(Anointing of the Sick; Chrism; Chrismation; Extreme Unction; Holy Unction). 1. The NT speaks of elders anointing the sick (Ja 5:14).
2. The E Orthodox Ch. teaches that Holy Unction is a sacrament celebrated by more than 1 priest (except in emergency, when 1 suffices) in ch., if possible. The ceremony consists of 7 parts, each containing an Epistle reading, a Gospel reading, and a prayer. An oil lamp burns during the ceremony, at the end of which the priests take oil from the lamp and anoint forehead, breast, hands, and feet of the sick, praying for bodily and spiritual healing.
3. Present RC practice allows 2 kinds of anointing (one involving unction of the 5 senses, the other only of the forehead).
4. In RCm, a 1972 apostolic constitution, pub. 1973, effective January 1, 1974, reduced anointings to those of forehead and hands. It is held that the rite confers comforting grace; remission of venial sins and unculpably unconfessed mortal sins, together with at least some temporal punishment due for sin; and, sometimes, improved physical health.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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