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32. The Conferring of Extreme Unction

1. Extreme unction is a sacrament of spiritual healing andstrengthening. This is signified by the bodily healing whichsometimes accompanies its use, and may accompany it in anyinstance of its being administered. Hence, this sacrament is notfor those who are in health, but for the sick. And Scriptureindicates as much: "Is any man sick among you? Let himbring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him,anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord" (James5:14).

2. Extreme unction is not to be conferred in slightillnesses. It is a proximate preparation of the soul for death, andjudgment, and heaven. Its name indicates the fact that it is to beadministered in extremity; it is extreme unction. Thissacrament is conferred upon a person seriously ill, not necessarilynear to death, but suffering an illness that may prove fatal.

3. Extreme unction is sometimes conferred upon a personwho has lapsed into unconsciousness. It is not refused to anunconscious patient whose previous life has indicated, at leastimplicitly, that he would wish to be fortified with the sacramentswhen he comes to die. Hence, extreme unction is not conferred uponlifelong imbeciles or insane persons; their previous life couldcontain no evidence of desire for this sacrament.

4. The sacrament of extreme unction requires, in therecipient, real devotion, actual or habitual. Hence, it is notgiven to infants, who have not come to the use of reason. Besides,a baptized child under the age of reason has neither sin norremains of sin on his soul.

5. In administering extreme unction, the priest anoints,not the whole body, but special parts of the body, namely, thosethat serve a person constantly and directly in his daily life.

6. These parts are: eyes, ears, nostrils, lips, hands, andfeet.

7. Deformity in a bodily member to be anointed is no barto the anointing. Absence of members does not prevent the patientfrom receiving extreme unction.

"The supreme perfection of man in this life is to be so united to God that all his soul with all its faculties and powers are so gathered into the Lord God that he becomes one spirit with him, and remembers nothing except God, is aware of and recognises nothing but God, but with all his desires unified by the joy of love, he rests contentedly in the enjoyment of his Maker alone."
St Albert the Great

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"We must not be behind time in doing good; for death will not be behind his time. "
St Phillip Neri

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"Shun too great a desire for knowledge, for in it there is much fretting and delusion. Intellectuals like to appear learned and to be called wise. Yet there are many things the knowledge of which does little or no good to the soul, and he who concerns himself about other things than those which lead to salvation is very unwise. "
Thomas á Kempis

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