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The visible unity of the Catholic Church maintained against opposite theories (Volume 1) online

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healing or medication [qucedam spiritaalis sanatio,
vel inedicatio) ;' and that, 'the principal effect of this
sacrament is the remission of sins as regards the
remains of sin, and, by way of consequence, as regards
the guilt also, if it should find it.'

It is important, however, to observe that it is not
intended that the evil habits, engendered by past
sins, are in such sense removed and taken away by
Extreme Unction, as that the sick person, if he
recover, need not fear any relapse into them ; it is
Tiuoi. Dogni. Poiem.not fas has been explained bv Sardasrna) that this
Extrem. Unct. sacramcnt works any change in the natural habit and

No. 398. T. . . f 1 1 n 7 1 • . 1

tlisposition ot the body ; but that it gives strength
and vigour against the evil, and the remains of sin
are taken away, inasmuch as the Holy Unction heals
and gladdens and fortifies the soul, rendering it
strong under its own weakness. It does not destroy
existing habits, nor aff(jrd security against a relapse
into evil practices ; but it gives strength to overcome
those habits and the difficulties and temptations which
arise from tliem in the last decisive stru^jii-le.
In li!.. iv. s.i|t<nt. I'hu.s, St. Tlioiiias adds : — 'Dispositions remainini*-

Ui.vt. xxm. >- *^

Q. i.Art. 2. from acts, which are ceitain commenced habits, are

3tia- partis supplcni.

(J. XXX. not what are here called remains of sin, but a certain


spiritual debility existing in the mind itself, on the
removal of which the mind cannot so easily be in-
clined to sins, even by the same habits and dis-
positions that remain.'

Bellarmine and some others luiderstand, also, by
' remains of sin,' any actual sins which may remain
after other sacraments, or be otherwise found upon
the soul as previously explained, and which Extreme
Unction (if received in proper dispositions) will re-
move, being, 'as it were, the complement of the Sa- St. Charles Boi-romoo,
rament of Penance.' But this is simply a question of uiict.

terms, since it is of faith that this sacrament ' remits
sins,' whether considered as ' remains of sin ' or not.
Father Perrone says, that theologians everywhere in Iol-. oit. n. 2.
teach that it remits venial sins per se ; but deadly
sins secundario or j^er accidens. He observes that it ibidem,
may ' truly be called, as it were, a medium between
the sacraments of the living and the dead.'

The Eoman Catechism thus beautifully explains the ^ Effects of

Extreme Unction.

efiects of Extreme Unction : —

' Pastors therefove will teach that by this sacrament is iin- Civteeh. Cone. TriJ.

1 , . . , • II • 1 1 1- 1 i^ Pai'.s II. cap. VI.

parted grace that remits sms, and especially incieea lighter,
or as they are commonly called, venial sins. For mortal sins
are removed by the Sacrament of Penance ; nor was tliis
sacrament instituted primarily for the remission of heavier
crimes ; but only Baptism and Penance effect this hy their
proper power {vi sua).

'Another advantage of the Sacred Unction is, that it
liberates the soul from the languor and infirmity which it
contracted through sins, and from all the other remains
of sin. But the time to be considered most opportune for
this cure is wlien we are afflicted with severe illness, and


dauj^er to life impends. For it has been implanted by na-
ture in man to dread no human visitation so much as death.
But the recollection of our past sins greatly augments
this dread, especially when the most poignant accusation of
Wisdom iv. 20. our conscience goads us; for, as it is written — "They shall
come with fear at the thought of their sins, and their ini-
quities shall stand against them to convict them." Another
source of vehement anguish is the anxious thought that
we must soon after stand before the judgment seat of God,
who will pass on us a sentence of strictest justice according
to our deserts. It often happens that, struck with this
terror, the faithful feel themselves wonderfully agitated.
But nothing conduces more to a tranquil death than to cast
off sadness, and await with a joyous mind the coming of our
Lord, and to be ready willingly to surrender our deposit
whensoever it shall be His will to demand it back. To free
the minds of the faithful from this solicitude, and to fill the
soul with pious and holy joy, is then an effect of the sacra-
ment of Extreme Unction.

' From it, moreover, w'e derive another advantage, which
may justly be deemed the greatest of all. For although
the enemy of the human race never ceases, whilst we live,
to meditate our ruin and destruction, yet at no time does
he more violently strain every nerve utterly to destroy us,
and, if possible, deprive us of hope of Divine mere}', than
when he sees the last da}^ of life approach. Therefore are
arms and strength supplied to the faithful through this
sacrament by which they may be enabled both to break
the violence and impetuosity of the adversary, and to
fight bravely against him. For the spirit of the sick
person is relieved and encouraged by the hope of the
Divine goodness, strengthened by which he bears more
lightly all the inconveniences of sickness, and eludes with
greater ease the ai-tifice and cunning of the devil, who lies
Gen. iii. 1'). in Wait for his " heel."

'Finally, the recovery of health, if indeed advantageous,
is another effect of this sacrament. However, should


tlie sick not recover it iu these days, that is to be at-
tributed, not to any defect of the sacrament, but rather
to the weaker faith of a great part of those who are
anointed with the sacred oil, or by whom it is administered.
For theEvangelist bears witness that the Lord "wrouglit not St. Matt. xiii. /iS.
many miracles" amongst His owoi, " because of their un-
belief." Although it may also be said with reason that
the Christian religion, since it has struck its roots as it
were more deeply in the minds of men, stands now less in
need of the aid of miracles of this kind, than would seem
to have been formerly necessary at the commencement of
the rising Church. But, nevertheless, faith is here to be
strongly excited ; for, however it shall happen by God's
counsel and will with regard to the health of the bod\%
the faithful ought to rely on a sure hope of attaining, by
virtue of this sacred oil, spiritual health ; and of e.xpe-
riencing, should the hovu' of their departure from life be at
hand, the fruit of that glorious assurance, b}' which it is
written : " Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord I " ' Apoc. xiv. is.

St. Charles Borromeo teaches as follows : —

' The first benefit and effect of this sacrament is that Acta Ercles. Mediol.
it takes away the remains of sin, as if the complement instruct E t
of the Sacrament of Penance. Which remains are under- Unct.

stood to be sins, whether mortal or venial, which remain
after other sacraments ; for it may happen that mortal
sin may remain, the one who committed it being in
ignorance of it, or not being able to confess ; in blotting
out which he is so assisted by this sacrament, tliat it may
come to pass that a man is saved through this sacrament,
who otherwise would have been damned.

* These remains are also torpor, grief, and a certain
anxiety which is left from sin, and afflicts a man when
close to death.

' There are many things besides which, in various ways,
afflict a sick man; both the natural fear of death, and the


dread of God's judg-meiit by wliicli he is exceedingly
alarinetl, and the power of the disease, whicli so depresses
him that at times he cannot take up tlie thoughts of
Crod and of divine and lieavenly things, and of the salva-
tion of his soul. And it sometimes happens that, harassed
by the disease, he is impelled hither and thither b}' some
trifle, now to complainings, now to suspicions, now to im-
patience, and to other like perverse affections which hurt
his soul.

'Against all these inconveniences also, this sacrament
avails as a most wholesome medicine, and it is divinely
endowed with power to enable the sufferer to bear them
more easily.

* Another advantage of it is that, when the devil, who
has learnt by daily practice the condition, the natural
disposition, and the liabits of the sick man, attacks him
variously in all manner of ways in that his last hour, in
order that he may distract him, disturb him b}'^ despera-
tion, and despondency of mind, or exalt him with too
much presumption and a certain elation ; the sick person
receives througli this sacrament supplies of divine strength,
which enable him. boldly to resist the adversar3\

* And, as it strengthens the soul against the enemy, so
also, when profitable for the soul, it sometimes heals the

The same holy bishop thus beautifully explains
tlic matter and form of this sacrament : —

In loco citato. 'The Organs of the senses are anointed with oil, because

the sotd is filled with the grace of the Holy Ghost, w' icii
is commonly signified by oil, in order that sins and there-
mains of sins may be wiped away, and tlie soul raised up
and strengthened.

'A form which contains a prayer is added, since St. James
said, Let thempray over them, &c. And since this sacrament
is a kind of fninplcnirnt of pciKincc, and the sick, especially


at that time, cannot do works of penance, tliey expect
remission from mercy only, which is implored by prayer.

'The cross also is impressed when the anointini;- with tlie
sacred oil is administered, in order that we may know tliat
these gifts are granted to us through the merits of the cross
and passion of the Lord ; and that we may fortify our
senses wdth that sign, and use it in the combat to be sus-
tained against the adversary ; and also that we may carry
the sign of the cross to the tribunal of Christ our Jndge,
by which we may show that we have fought under the
standard of the cross constantly even unto death.'

These pages would be incomplete without uieution Suarez

of the very clear teaching of the eximius doctor, Extremrunotion.
Suarez. Eesting on the spiritual sense of tlic W()iTlspai./2iCDiTp"xil i.
of St. James, and on the decrees of the Councnl of J'^l*r'?''^'Z'

' pp. 1 1- 1 < .

Trent, he says that Extreme Unction was instituted,
primarily^ to comfort and assist the souls of the sick
against the difficulties which beset the hour of death,
as wrestlers are anointed for the combat. He calls
it the Sacrament of Hope, because it especially
strengthens that virtue ; he says that it also promotes
cheerfulness, heals and fortifies the soul, and gives
promptitude and vigour to overcome the temptations
of the devil, then most grievous. He says that,
secondarily, it was instituted to pre[)are the soul fin-
glory, for which the removal of sin is most necessary.
Therefore, that it will remit even mortal sin (where it
finds the proper dispositions), not per se, as Baptism
and Penance ; nor yet altogether 2?er accidens, as
is probable with other sacraments, but because so
intended by the Institutor under such cir('iiiH>t;inces.


Tlie coiKlitional form, ' //' lie be in sins, they shall be
forgiven him,' shows that their remission was not
intended to be the primary end of the sacrament ;
wliilst the promise of forgiveness if sin be there,
renders it evident tliat such remission is in some way
peculiar to it, and in some way intended in its insti-
tution. He observes (m a previous paragraph), that
the conditional ' if'' indicates that this remission ex-
tends to mortal as well as venial sins, since hardly
anyone can be found without the latter. — ' Herein,'
he adds, ' is very greatly magnified the prudence and
the anxiety of Christ our Lord concerning the ever-
lasting salvation of mankind ; for since eternity
de]:>ends upon that moment, and a loss then incurred
concerning eternal salvation is irreparable, and from
many causes it may happen that either other remedies
cannot be applied, or certainly that they may be
applied witliout effect, therefore to this last remedy
He imparted a virtue of its own [propriam) to supply
this defect, and to rescue man when ]:)laced in so
great peril.'

He says that Extreme Unction remits also the
temporal punisliincnt due to sin, not always entirely,
as Baptism, but according to tlie disposition and
devotion (jf tlie recipient. Also, that it removes
other remains of sin ; not that it takes away the
fonies^ or the evil habits, or the effects on the imagi-
nation, or changes the natural disposition of tlie
body; Imt it gives strength and vigour, and in this
wav is instituted against tlie weakness left bv sin,


not by removing it in itself, as it removes guilt or
temporal punishment, but by adding more force to
overcome it. ' It may also be said,' he continues,
' that it remits these remains, so far as, on account of
his sin, it was due to the man to be left to his own
frailty and weakness, and to be deprived of the helps
of grace, especially of extraordinary and super-
abundant helps. This debt of sin is so discharged
through this sacrament that, on account of it, these
helps are the rather due to the man, to fortify him
against such remains when he falls into that state of
sickness.' He teaches that this grace belongs to
the primary end of the sacrament of Extreme
Unction, and that no other sacrament is ordained
to convey it, since it is reserved for ' the special ne-
cessity and weakness of one who is sick.'

Subsequently he treats of the restoration of bodily Ubi supra, soct. 4.
health, when God sees lit, as another effect of Ex-
treme Unction.

Thus does this holy sacrament heal and sustain it is

the soul, and, when expedient, bring back health to ' of

• • siicci3j1 iiiorcv

the body also. Thus does it wipe out any remainmg
guilt, if it finds the necessary sorrow. Thus does it
bring grace to prevent relapse into sin, and to turn
the sorest temptation into a source of highest triumph.
Nay more — it wins for the sufferer merit and ever-
lasting glory, even out of his past transgressions; by
enabling him to overcome their bad effects, to hold
on, and to fight his way to heaven, through the
throng of i)1iantasms and foul imaginations which
VOL. 1.



Father Faber.
The Creator


the creature,

p. 304.


this Sacramenl.

rise up around him from their remains, hke mists
from the pit of helL It inspires him with acts of
the opposite virtues and of earnest hope in God —
gems to adorn liis future crown. So ingenious is
the love of the Divine heart of Jesus, in repairing
our losses, and increasing our reward — Confitemini
Domino, quoniam bonus: quoniam in sceculum mi-
sericordia ejus!

It has been beautifully said : — ' Death too, with
its imknown necessities, must have a sacrament which
it can call its own, as well to finish the demolition
of sin, as to anoint the failing warrior with a heavenly
unguent for his last dire combat, and enable him, in
defiance of earthly calculations, to elude the hold
which the unseen powders of evil lay upon him in
that hour. If w^e ever need help, will it not be in
that dreadful agony, for neither earthly love nor
earthly power can help us then ? With many, doubt-
less, the battle has gone hard, though they who
stood around neither heard nor saw the mortal
wrestle; and with manj^ it was the secret strength of
that holy oil, the hidden operation of that sacra-
mental grace, which turned the scale, and consigned
to tlie Good Shepherd's arm that slieep which is now
His own for ever.'

These, then, are the benefits of this most blessed
saci'ament of Extreme Unction. Who that believes
in them, and is mindful of his last end, would not
yearn for its Divine support in those moments of his
agony wlicii all support from man is failing fast, and



when Satan is near ' having great wrath, knowing
that he hath but a short time ? ' Yet even the pious
author of the ' Eirenicon ' expresses no desire for it ;
he is neither ' cold nor hot ' towards it ; he thinks
tliere need be no objection to it ; and, in comparing
Eome with England in this particular, he observes,
that ' the only real difference is mainly practical in
regard to the anointing of the sick.' But this
practical difference involves the omission of a sacra-
ment which sustains and perfects the just in tlieir
perseverance, and of which St. Charles Borromeo and
others have affirmed, that a penitent sinner, in ignor-
ance of his state of guilt, or not then able to con-
fess, is by it ' so assisted in blotting out mortal sin,
that it may come to pass that one is saved througli
this sacrament who would otherwise be damned.'

It is observed in the ' Eirenicon ' that, if Extreme
Unction be ' looked upon as a mere preparation for
death, not as a means, if God so will, of restoring
the sick, one does not see what there can be lacking
to our dying,' if we h*ave the sacraments of Penance
and the Holy Eucharist. Its author would never
have said this if lie had been one in the faith witli
Eome. It is true that Penance is ordained to absolve
from sin, and that the Holy Eucharist contains tlie
very fount and centre of all those graces, of whicli
the other sacraments are the channels. But, even
when both these sacraments have been received with
the most perfect dispositions, who that believes what
has been stated respecting that of Extreme Unction

o 2

Eiron. p. 219.

Vide supra.

Eiren. p. 223.

Difft'renco as to


can at the same time question how it is lacking, for soul
as well as body ? Every sacrament has a spiritual
end, peculiar to itself. They wlio believe that their
Divine Eedeemer mercifully instituted this one for
thek hour of greatest need, cannot neglect the gift
without neglecting Him who gave it. It is one of
the streams whicli flow from Calvary — one of the
channels of His most precious Blood. It is one of
the sacraments of the New Law, and the Council
of Trent has pronounced ' anathema ' against any
who deny it to have been ' instituted by Christ our
Lord.' Did He institute it to be laid aside, as if
superfluous ?

Tlie mercy of our God and Saviour abides with
us to the last. In the hour of death, as all through
life, is the ' angel of His presence ' ever near to save us.
Well may the great Apostle call out, ' How shall we
escape, if we neglect so great salvation? ' How shall
men answer it before the judgment-seat of Christ, if
tliey show themselves content to fojfeit tlie aid of
such a sacrament, which He has Himself ordained
and purcliased for tliem ? In the days of helpless
jj.-iit. xxxiii. 27. iufaucy. His ' everlasting arms " enfold us ; and He
makes us His by the grace of Holy Baptism ere yet
our reason dawns. And when our reason's liglit is
failing, and our senses waxing dim, and death seems
near at hand, again ' the everlasting arms ' embrace
us ; again tliey sustain our second childhood's weak-
ness, tlirongli tlie lioly sacrament of our anointing.
All iliroiigli our life tlicy liave been ' underneath' us ;

God's mercy
never fails.

Isaias Ixiii. 9.
Heb. ii. 3.


He has ' carried us and lifted us up all our days '; and i.s. ixiii. 9.
now in our last moments He 'is the same.' This is. xivi. 4.
sacrament fulfils and completes His promise, — ' I ii,i,i.

have made you, and I will bear. I will carry and
will save.' Ag;ain and a^ain have Christ's sacraments
restored, and quickened, and sustained us ; but now,
when our lifelong penance may be drawing to its
close, and we seem close upon the threshold of ' the Eccies. xii. .5.
house of our eternity ;' then in a more special manner
our God draws near us, and His divine grace fortilies
us in this sacrament of healing and of strengthening
and of His own loving consummation of our imper-
fect penance. Our Jesus thus assists us that He
may not lose our dearly-purchased souls ; and that
we may not lose our crown, then so close within our
reach, if only we surmount that severest of our trials,
on which depends— ETEENITY !

Can any Christian believe in this, who has it not,
and 3^et say, without emotion, that he sees not what
is lacking to his dying ?

Li the city of Eome, when (death seeming to Rome

be near) the Holy Unction has been given, the ' Moti^r.
priest leaves behind him his stole on the bed of the
sick person ; and there it remains till the end, be it
recovery, or be it the world to come. Thus is the
sufferer cheered in his strufro;le, and tau2;ht to confide
in the nearness of Christ, and in His love : — ' Though i***"!'" x^"-
I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evils, for Thou art with me. Thy rod
and thy staff, they have comforted me. Thou hast


prepared a table before me, against them that afflict
me. Thou hast anointed my head with oil ; and my
chalice, which inubriateth me, how goodly is it!'

Which is it of the two — is it England or is it
Eome — which proves herself man's mother in his
hours of direst need ? If England is of one faith with
Eome as regards this sacrament, how can she explain
or justify its three centuries' systematic cessation?
Would not such neglect show contempt for it ?

Holy Orders. In reference to the sacrament of Holy Orders : —

if England was of one faith with Eome, she woidd
hardly remain so regardless of the fact already
referred to, that Eome (wdio believes the repetition
of Ordination to be a sacrilege) never fails uncon-
ditionally to ordam all Anglican clergy who come
back to her, and who are admitted to her ministry.
Thus Eome practically denies that the ' Church of
England ' possesses this sacrament.

Matrimony. If the Established Church of England really be-

lieved, with Eome, that a true, ratified, and consum-
mated Christian marriage is indissoluble, it is hardly
credible that slie would take so little pains to pre-
serve her members from the iniquities of a Divorce
Court. Had slie believed such divorce a sin and
liad she acted as if she believed it, that Court
could never have become established, when it did.
IJut, after all, the Divorce Court was based on no
j)ihiciple that was new to her. Slie liad already con-


sciited to such divorces, and liad invoked God's
blessing on the subsequent so-called marriages of
the divorced with other persons, whenever the civil
power allowed it. The recent Act contained nothing
new in principle, but it extended the existing evil,
and gave a greater facility for the sin which had
already been sanctioned. Thus, as regards the Sacra-
ment of Holy Matrimony, again the two religions are
found at variance.

To pass on. — If England believes with Eome ' that imiuicrcnces.

, ^ 1 f. 1 /-(I • • 1 Sec above, p. 161.

the power or indulgences was leit by Christ in the
Church, and that the use of them is most wholesome
to Christian people' ; why does she so neglect them ?
She makes no such provision for relieving penitent
sinners from the temporal punishment still due after
the eternal is remitted. She takes no pains to
remove misunderstanding concerning them.

Again : — if the national Church of England Pm-triitoiy.
' constantly holds,' with Eome, ' that there is a
Purgatory, and that the souls therein detained are
helped by the suffrages of the faithful,' how comes it
that she has no express and formal pubhc prayers in
their behalf? How comes it that, if such prayers are
said at all, it is on sufferance ? She takes no pains to
recommend them ; she hardly dares avow them.

So also, as to the Communion of Saints. If England invocation
believes with Rome respecting it, how comes she to ])e Snints,


SO remiss as uever even to exhort her children to have
recourse to the powerful intercession of the Siiints
who reiiji'n together w^itli Christ ?
Neglect. Truly, if England's faith in all these portions of the

means of grace, crccd Still Hvcs, her cliarity must be dead ; she bears
no witness to it in her works ; she neglects these
several means of grace ; she never leads her perishing
flocks to these many streams of living waters. Does
she not scare them from drawing near ?

Faith Where is England's separate witness to the one faith,

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