Last Rites & Reconciliation


#1

Suppose a person is near death. He/She is unable to communicate and unable to form a conscious thought. The person entered into this condition while in a state of sin; both mortal and venial.

The family calls the priest to administer Last Rites (Anointing of the Sick). Can the priest absolve the person of their sins - even if that person cannot make a confession - so they may enter Heaven?


#2

The person's spirit, their soul, is still present, and the soul is what enters eternal life.
It's my belief and hope that God would in that time of anointing, present to the soul (not the darkened mind) that final choice of the grace of repentance.


#3

From what I'm aware of (Please correct me if I'm wrong)... The Priest has the power to forgive sins VIA the Sacrament of anointing, hence the reason a Deacon cannot anoint with forgiveness. Now of course, lets say the person recovers, they are obligated Im pretty sure, to make a confession of their sins, however, if they pass on anointed, they are forgiven. Its sort of like General absolution. The absolution works and forgives you your sins, however you are obligated to confess at your next available oppertunity....

I may stand correctable, Im not sure.


#4

The answer and solution is easy...I was taught to add two phrases to my act of Contrition...always.....by my Ursuline Sisters...

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pains of hell;
but most of all because they offend Thee, my God,
Who are all good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace...to always confess my sins...to always do penance for my sins ]...to sin no more and avoid the near occasions of sin. Amen.*

The Sisters gave this to us... "just in case"...It is a simple vow...which most importantly drives me to to a daily examination of conscience/to make an Act of contrition...and...makes the Sacrament of Reconciliation a regular part of my spiritual life (this was what they really were getting us to do...a vow to the Lord is serious stuff!).

So God reads the heart...the intent...even without action on our part...intent is the key. Lastly, we are bound by the sacraments...God is not.

Pax Christi


#5

Here is the Church's Official... "walk off home run"... answer to your question:

**Rituale Romanum

Apostolic blessing at the hour of death

Spiritual assistance to the dying
Rite for commending a departing soul

CHAPTER V: RITE OF THE APOSTOLIC BLESSING WITH PLENARY INDULGENCE AT THE HOUR OF DEATH

  1. The apostolic blessing with plenary indulgence at the hour of death should be imparted, following the reception of the last sacraments, to those who desire it while still rational and conscious.I*t may likewise be granted to anyone who has given any indication of such desire, or who has seemed contrite before becoming unconscious or irrational. **But it must be denied absolutely to the excommunicated, the impenitent, or those who die in patent mortal sin.*

sanctamissa.org/en/resources/books-1962/rituale-romanum/36-the-sacrament-of-the-anointing-of-sick-apostolic-blessing-plenary-indulgence-at-the-hour-of-death.html


#6

Here is an excerpt from this link: beginningcatholic.com/anointing-of-the-sick.html:

The Anointing of the Sick
Complements Confession
Since Penance (Confession) is the sacrament by which God intends our mortal sins to be forgiven, a sick person who has mortal sins to confess must receive the sacrament of Penance before he receives the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.

However, it is a comfort to know that Anointing of the Sick does forgive mortal sin also if the critically ill person is unable to receive the sacrament of Penance. This could happen, for example, if Anointing of the Sick were administered to an unconscious person who had made an act of imperfect contrition for his mortal sins before losing consciousness.


#7

Thank you.

So the short answer is, no, mortal sins are not forgiven.

Correct?


#8

[quote="Lost_Sheep, post:7, topic:301095"]
Thank you.

So the short answer is, no, mortal sins are not forgiven.

Correct?

[/quote]

If you meant that the person remains adamantly unrepentant to the end, then no, mortal sins are not forgiven when the priest administers the sacrament to the unconscious person on the deathbed.

But you did not say "unrepentant" in your scenario.

Repentance plus the sacrament can forgive mortal sin, even if the person is unconscious when the priest gets there. Use of the phrase "in a state of sin" does not preclude the person having repented in some manner.


#9

I did not say the person was unrepentant. I said their condition had deteriorated to the point they could not communicate or form a conscious thought. Theoretically, they could have regretted their sins - though they never went to confession - prior to entering into the non-lucid state.


#10

The Church herself does not actually use the term “last rites,” but the popular use of that term, being plural, generally includes annointing, confession, communion and the apostolic blessing.


#11

[quote="Lost_Sheep, post:9, topic:301095"]
I did not say the person was unrepentant. I said their condition had deteriorated to the point they could not communicate or form a conscious thought. Theoretically, they could have regretted their sins - though they never went to confession - prior to entering into the non-lucid state.

[/quote]

The lack of ability to communicate to the priest is not an impediment for the forgiveness to happen. Repentance is the issue, not communication. Anointing of the sick does not require the person to be conscious in order to have effect.

(anointing of the sick is the sacrament I mean, not the other things that happen when a priest visits a dying person.)


#12

[quote="Chatter163, post:10, topic:301095"]
The Church herself does not actually use the term "last rites," but the popular use of that term, being plural, generally includes annointing, confession, communion and the apostolic blessing.

[/quote]

I understand. I just use the term as a general way of getting the message across. Whatever happened to the term "Extreme Unction"? I have no idea of the meaning behind it, but it sounds cool.


#13

[quote="Lost_Sheep, post:7, topic:301095"]
Thank you.

So the short answer is, no, mortal sins are not forgiven.

Correct?

[/quote]

Incorrect.

From CCC 1532:

The special grace of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has as its effects:
...]
- the forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain it through the sacrament of Penance;
...]

This comes from the words of St. James:

Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders [presbyters] of the Church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord ...] and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

Of course, even though this Sacrament acts ex opere operato, nobody can be forced to accept God...that is, I do not think this is in any way a "guarantee" of salvation...but that's just my thought.


#14

EF parishes still use that term. The newer name was intended to better convey an idea of what the sacrament includes.


#15

[quote="Lost_Sheep, post:7, topic:301095"]
Thank you.

So the short answer is, no, mortal sins are not forgiven.

Correct?

[/quote]

You must have overlooked this part of my post:

"However, it is a comfort to know that Anointing of the Sick does forgive mortal sin also if the critically ill person is unable to receive the sacrament of Penance."


#16

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.