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date: 21 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The sacrament of the sick has its origins in the healing ministry of Jesus. Throughout the church’s history, the sacrament has been used with persons who are seriously ill or near death. In the twenty-first century we have a broader concept of what illness means and how everyone may participate in the healing process. The chapter explores the three dimensions of anthropology, medicine, and theology which must be considered when ministering to those who are suffering or near death. The Second Vatican Council sought to restore the sacrament of the sick to its original purpose: a means of spiritual healing and comfort (and even physical healing, if God so desires) to those who were seriously ill. In short, the sacrament of the sick invites the patient, his or her caregivers and family, and indeed the whole church, to a deeper understanding of God’s healing love and forgiveness.

Keywords: sacrament of the sick, anointing, pastoral care of the sick, World Day of the Sick, viaticum, illness

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