The Catechism of St. Thomas Aquinas

EXTREME UNCTION

The fifth Sacrament is Extreme Unction. Its matter is olive oil blessed by the bishop. This Sacrament should only be received by those who are in danger of death through sickness. They are to be anointed in the places of the five senses: that is, on the eyes, because it is the organ of the sense of sight; on the ears, because of hearing; on the nostrils, because of smell; on the lips, because of taste or speech; and on the hands because of touch, and on the feet because of walking.[30] The form of this Sacrament is this: "Through this anointing and through His most divine mercy, may the Lord forgive thee whatever thou hast committed through sight" (and so on for the other senses). The minister of this Sacrament is the priest. The effect of this Sacrament is a medicine for both mind and body.[31]

Concerning this Sacrament is the error of the Elaeonitae, who are said to anoint their dying with oil and balsam and water and to accompany the anointing with invocations in Hebrew pronounced over the head of the sick. This is, however, contrary to the form handed down by St. James, as given above.

(For "Questions for Discussion" see Chapter 6.)

ENDNOTES

30. Anointing of the feet may now be omitted (Canon 947).

31. "This Sacrament imparts grace which remits sins, especially lighter sins or venial sins; for mortal sins are removed by the Sacrament of Penance. Extreme Unction was not instituted primarily for the remission of grave offenses; only Baptism and Penance accomplish this directly. . . . Finally, the recovery of health, if indeed advantageous, is another effect of the Sacrament" ("Roman Catechism," "Extreme Unction," 14-16).