May 26
vol 22, no. 146

The Last Rites Compared

This is written with the hope that Catholics caught in the vice of the conciliar structure and who are compelled to follow the man-made rites that may be called sacraments but are not, will not get squeezed when the time comes and God says your time on this earth is about to end. How sad, no make that how tragic it is that countless Catholics are being deprived of the true Sacrament of the Last Rites by buying into the 'sacrament of the sick cures all' when in truth, it cures very little and, like untested drugs today, there can be many side effects that make it much more dangerous to take the drug than not. So also with the 'sacrament' of the sick. Just as they have warning labels on prescriptions and cigarette packs, so also they should have warning labels plastered on the doors of every Novus Ordo lodge (church) saying: Enter at your own risk.

    My parents are members of the Novus Ordo Church. Therefore, I'm concerned about the Conciliar new rite that replaces Extreme Unction. In trying to make them more amiable to receiving a traditional priest to their sick bed I have done a comparison between the [Conciliar] Catechism of the Catholic Church (hereafter: Conciliar Catechism) and the Catechism of Trent on the topic and found that the differences were more than what I expected as the new Church focuses primarily on the illness of the person while The Catholic Church focuses on their salvation.

Focus on illness of the Conciliar Catechism

    For proof let me show you the title headings in the Conciliar Catechism that encompasses 15 sections (shown in parentheses) which focuses primarily on the "problem" of human illness:

    Illness in human life (1500 - 1501) The sick person before God (1502) Christ the physician (1503 - 1505) "Heal the sick . . ." (1506 - 1510) A sacrament of the sick (1511 - 1513) In case of grave illness. . . (1514 - 1515)

    Now for the first section on the topic found in the Conciliar Catechism, with any emphasis throughout this article being mine:

    1500 Illness and suffering have always been among the gravest problems confronted in human life. In illness, man experiences his powerlessness, his limitations, and his finitude. Every illness can make us glimpse death.

    The first paragraph in the Catechism of Trent:

    In all thy works, the Scriptures teach, remember thy last end, and thou shalt never sin, words which convey to the pastor a silent admonition to omit no opportunity of exhorting the faithful to constant meditation on death. The Sacrament of Extreme Unction, because inseparably associated with recollection of the day of death, should, it is obvious, form a subject of frequent instruction, not only because it is right to explain the mysteries of salvation, but also because death, the inevitable doom of all men, when recalled to the minds of the faithful, represses depraved passion. Thus shall they be less disturbed by the approach of death, and will pour forth their gratitude in endless praises to God, Who has not only opened to us the way to true life in the Sacrament of Baptism, but has also instituted that of Extreme Unction, to afford us, when departing this mortal life, an easier way to Heaven.

Matter of Extreme Unction

    Here are the paragraphs in the Catechism of Trent under the heading on the matter of Extreme Unction:

    Its element, then, or matter, as defined by Councils, particularly by the Council of Trent, consists of oil consecrated by the Bishop. Not any kind of oil extracted from fatty or greasy substances, but olive oil alone can be the matter of this Sacrament.

    Thus its matter is most significant of what is inwardly effected in the soul by the Sacrament. Oil is very efficacious in soothing bodily pain, and the power of this Sacrament lessens the pain and anguish of the soul. Oil also restores health, brings joy, feeds light, and is very efficacious in refreshing bodily fatigue. All these effects signify what the divine power accomplishes in the sick man through the administration of this Sacrament. So much will suffice in explanation of the matter.

    There is no heading on the matter or form of the Sacrament in the Conciliar Catechism though it has the following sentence on both the form and matter:

    The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is given to those who are seriously ill by anointing them on the fore-head and hands with duly blessed oil - pressed from olives or from other plants - saying, only once: "Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up." Cf. CIC Codex Iuris Canonici, Can. 847 # 1

Form of Extreme Unction

    So the Conciliar Catechism makes sure the minister is limited to saying the formula prayer only once while the traditional sacrament has it for each of her more numerous anointings.

    Next in the Catechism of Trent we have a section on the form of Extreme Unction:

    The form of the Sacrament is the word and solemn prayer which the priest uses at each anointing: By this Holy Unction may God pardon thee whatever sins thou hast committed by the evil use of sight, smell or touch. That this is the true form of this Sacrament we learn from these words of St. James: Let them pray over him . . . and the prayer of faith shall save the sick man. Hence we can see that the form is to be applied by way of prayer. The Apostle does not say of what particular words that prayer is to consist; but this form has been handed down to us by the faithful tradition of the Fathers, so that all the Churches retain the form observed by the Church of Rome, the mother and mistress of all Churches. Some, it is true, alter a few words, as when for God pardon thee, they say (God) remit, or (God) spare, and sometimes, May (God) remedy all the evil thou hast committed. But as there is no change of meaning, it is clear that all religiously observe the same form.

    It should not excite surprise, that, while the form of each of the other Sacraments either absolutely signifies what it expresses, such as I baptize thee, or I sign thee with the sign of the cross, or is pronounced, as it were, by way of command, as in administering Holy Orders, Receive power, the form of Extreme Unction alone is expressed by way of prayer. Wisely has it been so appointed. For since this Sacrament is administered not only for the spiritual grace which it bestows, but also for the recovery of health, which, however, is not always obtained, therefore use a deprecative [i.e., tends to avert by prayer - JG] form, in order to implore of God's mercy what the virtue of the Sacrament does not always and uniformly effect.

Subject of the Sacrament

    There is no section on the form of the Sacrament in the Conciliar Catechism, which limits the topic to the phrase as cited, in a sentence above.

    What follows in the Catechism of Trent is the description of the subject of this Sacrament:

    But although instituted for the use of all, Extreme Unction is not to be administered indiscriminately to all.

    In the first place, it is not to be administered to persons in sound health, according to those words of St. James: Is anyone sick amongst you? This is also proved by the fact that Extreme Unction was instituted as a remedy not only for the diseases of the soul, but also for those of the body. Now only the sick need a remedy, and therefore this Sacrament is to be administered to those only whose malady is such as to excite apprehensions of approaching death.

    It is, however, a very grievous sin to defer the Holy Unction until, all hope of recovery being lost, life begins to ebb, and the sick person is fast verging into a state of insensibility. It is obvious that if the Sacrament is administered while consciousness and reason are yet unimpaired, and the mind is capable of eliciting acts of faith and of directing the will to sentiments of piety, a more abundant participation of its graces must be received. Though this heavenly medicine is in itself always salutary, pastors should be careful to apply it when its efficacy can be aided by the piety and devotion of the sick person.

    Here is what the Conciliar Catechism has to say about the topic:

    1514 The Anointing of the Sick "is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, [so if you are old, we are not sure how old, you can receive the anointing, since evidently old age puts you in danger of death] the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived." [SC = Sacrosanctum concilium 73; cf. CIC, Can. 1004 # 1; 1005; 1007; CCEO = Corpus Canonum Exxlisarum Orientalium, Can. 738]

    In contradistinction to old age being a suitable reason for being considered "in danger of death" and therefore, an appropriate stage to receive the Sacrament, the Catechism of Trent proclaims that no one may receive the Sacrament unless there is the danger of death, which may arise from illness:

    Extreme Unction, then, can be administered to no one who is not dangerously sick; not even to those who are in danger of death, as when they undertake a perilous voyage, or enter into battle with the sure prospect of death, or have been condemned to death and are on the way to execution.

Effects of the Sacrament

    Regarding the effects of the Sacrament there is a marked difference between the Catholic Church and the Vatican 2 religion:

    [Trent] Pastors, therefore, should teach that by this Sacrament is imparted grace that remits sins, and especially lighter, or as they are commonly called, venial sins; for mortal sins are removed by the Sacrament of Penance. Extreme Unction was not instituted primarily for the remission of grave offences; only Baptism and Penance accomplish this directly.

    [Conciliar Catechism] 1520 A particular gift of the Holy Spirit. The first grace of this sacrament is one of strengthening, peace and courage to overcome the difficulties that go with the condition of serious illness or the frailty of old age. This grace is a gift of the Holy Spirit, who renews trust and faith in God and strengthens against the temptations of the evil one, [Temptations to sin or despair? No, read on.] the temptation to discouragement and anguish in the face of death. [Cf. Heb 2:15] This assistance from the Lord by the power of his Spirit is meant to lead the sick person to healing of the soul, but also of the body if such is God's will. [Cf. Council of Florence (1439): DS = Denzinger-Schonmetzer, Enchirdion Symbolorum, definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum (1965)1325]


    The sick or elderly in the new religion is assured that if he has committed sins (mortal and venial we suppose), his soul will be healed by this anointing "sacrament". But even more importantly, according to the Conciliar Catechism, the "first grace of this sacrament is one of strengthening, peace and courage to overcome the difficulties that go with the condition of serious illness and or the frailty of old age". The Conciliar Catechism has it exactly backwards - in the previous quote, when compared to the Catholic teaching on this Sacrament. And in the following quote, the Conciliar Catechism merely tolerates the "the sacrament of penance" "if circumstances suggest it" and the Eucharist can be "celebrated" in relation to the Sacrament:

    [Catechism of Trent] As all care should be taken that nothing impede the grace of the Sacrament, and as nothing is more opposed to it than the consciousness of mortal guilt, the constant practice of the Catholic Church must be observed administering the Sacrament of Penance and the Eucharist before Extreme Unction.

    [Conciliar Catechism] If circumstances suggest it, the celebration of the sacrament can be preceded by the sacrament of Penance and followed by the sacrament of the Eucharist. As the sacrament of Christ's Passover the Eucharist should always be the last sacrament of the earthly journey, the "viaticum" for "passing over" to eternal life.

    To reiterate; the official catechism of the Novus Ordo Church has as the primary purpose or "grace" of its "sacrament of the sick" the "strengthening" to "overcome the difficulties that come with illness and old age". Whereas the Catholic Church teaches that Christ instituted this Sacrament to safely pave the way from death to Heaven "an easier way to Heaven" and to "remit sins".


    Can anyone think of a reason not to do all you can to make sure your eternal destiny is a good one by assuring yourself of valid last Sacraments administered by a valid Priest rather than leaving your soul to chance?

John Gregory

        "Catholics who remain faithful to Tradition, even if they are reduced to but a handful, they are THE TRUE CHURCH"
        Saint Athanasius, "Apostle of Tradition" AD 373

John Gregory's FAITHFUL TO TRADITION Thursday, May 26, 2011, Volume 22, no. 146