Skip to comments.Another loss in priest shortage: Anointing sick
Posted on 01/27/2010 1:36:58 PM PST by NYer
NEW ORLEANS -- It was John B. Baus's 82nd birthday. When he was getting ready to go out with his wife, he had a heart attack and ended up on his way to the emergency room instead.
Doctors there worked to stabilize him and performed surgery to implant a pace maker. Mary Adele Baus, his wife, went home after the surgery, assured that her husband was resting comfortably.
Instead, at 3 a.m. doctors were working frantically with oxygen and electric paddles to keep Baus alive.
In the midst of the effort Baus asked for a Roman Catholic priest, fearing death was only moments away.
"He said 'I'm a dying man, and I want to see a priest,'" Mary Baus remembered. "All they said was that they didn't have one."
Baus survived, but his wife said it was a traumatic event that left both her and her husband shaken.
"There used to be a chaplain available if you needed him," she said. "Or you could get a priest to come to the hospital. Now it's not for sure that you will see anyone."
Finding a priest to be at the bedside of the dying is becoming harder and harder across the country. The shortage of priests has been a problem for years, but its implications become most clear at dire times for the ill.
New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond says that across the country there are fewer priests and fewer young men who want to become priests.
"We are challenged to find young men looking for vocations," Aymond said. "We are getting fewer, and the process of preparing for the priesthood can take six to eight years. It makes it difficult to have people who can step in for retiring priests."
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
There are more lay-chaplains in the 45-year-old organization now, Lichter said. But they cannot administer the sacraments, which means a dying person who wishes to have them must do it early, or hope someone can be found.
It is more important than ever to include this sacrament prior to a scheduled surgical procedure. There are never any assurances when anesthesia is involved.
I wished that they had at least been honest with us, but no such luck.
Wow! The Washington comPost just can’t seem to get anything right.
The subject sacrament used to be called “Extreme Unction.”
The Catholic church has changed substantially since I was young.
Well, it started out as “anointing the sick.” I received it—from a priest—before going in for heart surgery. It gave me great assurance.
Our local hospital is blessed to have 3 chaplains. One of the chaplains is a wonderful Nigerian priest who has given my wife the Anointing several times. The sacrament has been a great comfort to both of us during her illnesses. Everyone should take advantage of it when possible.
Our priest (with the cooperation of the chaplain at the hospital (a deacon) and our parish staff) has no problem in anointing the sick.
I’m wondering about these priests.
Beginning Catholic: Catholic Sacraments: Vehicles of Grace [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: The Sacrament of Baptism: Gateway to New Life [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: The Sacrament of Confirmation: Grace for Fullness of Faith and Life [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: The Eucharist: In the Presence of the Lord Himself [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: Receiving the Lord in Holy Communion [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: The Sacrament of Reconciliation: Rising Again to New Life [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: The Anointing of the Sick: Comfort and Healing [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: The Sacrament of Holy Orders: Priests of the New Sacrifice [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: Catholic Marriage: A Union Sealed by the Sacrament of Matrimony [Ecumenical]
It certainly must seem that way. Liturgy evolved over the centuries. With the protestant reformation, Pope Pius V froze the Latin Rite liturgy for 500 years. You can read more about it here. When VCII was convened, one aspect of it was to "open" the liturgy again. Unfortunately, the more progressive bishops stepped way out of bounds, interpreting the council documents to suit their interests. Today, we are witnessing a restoration of the traditional liturgy, alongside the Novus Ordus. Both are valid and acceptable.
And while we are on the topic, did you know that the Catholic Church is actually a a communion of Churches. According to the Constitution on the Church of the Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, the Catholic Church is understood to be "a corporate body of Churches," united with the Pope of Rome, who serves as the guardian of unity (LG, no. 23). At present there are 22 Churches that comprise the Catholic Church. The new Code of Canon Law, promulgated by Pope John Paul II, uses the phrase "autonomous ritual Churches" to describe these various Churches (canon 112). Each Church has its own hierarchy, spirituality, and theological perspective. Because of the particularities of history, there is only one Western Catholic Church, while there are 21 Eastern Catholic Churches. The Western Church, known officially as the Latin Church, is the largest of the Catholic Churches. It is immediately subject to the Roman Pontiff as Patriarch of the West. The Eastern Catholic Churches are each led by a Patriarch, Major Archbishop, or Metropolitan, who governs their Church together with a synod of bishops. Through the Congregation for Oriental Churches, the Roman Pontiff works to assure the health and well-being of the Eastern Catholic Churches.
While this diversity within the one Catholic Church can appear confusing at first, it in no way compromises the Church's unity. In a certain sense, it is a reflection of the mystery of the Trinity. Just as God is three Persons, yet one God, so the Church is 22 Churches, yet one Church.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes this nicely:
"From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God's gifts and the diversity of those who receive them... Holding a rightful place in the communion of the Church there are also particular Churches that retain their own traditions. The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church's unity" (CCC no. 814).
Although there are 22 Churches, there are only eight "Rites" that are used among them. A Rite is a "liturgical, theological, spiritual and disciplinary patrimony," (Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, canon 28). "Rite" best refers to the liturgical and disciplinary traditions used in celebrating the sacraments. Many Eastern Catholic Churches use the same Rite, although they are distinct autonomous Churches. For example, the Ukrainian Catholic Church and the Melkite Catholic Church are distinct Churches with their own hierarchies. Yet they both use the Byzantine Rite.
To learn more about the "two lungs" of the Catholic Church, visit this link:
The Vatican II Council declared that "all should realize it is of supreme importance to understand, venerate, preserve, and foster the exceedingly rich liturgical and spiritual heritage of the Eastern churches, in order faithfully to preserve the fullness of Christian tradition" (Unitatis Redintegrato, 15).
A Roman rite Catholic may attend any Eastern Catholic Liturgy and fulfill his or her obligations at any Eastern Catholic Parish. A Roman rite Catholic may join any Eastern Catholic Parish and receive any sacrament from an Eastern Catholic priest, since all belong to the Catholic Church as a whole. I am a Roman Catholic practicing my faith at a Maronite Catholic Church. Like the Chaldeans, the Maronites retain Aramaic for the Consecration. It is as close as one comes to being at the Last Supper.
When I was in Catholic elementary school (that's my school), the good sisters made sure we all attended First Friday devotions. As an adult, I have not participated in First Friday or First Saturday devotions and pray that what the nuns accomplished is still valid today.
The Five First Saturdays Devotion [Catholic Caucus]
Saturdays and the Immaculate Heart of Mary [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Catholic Devotions: First Saturday Devotion to Our Lady [Catholic Caucus]
Catholic Meditations: First Saturday
Remembering the Forgotten First Saturdays
I was given “anointing of the sick” myself late June of last year a few days before I had minor obgym surgery in which I was going to be put under general and it help me be at peace.
Adoration is wonderful, as is the Rosary. Two things that there are absolutely no protestant equivalents. :)