Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Simulation of Extreme Unction condemned

Something to watch out for in your parish.

Comment: the sacrament of Extreme Unction, the Anointing of the Sick, which is given to the dying and to the seriously ill, has been abused by being extended to the most trivial cases. This of course trivialises and profanes the sacrament.

If this were not enough, the custom has arisen in South Africa of a kind of simulated Extreme Unction, in which lay people anoint each other with something they call 'Oil of Gladness'. Anything likely to cause confusion among the faithful about what is a sacrament, or an authorised sacramental, and what is not, is very serious, and this has now been condemned by the Congregation of Divine Worship.

See Fr Z on the 'Oil of Gladness' issue; on trivial uses of the Sacrament of the Sick he says this: It is an abuse to give the sacrament in trivial cases, and to whole groups of people, because, first, it is appropriate only to those not in 'danger of death', and

Second, this sacrament should if possible be received in the state of grace.  If a person is incapacitated, the sacrament of Anointing also forgives sins, but if a person is capable of confessing he should confess properly and receive absolution before being anointed.

Third, group anointing like that both reduce respect for the sacrament and nearly always insure that the sacrament is improperly administrated.

So, people who are sick with a cold probably shouldn’t be given this sacrament. The Second Vatican Council said that "’Extreme Unction," which may also and more properly be called ‘anointing of the sick,’ is not a sacrament for those only who are at 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 that person to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived." [SC 73]

See his full post.

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen