Thursday, November 03, 2005

Last Rites

Father Martin Fox has a very helpful and insiteful post about the "Last Rites" or Annointing of the Sick. He has a few very helpful tips for anyone who has a family member who is in the last stages of their journey towards Heaven.

*Let the priest know the dying person is dying. This helps him to be clear about the situation and know that the family and/or patient is ready to accept the final blessing of the Church.

*If you can possibly anticipate that the patient will be unable to receive communion by mouth, let the priest know ahead of time so he can bring the Precious Blood and some blessed eye droppers so the person can receive what the Church calls "Viaticum" (or final communion)in a form that he or she can physically tolerate.

This is something that families and even many priests do not think about because it requires some pre-planning. Consecrated altar wine can only be reserved for a short period of time and is not normally reserved as a regular practice as the hosts are.

Father Fox suggests describing the practice of using the Precious Blood only for Holy Communion in these types of situations to priests who may not be familiar with the practice and generously offers himself as a referral if necessary.

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"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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