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A misunderstood sacrament: Anointing of the sick

February 5th, 2018 Posted in Uncategorized

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Catholic News Service

Among the seven sacraments of the church, I can say with some confidence (after 51 years as a priest) that the one most frequently misunderstood is the anointing of the sick.

Two weeks ago, I happened to be at a funeral home for a wake service when one of the funeral directors came out of an office and asked to speak with me. He had just been with the son of a man who had died the previous day, arranging the funeral service. He wondered if I would go into their morgue and give the “last rites” to the man, as a comfort to the son. Read more »

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Is getting a tattoo or smoking a sin?

March 21st, 2012 Posted in Uncategorized

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Catholic News Service

Q. Since we are only stewards of our bodies until we die, I was wondering whether such things as smoking, getting tattoos, excessive tanning and working out either too little or too much are sinful, according to the beliefs of the Catholic Church. (Columbus, Ohio)

A. First, there is a solid scriptural basis for your claim that we are only stewards of our bodies. St. Paul asks the early Christian believers, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? Therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Cor 6:19-20).

You have answered part of your question by the way you have defined the terms. Excessive tanning is clearly wrong, since it suggests that the consequence could be skin cancer, a nexus which is well-documented medically.

Similarly, “working out too little or too much” implies that one is ignoring the need for physical exercise (thus inviting cardio-vascular problems and obesity) or that someone is risking harm by overtaxing the body. Read more »

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