Visitation of the Sick

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The ‘Order for the Visitation of the Sick’ in the BCP provides for prayers, exhortations, and blessing in the presence of the sick person; it includes an exhortation to confession with a form prescribed for priestly absolution (which formed the basis for the 19th-cent. revival of the sacrament of Penance in the C of E). The ‘Communion of the Sick’ provides for a celebration of the Eucharist in the sick-room. Modern Anglican liturgies include prayers for healing and provide for the laying on of hands, unction, and Communion either from the Reserved Sacrament (often brought by lay people) or for a celebration in the presence of the sick person.

The 1972 RC ‘Order for Anointing the Sick and their Pastoral Care’ provides a comparable rite consisting of prayers, Bible readings, Psalms, and a blessing, with laying on of hands. In cases of serious illness this is followed by unction and Communion, and when death approaches by Viaticum and the ‘Commendatio morientium’.

See also unction.

Subjects: Christianity.

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