A Reflection on the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick

In a recent post on the ministry of priests, there were a few comments that reflected both frustration and pain over the fact that a loved one had been in the hospital and, though the priest was called, he either never came or did not come at once.

To be sure, it is lamentable that any priest would receive a request for a visit and do nothing in response to it.

The Church as a whole, and pastors in particular, have obligations to the faithful who are seriously ill, especially if they are in danger of death. That said, there are very real difficulties that priests face in responding immediately and personally to all requests. In this post I would like to ponder some of the pertinent issues involved in sick calls, especially to the hospitalized.

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A last chance for lost souls

Cardinal suspends Pfleger: ‘You are not able to pastor a Catholic parish’

Citing what he called threats from the Rev. Michael Pfleger to leave the church, Cardinal Francis George has removed the outspoken priest from St. Sabina parish and has suspended his “sacramental faculties as a priest.”

Pfleger had publicly feuded with the cardinal about possibly being reassigned to Leo High School, telling a radio show recently that he would look outside the Catholic church if offered no other choice.

“If that is truly your attitude, you have already left the Catholic Church and are therefore not able to pastor a Catholic parish,” George wrote in a letter dated today.

“A Catholic priest’s inner life is governed by his promises, motivated by faith and love, to live chastely as a celibate man and to obey his bishop,” the cardinal continued. “Breaking either promise destroys his vocation and wounds the Church.

“Many love and admire you because of your dedication to your people,” the cardinal wrote. “Now, however, I am asking you to take a few weeks to pray over your priestly commitments in order to come to mutual agreement on how you understand personally the obligations that make you a member of the Chicago presbyterate and of the Catholic Church.

“With this letter, your ministry as pastor of Saint Sabina Parish and your sacramental faculties as a priest of the Archdiocese are suspended.”

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Editor’s note: Congratulations to Cardinal George for his wise … albeit exceedingly overdue action … in regard to the recalcitrant Father Pfleger.

Seen on the web: Father John Corapi Taught Me All I Know About Spiritual Warfare.

Posted by Eric F:

I think it is important to keep in mind that Fr. Corapi’s ministry represents a gifted theologian and speaker explaining Catholic teaching in a very orthodox manner. As such, he teaches and preaches the truths of Catholicism, not his own opinions or ideas. I once heard him say, “I’m here to teach what the Church teaches, so I am not saying anything new. If you ever hear me start teaching something new then head for the hills!”

In light of this, any sins he may have committed do not really have a bearing on the merits of his catechetical material. As Fr. Corapi often points out, the teachings of the Catholic Church are the teachings of Christ himself, and Christ, of course, is perfectly holy. Therefore, even if Fr. Corapi were guilty of some sort of mortal sin (and I do not believe these recent accusations are true), his catechetical material is still true and meritorious (just as his celebration of the Mass would be valid) because it ultimately comes from Christ. Of course, I also understand human nature, so I know that there will be those who will probably not embrace my line of reasoning and (unfortunately) will be dismissive of Fr. Corapi.

In terms of what Fr. Corapi is going through with these accusations and public scandal, the words of Jesus from the Beatitudes comes to mind:

“Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12, NAB)

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Bible History: The Temple – Its Ministry and Services – as they were at the time of Jesus Christ


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“The Priesthood” by Father Peter Joseph

Introduction by Eamonn Keane

…Given the widespread misunderstanding regarding the origin and nature of the ordained priesthood both inside the Catholic Church itself and beyond, a problem that has been exacerbated by the clerical sexual abuse scandals of recent times, I thought it would be worthwhile to produce a series of articles on the priesthood. As the first in the series I publish below an article authored by Australian theologian Fr. Peter Joseph titled The Priesthood. The article was first published by the Catholic Adult Education Centre in Sydney in 2009 as INFORM 120: Faith & Life Matters. I am grateful to the editor of Inform for giving me permission to reproduce the article here in my RenewAmerica column. It is the first time it has been published online.

Read The Priesthood by Father Peter Joseph

Editor’s note: The most essential and primary role of the priest is to offer sacrifice to God, for the people. The Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Catholic Holy Eucharist is the primary reason that we Catholics, for our ministers, require nothing less than suitably ordained priests.

And while every Catholic priest is indeed also a minister … not every minister is a priest … since only suitably ordained ministers (ordained in and through the Catholic Sacrament of Holy Orders, by the Catholic bishop’s duly authorized, laying on of hands) receive (among other things) the power from God to change ordinary bread and wine into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, at Mass.

The Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the holiest sacrament of the altar further underscores the fact that Catholic priests are true priests indeed … since at Mass, they offer up for us to God … nothing less than Jesus Christ … who remains the only acceptable sacrifice for the sins of the world.

Since priests carry on the ministry of Jesus Christ, literally acting in Jesus’ place … assisting the bishops in their task of teaching, sanctifying and governing … it’s not surprising that clerical failings and scandals wound so deeply the hearts of the Catholic faithful.

All the more reason we Catholics should demand strict oversight of our seminaries, and total accountability from those who are in charge of priestly formation and education … something which has been substantially out of control now, for several decades.