Can Non-Catholics Receive the Anointing of the Sick & Reconciliation?


Someone I know is dealing with terminal cancer, & she’s a non-Catholic non-practicing Christian. I believe she was raised Lutheran but is no longer practicing.

Could she receive the Anointing of the Sick & Reconciliation if made available to her?

I don’t know how much more time she has left.

Thank you in advance.


If she was baptized, and she is currently in extremis, this is possible, assuming she wants it, and what goes with it, should she recover. Call a priest for her. He can better assess this situation.


Why doesn’t she just convert? Why such reservations on her part? There must be a quickee way to convert.


I had suggested it to a family member of hers. Last I’d heard was that she had been looking into some sort of Eastern religion - don’t know if it was Hindu/Buddhist/New Age, but her cancer has worsened, & she’s terrified. She has made comments in the past demonstrating hostility towards Christianity in general, so it may not even happen, but sometimes people in such situations might reconsider.

I suggested Adoration, the Anointing of the Sick, & Reconciliation to a family member of hers. Whether or not she chooses to do any of these depends on her. I’ve been praying for her & her family. The family leans more secular humanist atheist Jewish, & all are afraid right now - especially her teenaged daughter, who fears losing her…


I’ve worked for priests as parish secretary for years and they’ve always said, "only if the person him/herself has requested it. Other priests may differ. You can ask.


What I tell non-Catholics is they cannot receive the Sacrament. They can however, go to Confession. Tell the priest they are not Catholic and confess their sins. Christ gave the Apostles the power to forgive or retain sins. Did He say anything about whether or not the person receiving had to be Baptized? In any case, the priest will direct the non-Catholic regarding next steps.


I volunteered at a hospital’s chaplaincy for a couple years.

If she is not requesting it, then it would seem inappropriate. You can ask her if she would like a visit from a Christian clergyman, and if she says yes, then call the priest, and he will do what seems appropriate.


The sacraments are possible for a validly baptized non-Catholic only under certain conditions, and for a Catholic of course.

For the non-Catholic:

Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism,

131. The conditions under which a Catholic minister may administer the sacraments of the Eucharist, of penance and of the anointing of the sick to a baptized person who may be found in the circumstances given above (n. 130) are that the person be unable to have recourse for the sacrament desired to a minister of his or her own Church or ecclesial Community, ask for the sacrament of his or her own initiative, manifest Catholic faith in this sacrament and be properly disposed.137

Canon Law (CIC)



Can. 1004 §1. The anointing of the sick can be administered to a member of the faithful who, having reached the use of reason, begins to be in danger due to sickness or old age.

§2. This sacrament can be repeated if the sick person, having recovered, again becomes gravely ill or if the condition becomes more grave during the same illness.

Can. 1005 This sacrament is to be administered in a case of doubt whether the sick person has attained the use of reason, is dangerously ill, or is dead.

Can. 1006 This sacrament is to be conferred on the sick who at least implicitly requested it when they were in control of their faculties.

Can. 1007 The anointing of the sick is not to be conferred upon those who persevere obstinately in manifest grave sin.


The Anointing of the Sick is a Sacrament, yet I’m sure a priest would bless her. Reconciliation, the priest would listen to her and would comfort her in her hour of need. You did not mention if she is gravely ill at this point…it does sound as if she is…I will remember her in my prayers as well as you and her family… May our Merciful Jesus look to her and open her heart to His Love God bless and keep you.


The best way to deal with this would be to, as someone said above, get a priest to assess the situation.


this is not an important question when a person is in need of a sacrament that is available to any baptized person.


My beloved departed mother died in a Catholic run hospice. She was a LCMS member. While in hospice she developed a relationship with and respect for the Franciscan sisters who ran the center. She often asked me (knowing I had come into full communion with the Catholic Church) for the sisters to visit her.

She never knew about the Sacrament, and never requested it. Shortly after I got into town, having been called by family that the end was near, she was in a comma. A wonderful priest came and anointed her.

Long story short, there is the ability to be inclusive in the reception of this all important Sacrament, and rather than make conditions to ensure its exclusivity to those who are members of the Catholic Church, the more charitable thing is to share its availability, grace, and wonder with others.

Its not a “Catholic thing”, the Epistle of James, makes that clear, that all should be anointed in time of need, and does not mention a need for a membership card!

Peace and all good!


Thank you for this, Vico.


Thank you for this, anna.


Thank you for this, Hereiam.


May God bless you for caring for your friend and for bringing her to the attention of us on the forum. Rest assured that she will receive many prayers for he people here care.


It is absolutely incorrect to state that all baptized persons have the right to the sacraments. First, no one in fact really has the “right” to divine grace; within the Church as an institution and as a perfect society, however, those who possess legislative authority can declare that Catholics have a juridical right to the spiritual goods of the Church. These rights come with obligations, of course, one of which is to be united to the Church. To be a Catholic in communion with the Church (in the external forum), one must accept the entire faith, the sacraments, and the ecclesiastical governance of the Church.

In general, baptized persons have the right to the sacraments if they 1) ask for it at an appropriate time, 2) are properly disposed, and 3) are not prohibited by law from receiving them.

For a baptized non-Catholic who refuses to convert, but who desires Catholic sacraments, he is likely not “properly disposed”. This is not a judgement on the state of his soul. “Ecclesia de occultis non iudicat”, and so whether a person is properly disposed is a judgement the minister must make in the external forum. If a non-Catholic wants to receive a Catholic sacrament—which signifies unity with the Catholic Church—but is not willing to fulfill all three conditions to be in communion with the Church, how likely is it for him to be properly disposed?

In addition, generally speaking, baptized non-Catholics are in fact prohibited by law from receiving Catholic sacraments. Canon 844.1 lays out the general rule: Catholic ministers administer the sacraments licitly to Catholics, who likewise receive sacraments licitly from Catholic ministers. The subsequent paragraphs of same canon provides exceptions, that is true, but exceptions are subject to strict interpretation (c. 18).


A priest can administer almost all the sacraments to her at her bedside IF she is requesting it and after careful consideration.

@kainosktisis this is where the work of evangelization is needed. Try to talk to her about the truth, love, and mercy of Christ and how important it is for her to come to Him before it is too late. Explain the sacraments to her and the graces they convey. Perhaps she is more open to it now?

Even if you can’t convince her you can still pray the rosary or the divine mercy chapter by her bedside. Perhaps your quiet witness to faith will convince her.


I’ll pray for you, and the softening of your heart, to be open to the intrinsic truth that the grace of God is offered to all.

Peace and all good!


Tell that to the legislators in the Church… :wink:

I’m speaking of the juridical administration of the sacraments. I never said that Christ’s blood is not available for all men; that would be the Calvinist heresy. However, it does not logically follow that all are saved; hence, “qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum”.

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