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5.10 How can sacraments be distributed in an emergency?

Living the sacraments

The sacraments are deemed so important, that they can be received urgently in case of an emergency, especially when there is a real danger that someone will die. From the early days of the church, a priest was called to pray over a sick person (James 5:14).

  • The sick person can confess their sins to a priest and receive God’s forgiveness and absolution in Reconciliation.
  • Confirmation can be administered in an emergency by a priest by laying on of hands and anointing with chrism.
  • The Anointing of the Sick gives strength to sick and dying people, and forgives their sins. If there is a danger of contagion, the priest can anoint them using a stick or other instrument.
  • The last Sacrament is the Eucharist. We call this last Communion viaticum, food for the way. If necessary, this can be a spiritual Communion.
  • In an emergency, anyone can baptise with water, as long as they intend to administer a Catholic Baptism.
  • Marriage or Ordination can in extreme cases be received even on a deathbed.

See also the Tweeting with GOD app: Mass & Prayers > Catholic Prayers > Tab 7: Prayers for the priest.

From the beginning Christians have called a priest to administer the sacraments in an emergency.