Why wouldn't the priest anoint my sick baby?


Full Question

I asked for the anointing of the sick for my very ill baby, but the priest said that the sacrament is only for people older than six years old. I thought the main purpose of this sacrament was for physical healing and the forgiveness of any sins. If so, why was my child refused the sacrament?

Answer

Anointing of the sick primarily is for spiritual healing. Physical healing might occur, but it is not the main purpose of the sacrament. Certainly the sacrament should not be expected to automatically cure the sick person. Such an expectation tends toward superstition (cf. CCC 2111). Baptized children below the age of reason cannot commit personal sin and so do not need anointing of the sick if they are in danger of death. Rather, when in danger of death, such children can be given confirmation, for spiritual strengthening and more fully to initiate them into the Christian religion.


Michelle Arnold