ANOINTING OF THE SICK

ANOINTING OF THE SICK

Anointing of the Sick is a sacrament of the Catholic Church that is administered to a Catholic “who, having reached the age of reason, begins to be in danger due to sickness or old age”, except in the case of those who “persevere obstinately in manifest grave sin.” It is not necessary that the person is in immediate danger of death, but only a a medical condition of serious illness or injury or simply old age: “It 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.”

Anointing of the Sick has often been postponed until someone is on the point of dying. However, in all celebrations of this sacrament, the liturgy prays for recovery of the health of the sick person if that would be conducive to his salvation. Since this sacrament has been thought to be exclusively for the dying, it has been called Extreme Unction (Final Anointing).

The sacrament is administered by a priest, who uses olive oil or another pure plant oil to anoint the patient's forehead and perhaps other parts of the body while reciting certain prayers. It is believed to give comfort, peace, courage and, if the sick person is unable to make a confession, even forgiveness of sins.