Extreme Unction for Dummies

Since the fifteenth century laypeople can perform extreme unction if a priest is unavailable, and in 1906 the Vatican said one can perform extreme unction on oneself. So like CPR it might useful to learn how to do it correctly:

    1) Ensure person is still alive (pulse, breathing, undilated pupils etc).

    2) Ensure person is mortally injured. If not, seeking medical aid might be more worthwhile.

    3) Ensure person is a Christian.

    4) Get out your handy bottle of olive oil that has been blessed by a clergyman of bishop rank or higher. However if unavailable, vegetable oil also blessed by a clergyman of bishop rank or higher may suffice.

    5) Apply oil to the organs of the five senses (the ears, eyes, nostril, mouth and hands), and the feet of the person. The layperson needn't bless any organ which is missing. While applying the oil, recite the following prayer, specifiying the function performed by the organ being unctioned:

    Through this holy unction and His own most tender mercy may the Lord pardon thee whatever sins or faults thou hast committed by sight/ hearing/ smell/ taste/ touch/ walking.
    If you really want to appear clever and give the person a stylish send-off, try it in Latin :
    Per istam sanctam unctionem and suam piissimam misericordiam, indulgeat tibi Dominus quidquid per visum/ auditum/ odoratum/ gustum/ tactum deliquisti.
    (Stick to English if you can't remember. But the laughter generated if you accidentally say Oculus Repairus as last rites might cure somebody on their deathbed)

    6) If person is male, oil may also be applied to the loins. This is generally not done in English-speaking countries, but in case you are wondering the bodily function you'll be seeking forgiveness for is carnal delectation. Don't even think about performing extreme unction on a woman in that area.

    7) If the ritual needs to be peformed quickly (eg: the patient is drawing his last breath or the unctioner is in mortal danger), just one organ (or the forehead) can be annointed with the following words:

    Through this holy unction may the Lord pardon thee whatever sins or faults thou hast committed.

    8) If the person is still alive and is dissatisfied with your clumsy efforts, extreme unction may be repeated by a priest.


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