Magisterial Teaching on the Sacrament of Anointing the Sick
The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes the Church’s teaching on the sacrament of anointing the sick in the following way;
“315. What is the attitude of the Church toward the sick?
Having received from the Lord the charge to heal the sick, the Church strives to carry it out by taking care of the sick and accompanying them with her prayer of intercession. Above all, the Church possesses a sacrament specifically intended for the benefit of the sick. This sacrament was instituted by Christ and is attested by Saint James: “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call in the presbyters of the Church and let them pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord” (James 5:14-15).
…318. How is this sacrament celebrated?
The celebration of this sacrament consists essentially in an anointing with oil which may be blessed by the bishop. The anointing is on the forehead and on the hands of the sick person (in the Roman rite) or also on other parts of the body (in the other rites) accompanied by the prayer of the priest who asks for the special grace of this sacrament.
319. What are the effects of this sacrament?
This sacrament confers a special grace which unites the sick person more intimately to the Passion of Christ for his good and for the good of all the Church. It gives comfort, peace, courage, and even the forgiveness of sins if the sick person is not able to make a confession. Sometimes, if it is the will of God, this sacrament even brings about the restoration of physical health. In any case this Anointing prepares the sick person for the journey to the Father’s House.”
The Sacrament of Anointing the Sick in the Bible
…for the physical and/or spiritual healing of the ill:
- Mark 6:13: “And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.”
- James 5:14-45: “Any one of you who is ill should send for the elders of the church, and they must anoint the sick person with oil in the name of the Lord and pray over him. and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”