The last of the seven Sacraments, also known as Last Rites. Its primary

purpose is to prepare one for death and, if possible, Holy Communion (Holy

Viaticum, is administered. It is a very solemn ceremony performed usually

in a darkened room. The priest carries on an involved ritual, and mutters

Latin phrases "unintelligible even to Julius Caesar" (Alex Dunlap).

The Council of Trent said that this Sacrament was instituted by Christ

in Mark 6:13 and confirmed by James in James 5:14-15.

From RC ENQUIRER'S COURSE, we read, "On the Thursday before Easter the

bishop consecrates the oil to be used in the anointing of the sick. He

prays, "O God, please send down from Heaven the Holy Spirit into this rich

oil. . . may all who are anointed with this heavenly medicine be protected

in soul and body.'"


During Vatican II, in a move that was hailed by some Roman Catholic

theologians as "the most meaningful work of the Council so far," the name

of the Sacrament was changed to The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.

The dual purpose was to make it less terrifying to recipients, and to bring

it closer to the scripture claimed for its basis (James 5:14). The rite has

been simplified and modernized in recent years.

From 1989 CATHOLIC ALMANAC. By the anointing with blessed oil and the

prayer of a priest, the sacrament confers on the person comforting grace;

the remission of venial sins, and inculpable or unconfessed mortal sins,

together with at least some of the temporal punishment due for sins; and,

sometimes results in an improved state of health. Through this holy

anointing and his most loving mercy, may the Lord assist you by the grace

of the Holy Spirit so that, when you have been freed from your sins, he may

save you and in his goodness raise you up." (page 227,8)

From Knights of Columbus course. "Extremem Unction - the Bible teaches that

the anointing of the sick with oil and prayer by the priests of the Church

may obtain forgiveness of sins and even refreshment of body (James 5:14-


"The Council of Trent declared that `whosoever shall affirm that Extreme

Unction is not a sacrament; that it does not confer grace, forgive sin,

relieve the sick; that it is repugnant to the doctrine of thew Apostle

James; that the `Elders of the Church' arer not Priests, ordained by the

Bishop, and therefore that the Priest is not the only proper Minister of

Extrem Unction, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA.


Extreme Unction was unheard of until the 12th century. Because of the huge

fee charged for the "sacrament" it was not accessible to the common people.

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