Vatican website translation:

74. In addition to the separate rites for anointing of the sick and for viaticum, a continuous rite shall be prepared according to which the sick man is anointed after he has made his confession and before he receives viaticum.

Latin text:

74. Praeter ritus seiunctos Unctionis infirmorum et Viatici, conficiatur Ordo continuus secundum quem Unctio aegroto conferatur post confessionem et ante receptionem Viatici.

Slavishly literal translation:

74. Beyond the distinct rites of the Anointing of the sick and of Viaticum, a continuous rite should be drawn up according to which Anointing is conferred on a sick person after confession and before the reception of Viaticum.

Since the Council Fathers opted in art. 73 to re-orient the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick from immediate preparation for death to pastoral care for those who are ill, art. 74 offers an new structuring of rites for the seriously ill in danger of death. Responding to the Council Fathers’ wishes, the Latin editio typica of the Ordo Unctionis Infirmorum eorumque pastoralis curae appeared in 1972. As we will see in our reflections on art. 75, an apostolic letter from Paul VI (“Sacram Unctionem infirmorum”) was needed to promulgate the new Ordo since the verbal formula associated with the sacramental anointing was changed. In 1983 a rather extensive re-working of the underlying editio typica was promulgated for use in the dioceses of the United States. While the editio typica’s material was translated according to the rules then in force (“Comme le prevoit”), it was supplemented by appropriate material from other documents (Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist outside of Mass, the Rite of Funerals, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, and the Rite of Penance) as well as original material; the texts were then re-arranged to make this translation/adaptation as pastorally useful as possible.

Some have seen in this new structuring of the rites at close of life an echo of the rites of initiation celebrated at the beginning of Christian life. The reception of the sacrament of reconciliation corresponds to water Baptism, insofar as both have as a consequence of their fruitful reception the forgiveness of sin(s). The anointing of the sick corresponds to Confirmation, insofar as both sacraments use oil (chrism = perfumed oil) to designate and strengthen the recipient with the power of the Holy Spirit. The reception of Viaticum as “last holy communion” corresponds to the “first holy communion” that is the climax of the initiatory sacramental structure.

Pray Tell readers may wish to discuss: 1) what adaptations, if any, appear in the vernacular versions of the Ordo Unctionis Infirmorum eorumque pastoralis curae for territories outside of the United States; 2) how often and effectively and in what circumstances the “continuous rite” called for by art. 74 is actually used; 3) how much of the extensive re-working of the rites of Anointing and Viaticum that appeared in the 1983 USA edition (and parallels) should be preserved in any future (re-)translation of these rites according to the rules articulated in Liturgiam Authenticam.

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