Skip to comments.Despite his own injuries, priest gave last rites to crash victims
Posted on 09/18/2008 11:29:05 AM PDT by Between the Lines
Still in a daze from the crash, Donald Ashman walked over to the first body.
Ashman knelt down and lifted a corner of a white blanket covering the body, placed his hand on the man's forehead and said the words he had said so many times before, almost always at a hospital:
"May God Almighty have mercy upon thee, forgive thee thy sins and bring thee to everlasting life."
The prayer took just a few seconds. Ashman returned the blanket and turned to the next victim, not far from the mangled Metrolink train.
He didn't know their names, their ages, their stories. He knew only that they had died and that they had probably been heading home to their families, as he was, after the workday.
Reflecting on that day now, Ashman also knows, as surely as he has known anything in his 62 years, why he was on that train and why he survived.
He was there to administer their last rites.
"I was where God intended me to be," Ashman said in an interview Wednesday from his home in Thousand Oaks.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
Oh geez oh pete. Lord Love this good man. I pray someone so righteous is there as I breathe my last breath.
Wow, that’s pretty wild. If I was a survivor I’d be saying “the worms will have a mighty feast this month!”
I see a similarity between this and the Mormon practice of baptizing for the dead which was brought up here a few days ago. In each case it seems one person is taking an action which (in their religious belief) will have some effect upon another in the afterlife. Could a kind Catholic please tell this Catholic-belief-challenged evangelical where this practice comes from, because I am not aware of it in the bible. And if it comes from tradition, that's OK, I just want to be better informed.
I'm neither Catholic nor Morman, but neither practice offends me. I believe them to be useless as the individual's eternal destination has already been sealed once they breathe their last, but I certainly wouldn't get bent out of shape if someone performed either practice on behalf of a member of my family.
If I read the article correctly - this priest is Anglican not Catholic.
Personally, being a Catholic, I still would have appreciated the prayers and annointing.
I’m not overly religious, but anybody is welcome to pray for me to anybody they feel like praying to.
Catholics do not baptise the dead, nor administer any Sacrament to the dead. However, there are two aspects to consider: first, when death seems likely or imminent; and second, after death.
The Last Rites, which generally include Confession for those who are able, Communion for the Dying (called "Viaticum"), and Anointing of the Sick, are for the living who have been baptized and who are thus able to request and receive these Sacraments. If it is unknown whether a person is already dead or perhaps moments away from death, a simple blessing might be used, which is what this priest apparently did. He would have had no way of knowing for sure whether their souls had departed from their bodies.
On the other hand, if the person is already dead, we can still pray for their soul. This is because, as the Church teaches, all believers -- whether living on this earth, or departed ---are members of the Body of Christ, and thus have a living connection with each other.
We believe that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, and nothing separates us from the love of each other in Christ. We still love people and care for them and pray for them, and they still love us, care for us and pray for us. In other words, we have a communion with each other --- called the "Communion of Saints" --- which is not broken by death.
All of this is through Christ, with Him, and in Him. We love people forever, not just until they die.
In term of Biblical references, in 2 Maccabees 12:43-46 it says this:
"[After the battle, Judas Maccabeus] sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection.
(For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead),
And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them.
It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins."
This illustrates the practice of praying for the dead under the old law, which was then strictly observed by the Jews of the Maccabee's time.
And of course, the Epistles of Paul are full of teachings that we are all living members of one Body, and that this spiritual relationship is stronger than death.
I’m curious.... last rites AFTER the person has died, does it still apply?
This is done because no one actually knows when the soul leaves the body. So the last rites are administered even though the person is dead in case the soul is still part of the body. There’s no way of actually knowing, so it is done on the assumption that the soul is still salvageable.
Doesn't make a difference, really. Anglicans, Catholics, and Orthodox ---and many others --- would share these beliefs. In fact, the big majority of all Christians over the past 2,000 would have these same beliefs.
Last Rites is one of the Catholic sacraments if that helps any. Though they say this priest was Anglican.
He was anglican...
Donald Ashman, seen at his Thousand Oaks home, is an Anglican priest who was a passenger on the Metrolink train that crashed Friday in Chatsworth. Though still in a daze from the collision, he administered last rites to people who died at the scene. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times) September 17, 2008
This priest is what they call a “traditional Anglican”, and more specifically he is a “high church” Anglican because he is under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Province of Christ the King. The APCK is quite orthodox and traditional — and quite “high” in practice, although they subscribe to the ‘28 prayerbook which is rather anti-Roman in spots. In other words, Catholic in all but name (as opposed to Catholic in name only).
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