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  #1  
Old Jun 29, '10, 2:27 pm
whm whm is offline
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Default Dementia and Confession

Can a person with significant dementia participate in the sacrament of confession and receive a valid absolution? What if the no longer fully comprehend the sacrament or are even capable of remembering of identify potential mortal sins that only they would (pre-dementia) know about.
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  #2  
Old Jun 29, '10, 2:40 pm
Newbie2 Newbie2 is offline
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Default Re: Dementia and Confession

Excellent question.

I would say that if someone was experiencing dementia to where they didn't know or appreciate what they were doing that they probably shouldn't participate in the sacrament. In such a case it would be pointless, as they wouldn't be able to confess and express contrition for their sin.

But if they sorta, kinda, maybe seem to know although don't fully appreciate the sacrament, then yes, they should participate. The Lord knows whether or not they are contrite.
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  #3  
Old Jun 29, '10, 2:48 pm
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Marc Anthony Marc Anthony is offline
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Default Re: Dementia and Confession

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Originally Posted by Newbie2 View Post
Excellent question.

I would say that if someone was experiencing dementia to where they didn't know or appreciate what they were doing that they probably shouldn't participate in the sacrament. In such a case it would be pointless, as they wouldn't be able to confess and express contrition for their sin.

But if they sorta, kinda, maybe seem to know although don't fully appreciate the sacrament, then yes, they should participate. The Lord knows whether or not they are contrite.
What about the state of their soul? What if such a person had a mortal sin on their soul before they got dementia, and then got it bad enough that they couldn't receive the Sacrament? Would a general absolution be appropriate in this case?
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Old Jun 29, '10, 2:53 pm
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Default Re: Dementia and Confession

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Originally Posted by Marc Anthony View Post
What about the state of their soul? What if such a person had a mortal sin on their soul before they got dementia, and then got it bad enough that they couldn't receive the Sacrament? Would a general absolution be appropriate in this case?
Another good question.

I think we'd have to think of this as a similar situation as an unbaptized baby that dies...we'd have to leave that one up to the Almighty.

I would also think that the difference between general absolution and confessional absolution would be moot, as in both cases the penitent does confess, right?
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  #5  
Old Jun 29, '10, 3:04 pm
whm whm is offline
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Default Re: Dementia and Confession

What about last rites/ anointing of the sick, does it forgive mortal sins in instances where confession is not possible?
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  #6  
Old Jun 29, '10, 3:29 pm
choy choy is offline
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Default Re: Dementia and Confession

if the person with dimentia still has comprehenion of the Sacrament but can't remember their sins, they still should go and confess and receive absolution. God will understand that it is not their intention to withhold their sins

now if they don't have a comprehension of the Sacrament, they still should see the priest who would know how to handle this case. they still need to receive absolution for their sins
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Old Jun 29, '10, 4:10 pm
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Default Re: Dementia and Confession

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Originally Posted by Marc Anthony View Post
What about the state of their soul? What if such a person had a mortal sin on their soul before they got dementia, and then got it bad enough that they couldn't receive the Sacrament? Would a general absolution be appropriate in this case?

Quote:
Would a general absolution be appropriate in this case?[
Dementia or not General Absolution as a norm except in time of war or major catastrophe is strictly forbidden in the Catholic Church.
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  #8  
Old Jun 29, '10, 4:18 pm
choy choy is offline
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Default Re: Dementia and Confession

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Originally Posted by centurionguard View Post
Dementia or not General Absolution as a norm except in time of war or major catastrophe is strictly forbidden in the Catholic Church.
if the person cannot give a good confession because of a medical condition or illness, then the Anointing of the Sick will forgive their sins

CCC 1532
The special grace of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has as its effects:
- the uniting of the sick person to the passion of Christ, for his own good and that of the whole Church;
- the strengthening, peace, and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age;
- the forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain it through the sacrament of Penance;
- the restoration of health, if it is conducive to the salvation of his soul;
- the preparation for passing over to eternal life.
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  #9  
Old Jun 29, '10, 4:20 pm
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Default Re: Dementia and Confession

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Originally Posted by Marc Anthony View Post
What about the state of their soul? What if such a person had a mortal sin on their soul before they got dementia, and then got it bad enough that they couldn't receive the Sacrament? Would a general absolution be appropriate in this case?
Put it this way, their situation would be the same as anyone who, through no fault of their own, is unable to participate in the Sacrament (say someone who is dying in a remote location without access to a priest).

As long as while they are of sound mind they have perfect contrition for their sins (regardless of whether or not they make a formal Act of Contrition) and would go to confession were they able, they will be saved.

No, a general absolution is only to be used in emergency situations where there isn't TIME for a priest to individually hear people's confessions, example the firefighters heading into the World Trade Centre on 9/11 or a priest on a plane that's about to crash or something.
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  #10  
Old Jun 29, '10, 4:52 pm
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Default Re: Dementia and Confession

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Originally Posted by choy View Post
if the person cannot give a good confession because of a medical condition or illness, then the Anointing of the Sick will forgive their sins

CCC 1532
The special grace of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has as its effects:
- the uniting of the sick person to the passion of Christ, for his own good and that of the whole Church;
- the strengthening, peace, and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age;
- the forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain it through the sacrament of Penance;
- the restoration of health, if it is conducive to the salvation of his soul;
- the preparation for passing over to eternal life.
I appreciate you reminding me about CCC 1532 The Sacrament of the Sick formerly know as Extreme Unction

I guess there are many Catholics who seem to have thought the Sacrament of the Sick was reserved in grave time of near death only. It's a blessing that this Sacrament can be used often as a priest deems necessary on a sick individual.

In the last 50 some odd years I've received this blessed sacrament close to a dozen times by a priest. Choy; thanks for reminding me of the many spiritual benefits of this great sacrament.

Peace
Chris
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To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.
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  #11  
Old Jun 29, '10, 4:59 pm
choy choy is offline
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Default Re: Dementia and Confession

you're welcome

i was thinking about it on my first post but didn't have the time to look it up. i'm glad i finally got that chance to and share that information here
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  #12  
Old Jun 29, '10, 5:10 pm
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FrDavid96 FrDavid96 is offline
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Default Re: Dementia and Confession

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Originally Posted by whm View Post
Can a person with significant dementia participate in the sacrament of confession and receive a valid absolution? What if the no longer fully comprehend the sacrament or are even capable of remembering of identify potential mortal sins that only they would (pre-dementia) know about.
Yes. Such a person would confess as best as he is able to do. The priest would still impart absolution, so long as the priest has some reason to believe that if he were still able to confess properly, he would. If the dimentia is very severe, even so severe that the patient isn't even aware of who/what is around him, the priest can still absolve him although the patient isn't able to make even an attempt at confession.

The patient would be forgiven based on his own contrition, and that's something that exists only in the mind/soul and cannot be measured. If he cannot remember the sins, or cannot articulate them, that would not affect the validity of the absolution.

If he has even the slightest reason to believe that the patient would want to be absolved if he were able to confess, the priest should always impart absolution.
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Old Jun 29, '10, 5:17 pm
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Default Re: Dementia and Confession

Quote:
Originally Posted by centurionguard View Post
I appreciate you reminding me about CCC 1532 The Sacrament of the Sick formerly know as Extreme Unction

I guess there are many Catholics who seem to have thought the Sacrament of the Sick was reserved in grave time of near death only. It's a blessing that this Sacrament can be used often as a priest deems necessary on a sick individual.

In the last 50 some odd years I've received this blessed sacrament close to a dozen times by a priest. Choy; thanks for reminding me of the many spiritual benefits of this great sacrament.

Peace
Chris
Christ,
It isn't "formerly known as Extreme Unction." It is still called the Sacrament of Unction. If the situation is extreme it is still called Extreme Unction (or at least, it can be called that). The name hasn't changed. What has changed is that it is no longer reserved to "extreme" situations.

Unction is the Latin word that is translated into English as "anointing." In English, the word Unction is simply the same word borrowed directly from Latin. There is no difference between the words Unction and Anointing--they are the same word.

The phrases "extreme Unction" or "anointing in an extreme situation" mean exactly the same thing.
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Old Jun 29, '10, 5:21 pm
choy choy is offline
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Default Re: Dementia and Confession

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Originally Posted by FrDavid96 View Post
Yes. Such a person would confess as best as he is able to do. The priest would still impart absolution, so long as the priest has some reason to believe that if he were still able to confess properly, he would. If the dimentia is very severe, even so severe that the patient isn't even aware of who/what is around him, the priest can still absolve him although the patient isn't able to make even an attempt at confession.

The patient would be forgiven based on his own contrition, and that's something that exists only in the mind/soul and cannot be measured. If he cannot remember the sins, or cannot articulate them, that would not affect the validity of the absolution.

If he has even the slightest reason to believe that the patient would want to be absolved if he were able to confess, the priest should always impart absolution.

that is what i thought earlier, but wasn't sure. i'm glad Fr. David that you were able to confirm my suspicions

but if Anointing of the Sick can forgive sins and in this case the person is clearly sick, why do they still have to receive Absolution through the Sacrament of Penance whereas the Anointing would have the same effect?
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Old Jun 29, '10, 5:33 pm
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Default Re: Dementia and Confession

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Originally Posted by OF David 96 View Post
Christ,
It isn't "formerly known as Extreme Unction." It is still called the Sacrament of Unction. If the situation is extreme it is still called Extreme Unction (or at least, it can be called that). The name hasn't changed. What has changed is that it is no longer reserved to "extreme" situations.

Unction is the Latin word that is translated into English as "anointing." In English, the word Unction is simply the same word borrowed directly from Latin. There is no difference between the words Unction and Anointing--they are the same word.

The phrases "extreme Unction" or "anointing in an extreme situation" mean exactly the same thing.

Thank you Father for the recollection. I just thought that because the word Unction was Latin, proponents of Vatican II didn't want to associate the Latin terminology, and rephrased the term Extreme Unction into the modern English term Sacrament of the Sick which is essentially what you just said.

In the Peace of Christ
Chris
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To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.
G. K. Chesterton.
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