last rites for the bishop? : LUSENET : ER Discussions : One Thread

Was it not strange that the bishop died with Luka as his only companion? Why didn't he get last rites? It seemed to me that the nearness of his death did not become clear until Luka arrived and informed him of his declining condition and he refused intubation. Hence, he would not have had last rites before then. But he didn't have them after, since apparently he was alone with Luka every minute after that. It was a touching scene and it was nice that the bishop was able to practice his ministry right up until the end, but still, I'm worried about his not having the appropriate send-off. Can someone who knows more about Catholicism please comment.

-- Sara Solnick (, February 23, 2001


The Bishop's friend, Joe, who is also a priest, was right outside the door. I would assume that Joe had given the Bishop last rites. Last rites do not have to be given at the precise moment of death. They can be given as soon as it is apparent that someone is dying.


-- Rose (, February 23, 2001.

When I wrote that last rites are given as soon as it is apparent that someone is dying, I meant to write - in the final stages of death or close to the hour of death.


-- Rose (, February 23, 2001.

It is no longer referred to as the Last Rites. It is called the Sacrament of the Sick and can be given whenever someone is seriously ill, although not necessarily dying. I would assume that the Biship had recieved the Sacrament as soon as he was admitted to the ICU, if not before.

-- Carol (, February 23, 2001.

Last rites can also be given after death

-- Casey (, February 23, 2001.

The scene where Luka receives absolution from the bishop is at night, and, based on what had been happening just before Luka went upstairs, not too long after midnight. When we see Luka standing up as the bishop dies, there's morning light coming through the window. I made the assumption that the priest who had been outside the hospital room had been in over the course of the night to hear the bishop's confession and administer the Annointing of the Sick. But, like a good little Catholic, I had worried too, right at first, about the bishop not having the chance to see a priest before he died! (Then I noticed the morning light and I felt better!) In any case, I thought it was a beautiful scene. I cried, though I admired the restraint the writers and actors showed in not descending into sentimentality.

-- Chris (, February 23, 2001.

Another name for it is Extreme least, that's what I learned in the days of plaid skirts. :)

My sister received it several days before she died, since her condition was very touch and go and no one could be sure when it would happen.

-- Cecelia (, February 23, 2001.

I looked it up in the 2001 edition of the Catholic Almanac and it's now called Annointing of the Sick.


-- Rose (, February 23, 2001.

The person getting annointed doesn't necessarily have to be awake, does he/she? When my grandfather was in the hospital for the last time, I tried to arrange for this, since I didn't think that anyone else would think of it. I was told it had already been performed. (Grandpa was pretty much out of it the whole time, morphine and ativan does that to you.) I'm not Catholic, so I don't know the score on this. I'm just very curious.

-- S. Trelles (, February 23, 2001.

For the very curious:

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

-- Cecelia (, February 23, 2001.

Thanks, Cecelia.

-- S. Trelles (, February 23, 2001.

Isn't it possible that when the bishop said "Besides, I already have my bags packed" that he may have been referring to having already received the last rites? (among other things)

-- rene (, February 24, 2001.

Not only was there no other priest with the bishop depite the guy being outside when Luka arrived, there was no other medical staff present. They were in the medical intensive care unit, were they not? But we saw no nurses, no residents, no doctors but Luka. Even if he refused resucitation, he would not be laying there with only nasal oxygen. Incidently, you cannot receive 100% oxygen nasally. That requires a particular type of oxygen mask but then we wouldn't be able to see much of the bishop's face. So theatrically speaking, the mask had to go.

-- (, February 24, 2001.

Hey, Luka could always fake his way through it, right?

-- Page (, February 24, 2001.

Last Rites/Extreme Unction was replaced by the Sacrament of Annointing of the Sick after Vatican II. As for his last confession, it wouldn't have to be timed to occur just before his death. I'm not sure about the being awake question but since the Second Vatican Council in the 60's, the emphasis has been more on the impact of the rite. For example, a new baby was baptized no matter many priests will not baptize a new baby if the parents are actively practicing their faith. I could go into the theology about this but won't here. I'm thinking it would be more important for him to be awake to receive the rite because the person receiving the Annointing of the Sick receives it actively. I'm not sure, but Eucharist (communion) might be part of the Sacrament and if it is, you can't receive that without being awake. BTW, the Church sometimes has services for many people to receive this Sacrament at one time.

-- Diana (, February 25, 2001.

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