BY Martin Dunlop | January 4 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

2-POPE-BLESSES-SICK

Holy Father extols the Sacrament of the Sick

Pope Benedict XVI has called for greater attention to be given to last rites, in his message for the upcoming World Day of the Sick

The 20th World Day of the Sick will be celebrated on February 11, the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, and in a message released yesterday, Pope Benedict reflects on the sacraments of healing: Confession and the Anointing of the Sick.

Speaking particularly of the Anointing of the Sick, Pope Benedict said it is not a minor sacrament but one that ‘deserves greater consideration today’ because of its spiritual benefits to both minister and recipient.

Through the sacraments of healing, the Pope says, the Church follows ‘the example of Christ, who bent down before the material and spiritual sufferings of man in order to heal them.’

The Holy Father remarks in his message that the Church has always recognised the close ties between physical and spiritual healing, and has used the sacraments to heal ‘lacerations of the soul.’

Both Confession and the Anointing of the Sick ‘have their natural completion in Eucharistic Communion,’ the Pope says. “Received at a time of illness, Communion associates the person who partakes of the body and blood of Christ to the offering that He made of Himself to the Father for the salvation of all,” the Pope’s message reads.

Therefore, he continues, parishes should ensure that the elderly and the sick enjoy the ‘possibility of frequently receiving Holy Communion.’

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