posts | Submission Tips |

| Contribution Maximums | Support This Site | Tell a Friend | Invite a Business | Link to Us |

| Bookmark This Site | Guest BookDid You Know? | Site Benefits | Awards | Commercial Sections |

| MyCatholicSource.com Blog & RSS Feed Info. | Third Party Programs | Acknowledgements |

 | Search Site | Join Mailing List | Technical Assistance | Report Technical Problem |

| Post/User Problems | Contact Us | Feedback | Copyright Notice / Permissions |

| Make MyCatholicSource.com Your Default Home Page |

Thank you for being part of over 4,000,000 visitors to MyCatholicSource.com since 2009!  *

Click Here To Help Keep Us Online


Experiencing technical problems with this site? Please click "Report Technical Problem" link above

* Number of visits is based on raw, unfiltered access logs

+All ads subject to our terms. Price indicated may be base price for non-refundable processing fee, excluding tax, optional ad enhancements, etc. "Place your ad" / "list your business" / "list your Catholic product or service free" / etc. is not a guarantee that any ad will appear on this site. Payment of processing fee does not assure appearance of ad on site. References to target cycles (e.g. "just $##.##/yr.") are not guarantees [ads that appear on the site may appear for a longer or shorter time than the indicated target cycles (e.g. from 0 days to multiples of a target cycle)] and are subject to change at any time without notice (either retroactively or on a go-forward basis, either individually / selectively / grouped / or in total).

 

Reminders: You may not copy / distribute (including via e-mail, website, etc.) / sell / etc. information contained on this site (or any images) or use them for any commercial purpose whatsoever. All applicable content is owned by us and is protected by copyright laws. Any unauthorized reproduction / distribution / use of such content is prohibited by law and may result in severe civil and criminal penalties. Note that we reserve the right to prosecute violators to the maximum extent possible. Also note that views of others do not necessarily reflect our views. We make no guarantees regarding any item herein and we not responsible/liable for any consequences which may occur as a - direct or indirect - result of use of this site. By using this site (or associated materials), you agree to hold us harmless for all damages in connection with use of this site (or other materials), regardless of their nature. Remember that we are not a party to others' transactions / activities (including posting, browsing of posts/ads, transfers, contacts / correspondence, etc.) even if information regarding the transactions / activities appears on this site or other materials of ours, and that we do not mediate disputes. You are solely responsible for all consequences of your transactions / activities. Use of this site is at your own risk, with no liability whatsoever to us. By using this site, you agree to all terms. For more terms information, click here.

 

Copyright © 2001-2016, B.F.S. All rights reserved.

MyCatholicSource.com & BFSApps are divisions of B.F.S. | DR10.28.12 11:23:33 -0600LUP