Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 1:
It is a Sacrament instituted by Christ in which a Priest anoints with blessed oil those who are sick and in grave danger of death. This Sacrament gives grace which is of great spiritual assistance to the dying, and even at times affords relief from the physical illness.
That is not known. But the fact that He did so is evident from the words of St. James. "Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man: and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him." James V., 14-15. When St. James says that he must be anointed in the name of the Lord, that he shall be saved, and that the Lord will raise him up, he shows most clearly that Christ Himself was the author of the commission to administer this sacramental rite.
I do not think so. Extreme Unction is the same kind of thing as Baptism. If you agree that grace can be given by the application of water in Baptism, as you do, you should find no difficulty in admitting that grace could be given by the application of oil, should the same Christ decide to institute such a Sacrament.
If it depends upon Christ, it depends upon the means appointed by Christ for the communication of His grace. He at least says that He wants to save you by Baptism. "He who believes and is baptized shall be saved." That is one condition. The inspired word of God also tells us that if anyone be sick, he should call in the priests of the Church and be anointed with oil in the name of the Lord. If your spirit is out of sympathy with that kind of thing, then it is out of sympathy with the Christian religion. And it is a fact that the more a man's spirit is out of sympathy with the Catholic Church and her rites, the more it is out of sympathy with Christianity itself.
Nor do I. But the race is not over until the soul has definitely left the body, and no one knows with absolute certainty just when it does leave the body. If the soul has gone when the Sacrament of Extreme Unction is administered, the Sacrament cannot avail. But if the soul still be there, it certainly can avail unto salvation.
That may be the opinion of your friend. But it is no more than his opinion The Catholic Church says that a man may be anointed within from half an hour to two hours of apparent death, according to the type of death. Not that a man is certainly still living but that there is a probability that the soul has not yet departed from the body, and the benefit of the doubt must be given to the unconscious man. Your medical friend has no certainty. The only certainty that a man is really dead, on the admission of the highest medical authorities, is cadaveric rigidity and initial decomposition. All other signs of death have probability only, unless of course a man has been smashed to pieces in a violent accident. This probability is shown by the fact that expert doctors, after the most diligent examination, have pronounced people dead who have later regained consciousness. I am very glad the law prevents doctors from giving certificates of death as soon as "final unconsciousness" appears, and before the heart stops beating. Until the heart does stop, one could not know whether a particular lapse into unconsciousness is to be final or not. And even when the heart has stopped, there is no absolute certainty that the soul has actually departed in that moment. There is but a solid probability which does not exclude all doubt. And the Church rightly gives the benefit of the doubt to the subject.