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Last Rites


Definition: Last Rites is another term, very common in past centuries but rarely used today, for one of the seven sacraments, the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, which is administered both to the dying and to those who are gravely ill or are about to undergo a serious operation, for the recovery of their health and for spiritual strength.

The sacrament was called last rites because it was (at least until recent years) usually administered when the person receiving the sacrament was in grave danger of dying. The term is sometimes more broadly used to refer to the reception of all of the Last Sacraments—Confession, Holy Communion, and the Anointing of the Sick.

Also Known As: The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, the Sacrament of the Sick, Extreme Unction
Common Misspellings: Last Rights
"Before Vatican II, the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick was often known as Extreme Unction or Last Rites."
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