Anointing of the Sick, Last Sacraments, and the Apostolic Pardon

Catholicism has always been a very practical faith, with grace-giving sacraments and related devotions that are appropriate for every aspect of our human existence, including death.

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

The Apostolic Pardon (Apostolic Blessing) is applicable only to those who are in imminent danger of death. The pardon must also be administered by a priest.

The Apostolic Pardon does not forgive sins, but it typically makes any “stay” in Purgatory unnecessary.

Many of today’s priests no longer routinely administer the Pardon, so you may need to specifically request it. I suggest you print it out and keep a copy in an easily accessible, handy place.

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 Spirit. Amen.

Reception of these powerful, Catholic, end of life resources acts to help perfect one’s eternal relationship with the Almighty, by finally reconciling body and soul with God.

If death subsequently results, there need be little concern about divine judgment or eternal damnation, since the primary mission of the Church, the primary purpose of all the sacraments, and the express will of God … is salvation.

Unlike the pardon … which applies only to Catholics who are very near death … that which used to be termed “Last Rites” … the combined reception of Anointing, Holy Communion, and Reconciliation … may be repeated as often as is necessary (and/or prudent.)

Regarding the pardon ONLY … it should be noted that … if no priest is available to minister to the dying … and so long as that person has prayed, in the recent past … the provisions of the Apostolic Pardon accrue to his/her spiritual benefit … automatically. (No kidding!)

Click here for complete details

Notes from the current USCCB Official Manual of Indulgences:

§1 A priest who administers the sacraments to someone in danger of death should not fail to impart the apostolic blessing to which a plenary indulgence is attached.
§2 If a priest is unavailable, Holy Mother Church benevolently grants to the Christian faithful, who are duly disposed, a plenary indulgence to be acquired at the point of death, provided they have been in the habit of reciting some prayers during their lifetime; in such a case, the Church supplies for the three conditions ordinarily required for a plenary indulgence.
§3 In this latter case, the use of a crucifix or a cross in obtaining the plenary indulgence is commendable.
§4 The faithful can obtain this plenary indulgence at the hour of death, even if they have already acquired a plenary indulgence on that same day.
§5 The catechetical instruction of the faithful should ensure that they are duly made aware and frequently reminded of this salutary benefaction of the Church.

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