Spring 1969

Page 10



our modern medical knowledge, but evidently the intention was to underline the healing properties of the Sacrament. These new anointings should have different "forms" also emphasiing this. At present the form speaks only of the taking away of sin. Although one does not want to see an unduly lengthy rite, it is to be hoped that room will be found for a number of scripture texts which could be read ad libitum for the comfort of the sick person." John Corrigan is a little more specific: "Certain changes in the present practice of the Anointing of the Sick should be based on a re-evaluation of the purpose of the Sacrament. What is the purpose of the Sacrament? If the primary purpose is not the forgiveness of sins, then the following conclusions seem valid: a) The anointing of the five senses-the avenues of sin-should be changed to a single. anointing of the forehead. b) The prayers accompanying the anointings should speak not to the forgiveness of sin but to the purpose of the Sacrament-healing. c) This Sacrament should be denied to those under the age of reason who are seriously ill." Frderick McManus¡ offers these proposals: "The physical expression of the Sacrament should draw attention to the laying on of hands as a sign of curative power and prayer. There is no reason why this gesture, rather attenuated in the present rite and ordinary practice, cannot become an effective sign. At once it is a very human way of showing comfort, strength, and sympathy and a concrete bond with the practice and action of Jesus: 'My little daughter is desperately sick. Do come and lay your hands on her to make her better and save her life' (Mk 5:23)." "A distinct possibility is the blessing of the oil of the sick on the occasion of the anointing itself. Obviously the proposal is not intended for emergency cases, but a better orientation of the Sacrament to the beginning of serious illness would provide the opportunity." Others suggest that opportunities be given for the family or bystanders to participate more actively, perhaps by inserting a litany into the rite. The prayers for the dying have such