My aunt recently passed away two major strokes. After her second, my uncle, an openly declared agnostic, asked me if she should have a priest. I replied in the affirmative, and the hospital had a priest come. Since my aunt was heavily sedated and likely very impaired due to the stroke, she was unable to confess. I’ve read several blogs, but its unclear if forgiveness of sin occurred or if it is even possible in such as case. Can a person impaired in such a way that they are unable to confess receive absolution? Or is this one of those mysteries that we hold out hope for God’s mercy?
It is good that the priest came. I am sure that he anointed your aunt before her death. This can be a consolation to you as it was a great spiritual benefit for her.
The Sacrament of Anointing, also called Extreme Unction when administered close to death, has several effects. The effects are 1) to comfort us in the pains of sickness and to strengthen us against temptations, 2) to remit venial sins and to cleanse our soul from the remains of sin, and 3) to restore us to health, when God sees fit. These are the effects when a person is still conscience and in the state of grace. When you are compos sui this sacrament should be received only in the state of grace, which means that, when possible, it should be administered after sacramental confession and absolution.
However, not all people near death are conscious and able to make a confession of their sins. In cases of necessity, the Sacrament of Anointing, Extreme Unction, will also take away mortal sin (not just venial) if the dying person is no longer able to confess, provided she has the sorrow for his sins that would be necessary for the worthy reception of the Sacrament of Penance.
And so, we can say that the Sacrament of Anointing straddles two categories in one instance: when the person cannot express sorrow for sins and receive absolution from the priest. If a priest anoints a person who is incapable of response and in danger of death, the sacrament can not only possibly heal (according to God’s will), and strengthen the soul in the last moments of life, but also forgive mortal (not just venial) sins.
Dear readers, do you see how important it is to make a regular confession of your sins? We do not know the day or hour when we will be called before God’s Judgement Seat.
That woman was given a great grace: the priest came before she died.
And, yes, there is such a thing as mortal sin and, yes, there is a particular judgment which each of us will undergo at death.
Some people might want to give the impression these days that the mercy of God is so great that mortal sin doesn’t mean anything.
Some people might want to give the impression today that it is nearly impossible to commit mortal sins and that we shouldn’t even talk about these outdated categories anymore.
Mercy mercy mercy, they cry, while ignoring truth and justice and, frankly, common sense.
Well… THIS PRIEST is here to tell you that you CAN sin mortally and that you will be JUDGED. THIS PRIEST is here to tell you that we all are going to get God’s JUSTICE whether we want it or not even though we can always BEG for His mercy.
We should daily reflect on the Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell.
We should daily, even several times a day, beg God to spare us from a sudden and unprovided death. An “unprovided death” is a death when someone has not had the last sacraments.
My job is to keep as many of you out of Hell as I can.
Hence, I am not going to blow happy gas and sunshine up your pants legs. It IS possible to sin in such a way that you kill the life of grace in your soul, you lose the friendship of God, and you cut yourself from the eternal happiness of heaven which Christ opened up again from us sinners through His expiatory Sacrifice on the Cross.
Some will tell you that it is really really haaard to commit a mortal sin. I’m not so sure about that. Don’t bet your immortal souls on the devil-may-care pabulum spooned out by modernists and the foolish.
Don’t be distracted from what is important for salvation by those who are rattling that shiny thing over there in the wrong direction, on the road to perdition.
Examine your consciences, be brutally honest with yourselves, and GO TO CONFESSION!
Do you know fallen away Catholics? Help them to GO TO CONFESSION!