Anointing of the sick - mental illness


#1

Hey brethren (and sistren! :p)

I went on a retreat this weekend and right after confession they had a talk about the sacraments of healing - including the anointing of the sick - I got to thinking that maybe this is something that I should have a priest do for me as I've been suffering from mental illness...
I suppose I'd have some questions though...
With confession you examine your conscience and all, then you confess.
Are there any preparations I would need to take (aside from talking to my priest first) before receiving this sacrament?
Also what would qualify as grave?

Thanks for your answers and prayers ahead of time :thumbsup:
GOD bless!


#2

God has blessed you because you are seeking the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I had serious mental illness and I did a general confession and received great consolation and a great improvement in my symptoms. Do it! Peace be with you!


#3

Grave in the context of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick means being in danger of death. Here's what it says in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1514 The Anointing of the Sick “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.”130

1515 If a sick person who received this anointing recovers his health, he can in the case of another grave illness receive this sacrament again. If during the same illness the person’s condition becomes more serious, the sacrament may be repeated. It is fitting to receive the Anointing of the Sick just prior to a serious operation. The same holds for the elderly whose frailty becomes more pronounced.

I received the Anointing while in the hospital after a suicide attempt because I was still suicidal. That's the only reason I would have asked for it for mental health reasons. I'd also received the Anointing before an operation.


#4

[quote="Mary_Ellen, post:3, topic:329467"]
Grave in the context of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick means being in danger of death.

[/quote]

I'm not certain that the Church is equating "grave illness" with "in danger of death." In fact, in the sentence from Sacrosanctum Concilium which the CCC quotes, the implication is that being "in danger of death" is already beyond the point at which a person should approach the sacrament of the anointing of the sick! (Also, the phrase 'in danger of death' is one that appears in the context of canon law: it doesn't mean 'the point of death', but rather, it can generally just mean that there's the (reasonable) chance of death.)

Then, when the CCC talks about grave illness, it would seem that it's picked up on a different thought: that it's serious illness, and not just being in danger of death, that warrants the reception of the sacrament.

In the case of mental illness, it's a sensitive question. However, I don't think that it's the mind of the Church that only illnesses that are terminal are sufficient reason to approach the sacrament... ;)


#5

I think some priests will anoint fo9r mental illness; others only for physical illness.

I was suffering from a spell of depression at one time and asked for the anointing. The priest said he it was only for physical illness. So I told him that I was over 70, had a bad heart and a couple of other conditions. He sent me to pray before the tabernacle and anointed me there.

Several Vietnamese ladies were praying there. One followed me out and asked if he had anointed me. I told her yes that I had some problems. She promised that they would add me to their prayers.

Anointing or prayers, a couple of minutes later the depression switched off like some one had clicked a light switch.


#6

Hi there.

I've been dealing with the challenges of living with mental illness (depression, anxiety and ADD) for years, both with medication and ongoing therapy. A few years back I was hospitalized and was anointed and found it so helpful and comforting. Then this past year the symptoms have again become more difficult to deal with, and so twice I've asked my parish priest for Anointing. Both times we combined it with Reconciliation. Both times it was a blessing. The one thing he wanted to be sure of was that I was in fact in counseling and taking medication prescribed. Wise on his part. I would agree that Anointing is not a substitute for treatment. Hope this might be somewhat helpful to you. Hope things get better for you.


#7

“Begins to be in danger of death” is quite clear.


#8

[quote="Mary_Ellen, post:3, topic:329467"]
Grave in the context of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick means being in danger of death. Here's what it says in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1514 The Anointing of the Sick “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.”130

1515 If a sick person who received this anointing recovers his health, he can in the case of another grave illness receive this sacrament again. If during the same illness the person’s condition becomes more serious, the sacrament may be repeated. It is fitting to receive the Anointing of the Sick just prior to a serious operation. The same holds for the elderly whose frailty becomes more pronounced.

I received the Anointing while in the hospital after a suicide attempt because I was still suicidal. That's the only reason I would have asked for it for mental health reasons. I'd also received the Anointing before an operation.

[/quote]

It says that it is NOT only for those at the point of death. It says nothing about being near death as a prerequisite.

It says "As soon as anyone begins to be in danger" is a fitting time to recieve the sacrament.

-Tim-


#9

[quote="devoutchristian, post:7, topic:329467"]
"Begins to be in danger of death" is quite clear.

[/quote]

As is "the fitting time ... has certainly already arrived." ;)

In other words, don't wait until "in danger of death"...!


#10

[quote="Gorgias, post:9, topic:329467"]
As is "the fitting time ... has certainly already arrived." ;)

In other words, don't wait until "in danger of death"...!

[/quote]

Right. Receive the sacrament when one gets a potentially terminal illness.


#11

[quote="devoutchristian, post:10, topic:329467"]
Right. Receive the sacrament when one gets a potentially terminal illness.

[/quote]

:doh2:

No -- that's precisely the idea that the document is trying to get away from. Prior to Vatican II, the anointing of the sick had degenerated from its original function as a sacrament for those who are ill to a sacrament for those who are dying. The reform of the sacrament explicitly attempted to return to the ancient idea of anointing as a sacrament for the (seriously) ill. (Viaticum, of course, is a whole 'nother thing -- it is meant as 'food for the journey' for those who are approaching death.)

Attempting to return the anointing of the sick to the exclusive context of last rites is missing the whole point of what the Church sees as the purpose of the sacrament...


#12

[quote="Gorgias, post:11, topic:329467"]
:doh2:

No -- that's precisely the idea that the document is trying to get away from. Prior to Vatican II, the anointing of the sick had degenerated from its original function as a sacrament for those who are ill to a sacrament for those who are dying. The reform of the sacrament explicitly attempted to return to the ancient idea of anointing as a sacrament for the (seriously) ill. (Viaticum, of course, is a whole 'nother thing -- it is meant as 'food for the journey' for those who are approaching death.)

Attempting to return the anointing of the sick to the exclusive context of last rites is missing the whole point of what the Church sees as the purpose of the sacrament...

[/quote]

Strawman. I never said that Last Rites should be equated with Anointing but only that the Sacrament should be reserved for those who are at least possibly on the way to death.


#13

It is interesting that you are bringing this up. I am a recovering Schizophrenic and I have found so much healing in my Faith. I don’t expect special treatment like anointing the sick, although it might be very powerful. I know that more attention is going to be paid to mental illness and people are going to talk about it more- thus, erasing the stigma. It would not surprise me if there is talk about anointing the mentally ill in the next 10, 20 years.

Thanks,
John

mymentalillnessmycatholicfaith.blogspot.com/


#14

I believe mental illness is a grave illness, and it can be seriously debilitating to the point where the danger of physical death is all too real. The symptoms of depression can be lethal--no sleep, loss of weight, inability to eat or drink, undesirable changes in vital signs, inability to move, besides the high risk of suicide.

I had a friend who was so seriously depressed that she became catatonic, unable to eat or drink, had to be tube fed, and was bedridden. She nearly died. Yet at first it seemed a rather mild depression, but it progressed quickly. She was hospitalized nearly a year.

And the other mental illnesses can be equally as lethal. This is just an example. People should never discount mental illness as not being grave. It is very grave indeed, and people should seek anointing for it.


#15

Umm… we’re all “at least possibly on the way to death.” :wink:


#16

The amazing thing to me is how much healing I received from the Church, I want the world to know how I really recovered from Schizophrenia by the Grace of God. There was a time where I felt like I did not have Faith, Hope or Charity. Now I have all three and I am clearly healed of delusions, halluciantions and have very few symptoms, if any. I know in the Bible, I read about Jesus the healer, and I do believe that He is working within my mind , body and soul to tell people that are diagnosed that there is Hope after diagnosis.

As far as anointing, if there is someone who is suicidal because of mental illness, really what could it hurt for a Preist to reach out to someone in this condition. Now, maybe there could be more appropriate ways of helping someone who suffers from severe mental illness- laying on of hands, confession (?) or some would even go as far as to say exorcism. I do not know what would be the most appropriate way to help someone in dire staights concerning mental illness. I do know that 10% of people who have been diagnosed with Schizophrenia commit suicide. I believe that at least a portion of these could be avoided , and that why I have become vocal about my mental illness as well as how the Church has been an important part of my recovery.

Thank You,
John
mymentalillnessmycatholicfaith.blogspot.com/


#17

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