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Ask the Register: who can be anointed?

Q. Am I allowed to receive the Anointing of the Sick for the healing of emotional wounds? How do I know if I am wounded enough to receive the sacrament? What does the Church teach about this?  Who can receive anointing of the sick?

A. The Second Vatican Council taught that “by the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the priests, the whole Church commends those who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord, that he may raise them up and save them. And indeed she exhorts them to contribute to the good of the People of God by freely uniting themselves to the Passion and death of Christ.” 

The Sacrament of the sick is a sacrament of healing, in which we invoke God for healing, and in which we offer our suffering in union with the suffering of Jesus Christ.

The sacrament of the sick gives us a particular gift of the Holy Spirit— the gift of strength, peace, and courage.  The sacrament also gives us union with Christ’s passion, the intercession of the Church, and preparation for the journey through death, into new life. 

The Church teaches that “the anointing of the sick can be administered to a member of the faithful who, having reached the use of reason, begins to be in danger due to sickness or old age.” Therefore, a person should receive the sacrament of the sick under those conditions: that they are in real danger of death, because of their sickness or their old age. Each one of us, though, no matter how sick we are, can offer our suffering and wounds to Christ, and ask for the healing of the Divine Physician.

Write to Ask the Register using our online form, or write to 3700 Sheridan Blvd., Suite 10, Lincoln NE 68506-6100. All questions are subject to editing. Editors decide which questions to publish. Personal questions cannot be answered. People with such questions are urged to take them to their nearest Catholic priest.

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