Response to Annointing of the Sick

Do we respond back to the priest after we receive the Annointing of the Sick?

Yes. If the recipient is able, he should respond “Amen” to the actual prayer of anointing. This might also be said by anyone else who happens to be there.

If the anointing is done in the extraordinary form however, only the priest says the amen.

Is Annointing of the Sick the exact same Sacrament as Last Rites or is there a difference? I understand for Last Rites “Viaticum” ( I hope I spelled that correctly) is offered. But, I have always had the impression they are the same. Is this correct?

Yes. My understanding is that they’re trying to get away from the names “Last Rites” and “Extreme Unction” because too many people would think, “Gee, maybe Dad’ll get better . . . let’s not use up his Last Rites just yet,” or “Well, Dad’s pretty sick, but I wouldn’t say he’s extremely sick . . . he’ll probably get worse, so let’s hold off on that Extreme Unction for right now.”

Anointing of the Sick is not a one-time-only sacrament, and you’re not supposed to wait until things really get extreme, but yes, these are all the same thing.

No. There’s a difference.

Anointing of the Sick is a Sacrament unto itself. This is also called “unction” which is simply the latin word for anointing. So the words unction and anointing are entirely interchangeable.

The Last Rites (note the plural) consist of:

1 The sacrament of Reconciliation (ie Confession)
2 The Apostolic Pardon
3 The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick (aka Unction)
4 The sacrament of Communion as Viaticum

“Extreme Unction” simply means Unction administered in extreme (such as emergencies) or final (such as immediately before death) circumstances. The word “extreme” is merely an adjective added to the name of the sacrament. Sometimes that adjective applies, sometimes it doesn’t. Naturally, if it doesn’t apply, the word shouldn’t be used. However if it does apply, it certainly may be used.

There is no “sacrament of last rites” rather, the last rites consist of the Sacraments.


1 in an emergency, Communion (if possible) comes first, then Anointing/Unction.

2 Depending on circumstances, Reconciliation might be nothing more than the priest saying the minimum words of absolution “I absolve you…” without the actual confession of sins either because time is of the essence or because the person is unable to speak.

What is the Apostolic Pardon?

Here’s a link to it in the Extraordinary Form, with some explanations

The new form retains only the prayer at the end “By the authority which the Apostolic See has given me…” See paragraph 201 in the book *Pastoral Care of the Sick *if you have one handy.

What is it exactly? I don’t know precisely how to describe it, but suffice to say that is a special plenary indulgence releasing the dying from the punnishments due to sin. A while back there were some good threads on this. I don’t have them marked, but I’d suggest doing a search on the threads.

That is beautiful!, especially the commending the soul prayers. Is it ever allowed to be in English?

It is in English. I’m a bit confused by your question, so I checked the link just to be sure. Could you re-phrase the question please?

Sorry for the confusion. I meant is it allowed to be said in English? Most of the things on santamissa are translated into English, but are to be said in Latin.

Also, could you do this after a post-vatican II last rites?

Yes, it’s allowed to be said in English. The 1964 printing of the 1952 Roman Ritual was printed to be used, not just for reference. Without taking us off topic, suffice to say that most of what’s in the book has been done in English since then, or even earlier.

Please keep in mind what I posted earlier that the Apostolic Pardon is one part of the Last Rites. So with that in mind: no, it cannot be done after the Last Rites according to the new ritual, since that would be redundant (it would have already happened). It’s already there.

With regard to the Apostolic Pardon, the only thing that’s changed is in how the text is printed. In the older versions, it appeared as a seperate rite, however the rubrics for Unction called for it to be done, while skipping parts of the Pardon which were already being done. In other words, the priest had to flip pages, and keep track of what was already done so as not to repeat it. In the new version, we have the entire Last Rites printed as a “continuous rite” which simply makes it easier.

I think I may be either reading too much into what you’re saying, or in the other extreme, not quite catching the subtleties of what you’re asking. Please allow me to re-phrase my response:

The Apostolic Pardon is already included within the “new” ritual for the Last Rites. However, it is only the essential prayer that’s included. All of the other prayers before the actual Pardon have been removed. The reason here is important: it’s because the preparatory prayers (like the Confiteor) have already been said because Confession happens before the Pardon. This is an editing & printing issue (it’s not a post- versus pre- Vatican II issue). The old book had the whole ritual of the Pardon in a seperate section of the book, but a rubric saying to skip the parts that were already done. It also had a rubric for the Sacrament of Unction saying to turn to the page with the Pardon, do that, then come back. It was confusing. The new rite simply takes several different “chapters” and merges them into one continuous ritual.

The words of the Pardon itself are essentially the same in the new rite as they were in the old rite, although the translation is slightly different.

So the bottom line is this: yes, a priest can, and indeed should if circumstances warrant it, still give the Apostolic Pardon (or the proper name is Apostolic Blessing at the Hour of Death) in the current Ordinary Form. He can do it in English or in Latin. He “could” use the older text, but there wouldn’t be much purpose to this because the words are basically the same. A priest could perhaps copy the older translation and paste it into the new book; there would be nothing wrong or prohibited about that, but there would be very little difference.

Is that helping or only more confusing?

That’s what I was asking. :slight_smile: And what about the Rite for commending a departing soul, is that still part of the rewritten rites?

In the new rite, it’s called the “Commendation of the Dying” (very little difference there, but some theologians might say it’s a big one…I’ll leave it at that). I’m not comparing it word for word because it’s rather lengthy but suffice to say it’s rather similar.

Haha. Ok thanks so much Father! :slight_smile:

Rather than start a new thread I thought I would tag onto this one.

I just had a priest come to administer Annointing of the Sick to my eldery mom. This was in her home parish, where she has not attended Mass for many years.

Father was so kind and caring that an event that was worrying her and that she was feeling reluctance about accepting turned out to be easy and grace filled. She said that Father reminded her of the beloved pastor of the parish of her childhood.

My question is, should I send a donation to her parish since, she has not been a practicing member for many years? (This is not my parish.)

Thanks for any advice…

it is not required. if you feel in your heart you want to do it, the by all means please do. just know you are not required to and no one and nothing is forcing you to do this, except your own desire to help the parish

Thanks for the reply. This is exactly what I was thinking but was a little unsure.

(This is the parish where I grew up and received my sacraments, even if I no longer live there.)

i did something similar recently. my preist when on vacation when i had the Baptismal Rite for my son. we had to ask the priest from the neighboring parish to do the Rite. he wasn’t expecting anything for it, but i did give him an offering for his parish

I read the ritual for the annointing of the sick, it is very beautiful. My question is, many people die alone, or have no family members accompanying them while on their deathbed, or if they do, the family is not even Christian, let alone Catholic. What about these people?

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