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 Post subject: Today's Ott question
PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:06 pm 
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He says that it's sent. comm. that only the living can receive sacraments. He is right that it's not de fide—at least, if it's been defined, I can't find where—but surely this is certainly true. Isn't it?

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 Post subject: Re: Today's Ott question
PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2018 7:14 pm 
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How the hell can it not be true.

The nature of sacrament itself point toward (final cause) the living thing. Sacrament inherently compose of MATTER and form, while the living still has matter, aka. their body (the case of Virgin Mary is special). Sacrament is also a VISIBLE sign of an invisible grace. Visibility has to do with matter which has to do with living things.


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 Post subject: Re: Today's Ott question
PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:22 pm 
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Corpses are material.

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 Post subject: Re: Today's Ott question
PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:33 pm 
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Aha! You're dealing with someone who insist on baptism of the dead.


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 Post subject: Re: Today's Ott question
PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:34 pm 
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Nope. I'm trying to figure out why Ott, a learned fellow, didn't feel confident in saying that it's certainly true and not in the realm of free opinion. I'm not arguing with anyone.

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 Post subject: Re: Today's Ott question
PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:59 pm 
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I'm curious about this, and obviously don't have anything resembling an answer. But if this gives me a chance to better understand sacramental grace, then good for me! ;)

So tell me where you think I might be off. There are seven sacraments (which I'm listing now for my benefit, obviously not yours): baptism, the Eucharist, confirmation, reconciliation, anointing of the sick, marriage, and holy orders. Of those, it seems obvious to me that a corpse cannot receive the Eucharist or be married. Likewise, a dead person cannot receive the Holy Spirit to better live out their faith, and so they couldn't be confirmed (is there any sense that post-mortem confirmation is meaningful?). A dead man can't confess his sins--for the departed Christian, that's what purgatory is for anyway--so reconciliation is out. I don't see any meaningful sense in which a dead man can be ordained to any holy order. Has there ever been anyone who tried to argue that that the Church is comprised of all believers both living and the dead (so the communion of the saints) and that God is the God of the living and not the dead and that therefore that there could be some meaningful post-mortem ministry to the saints from heaven? That doesn't strike me a legitimate argument. But to continue, the whole basis of the anointing of the sick is so that they made be made well, so it isn't really "last rites" anymore. Is there any chance that Ott's position relative to this is historical? It's very common, of course, and it has always been, for Catholics to want "last rites" for their recently departed loved ones. So maybe there's the idea that the dead could receive that sacrament? That would seem to me, though, to be a popular misconception of the doctrine and not something that should concern a man like Ott. Anyway, that only leaves baptism, and the only thing that strikes me as really relevant here is the obscure claim by Paul that there were baptisms of the dead at least in the early church. Whether or not that was legitimate or what that even means, I don't know. But certainly someone back then thought it meant something meaningful. Could it be that the mere question around that--the mere possibility that it legitimately happened (and this in absence of any formal declaration of the Church otherwise) is enough to warrant Ott's classification?

Your thoughts?

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 Post subject: Re: Today's Ott question
PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:12 am 
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But to continue, the whole basis of the anointing of the sick is so that they made be made well, so it isn't really "last rites" anymore.
A common misconception, aided and abetted by the prayers in the rite (not the sacramental form itself, but some of the other ones in the ritual), but not true. The sacrament of anointing can bring about physical healing, but that's a secondary effect. Here's what the CCC gives as the effects of the sacrament (1520ff.):

  • The first grace of this sacrament is one of strengthening, peace and courage to overcome the difficulties that go with the condition of serious illness or the frailty of old age.
  • By the grace of this sacrament the sick person receives the strength and the gift of uniting himself more closely to Christ's Passion: in a certain way he is consecrated to bear fruit by configuration to the Savior's redemptive Passion.
  • The sick who receive this sacrament, "by freely uniting themselves to the passion and death of Christ," "contribute to the good of the People of God." By celebrating this sacrament the Church, in the communion of saints, intercedes for the benefit of the sick person, and he, for his part, through the grace of this sacrament, contributes to the sanctification of the Church and to the good of all men for whom the Church suffers and offers herself through Christ to God the Father.
  • The Anointing of the Sick completes our conformity to the death and Resurrection of Christ, just as Baptism began it. It completes the holy anointings that mark the whole Christian life: that of Baptism which sealed the new life in us, and that of Confirmation which strengthened us for the combat of this life. This last anointing fortifies the end of our earthly life like a solid rampart for the final struggles before entering the Father's house.

That aside, it is certainly true that judgment occurs immediately after death, so a dead person could not benefit from the reception of any sacrament. And I clearly recall its being emphasized in seminary that "sacraments are for the living."

So the only thing I have left is what you suggest about St. Paul's obscure reference, but since the Church firmly rejects baptism for the dead, I can't see why it would stop Ott from stating that it is certain that the dead can't receive sacraments.

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 Post subject: Re: Today's Ott question
PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 3:44 pm 
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A friend of mine suggests that Ott is uncertain as to when death occurs, at least as externally ascertainable. Some priests won't anoint after a doctor has pronounced a person dead; others will for various amounts of time, even up until rigor mortis sets in. I don't think that's it, but that's the most plausible theory yet for why Ott isn't more firm on the point.

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 Post subject: Re: Today's Ott question
PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 3:54 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
A friend of mine suggests that Ott is uncertain as to when death occurs, at least as externally ascertainable. Some priests won't anoint after a doctor has pronounced a person dead; others will for various amounts of time, even up until rigor mortis sets in. I don't think that's it, but that's the most plausible theory yet for why Ott isn't more firm on the point.


As I've mentioned before, military chaplains who work on the front lines in actual combat situations will often administer the Last Rites even if the recipient appears to be dead, unless, I presume, it appears that he has been dead for some time, perhaps a few hours or days. I don't know the theology behind it, but I think there must be a presumption that even if it isn't clear whether the sacrament will have any effect the benefit of the doubt should be given in favor of granting the sacrament, in other words, when in doubt, do it just in case.


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 Post subject: Re: Today's Ott question
PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 3:55 pm 
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I thought about that but it doesn't seem to answer the question. Whether or not we know when someone has died isn't relevant to whether or not only the living can receive the sacraments. At most you could say that we are certain only the living can receive (contra Ott) but that we may not know in some cases of any given person is living. As such, some priests, erring on the side of caution, may administer some sacrament to a corpse. But that would only mean the well intentioned act was ineffective, not that the dead could actually receive.

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 Post subject: Re: Today's Ott question
PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:12 pm 
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You are reading my mind. (Sorry about the mess.)

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 Post subject: Re: Today's Ott question
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:03 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
A friend of mine suggests that Ott is uncertain as to when death occurs, at least as externally ascertainable. Some priests won't anoint after a doctor has pronounced a person dead; others will for various amounts of time, even up until rigor mortis sets in. I don't think that's it, but that's the most plausible theory yet for why Ott isn't more firm on the point.

I vaguely remember reading a theologian pointing out that the point of death — as in the soul's separation from the body (forgive me, I know that sounds Cartesian, but you get the point) — may not be certain in some cases, and may even extend well beyond what we call death. This was in the context of him trying to explain how saints raised certain people from the dead, some of whom lived longer lives, and some of them just long enough to receive the sacraments. Either these people had their particular judgment suspended, or, as he suggested, death as in the soul's separation from the body may happen well beyond what we call death. Maybe Ott had this in mind, like the possibility of someone benefiting from the Anointing of the Sick, even if we would consider them pronounced dead.


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 Post subject: Re: Today's Ott question
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 6:26 pm 
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That's basically the theory I presented above that theJack and I don't like.

My two cents on raising from the dead is that their particular judgment was suspended, but that's nothing more than an opinion.

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