No Extreme Unction for Soldiers

Hi CAF! :wave:

Why can’t soldiers before battle receive Extreme Unction?
Thank you for answering my question!

We call it the “Anointing of the Sick” now, and I would think they could. Sick folks are anointed prior to surgery. Check with the chaplain of the Base.

Where did you get your information?

The term “Extreme Unction” has not been used in over 40 years.

Any information you got then might be just as dated.

That said, the argument used then was that since EU involved physical healing, it was not done if someone faced death due to causes that could not be healed (examples: soldiers prior to battle, persons being executed, or travellers in danger of shipwreck). Those rules might well not apply now.


Soldiers can receive the sacraments before they go to battle or a deployment. It was even common for priests to be administering the sacrament in the heat of battle in the last several wars and especially the first and second world wars.

I think it is still true. The sacrament is The Anointing of the Sick

Can. 998 The anointing of the sick, by which the Church commends the faithful who are dangerously ill to the suVering and glorified Lord in order that he relieve and save them, is conferred by anointing them with oil and pronouncing the words prescribed in the liturgical books.
Can. 1004 §1. The anointing of the sick can be administered to a member of the faithful who, having reached the use of reason, begins to be in danger due to sickness or old age.

The proper sacraments for them are Reconciliation and Eucharist.

The same would apply to those trapped in a disaster, e.g. a sinking ship.

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