Anointing of the Sick
Anointing of the Sick is a sacrament of the Catholic Church that is administered to a Catholic "who, having reached the age of reason, begins to be in danger due to sickness or old age"
The near danger of death is not required, but only the onset of a serious medical condition considered to be a possible prelude to death.
The Catholic Church sees the effects of the sacrament as follows: As the sacrament of Marriage gives grace for the married state, the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick gives grace for the state into which people enter through sickness. Through the sacrament a gift of the Holy Spirit is given, that renews confidence and faith in God and strengthens against temptations to discouragement, despair and anguish at the thought of death and the struggle of death; it prevents the believer from losing Christian hope in God's justice, truth and salvation. Because one of the effects of the sacrament is to absolve the recipient of any sins not previously absolved through the sacrament of penance only an ordained priest or bishop may administer the sacrament.
"The special grace of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has as its effects:
- the uniting of the sick person to the passion of Christ, for his own good and that of the whole Church;
- the strengthening, peace, and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age;
- the forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain it through the sacrament of penance;
- the restoration of health, if it is conducive to the salvation of his soul;
- the preparation for passing over to eternal life."