Could Father Grondin please clarify his recent comments on remission of sins at last rites?

Dear Father Grondin,

I read your reply to dtlaberge, posted July 11th, explaining the remission of sins at the Last Rites. You said that the Sacrament of Confession, or the Annointing of the Sick, forgive sins, but do not remit temporal punishment. Then you said that the Apostolic Pardon, which is part of the Last Rite, does remit temporal punishment.

Isn’t Purgatory where we go to “live out” our temporal punishment?

Does this mean that receiving the Last Rites is a way to bypass Purgatory? I never have thought so, but your post confused me. Could you please help me to understand?

Thank you,


session XIV of the Council of Trent:

Moreover, the significance and effect of this sacrament are explained in these words: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man, and the Lord shall raise him up, and if he be in sins they shall be forgiven him. For the thing signified is the grace of the Holy Ghost whose anointing takes away the sins if there be any still to be expiated, and also the remains of sin, and raises up and strengthens the soul of the sick person by exciting in him great confidence in the divine mercy, supported by which the sick one bears more lightly the miseries and pains of his illness and resists more easily the temptations of the devil who lies in wait for his heel; and at times when expedient for the welfare of the soul restores bodily health.

(emphasis added)

In interpreting “the remains of sin” the Catholic Encyclopedia notes:

The relics or effects of sin mentioned by the Council of Trent are variously understood by theologians to mean one, or more, or all of the following: spiritual debility and depression caused by the consciousness of having sinned; the influence of evil habits induced by sin; temporal penalties remaining after the guilt of sin has been forgiven; and venial, or even mortal, sins themselves. Of these only the remission of temporal punishment is distinct from the other effects of which the council speaks…
… It is not suggested that extreme unction, like baptism, sacramentally remits all temporal punishment due to sin, and the extent to which it actually does so in any particular case may, as with baptism, fall short of what was Divinely intended, owing to obstacles or defective dispositions in the recipient. Hence there is still room and need for Indulgences for the dying…

So, yes the sacrament does remit temporal punishment in as much as the recipient is properly disposed to receive it.

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