Last Rites / Viaticum for a stubborn non-practicing Catholic


My Grandmother grew up in a Catholic house but fell away from going to church in the 1950’s - she’s 99 years old and quickly approaching the end of her worldly life.

The really bad news is that she’s told us she doesn’t want to see a Priest!

We Lutherans hold that sometimes the sick-bed drives us to the Cross, so I’m hoping that her mind will change, but she’s rather stubborn.

Here’s the question: As I continue to ask her, and she continues to say ‘no’, should I:

  1. ‘Sneak’ in a Catholic Preist to give her the Gospel and the True Body and Blood of our Lord.
  2. Sit back and honor her wishes given before, and trust that God knows her soul.

Frankly, I’m partial to #1 - not that the Priest can force salvation on her, but that as her mind becomes more like a Child, the stubborn defenses of her worldly mind fall away to expose the true person who loves God.

Thanks for any advice!


My prayers go out to you and your mother at this time.

It’s hard for me to say what I would do in that situation, but I would start by calling a priest, explaining the situation to him, and asking what can be done. I would suspect that most priests have plenty of experience in these types of situations.



Sorry to hear about your grandmother. I agree with Joe, speaking with a priest is a good plan.



Never give up hope. Never stop praying for her. Then leave it in God’s hands. But let me tell you about my sister-in-law who was in a similar situation. She was in her mid forties and was on her deathbed dying from an aggressive cancer. There were many prayers from her family and her father had asked her if she allow a priest to visit her but she would not. It just so happened that a priest was visiting one of his parishioners at the same hospital. Her father saw him and approached him asking him to visit his daughter. Now this priest was also a customer of his daughter’s embroidery business and that was how he was acquainted with her. He just popped in to say “hello” and it ended up that she received Confession. We noticed a change in her in just a few days apart. My husband and I were with her when she died. In her last hour, she was clutching the brown scapular that her father had given her. She couldn’t wear it around her neck because of all the tubes, but she was searching for it at one point and clung to it. She died peacefully.


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