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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

R.I.P. Justice Antonin Scalia

  Justice Scalia was a Catholic...not Catholic like Justice Sonia Sotomayor... a real one.


 This caught my eye:

A Catholic priest administered last rites over the body of Justice Antonin Scalia after he died on a West Texas ranch.
Elizabeth O'Hara is a spokeswoman for the El Paso Catholic Diocese. She says Rev. Mike Alcuino was summoned from 30 miles away in Presidio to perform the traditional rites on Saturday afternoon.

Wait a second...he was dead when they found him and then a priest drove thirty miles to administer "last rites"?

 
The question is: Should anointing be administered several hours after death or is that too late?
Keeping in mind that sacraments can only be received by people who are alive, there are two groups of sacraments, sacraments of the living and sacraments of the dead. In this case “dead” means dead in mortal sin even though the person is drawing breath. Thus, the sacraments of the dead are Baptism and Penance. The sacraments of the living are to be received by the living, thus, Confirmation, Matrimony, Orders… Anointing. Anointing is special in that when the recipient is incapable of making a confession of sins, the sacrament can also forgive sins. However, Anointing is normally to be received in the state of grace. That generally means that the recipient has recently been absolved in sacramental confession.
 
So, to whom and when is the Sacrament of Anointing to be given?
The law about who receives the sacrament is clear:
Can. 1004 §1. The anointing of the sick can be administered to a member of the faithful who, having reached the use of reason, begins to be in danger due to sickness or old age.
And there is the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
1514 “The anointing of the sick is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived.”
Common points? Danger of death… sick and old age.
And… you have to be alive!

BUT:

 The problem is that the Church hasn’t defined exactly when a person is dead because, frankly, we just don’t know.

Read the whole thing.