Sancta Missa - Rituale Romanum (Roman Ritual) - Anointing of the Sick - General Rules



1. The sacrament of anointing of the sick was instituted by Christ our Lord as a heavenly remedy, not only for the soul but likewise for the body's well-being. Although it is not per se required for salvation by necessity of means, nevertheless, no one may neglect to receive it, and it must be given with all care and zeal in cases of critical illness. In fact, it must be received if possible while the sick person is still conscious and rational, so that the recipient himself, in order to receive the sacrament more fruitfully, may assist with faith and devout intention while he is being anointed with the holy oil.

2. According to the general practice of the Church, this above all must be observed--if there is time and the condition of the sick person permits, the sacraments of penance and holy Eucharist are to be administered to him before he is anointed.

3. The pastor must provide that the holy oil of the sick be reserved in church in a silver or pewter vessel, guarded under lock and key in an ambry which is neat and suitably ornamented. This oil, consecrated by the bishop on Maundy Thursday, must be renewed each year, and the old oil burned. Nor may one use the old oil unless some necessity warrants. If the consecrated oil does not suffice, then other non- consecrated olive oil is added, but in lesser quantity than the consecrated each time this happens.

4. A pastor must obtain the holy oil from his own Ordinary. He may not keep it in the rectory, save by reason of necessity or some other reasonable cause and with sanction of the Ordinary.

5. The oil can be reserved either in its fluid state or absorbed in cotton or similar material. Yet to avoid spilling it while carrying it on a sick call, it is more practical to reserve it in the latter way.

6. This sacrament can be administered validly by any priest and by a priest only. The ordinary minister is the pastor of the place where the sick person is confined. However, in an emergency or with permission of the pastor or also of the Ordinary (which permission can be reasonably presumed), any priest available can administer this sacrament.

7. The ordinary minister is in justice bound to administer this sacrament personally or by his substitute, and in a case of necessity every priest is bound out of charity to do so.

8. Anointing of the sick can be given only to one of the faithful--one who has attained the age of reason and who is in danger of death by reason of illness or old age. The sacrament may not be given more than once during the same illness, unless after receiving the sacrament, the sick person has recovered from the danger and then has a critical relapse.

9. If there is a doubt as to whether the sick person has attained the age of discretion, or is really in danger of death, or is already dead this sacrament must be administered conditionally.

10. The sacrament is not to be conferred on the impenitent who obstinately persevere in manifest mortal sin. Yet if there is a doubt about this, it may be administered conditionally.

11. Nonetheless, it must be administered absolutely to the sick who while they were rational did request it at least implicitly, or to all appearances would have requested it, yet afterward lose consciousness or their rational faculties.

12. If one is at the point of death and there is danger of his expiring before the anointings can be performed, he should be anointed at once, the minister beginning at the place: "By this holy anointing," etc., as given below. Later, if he is still alive, the prayers which were omitted should be said.

13. If there is doubt whether the person is still alive, the anointing takes place with the conditional form: "If you are still alive, by this holy anointing," etc., see below.

14. Should it happen that a sick person, after making a confession of his sins, is approaching the end, then the same priest who brings Viaticum can also carry with him the oil of the sick. Yet if another priest or a deacon is available, the holy oil should be carried by him. Vested in surplice and carrying the holy oil concealed, he accompanies the priest who bears the holy Viaticum. And after the sick person has received Viaticum he is anointed by the priest.

15. Five parts of the body chiefly must be anointed, the ones with which man is endowed by nature as the organs of sensation, namely, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and hands. Yet the feet likewise are to be anointed, although this anointing may be omitted for any good reason. The anointings, except for some serious cause, must be made directly by the hand of the minister and not applied with some instrument.

16. Whereas the hands of the laity must be anointed on the palms, a priest's hands are anointed on the back.

17. At the anointing of the eyes, ears, and the other organs which are double, the priest must take care lest, while anointing one of these parts, he should happen to complete the form of the sacrament before he has anointed both organs.

18. If a person is lacking one of these bodily members, the part nearest it is to be anointed, with the use of the same form.

19. The form of this sacrament used by the Church of Rome is the solemn deprecatory form which the priest uses at each anointing, saying: "By this holy anointing and by His most tender mercy may the Lord forgive you all the evil you have done through the power of sight or hearing," etc. R: Amen.

20. In an emergency an anointing of only one of the senses suffices, or the forehead only may be anointed, the minister using the shorter form: "By this holy anointing may the Lord forgive you all the evil you have done." R: Amen. But the obligation of supplying all anointings remains (see no. 12) when the danger later ceases.

21. Whenever this sacrament is administered to several sick persons at the same time, the priest presents the crucifix to each one to be kissed, recites once all prayers that precede the anointings, anoints each individually with the respective forms, and then says only once all the prayers that follow the anointings.

The following additional directives are given in the new "Instruction" of September 26, 1964:

no. 68. When anointing of the sick and Viaticum are administered at the same time, unless a continuous rite is already found in a particular Ritual, the rite is to be arranged as follows: after the sprinkling with holy water and the entrance prayers given in the rite of anointing (see Rite for Anointing of the Sick), the priest hears the confession of the sick person, if necessary, then administers the anointing (see Invocation of the Trinity and Anointings), and then gives Viaticum (see Rite for Communion for the Sick), omitting the sprinkling with its formulas and the Confiteor and absolution.

If, however, the apostolic blessing with plenary indulgence at the hour of death is to be imparted on the same occasion, it takes place immediately before the anointing, omitting the sprinkling with its formulas and the Confiteor and absolution (see Rite of the Apostolic Blessing with the Plenary Indulgence at the Hour of Death).

NEXT SECTION: Rite for anointing of the sick  Previous

Previous Anointing of the Sick - Introduction

Rituale Romanum Index

Rituale Romanum - Roman Ritual
Tutoriel pour la Messe Tridentine en Latin (Français) | Tutorial on the Tridentine Latin Mass (English)
Online Tutorial for Priests | Rubrics of the 1962 Roman Missal | Learning to Serve at the Altar

Spirituality of the Tridentine Mass | Liturgical Books and Resources | Sacred Music of the Liturgy
From Sacristy to Altar | The Liturgical Year

What's New | Frequently Asked Questions
Letter from the SuperiorSite Dedication | Contact Us | How You Can Help

Copyright © 2010. Canons Regular of St. John Cantius. All Rights Reserved.