Anointing of the Sick
Sacrament of Extreme Unction After Apparent Death
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Question / Issue:
acceptable to contact the priest to provide the Sacrament of Extreme Unction to
a person who is apparently dead?
Answer / Resources:
[click link(s) below, as applicable]
Although the sacrament
of Extreme Unction / Anointing of the Sick should certainly be received while
one is clearly living, a priest is justly called even after apparent death (e.g.
when the person has no heartbeat, no brainwaves, no breathing, etc.), since one
cannot be certain that the soul has left the body until the body reaches a
certain, irreversible state (i.e. putrefaction).
Should a priest not
wish to come after apparent death, he may be reminded of this Canon...
"Can. 1005 If
there is any doubt as to whether the sick person has reached the age of reason,
or is dangerously ill, or is dead, this sacrament is to be administered." (1983
Code of Canon Law)
Extreme Unction is given to 'apparently dead' persons, it is administered
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