Extreme Unction and Holy Orders
443. What is Extreme Unction?
Extreme Unction is the sacrament which, through the anointing with blessed oil by the priest, and through his prayer, gives health and strength to the soul and sometimes to the body when we are in danger of death from sickness, accident, or old age.
444. Who should receive Extreme Unction?
All Catholics who have reached the use of reason and are in danger of death from sickness, accident, or old age should receive Extreme Unction.
445. What are the effects of the sacrament of Extreme Unction?
The effects of the sacrament of Extreme Unction are:
first, an increase of sanctifying grace;
second, comfort in sickness and strength against temptation;
third, preparation for entrance into heaven by the remission of our venial sins and the cleansing of our souls from the remains of sin;
fourth, health of body when it is good for the soul.
446. When does Extreme Unction take away mortal sin?
Extreme Unction takes away mortal sin when the sick person is unconscious or otherwise unaware that he is not properly disposed, but has made an act of imperfect contrition.
447. How should we prepare ourselves to receive Extreme Unction worthily?
We should prepare ourselves to receive Extreme Unction worthily by a good confession, by acts of faith, hope, charity, and, especially, by resignation to the will of God.
448. Who can administer Extreme Unction?
Only a priest can administer Extreme Unction.
449. When is it advisable to call the priest to visit the sick?
It is advisable to call the priest to visit the sick in any serious illness, even though there be no apparent danger of death, as it is the duty of the priest to visit the sick and to administer to them the sacraments they need.
450. In case of sudden or unexpected death, should a priest be called?
In case of sudden or unexpected death a priest should be called always, because absolution and Extreme Unction can be given conditionally for some time after apparent death.
451. What is Holy Orders?
Holy Orders is the sacrament through which men receive the power and grace to perform the sacred duties of bishops, priests, and other ministers of the Church.
452. What are some of the requirements that a man may receive Holy Orders worthily?
That a man may receive Holy Orders worthily it is necessary:
first, that he be in the state of grace and be of excellent character;
second, that he have the prescribed age and learning;
third, that he have the intention of devoting his life to the sacred ministry;
fourth, that he be called to Holy Orders by his bishop.
453. What are the effects of ordination to the priesthood?
The effects of ordination to the priesthood are: first, an increase of sanctifying grace; second, sacramental grace, through which the priest has God's constant help in his sacred ministry; third, a character, lasting forever, which is a special sharing in the priesthood of Christ and which gives the priest special supernatural powers.
454. What are the chief supernatural powers of the priest?
The chief supernatural powers of the priest are: to change bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and to forgive sins in the sacrament of Penance.
455. Why should Catholics show reverence and honor to the priest?
Catholics should show reverence and honor to the priest because he is the representative of Christ Himself and the dispenser of His mysteries.
456. Who is the minister of the sacrament of Holy Orders?
The bishop is the minister of the sacrament of Holy Orders.