The Sacrament of Extreme Unction
Extreme Unction is the sacrament which, through the anointing with blessed oil by the priest, and through his prayer, gives health and strength to the soul and sometimes to the body when we are in danger of death from sickness, accident, or old age.
Is any one among you sick? Let him bring in the presbyters of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. (James 5:14)
Who should receive Extreme Unction?
All Catholics who have reached the use of reason and are in danger of death from sickness, accident, or old age should receive Extreme Unction.
What are the effects of the sacrament of Extreme Unction?
The effects of the sacrament of Extreme Unction are:
- an increase of sanctifying grace
- comfort in sickness and strength against temptation
- preparation for entrance into heaven by the remission of our venial sins and the cleansing of our souls from the remains of sin
- health of body when it is good for the soul
And the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him. (James 5:15)
When does Extreme Unction take away mortal sin?
Extreme Unction takes away mortal sin when the sick person is unconscious or otherwise unaware that he is not properly disposed, but has made an act of imperfect contrition.
How should we prepare ourselves to receive Extreme Unction worthily?
We should prepare ourselves to receive Extreme Unction worthily by a good confession, by acts of faith, hope, charity, and, especially, by resignation to the will of God.
“My son, in thy sickness, neglect not thyself, but pray to the Lord and he shall heal thee.” (Ecclesiasticus 38:9)
Who can administer Extreme Unction?
Only a priest can administer Extreme Unction.
When is it advisable to call the priest to visit the sick?
It is advisable to call the priest to visit the sick in any serious illness, even though there be no apparent danger of death, as it is the duty of the priest to visit the sick and to administer to them the sacraments they need.
In case of sudden or unexpected death, should a priest be called?
In case of sudden or unexpected death a priest should be called always, because absolution and Extreme Unction can be given conditionally for some time after apparent death.