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Reflections: Sacraments Section (Extreme Unction)

Extreme Unction / Anointing of the Sick

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Extreme Unction / Anointing of the Sick

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Extreme Unction (Anointing of the Sick) Basics / Misc.

Praise / Benefits of Extreme Unction (Anointing of the Sick)

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Sickness / Extreme Unction (Topic Page) 

Extreme Unction (Anointing of the Sick) (General Information) 

Extreme Unction (Anointing of the Sick) (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

Extreme Unction (Anointing of the Sick) (Topical Scripture)

Selections From the Baltimore Catechism Tip: Select "Display by Lesson", then select lesson number corresponding to Extreme Unction.

 

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Quotation

Extreme Unction (Anointing of the Sick) Basics / Misc.

Also See: Sickness / Extreme Unction (Topic Page)

"Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters [priests] of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint (him) with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven." (St. James, Jms. 5:14-15)

"Can. 1001 Pastors of souls and those who are close to the sick are to ensure that the sick are helped by this sacrament in good time." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1006 This sacrament is to be conferred on the sick who at least implicitly requested it when they were in control of their faculties." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1007 The anointing of the sick is not to be conferred upon those who obstinately persist in a manifestly grave sin." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1005 If there is any doubt as to whether the sick person has reached the age of reason, or is dangerously ill, or is dead, this sacrament is to be administered." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"[T]his sacrament is not so necessary that the dying cannot obtain salvation without it." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Can. 942 This sacrament is not to be conferred on those who are impenitent, persevering contumaciously in manifest mortal sin; if there is doubt about this, it should be conferred under condition." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 941 Whenever there is doubt about whether the infirm one has attained the use of reason, whether he is truly in danger of death, or whether he is dead, the sacrament should be administered under condition." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"If any one saith that the sacred unction of the sick does not confer grace, nor remit sin, nor comfort the sick; but that it has now ceased as though it were formerly only the grace of working cures; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

'The Shortest Form of Extreme Unction' [From the Decree of the Holy Office, April 25, 1906]: "It has been decreed that in the case of true necessity this form suffices: 'By this holy unction may the Lord forgive you whatever you have sinned. Amen.'"

"If any one saith, that Extreme Unction is not truly and properly a sacrament, instituted by Christ our Lord, and promulgated by the blessed apostle James; but is only a rite received from the Fathers, or a human figment; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"Can. 999 In addition to a bishop, the following can bless the oil to be used in the anointing of the sick: 1° those equivalent to a diocesan bishop by law; 2° any presbyter in a case of necessity, but only in the actual celebration of the sacrament." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 944 Although this sacrament of itself is not necessary as a means to salvation, it is not licit for anyone to neglect it; and every care and precaution should be taken that the infirm, while still in possession of their faculties, should receive it." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"If any one saith, that the rite and usage of Extreme Unction, which the holy Roman Church observes, is repugnant to the sentiment of the blessed apostle James, and that is therefore to be changed, and may, without sin, be contemned by Christians; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"Can. 998 The anointing of the sick, by which the Church commends the faithful who are dangerously ill to the suffering and glorified Lord in order that he relieve and save them, is conferred by anointing them with oil and pronouncing the words prescribed in the liturgical books." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"[Extreme Unction] is not a necessary sacrament, as Baptism is. Hence its bestowal is not committed to all in cases of necessity, but only to those who are competent to do so in virtue of their office [that is, priests]." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"If any one saith, that the Presbyters of the Church, whom blessed James exhorts to be brought to anoint the sick, are not the priests who have been ordained by a bishop, but the elders in each community, and that for this cause a priest alone is not the proper minister of Extreme Unction; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"Extreme Unction, which may also and more fittingly be called 'Anointing of the Sick,' is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived." (Second Vatican Council)

"Can. 1004 §. The anointing of the sick can be administered to a member of the faithful who, having reached the use of reason, begins to be in danger due to sickness or old age. §2 This sacrament can be repeated if the sick person, having recovered, again becomes gravely ill or if the condition becomes more grave during the same illness." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Baptism does not require a movement of the free-will, because it is given chiefly as a remedy for original sin, which, in us, is not taken away by a movement of the free-will. On the other hand this sacrament requires a movement of the free-will... Moreover Baptism is a necessary sacrament, while Extreme Unction is not." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Can. 1000 §1 The anointings are to be carried out accurately, with the words and in the order and manner prescribed in the liturgical books. In a case of necessity, however, a single anointing on the forehead, or even on another part of the body, is sufficient while the full formula is recited. §2 The minister is to anoint with his own hand, unless a grave reason warrants the use of an instrument." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Now the custom of the Church is that the sick should be anointed by the priests with consecrated oil and through the accompanying prayer restored to health. If therefore the sick be in sins and shall have confessed these to the priests of the Church and shall have sincerely undertaken to relinquish and amend them, they shall be remitted to them. For sins can not be remitted without the confession of amendment." (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church)

"Can. 1003 §1 Every priest, but only a priest, can validly administer the anointing of the sick. §2 All priests to whom has been committed the care of souls, have the obligation and the right to administer the anointing of the sick to those of the faithful entrusted to their pastoral care. For a reasonable cause, any other priest may administer this sacrament if he has the consent, at least presumed, of the aforementioned priest. §3 Any priest may carry the holy oil with him, so that in a case of necessity he can administer the sacrament of anointing of the sick." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"In the administration of this Sacrament [of Extreme Unction] 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 specially the pastor, should pour out their fervent aspirations to God, and earnestly commend to His mercy the life and salvation of the sufferer." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"No sacramental or sacrament, having an effect that lasts for ever, can be repeated, because this would imply that the sacrament had failed to produce that effect; and this would be derogatory to the sacrament. On the other hand a sacrament whose effect does not last for ever, can be repeated without disparaging that sacrament, in order that the lost effect may be recovered. And since health of body and soul, which is the effect of this sacrament, can be lost after it has been effected, it follows that this sacrament can, without disparagement thereto, be repeated." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"It is written (James 5:14): 'Is any man sick among you,' etc. Therefore none but the sick are competent to receive this sacrament... This sacrament is a spiritual healing...and is signified by way of a healing of the body. Hence this sacrament should not be conferred on those who are not subjects for bodily healing, those namely, who are in good health... Although spiritual health is the principal effect of this sacrament, yet this same spiritual healing needs to be signified by a healing of the body, although bodily health may not actually ensue." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Bodily deformity is not an impediment to any other sacrament. Therefore it should not be an impediment to this one. Now each of the anointings is essential to the sacrament. Therefore all should be applied to those who are deformed... Even those who are deformed should be anointed, and that as near as possible to the part which ought to have been anointed. For though they have not the members, nevertheless, they have, at least radically, the powers of the soul, corresponding to those members, and they may commit inwardly the sins that pertain to those members, though they cannot outwardly." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"As often as some infirmity overtakes a man, let him who is ill receive the Body and Blood of Christ; let him humbly and in faith ask the presbyters [that is, priests] for blessed oil, to anoint his body, so that what was written may be fulfilled in him: 'Is anyone among you sick? Let him bring in the presbyters, and the them prayer over him, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he be in sins, they will be forgiven him.' See to it, brethren, that whoever is ill hasten to the church, both that he may receive health of body and will merit to obtain the forgiveness of their sins." (St. Caesar of Arles, c. 540 A.D.)

"I answer that, This sacrament is the last remedy that the Church can give, since it is an immediate preparation for glory. Therefore it ought to be given to those only, who are so sick as to be in a state of departure from this life, through their sickness being of such a nature as to cause death, the danger of which is to be feared... Any sickness can cause death, if it be aggravated. Hence if we consider the different kinds of disease, there is none in which this sacrament cannot be given; and for this reason the apostle does not determine any particular one. But if we consider the degree and the stage of the complaint, this sacrament should not be given to every sick person." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[This holy Synod] declares and teaches, that our most gracious Redeemer, who would have his servants at all times provided with salutary remedies against all the weapons of all their enemies, as, in the other sacraments, He prepared the greatest aids, whereby, during life, Christians may preserve themselves whole from every more grievous spiritual evil, so did He guard the close of life, by the sacrament of Extreme Unction, as with a most firm defense. For though our adversary seeks and seizes opportunities, all our life long, to be able in any way to devour our souls; yet is there no time wherein he strains more vehemently all the powers of his craft to ruin us utterly, and, if he can possibly, to make us fall even from trust in the mercy of God, than when he perceives the end of our life to be at hand." (Council of Trent, 1551 A.D.)

"This sacrament should be given to none but such as acknowledge it. Now this does not apply to madmen and imbeciles. Therefore it should not be given to them... The devotion of the recipient, the personal merit of the minister, and the general merits of the whole Church, are of great account towards the reception of the effect of this sacrament. This is evident from the fact that the form of this sacrament is pronounced by way of a prayer. Hence it should not be given those who cannot acknowledge it, and especially to madmen and imbeciles, who might dishonor the sacrament by their offensive conduct, unless they have lucid intervals, when they would be capable of acknowledging the sacrament, for then the sacrament should be given to children the same in that state." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[O]il is appointed (James 5:14) as the matter of this sacrament. Now, properly speaking, oil is none but olive oil. Therefore this is the matter of this sacrament... The spiritual healing, which is given at the end of life, ought to be complete, since there is no other to follow; it ought also to be gentle, lest hope, of which the dying stand in utmost need, be shattered rather than fostered. Now oil has a softening effect, it penetrates to the very heart of a thing, and spreads over it. Hence, in both the foregoing respects, it is a suitable matter for this sacrament. And since oil is, above all, the name of the liquid extract of olives, for other liquids are only called oil from their likeness to it, it follows that olive oil is the matter which should be employed in this sacrament." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Now, this sacred unction of the sick was instituted by Christ our Lord, as truly and properly a sacrament of the new law, insinuated indeed in Mark, but recommended and promulgated to the faithful by James the Apostle, and brother of the Lord*. Is any man, he saith, sick among 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. In which words, as the Church has learned from apostolic tradition, received from hand to hand, he teaches the matter, the form, the proper minister, and the effect of this salutary sacrament. For the Church has understood the matter thereof to be oil blessed by a bishop. For the unction very aptly represents the grace of the Holy Ghost with which the soul of the sick person is invisibly anointed; and furthermore that whose words, 'By this unction,' &c. are the form." (Council of Trent, 1551 A.D.) [*Note: Some ancient languages have no word for cousin (and other relatives) so the term "brother" as used in Scripture (and repeated above) may be used to refer to relatives other than blood brothers. The use of this terminology does not mean that Jesus had blood brothers, which of course he didn't since the Blessed Virgin Mary is an ever virgin. For more information on this topic, visit the Non-Catholics (apologetics) Section.]

"Sometimes a disease lasts long after the sacrament has been received, so that the remnants of sin, against which chiefly this sacrament is given, would be contracted. Therefore it ought to be given again... This sacrament regards not only the sickness, but also the state of the sick man, because it ought not to be given except to those sick people who seem, in man's estimation, to be nigh to death. Now some diseases do not last long; so that if this sacrament is given at the time that the sick man is in a state of danger of death, he does not leave that state except the disease be cured, and thus he needs not to be anointed again. But if he has a relapse, it will be a second sickness, and he can be anointed again. On the other hand some diseases are of long duration, as hectic fever, dropsy and the like, and those who lie sick of them should not be anointed until they seem to be in danger of death. And if the sick man escape that danger while the disease continues, and be brought again thereby to the same state of danger, he can be anointed again, because it is, as it were, another state of sickness, although strictly speaking, it is not another sickness." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The fifth sacrament is extreme unction, whose matter is the olive oil blessed by the bishop. This sacrament should be given only to the sick of whose death there is fear; and he should be anointed in the following places: on the eyes because of sight, on the ears because of hearing, on the nostrils because of smell, on the mouth because of taste and speech, on the hands because of touch, on the feet because of gait, on the loins because of the delight that flourishes there. The form of this sacrament is the following: Per istam sanctam unctionem et suam piissimam misericordiam indulgeat tibi Dominus, quidquid per visum, etc. (Through this holy anointing and his most kind mercy may the Lord forgive you whatever through it, etc.). And similarly on the other members. The minister of this sacrament is the priest. Now the effect is the healing of the mind and, moreover, in so far as it is expedient, of the body itself also. On this sacrament blessed James, the Apostle says: 'Is any man sick among 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' [Jas. 5:14, 15]." (Pope Eugenius IV, "Exultate Deo", 1439 A.D.)

"Some hold that mere oil is the matter of this sacrament, and that the sacrament itself is perfected in the consecration of the oil by the bishop. But this is clearly false since we proved when treating of the Eucharist that that sacrament alone consists in the consecration of the matter (Q2, A1,r 2). We must therefore say that this sacrament consists in the anointing itself, just as Baptism consists in the washing, and that the matter of this sacrament is consecrated oil. Three reasons may be assigned why consecrated matter is needed in this sacrament and in certain others. The first is that all sacramental efficacy is derived from Christ: wherefore those sacraments which He Himself used, derived their efficacy from His use of them, even as, by the contact of His flesh, He bestowed the force of regeneration on the waters. But He did not use this sacrament, nor any bodily anointing, wherefore in all anointings a consecrated matter is required. The second reason is that this sacrament confers a plenitude of grace, so as to take away not only sin but also the remnants of sin, and bodily sickness. The third reason is that its effect on the body, viz. bodily health, is not caused by a natural property of the matter; wherefore it has to derive this efficacy from being consecrated." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The form of this sacrament is expressed by way of a petition, as appears from the words of James, and from the custom of the Roman Church, who uses no other than words of supplication in conferring this sacrament. Several reasons are assigned for this: first, because the recipient of this sacrament is deprived of his strength, so that he needs to be helped by prayers; secondly, because it is given to the dying, who are on the point of quitting the courts of the Church, and rest in the hands of God alone, for which reason they are committed to Him by prayer; thirdly, because the effect of this sacrament is not such that it always results from the minister's prayer, even when all essentials have been duly observed, as is the case with the character in Baptism and Confirmation, transubstantiation in the Eucharist, remission of sin in Penance (given contrition) which remission is essential to the sacrament of Penance but not to this sacrament. Consequently the form of this sacrament cannot be expressed in the indicative mood... This sacrament...considered in itself, is sure of its effect, yet this effect can be hindered through the insincerity of the recipient (though by his intention he submit to the sacrament), so that he receives no effect at all. Hence there is no parity between this sacrament, and the others wherein some effect always ensues." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"And now as to prescribing who ought to receive, and who to administer this sacrament, this also was not obscurely delivered in the words above cited. For it is there also shown, that the proper ministers of this sacrament are the Presbyters of the Church; by which name are to be understood, in that place, not the elders by age, or the foremost in dignity amongst the people, but, either bishops, or priests by bishops rightly ordained by the imposition of the hands of the priesthood. It is also declared, that this unction is to be applied to the sick, but to those especially who lie in such danger as to seem to be about to depart this life: whence also it is called the sacrament of the departing. And if the sick should, after having received this unction, recover, they may again be aided by the succor of this sacrament, when they fall into another like danger of death. Wherefore, they are on no account to be hearkened to, who, against so manifest and clear a sentence of the apostle James, teach, either that this unction is a human figment or is a rite received from the Fathers which neither has a command from God, nor a promise of grace: nor those who assert that it has already ceased, as though it were only to be referred to the grace of healing in the primitive church; nor those who say that the rite and usage which the holy Roman Church observes in the administration of this sacrament is repugnant to the sentiment of the apostle James, and that it is therefore to be changed into some other: nor finally those who affirm that this Extreme Unction may without sin be contemned by the faithful: for all these things are most manifestly at variance with the perspicuous words of so great an apostle. Neither assuredly does the Roman Church, the mother and mistress of all other churches, observe aught in administering this unction, - as regards those things which constitute the substance of this sacrament, - but what blessed James has prescribed. Nor indeed can there be contempt of so great a sacrament without a heinous sin, and an injury to the Holy Ghost himself." (Council of Trent, 1551 A.D.) 

Also See: Extreme Unction / Anointing of the Sick (Gen'l. Info.) | Extreme Unction / Anointing of the Sick (Catechism of the Council of Trent) | Praise / Benefits of Extreme Unction (Anointing of the Sick) | Sacraments at the End of Life | Suffering & Death (Catholic Life Section) | Prayers For Final Perseverance / Happy Death | Extreme Unction / Anointing of the Sick (Topical Scripture)

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

Top | Reflections: A-Z | Categ. | Scripture: A-Z | Categ. | Help

Praise / Benefits of Extreme Unction (Anointing of the Sick)

Also See: Sickness / Extreme Unction (Topic Page)

"Extreme Unction is a sacrament of the New Law, its effect is the remission of sins." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Moreover the thing signified and the effect of this sacrament are explained in those words; 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. For the thing here signified is the grace of the Holy Ghost; whose anointing cleanses away sins, if there be any still to be expiated, as also the remains of sins; and raises up and strengthens the soul of the sick person, by exciting in him a great confidence in the divine mercy; whereby the sick being supported, bears more easily the inconveniences and pains of his sickness; and more readily resists the temptations of the devil who lies in wait for his heel; and at times obtains bodily health, when expedient for the welfare of the soul." (Council of Trent, 1551 A.D.)

"Extreme Unction remits sin in some way as to those three things [the stain, the debt of punishment, and the remnants of sin]. For, although the stain of sin is not washed out without contrition, yet this sacrament, by the grace which it bestows, makes the movement of the free will towards sin to be one of contrition, just as may occur in the Eucharist and Confirmation. Again it diminishes the debt of temporal punishment; and this indirectly, in as much as it takes away weakness, for a strong man bears the same punishment more easily than a weak man. Hence it does not follow that the measure of satisfaction is diminished. As to the remnants of sin, they do not mean here those dispositions which result from acts, and are inchoate habits so to speak, but a certain spiritual debility in the mind, which debility being removed, though such like habits or dispositions remain, the mind is not so easily prone to sin." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

Also See: Extreme Unction / Anointing of the Sick (Gen'l. Info.) | Extreme Unction / Anointing of the Sick (Catechism of the Council of Trent) | Extreme Unction (Anointing of the Sick) Basics / Misc. | Suffering & Death (Catholic Life Section) | Prayers For Final Perseverance / Happy Death | Extreme Unction / Anointing of the Sick (Topical Scripture)

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

Top | Reflections: A-Z | Categ. | Scripture: A-Z | Categ. | Help


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* Sacraments (Topic Page)

* Extreme Unction/Sickness (Topic Page)

* Prayers for the Sick (Topic Page)

* Sin (Topic Page)

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