The seven Sacraments are " Visible  signs,instituted by Christ , to give Grace..". Their Guardian is the Catholic Church. As you might expect, charged with such a heavy responsibility, the Church takes it very seriously, as she does with the governance of the whole of her life which is built around those Sacraments and thus centred on Jesus Christ our Saviour.In order for that governance to sure and certain she has a defined Code of Canon Law, which was most recently updated in the immediate wake of the Council.

Let us consider what the Code of Canon Law says about one of the Sacraments - the Anointing of the Sick- formerly known as Extreme Unction,or the Last Anointing:

Canon 1003#1
Says that every Priest, but only a Priest, can validly administer the Sacrament. ( No Deacons, no Nuns)

Canon 1003# 2
Says that Priests entrusted with the care of soul have the right and obligation to administer the Sacrament to those souls.But for any reasonable cause any other Priest with the consentat least presumed, of the aforementioned Priest.

Canon 1003# 3
Allows any Priest to carry the  Holy Oil with him , in case of need.

Canon  1004 # 1
Says the Sacrament may be administered to any  Baptised member of the faithful who:
has reached the age of reason, and
begins to be in danger by reason of illness or old age.The danger is the danger of death. However the word "death" which was used in the 1917 Code was removed to avoid limiting the use of the Sacrament to those immediately dying.
Amplifying the matter The Rite of Anointing says " those who are dangerously ill through sickness or old age should receive this sacrament" and " a sick person should be anointed before surgery whenever the surgery is necessitated by a dangerous illness"and "Elderly people may be anointed if they are weak, though not dangerously ill"Similar cautionary provisions are made for sick children who are sufficiently mature to be comforted by the sacrament and for those who are unconscious or who have lost their reason, if they would normally have consented to its use.

So we have here a very clear picture of the great and respectful caution with which our holy Mother the Church guards the integrity of the sacrament.

But an earlier Canon 1002 anticipates a specific form of abuse :

Canon 1002

Says " The communal celebration of the anointing of the sick, for a number of the sick together, who have been appropriately prepared and are rightly disposed , may be held in accordance with the regulations of the diocesan Bishop." The Bishop of course is not free to disregard Canon Law, but only to set regulations within the Law.

The Rite of Anointing gives the local Ordinary the responsibility of supervising celebrations where a number of sick persons come together to be anointed. This Canon gives the responsibility to the diocesan Bishop as the moderator, promoter and guardian of the entire liturgical life of the diocese( Canon 835 # 1).The principles which should guide him are given in The Rite of Anointing . Some Conferences of Bishops have warned that" the practice of indiscriminate anointing of numbers of people on these occasions simply because they are ill or have reached an advanced age is t be avoided."

From what we have seen in Canon 1004 that is simply stating the obvious.

But what of the false spirit of the Council ? Last Sunday Father "Nick" Punch O.P. announced that this evening Thursday the 28th there would be a special Healing Mass and Communal Anointing of the Sick at Sacred Heart Church Pymble NSW, to conclude the Parish Mission and Renewal.
Who should come up to be anointed? Why!! the old, the sick , and who is sick? Who hasn't got a few aches and pains? " And if you are the one perfect specimen who does not need anointing, you can come along and pray for all the rest of us!!

An image of the tanning oil spray guns at Sydney's magnificent beaches flashed into my mind! The Sacrament reduced to  a theatrical stunt, a grand flourish of a liturgical performance to close the Mission Show and leave 'em feeling good!

Could there be a more cynical form of liturgical abuse? Reducing to routine the sacred rite intended for most serious circumstances.

But Thursday had already gotten off to an unorthodox start. The 9.00 am Mass was again concelebrated by Father " Nick" Punch O.P. , our beloved Curate Father Mariusz Adamczyk SDS and a visiting Priest ( whom I gather is a Pole whose English is not good, because he does not get to speak), all went well enough with the wired on smile fixed still on Father : Nick's" face. Then came the Gospel and the Homily. The text is the rather daunting  Matthew 7 : 21-29 " Not everyone who says to Me Lord, Lord...." The Homily was less confident than yesterday's turning upside down of Our Lord's words. There was  a passing shot at the Holy Father  : " just because someone is the Pope, that does not mean he is holier than the ordinary Catholic or even a  pagan(!)" Now, the first part of that s strictly true, but in the case of our present saintly Holy Father so gentle and kind, it was a totally out of place reference to make - but typical of the false  spirit of the Council.  But by and large apart from that and a desultory reference to as " we said yesterday in the Homily" the text seemed to have proved forbidding. Yet even so the strength of its obvious application to disciples Apostles, Priests and Bishops especially , particularly in the context of the preceding verses dealt with yesterday, was not touched upon.

By the time you good folk read this, the abuse will have been completed, the farewell show will be over and the fans will be munching on goodies at he after-party in the marquee at the church door. The ageing Team will trundle North for a holiday on the Gold Coast before heading back to the good old U.S.of A. where they will fin hundreds more orthodox young Priests have been ordained on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul - as used to be the case around the world. Yes, as the Team proceeds through its twilight performances, ORTHODOXY is coming back big time! true renewal is the order of the day ( Father "Nick" himself has bewailed its lack of congeniality). In the words of the late Lowell Thomas " And so, as the sun sets slowly in the West, we say farewell to " the false spirit of the Council and its promoters whose life work is an abject failure. All they can do is rage against the Light of true renewal, with their cries of " Rubbish!" as they themselves end up on the rubbish heap of History.


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