Monday, October 24, 2005

Vatican: Only a Priest Is Minister of Anointing of the Sick

The Vatican has reiterated that that only a priest -- that is, bishops and presbyters -- may administer the sacrament of the anointing of the sick.

The Congregation on the Doctrine of the Faith emphasized that point in a Note published in response to several questions it had received in recent years.

"Neither deacons nor lay persons therefore may exercise such ministry and any action in this connection is a simulation of the sacrament" and would be "invalid," said the dicastery. Canon law provides sanctions for such an action, it added.

The congregation's "Note on the Ministry of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick" was published Friday in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano.
Article from Zenit here and with more here.
Trent's teachings

The "brief note" is a commentary, also published in the Vatican newspaper, which explains that "in these last decades theological tendencies have been manifested that cast doubt on the Doctrine of the Church, according to which the minister of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick 'est omnis et solus sacerdos,'" in keeping with the formulation of the Council of Trent (1542-1563).

"The topic," it continued, "is addressed with preference from the pastoral point of view, especially taking into account those areas in which the scarcity of priests makes the timely administration of the Sacrament difficult, while such difficulty might be resolved if the Permanent Deacons and also qualified lay persons could be delegated ministers of the Sacrament.

"The Note of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith intends to call attention to these tendencies, to avoid the danger of the existence of attempts to put them into practice, in detriment of the faith and with grave spiritual harm of the sick whom one wants to help."

No comments: