The bishop of Springfield, Massachusetts, has temporarily suspended last rites in all instances in his diocese in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bishop Mitchell Rozanski’s directive followed a United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) memo on March 27 reaffirming Church teaching that only priests could administer the sacrament, Catholic News Agency reported.
Rozanski wrote to his priests March 25 that he was “allowing the assigned Catholic hospital chaplains, standing outside a patient’s room or away from their bedside, to dab a cotton swab with Holy Oil and then allow a nurse to enter the patient’s room and administer the oil,” according to CNA.
“If the patient is alert, the prayers may be provided via telephone,” the bishop wrote.
However, Bishop Leonard Blair of Hartford, chair of the USCCB committee on liturgy, said in last Friday’s memo that “it is not possible for the anointing with oil to be delegated to someone else, such as a nurse or doctor.”
The same afternoon, Rozanski sent his priests a message stating that: “After further discussion and review, I am rescinding my previous directive and temporarily suspending the Anointing of the Sick in all instances.”
LifeSiteNews contacted the diocese to confirm this but did not hear back by deadline.
Adding to the calamity, some hospitals are banning priests from attending to the dying, such as Grand Rapids, Michigan, as reported last week by LifeSiteNews, and Portland, Oregon, as reported by Catholic News Service.
Go here to read the rest. Priests on battlefields have risked their lives, and often died, to bring the Last Rites to dying men. That type of courage has been the hallmark of the Catholic priesthood. Denying the faithful the Last Rites is heresy, and cowardly heresy. I wish this were a bad April Fool’s joke.