Blog 7 On Anointing of the sick Paul VI White Paper The word that summarizes the Sacrament of anointing is Healing

“In addition, the doctrine concerning Sacred Anointing is expounded in the documents of the Ecumenical Councils, namely the Council of Florence and in particular the Council of Trent and the Second Vatican Council.

After the Council of Florence had described the essential elements of the Anointing of the Sick,(6) the Council of Trent declared its divine institution and explained what is given in the Epistle of Saint James concerning the Sacred Anointing, especially with regard to the reality and effects of the sacrament: “This reality is in fact the grace of the Holy Spirit, whose anointing takes away sins, if any still remain to be taken away, and the remnants of sin; it also relieves and strengthens the soul of the sick person, arousing in him a great confidence in the divine mercy, whereby being thus sustained he more easily bears the trials and labors of his sickness, more easily resists the temptations of the devil ‘lying in wait’ (Gen. 3:15), and sometimes regains bodily health, if this is expedient for the health of the soul.”(7) The same Council also declared that in these words of the Apostle it is stated with sufficient clarity that “this anointing is to be administered to the sick, especially those who are in such a condition as to appear to have reached the end of their life, whence it is also called the sacrament of the dying.”(8) Finally, it declared that the priest is the proper minister of the sacrament.(9)

The Second Vatican Council adds the following: “‘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 any one of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the appropriate time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived.”(10) The fact that the use of this sacrament concerns the whole Church is shown by these words: “By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of her priests, the whole Church commends those who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord, asking that he may lighten their suffering and save them (cf. James 5:14-16). She exhorts them, moreover, to contribute to the welfare of the whole People of God by associating themselves freely with the passion and death of Christ (cf. Rom. 8:17; Col. 1:24; 2 Tim. 2:11-12; 1 Pt. 4:13).”(11)”

The Sacrament of Anointing of the sick primarily is about healing the effects of sin. St Thomas would say it this way “Baptism forgives sin, confession forgives post baptismal sin, and anointing of the sick  is Divine Medicine that forgives sins ‘Yes’ but is more directed towards healing  the effects of sin.” A priest anoints a dying person to heal the effect of sin so that the person can see the Glory of God.

The Council of Florence (1439) said this “The fifth sacrament is extreme unction. It matter is olive oil blessed by a priest. This sacrament should not be given to the sick unless death is expected. The person is to be anointed on the following places: on the eyes for sight, on the ears for hearing, on the nostrils for smell, on the mouth for taste or speech, on the hands for touch, on the feet for walking, on the loins for the pleasure that abide there. The form of this sacrament is: Through this anointing and his most pious mercy may the Lord pardon you whatever you have done wrong by sight, and similarly for the other members. The minister of the sacrament is a priest. It effects is to Cure the Mind, and in so far as it helps the soul, also the Body.”

One author summarized what the council said with these points.

1-To use olive oil blessed by a priest

2- Only given to the sick if death is expected

3-Person is anointed on eyes, ears, nostril, mouth, hands, feet and loins

4-The minister of the sacrament is a priest

5- Effect is to cure the mind, body, and soul

The point that is most important with regard to this paper is the effects of this sacrament is to cure Mind Body and Soul.

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