Lutherans and anointing of the sick

What are your thoughts of the Catholic Sacrament of anointing of the sick. Do you ever
utilize this?

Peace in Christ,

I haven’t met a Lutheran who considers ‘Last Rites’ to be a sacrament, and nor would I expect to, as the Lutheran definition of ‘sacrament’ typically involves: a visible act instituted by Christ through which the forgiveness of sins is given by God. That said, our practice involves a similar ritual, which typically includes Holy Confession/Absolution (which is also numbered among our Sacraments), if the individual is able. Mary, let me get out my Book of Concord and Pastoral Companion book and see exactly what our doctrine teaches - it’s been some time since I’ve looked on this subject. So thanks for the excuse for the refresher. :smiley:

I realize that Lutherans don’t consider this a Sacrament but I was just wondering if you ever anoint people?
Thanks Don.

Yes, Lutherans anoint the sick. Some parishes have a special service on Sunday or during the week that involves holy Absolution and anointing. Most baptisms and some confirmations include anointing with holy oil.

Interestingly, it is fairly common for a joint service of Catholics, Anglicans and Lutherans to bless the oils together on Candlemass; each parish takes enough oil for the year.

I don’t know what oils the Catholics are blessing on Candlemass, but the sacramental oils mare blessed at the Chrism Mass in Holy Week.

Oops! Of-course, Candlemass [Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin / Presentation of the Lord] is the blessing of candles! :o

No Problem. Just thought it best to correct quickly.

It has been in the past. I’ve never witnessed it personally, though. As another poster pointed out, Lutherans would only consider an act sacramental if it confers the forgiveness of sins. However, there would be nothing wrong with utilizing it as part of a rite of confession. James himself, as a New Testament reference, seems to connect the anointing of oil with confession and absolution.

Our pastor spends a lot of time with the sick and shut-in - to be with those that move from this life to a new life in Christ Jesus and to give the comfort of the Gospel to those that morn is one of his greatest responsibilities and joys.

Yes but does he anoint the sick?

Yes. Yes he anoints the sick - either in the Liturgy for the Sick or the Rite for the Commendation of the Dying depending on the severity.

Thanks for the answer Ben.

We practice it, but we don’t consider it a sacrament. And we don’t have an anointing of the sick service that you can go to monthly or anything.

Hi EvangelCatholic. I just read this thread for the first time, so I didn’t have to wait long between your “oil” comment and the correction, but I was gonna say … :eek:


Actually, most Catholics don’t have a regular Anointing of the Sick either, just on occasion for those who are, well, sick. :slight_smile: But in the Melkite Catholic Church we have one each year during Holy Week.

I know a few colleagues in the ELCA who practice anointing of the sick, some during pastoral visits, others during services of healing. My father-confessor also practices anointing the penitent after confession. As for myself, I have the option available to parishioners, but none have take me up on it as of yet.

Every six months or so we do have a kneeling station setup for people to have healing prayers said - it happens during our rathe along communions. It’s not the same thing as what the pastor does - I haven’t taken advantage of it as the hubris of youth has somewhat protected me from acknowledging any sickness of body. :slight_smile:

Ah, that’s what you mean. Yes, Lutherans can and do anoint with oil, as other posters have noted.

I checked through the Pastoral Care Companion that was published by CPH (the publishing arm of the LCMS). This little book is used by virtually all pastors, and often given to elders as well - it contains a few brief liturgies, Baptism in cases of emergencies, Commendation of the Dying, etc. The condensed version of the Rite of Commendation of the Dying doesn’t specifically include the use of oil, but it seems to be a not-uncommon practice. Again, since it’s not a Sacrament, there is permissible variation.

Most confirmations I’ve watched also use anointing oil.

Who does the confirmations in the LCMS and other Lutheran churches that have no bishops?

Bishops don’t normally confirm catechumens in the Lutheran church. This is done by the pastor. Perhaps in Europe, bishops confirm but I don’t think it is required.

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