- Aug 10, 2020
With local hospitals tightening restrictions for entering the rooms of patients with COVID-19, Auxiliary Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens of St. Paul and Minneapolis is addressing an important pastoral need — administering the sacrament of the anointing of the sick to those suffering from the illness who are in danger of dying.
For more than a month, churches have been empty. No baptisms, no weddings, no confessions heard. Priests celebrate Masses alone, livestreaming them on the internet. But they still go out to people who are dying to administer the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, even to those who are suffering from the virus.
As hospitals adjust their procedures due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, some Catholic priests are departing from prescribed liturgical practices to administer the anointing of the sick, earning opposition from Church leaders who say the adaptations could invalidate the sacrament.
Administering the sacrament of reconciliation via cellphone is impermissible under church teaching, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship.
A Catholic priest has been arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge after he was accused of groping a woman in home hospice care while giving her the anointing of the sick.
What can the U.S. Church do faced with the drive to assisted suicide in so many states? The first thing is to look north of the border, where the experience in Quebec holds important lessons. Christian Lépine, Archbishop of Montreal, shares some of them with Crux contributor Chris White.