last rites


i hope i put this in the right forum, but anyways…
i’m curious about last rites. being raised protestant (and still am) i have always believed that once you are dead, that’s it, you’re in God’s hands now. from what i understand, the practice of praying for the dead comes from the books removed by martin luther. i have recently bought a catholic bible and have started reading those books, however i haven’t finished them. so what is the reason for last rites? does it forgive any sins you may have so you don’t go to purgatory?
my stepmom’s mother is catholic, and her husband who passed several years ago was a nonpracticing catholic. grandma has visited his grave EVERY SINGLE DAY since he died and she swears that he can hear her talking to him. is this true?
i am also curious because grandma has had several masses said for grandpa that are supposed to help him get out of purgatory sooner. grandma is getting older and scared too because my stepmom “converted” to the church of christ before she married my dad (the elders of our church wouldn’t allow dad to marry her if she was still catholic). my stepmom’s sister is catholic, but hardly faithful (if her kids act up, which they usually do, she “threatens” them with making them go to mass if they misbehave). so, no one will pray the rosary for her, or have a mass said to help her get out of purgatory when she dies. could i, if i remain protestant, sprinkle holy water and pray the rosary for her? or even have a mass said for her? thanks guys!


The “last rites” refers to the rites that a person receives before death.

It usually consists of the following, but in various circumstances, some parts can be omitted (e.g., confession and Viaticum are not possible if a person is unconscious):

*]Sacrament of Penance (Confession)
*]Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick
*]Reception of Viaticum (the person’s final reception of Holy Communion)
*]Apostolic Blessing
*]Other prayers before and after death

The last rites exist so that a person who is dying can be strengthened by the grace of the sacraments for his journey to Heaven.

The person’s time in Purgatory is also lessened (or removed completely) through the indulgence attached especially to the apostolic blessing.


The previous poster covered this. It’s not necessarily to remove all time in Purgatory, although it may. We receive grace through the Sacraments.

If God allows him to, yes he can. God can share this ability with the saints. You can read more in the Catechism about the Communion of Saints. Of course, if God allows him to hear her, she cna be anywhere-- not just at his graveside.

Yes. You can pray the rosary for her and have masses said for her whether you are Catholic or not. And, what a very nice gesture to relieve her anxiety.


Um well…I am pretty certain the the deceased can hear our prayers if God allows them to. But it has absolutely nothing to do with going to the graveside. Going to the cemetary to visit a grave of a loved one is not just a Catholic thing in fact almost all Christians do it at least on Memorial day…But the location of the deceased’s body has nothing to do with “hearing” us when we talk…that would be sorta borderline superstitious and sorta “weird” but I am sure your grandma is a good woman and not weird. The bible says we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses cheering us on. (the Catholic church thinks those witnesses are those in heaven…ie saints)

Last rites are not done after the person has died it is doen before they die and preferably when they are still conscious and can talk to the priest becuase a confession is usually involved.


Last Rites are for the living, not for the dead. As you state once you are dead you are in Gods hands. “Last Rites” are three Rites within which three Sacraments are celebrated near the point of death, but never beyond it. They are the Sacraments of Reconciliation (Confession) for the forgiveness of ones sins, Anointing of the Sick, for strength both physical and spiritual to resist temptations from satan in the final hour. This Sacrament also forgives sins if it is not possible for the person to Confess their sins because of unconsciousness. Finally, the reception of Holy Communion, called Viaticum (food for the journey). Afterwards a final Blessing is imparted.


well, apparently last rites are given before death. sorry about that. the only time i’ve seen last rites “performed” is by father mochahey (sp?) on MASH 4077.


Tee Hee…I loved Fr. Mulcahy…he was a good typecast for priest or minister for that matter…M.A.S.H. is one of those shows (probably the last of shows) that actually didn’t cast a priest in a negative light. Which brings me to mention that Main stream media and “the movies” should be that last place to get information about Catholicism.

Fulton Sheen said most people hated what they thought Catholicism was…not what it actually is.


i liked the father too. he was a good guy, at least the character was


You might look-up James 5 ,14 for biblical edvidence of the last rites


thanks gus. i just read that text. i never really thought about that doing things like that. the church i grew up in didn’t believe in doing things like that. they believe that only the apostles had the power to heal, but they couldn’t forgive sins (only God can do that). but jesus said that if they forgave someone, then God would forgive also (sorry, not looking up the verse, can barely keep my eyes open). i’ll google last rites in the morning, thanks to everybody.


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