What Are “Last Rites”?

Q: What Are “Last Rites”?

A: Catholicism has always been a very practical faith, with grace giving sacraments that are appropriate for every key aspect of our human existence, including death.

Those who are ill, or in danger of death, benefit from the sacraments of Anointing, Reconciliation, and Holy Communion, which are often accompanied by a special type of indulgence, called the Apostolic Pardon.

The Apostolic Pardon  (Apostolic Blessing) must be administered by a priest. The pardon does not forgive sins. It typically makes time in Purgatory unnecessary. Many of today’s priests don’t routinely administer the Pardon, so you may need to specifically request it. I suggest you print it out and keep a copy nearby.

Here’s the text:

By the Faculty which the Apostolic See has given me, I grant you a plenary indulgence for the remission of all your sins, and I bless you. In the Name of the Father and the Son + and the Holy Sprit. Amen.

Receipt of these powerful spiritual resources acts to help perfect one’s relationship with the Almighty, by finally reconciling body and soul with God.

If death is the result, than there should be little concern about divine judgment or eternal damnation, since the primary mission of the church, the primary purpose of the sacraments, and the express will of God, is salvation.

If the person rallies and recovers, there’s a very good possibility of a permanent spiritual conversion.

These “Last Rites” may be repeated as often as is necessary, and they are typically also very comforting for loved ones, who remain behind.

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