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I've been trying to tell my H that it does no good to get frustrated and angry about the ignorance and abuses perpetrated at our local N.O. Parish.  Read below ... apparently, anointing of the sick is  "new sacrament."  Different church, different faith, different sacraments.  And that's not even to address the point of the article, people are dying alone without the benefit of a priest in their final moments.  Pray Lord have Mercy on us all ...

[size=10pt]Priest shortage leaves faithful alone on sickbeds [/size]
Last sacrament hard to come by at most hospitals, ill Catholics discover
The Associated Press
updated 9:02 a.m. PT, Wed., Jan. 27, 2010
NEW ORLEANS - It was John B. Baus's 82nd birthday. When he was getting ready to go out with his wife, he had a heart attack and ended up on his way to the emergency room instead.

Doctors there worked to stabilize him and performed surgery to implant a pace maker. Mary Adele Baus, his wife, went home after the surgery, assured that her husband was resting comfortably.

Instead, at 3 a.m. doctors were working frantically with oxygen and electric paddles to keep Baus alive.

In the midst of the effort Baus asked for a Roman Catholic priest, fearing death was only moments away.

"He said 'I'm a dying man, and I want to see a priest,'" Mary Baus remembered. "All they said was that they didn't have one."

Baus survived, but his wife said it was a traumatic event that left both her and her husband shaken.

"There used to be a chaplain available if you needed him," she said. "Or you could get a priest to come to the hospital. Now it's not for sure that you will see anyone."

Finding a priest to be at the bedside of the dying is becoming harder and harder across the country. The shortage of priests has been a problem for years, but its implications become most clear at dire times for the ill.

New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond says that across the country there are fewer priests and fewer young men who want to become priests.

"We are challenged to find young men looking for vocations," Aymond said. "We are getting fewer, and the process of preparing for the priesthood can take six to eight years. It makes it difficult to have people who can step in for retiring priests."

New form of last rites
Once called the Last Rites or Extreme Unction, the death bed ritual has changed for Catholics in recent years. The once-obligatory deathbed rite has been replaced with a new sacrament known as the anointing of the sick.

"It's not like you used to see in movies with the priest anointing a dying man," Aymond said. "Now we urge people to have it before they go into the hospital. It should be a community celebration, not something administered in isolation."

That works if it's a scheduled hospital visit, but for people like Baus, taken to the hospital during an emergency, there is no time to prepare beforehand.

Hospital chaplains are now scarce: of the 23 hospitals in the Greater New Orleans Area, only five with Roman Catholic chaplains. And even in those hospitals, personnel are frequently unaware of the chaplains and don't call them.

"The number of priest chaplains has declined sharply," said David A. Lichter, Executive Director of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains. "Ten years ago we had almost 900 priests that were members; now it's down to 458. And many of them are elderly."

There are more lay-chaplains in the 45-year-old organization now, Lichter said. But they cannot administer the sacraments, which means a dying person who wishes to have them must do it early, or hope someone can be found.

"I have been doing two, three a day," said Rev. Steven Sauer, a Jesuit priest in New Orleans. "Even when there is a chaplain at a hospital, people don't know it."

Sauer points out that at his church there are two other priests, but one is in his 80s and the other is infirm.

"If I'm not available, there is no one else to go," Sauer said.

Parish priest on call
At St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, a seven-hospital system in northwest Ohio, there is no problem having a priest available, said Rev. Joseph Cardone.

"We have a firm commitment to having priests on staff at every hospital," Cardone said. "We want every person admitted to be seen by priest and celebrate sacrament of the sick."

There are 624 Catholic hospitals and 60 Catholic health systems in the country. St. Vincent is one of the largest.

For other hospitals, getting a priest for an emergency remains tough.

"There was a time in a previous generation when you would call a church and get a priest," said Rev. Pat Williams, the executive direct for priests in the New Orleans Archdiocese. "In those days there was usually two or three priests there. Not these days."

For John and Mary Baus, that has caused a difference in the way they will approach the next hospital trip.

"After the last time I immediately called my parish priest," she said. "I now have his number in my cell phone and he assures me he will answer anytime I call."

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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I won't speak to His Excellency's inane comments about group anointing or whatever, but I'll presume that the author misunderstands the sacrament.  Reporting about religion is bad across the board, but especially when it comes to the particulars of things like sacraments.

Unrelated: wasn't "Last Rites" actually a few sacraments at the same time, including confession, viaticum and anointing?  There was no sacrament called "last rites" because it was actually group of sacraments to be administered at the end of earthly life?
There is no 'new sacrament' but there is a wider use and application of it.  And that is a good thing too. I certainly would wish to be anointed before surgery, etc. because folks do die on the table you know.

But as one who has made hospital visits for some years, it is a crying shame when no priest can be found for those who are close to death.
And no religious sisters or any of consecrated religious to speak with these people who sometimes are so in need, and many desiring of that particular comfort.  The pants clad 'nuns' who run around with their designer coffee spouting about peace and justice are not there to comfort the sick; it all falls to lay volunteers or the dying get asked if they want to see the methodist minister or have some reiki or some such.

There are many priests who are very happy to come to the bedside of a dying soul, especially if they can reclaim that soul for Christ. But then there are others that just can't be found and you have to talk to the lady first who judges if you are worth father's time and then she comes with him too.

Yes, the complete trio is Confession, Eucharist, and Anointing.  Beautiful!  I hope I will be able to have them. Viaticum!  May Our Lady obtain this grace for me. And for you.
Just to be a little clearer the anointing was called Extreme Unction, in the day.
The priests both from my territorial parish, which is quite liberal and the parish where I attend Masses (St John Cantius) answer hospital calls at any time.

However the problem is very serious, one priest can comfortably serve about 400 families, and my territorial parish has 4500 registered families and one priest.  We need desperately priests. As present there are 40,000 priest in the US by within a generation unless something significantly changes there will be only 12000 (400 ordination yearly, 30 years average time in service)

To blame Vatican II does not help, parent should rise future priests.

A "community celebration"?  Someone, please shoot me. 

Part of the issue here in the US is the HIPAA law that prevents priests from doing hospital visits that are not specifically requested by the patient (or the family if the patient is incapacitated).  They can't even get in the door without an invitation.
Compare that to the days when doctors would go to jail if they didn't call a priest if someone was dying. What a morally bankrupt society we live in today.

I have more than once considered becoming a priest even in the NO Church just to be able to try and help save souls, but I just couldn't bring myself to go to a NO Mass never mind say a NO Mass.

I became enraged when I read the article in my own paper today and I just can't help but believe the NO Church has changed the sacraments. The part that enraged me the most is this "Once called the last rites or extreme unction, the deathbed ritual has changed for Catholics in recent years. The once obligatory deathbed rite has been replaced with a new sacrament known as the anointing of the sick.

The newchurch must have new sacraments. 

(01-30-2010, 04:01 PM)Petertherock Wrote: [ -> ]Compare that to the days when doctors would go to jail if they didn't call a priest if someone was dying. What a morally bankrupt society we live in today.

When and where was this day?
I doubt the states ever had a law like that. Maybe old europe but still it sounds fishy.

(01-30-2010, 04:05 PM)devotedknuckles Wrote: [ -> ]I doubt the states ever had a law like that. Maybe old europe but still it sounds fishy.

I long for the days when the Archbishop of Salzburg mandated a clout on the noggin for anyone who failed to kneel during the Angelus in the public streets.
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