THE CATECHISM OF ST. PIUS X

The Sacrament of Extreme Unction

1 Q: What is Extreme Unction?

1 A: Extreme Unction is a sacrament instituted for the spiritual as well as for the temporal comfort of the sick in danger of death.

2 Q: What are the effects of Extreme Unction?

A: The sacrament of Extreme Unction produces the following effects: (1) It increases sanctifying grace; (2) It remits venial sins, and also mortal sins which the sick person, if contrite, is unable to confess; (3) It takes away weakness and sloth which remain even After pardon has been obtained; (4) It gives strength to bear illness patiently, to withstand temptation and to die holily; (5) It aids in restoring us to health of body if it is for the good of the soul.

3 Q: When should Extreme Unction be received?

A: Extreme Unction should be received when the illness is dangerous, and after the sick person has received, if possible, the sacraments of Penance and the Blessed Eucharist; it is even well to receive it while he has the use of his senses, and has still some hope of recovery.

4 Q: Why is it well to receive Extreme Unction when the sick person has still the use of his senses, and has still some hope of recovery?

A: It is well to receive Extreme Unction while the sick person retains the use of his senses, and while there remains some hope of his recovery because: (1) He thus receives it with better dispositions, and is hence able to derive greater fruit from it; (2) This sacrament restores health of body (should it be for the good of the soul) by assisting the powers of nature; and hence it should not be deferred until recovery is despaired of.

5 Q: With what dispositions should the sacrament of Extreme Unction be received?

A: The principal dispositions for receiving Extreme Unction are: To be in the state of grace; to have confidence in the power of this sacrament and in the mercy of God and to be resigned to the will of the Lord.

6 Q: What should be the sick person's feelings on seeing the priest?

A: On seeing the priest, the sick person should feel thankful to God for having sent him; and should gladly receive the comforts of religion, which, if he is able, he should request himself.