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Author Topic: How long after apparent death may one receive Extreme Unction?  (Read 1315 times)

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Offline SimpleMan

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  • ... and, in a correct use of the term "begging the question" (petitio principii), this has as its premise that the soul has not yet left the body in that time.

    I'm carrying this over from another thread, per Matthew's good suggestion.  One commentator suggests that EU may be administered anywhere from six minutes after apparent death, to a half-hour (see previous thread).  "Going way out on the flight deck", so to speak, grammarian (and armchair theologian of sorts, aren't we all? :jester:) N.M. Gwynne opined that the soul does not leave the body until putrefaction has set in, which can be up to three days in.  The six-minute threshold dovetails nicely with the period at which oxygen deprivation --- which bodily death certainly imposes --- begins to kill the brain cells.  There is also a school of thought that says the soul remains with the body longer, if the death is sudden.  (But that's kind of unscientific, after all, biologically speaking, dead is dead.  Unless you're a tree.)

    Thoughts from the forum regarding how long the soul remains with the body?

    (As an aside, getting back to the pet peeve I cited above, we are now learning about logical fallacies in homeschool English class, and my son likes to "jerk my chain" by incorrectly (and deliberately) misusing the term "begging the question", per common parlance, to mean "that raises the question", just to get a reaction out of me.  At least he's being attentive to his studies.)

    Online PAT317

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    Re: How long after apparent death may one receive Extreme Unction?
    « Reply #1 on: May 23, 2022, 10:13:30 AM »
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  • ... and, in a correct use of the term "begging the question" (petitio principii), this has as its premise that the soul has not yet left the body in that time.

    I'm carrying this over from another thread, per Matthew's good suggestion.  One commentator suggests that EU may be administered anywhere from six minutes after apparent death, to a half-hour (see previous thread).  "Going way out on the flight deck", so to speak, grammarian (and armchair theologian of sorts, aren't we all? :jester:) N.M. Gwynne opined that the soul does not leave the body until putrefaction has set in, which can be up to three days in.  The six-minute threshold dovetails nicely with the period at which oxygen deprivation --- which bodily death certainly imposes --- begins to kill the brain cells.  There is also a school of thought that says the soul remains with the body longer, if the death is sudden.  (But that's kind of unscientific, after all, biologically speaking, dead is dead.  Unless you're a tree.)

    Thoughts from the forum regarding how long the soul remains with the body?

    (As an aside, getting back to the pet peeve I cited above, we are now learning about logical fallacies in homeschool English class, and my son likes to "jerk my chain" by incorrectly (and deliberately) misusing the term "begging the question", per common parlance, to mean "that raises the question", just to get a reaction out of me.  At least he's being attentive to his studies.)

    I have no idea how long the soul remains with the body, but I've always heard 3 hours, WRT the question in the subject line.  



    Online Stubborn

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    Re: How long after apparent death may one receive Extreme Unction?
    « Reply #2 on: May 23, 2022, 11:40:13 AM »
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  • I would say that if there is even only a shred of doubt as to whether or not the soul has left the body, then the priest should do it. Heck, even if it seems like he's too late, why couldn't the priest do it conditionally, i.e. "If thou art still alive....."
    The Highest Principle in the Church: "We are first of all under obedience to God, and only then under obedience to man" - Fr. Hesse

    Online josefamenendez

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    Re: How long after apparent death may one receive Extreme Unction?
    « Reply #3 on: May 23, 2022, 12:49:31 PM »
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  • I worked as a nursing supervisor at a local hospital for years. I had a pretty good relationship with the ER docs back then and they actually would wait and not call the time of death on a Catholic patient until after the priest got there, (because I asked) so that they would get the sacrament. Most of the docs were not even Catholic ( it was a Catholic Hospital). it was usually within the hour that the priest showed up.

    (The particular priest at the hospital would not give the anointing if the patient was pronounced. I pray these patients got the grace of the final sacrament.) This was the 90's and I was NO back then.

    Offline epiphany

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    Re: How long after apparent death may one receive Extreme Unction?
    « Reply #4 on: May 23, 2022, 01:19:09 PM »
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  • How long after apparent death may one receive Extreme Unction?

    From my experiences, it seems up to the particular priest.


    Offline Emile

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    Patience is a conquering virtue. The learned say that, if it not desert you, It vanquishes what force can never reach; Why answer back at every angry speech? No, learn forbearance or, I'll tell you what, You will be taught it, whether you will or not.
    -Geoffrey Chaucer

    Offline SimpleMan

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    Re: How long after apparent death may one receive Extreme Unction?
    « Reply #6 on: May 23, 2022, 03:39:42 PM »
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  • I would say that if there is even only a shred of doubt as to whether or not the soul has left the body, then the priest should do it. Heck, even if it seems like he's too late, why couldn't the priest do it conditionally, i.e. "If thou art still alive....."

    My thoughts exactly, "si vivis...".  What harm does it do?

    Offline SimpleMan

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    Online Ladislaus

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    Re: How long after apparent death may one receive Extreme Unction?
    « Reply #8 on: May 23, 2022, 04:09:25 PM »
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  • FWIW, the opinion of Fr. Connell:

    https://archive.org/details/sim_american-ecclesiastical-review_1948-08_119_2/page/97/mode/1up

    Wow, some of the stuff in there is extremely Modernist; Bergoglio could have written it.

    Online Ladislaus

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    Re: How long after apparent death may one receive Extreme Unction?
    « Reply #9 on: May 23, 2022, 04:15:21 PM »
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  • My thoughts exactly, "si vivis...".  What harm does it do?

    Even conditional administration of the Sacraments is considered wrong if there's no reasonable chance it could be valid.  It would still be an offense to the Sacrament if you tried to administer it to someone who's been dead 3 days even if you were to throw in a "si vivis".  Thus the rule of thumb about generally how long afterwards you can administer the Sacrament.

    I don't quite understand why it's 2-4 hours if someone dies suddenly vs. 30 minutes if someone passes away from a drawn-out illness.

    Offline Emile

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    Re: How long after apparent death may one receive Extreme Unction?
    « Reply #10 on: May 23, 2022, 04:22:25 PM »
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  • Wow, some of the stuff in there is extremely Modernist; Bergoglio could have written it.
    Yeah, The American Ecclesiastical Review and The Homiletic & Pastoral Review are an interesting resource; you can see what the average American Priest was being taught from about 1900.
    Patience is a conquering virtue. The learned say that, if it not desert you, It vanquishes what force can never reach; Why answer back at every angry speech? No, learn forbearance or, I'll tell you what, You will be taught it, whether you will or not.
    -Geoffrey Chaucer


    Online Ladislaus

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    Re: How long after apparent death may one receive Extreme Unction?
    « Reply #11 on: May 23, 2022, 04:33:10 PM »
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  • Wow, some of the stuff in there is extremely Modernist; Bergoglio could have written it.

    This:
    Quote
    The chaplain need have no hesitation in anointing schismatics and even heretics, when they are dying unconscious, if the circuмstances make it possible to do this without causing scandal or hostility.  For there is a good probability that such persons have sufficient intention to receive this Sacrament, at least in their general desire to make use of the means established by Christ for their salvation.

    Why might this cause "scandal" if it's OK, Father?  Oh, because the faithful have more faith regarding Catholic ecclesiology that you do, that the Sacraments are not permitted to those who are not members of the Church?  Because this would inspire religious indifferentism in the faithful?

    We see right here the same Modernist thinking that Father Feeney battled against, and this type of attitude here gave rise to Vatican II.  We're all shocked when we see the Modernists today say that schismatics can receive the Sacraments, but it's OK when the same thing was written in 1948?

    Offline Miseremini

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    Re: How long after apparent death may one receive Extreme Unction?
    « Reply #12 on: May 23, 2022, 04:50:39 PM »
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  • The following story seems to indicate that the soul can remain with the body for more than an hour or three.  Perhaps as in the case below, it is God's mercy that delays judgement for reasons unknown to us.

    Miracle of dead boy raised to life by St. Don Bosco:
    pic
    Saint Don Bosco, founder of the Salesian Order was blessed with a multitude of spiritual gifts including the gift of miracles and raising people from the dead. One of the most famous instances of the Saint raising a dead boy to life occurred in the year 1849. A 15 year old boy named Charles who used to attend the Oratory of Saint Don Bosco was dying. He kept calling for the Saint from his death bed. As the Saint was away, his parents called for another priest who heard the boy’s confession before he died.

    When Saint Don Bosco returned from Turin and heard of the boy’s death he hurried to his home and asked about him. A servant of the house told him that the boy was dead for long. On hearing this Saint Don Bosco replied that the boy was “just asleep”. But the servant again assured him that the boy was dead and it was certified by the doctors and led him to the grieving parents of the boy. On seeing the Saint, the mother sadly informed him how Charles kept calling for him before he died. He was then taken to the sickroom chamber where the body of the boy was laid. The body of the boy lay there lifeless and ready for burial. It was sewn into a sheet with a white veil covering the head. St. Don Bosco asked everyone to leave the room except the mother and an aunt. He then closed the door, prayed for a moment and cried out “Charles! Rise!”

    The body of the boy within the sheet began to move! The tearful mother and aunt watched in awe. Saint Don Bosco then tore away the sheet from the body and removed the white veil covering the face. Charles sighed, stirred and opened his eyes. He stared at his mother and asked her why he was dressed in the now torn shroud. Then he noticed Saint Don Bosco and greeted him happily and thankfully. The boy then told him how he had needed him to hear his confession because out of fear he had not confessed all his sins in his previous confession and because of that he should have been in hell by now. He then told Saint Don Bosco how he had dreamed that he was surrounded by a mob of demons who were about to throw him into the flames of a huge furnace when a beautiful Lady had intervened. She told him, “There is still hope for you, Charles! You have not yet been judged.” At that moment he heard Saint Don Bosco ordering him to rise. The mother and the aunt left the room as the boy asked to confess. After his confession, Charles cried out loudly for all to hear “Don Bosco has saved me!” All the mourners rushed into the room to see him and hear his story.

    But despite his liveliness, his body still remained dead cold. The moment to take a decision was approaching soon. Saint Don Bosco remarked on the goodness of God in showing the value of a good confession. Then he asked Charles, now that he was ready for Heaven, would he stay on earth or go to Heaven. The boy was again sad and turned his face from his mother and aunt. After a few moments of thought, he said “Don Bosco, I’d rather go to Heaven.” Then Charles leaned back, closed his eyes and was once again dead!!

    This incident was narrated by Don Bosco several times during his lifetime and is definitely a remarkable way in which God chose to show the importance of a good confession.


    "Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered: and them that hate Him flee from before His Holy Face"  Psalm 67:2[/b]


    Online Ladislaus

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    Re: How long after apparent death may one receive Extreme Unction?
    « Reply #13 on: May 23, 2022, 05:12:48 PM »
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  • Indeed, God absolutely can keep a soul in a body as long as He pleases ... perhaps for no other reason than that he might receive the Last Rites.

    Offline Emile

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    Re: How long after apparent death may one receive Extreme Unction?
    « Reply #14 on: May 23, 2022, 05:13:01 PM »
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  • I don't quite understand why it's 2-4 hours if someone dies suddenly vs. 30 minutes if someone passes away from a drawn-out illness.
    They are using heart function to determine death. Their thought is that someone who has been ill for a long time will stop breathing after their heart has stopped, whereas in a case of trauma, respiration may cease while the heart continues to function.

    https://archive.org/details/sim_homiletic-pastoral-review_1904-11_5_2/page/188/mode/1up
    Patience is a conquering virtue. The learned say that, if it not desert you, It vanquishes what force can never reach; Why answer back at every angry speech? No, learn forbearance or, I'll tell you what, You will be taught it, whether you will or not.
    -Geoffrey Chaucer