Joseph Martos
Part Three of the Course, Third Assignment, Question 2
by Dr. Joe Martos - Friday, 17 February 2012, 1:57 AM
Reflect on the developments in reconciliation and anointing of the sick since the Second Vatican Council, explaining why you believe that some of these have been positive or negative developments.
Picture of arnetta sims
Re: Part Three of the Course, Third Assignment, Question 2
by arnetta sims - Monday, 6 August 2012, 6:24 PM

The developments of reconciliation changed according to times and periods.The need for adaptation and restructuring of the ritualistic performance gave meaning to its effectiveness . The sacrament of reconciliation moved from one transition to another. We note prior to Vatican II public penance which were long and harsh. Also in public penance the reception could only be yearly. The sacrament moved to another transition during around the sixth or seventh centuries a dramatic change developed. In this development confession became a private act to include absolution. The Protestant reformers made an impact by raising issues of contrition, confession and the priest's absolution. The Church addressed these isssues by correcting sacramental abuses and stressing the theology of the sacrament.The Council of Trent stated that reconciliation was needed for forgiveness of serious sins after baptism. The Council emphasized that the sins were to be given in details so that the priest could act as judge to impose the penance. These practices remained in place until Vatican II.

At Vatican II the language and ritualistic functions became more pastoral.The provision called for face to face confession with a communal dimension to reconciliation. The healing and loving concepts of a merciful God towards His people were reflected in Vatican II. The Church began to act as an agent to assist in the reconciliation of sinners to God and church. In these changes we witness the healing effect of the sacrament.

With the transition of the sacrament of reconcilation we witness the similar effects of Extreme Unction which later became known as the annointing of the sick. In the Middle ages clerics were not the only one who could perform this ritual. Lay people also could annoint the sick with oil.The need for annointing carried many desires, i.e., people who were physically and mentally ill. The rite was performed any where there was a need. Each rite companied a prayer for forgiveness. It later changed to a priestly function and the laity's participation subsided( pg.333).If any one recovered they were forbid to conduct business or any other contractual experiences.

Later "reconciliation and death became closely associated , annointing had taken on a penitential character" (pg.335). Annointing of the sick was merged with confession and the eucharist. Anyone wishing to receive this sacrament could do it at home or in the hospital. This aspect denoted a more communal and pastoral action.The reception was not limited to the dying, but to anyone not facing death.

Just as the sacrament of reconciliation, annointing of the sick was to have an effect on one's spiritual well being and to help reassure them that God is most compassionate in their physical challenges. The Church shows the pastoral side by assisting the laity with their struggles.

I believe that some transitions were good for the building up of the body of Christ, but the role of laity should not be limited. A more communal exercise would be to allow the laity to continue to minister to one another in a priestly function. The sacramental life should be lived out in society, we can annoint one another and prayer with one another in time of need. So much emphasis should not be given to the written rite, but to the real human heartfelt performance.

GRADE 3 (Some issues in clarity and accuracy.)

(Edited by Dr. Joe - original submission Monday, 30 July 2012, 12:55 PM)

Picture of Marvin Fitchett
Re: Part Three of the Course, Third Assignment, Question 2
by Marvin Fitchett - Monday, 6 August 2012, 6:19 PM

My reflection in the developments of reconciliation and anointing of the sick since the Second Vatican are, first in the area of penance of reconciliation, my general reflection is too little too late for their implementations. The changes they implemented were already occurring or the catastrophe results concerning the sacrament. So, for the issue I determined major to this period after the Second Vatican council is the catholic liberation through confession and penance.

Confession and penance after the Second Vatican Council resembled that of the previous centuries. Confession and penance changed during its history, so it was possible for the system to change during contemporary Catholicism. The council had to facilitate the change out of necessity because social condition exposed the ineffectiveness of the confession and penance system. Their efforts cause a swing in the pendulum from sporadic to excessive confessions and penance to where the system broke down. The result of this led to catholic liberation from the system of identifying sins and the prescription of action to remedy the sin. In addition, the catholic liberation movement promoted the use of scripture which cast new light on how sins are forgiven. I believe another positive effect of the catholic liberation was the awakening of the catholic conscience, where catholic believers realized that they have choices in circumstances affect their lives and the direction from the Catholic Church could be antiquated and misguided.

Second, my reflection on the developments in the area of anointing of the sick since the Second Vatican is this sacrament is more sacramental than sacrament. Its effects are sacramental because as a Catholic priest would enter the area of a seriously sick believer, and he performed the anointing the sick ritual, it signifies that death was imminent. This was not the original intent of the sacrament. Anointing the sick was supposed to signify hope for Gods miraculous healing to enter the believer.

The Second Vatican Council attempted to clarify the confusion associated with the sacrament of anointing the sick formerly known as extreme unction. However, I think the confusion remained the same, and the sacramental effect remained the same. The same action occur, a priest arrives to perform the last rites, which presently includes confession, repentance, and communion. The same sacramental result occurred, because the priest was performing the sacrament, death was imminent. I do understand the two categorizes of anointing the sick, the first category is for sick with bodily aliments, who requiring physical as well as spiritual healing, and the second category is for the dying.

The first category I can identify with because I’ve experienced it, where oil and hands were applied to my knee. I felt the pain being relieved in my knee while the oil, hands, and prayer were performed. The second category, I participated in and never seen the oil in conjunction with hands being imported on the dying. Just importing hands on the dying and praying for them.

Grade 4 (Excellent evaluations from an outside perspective.)

(Edited by Dr. Joe - original submission Monday, 30 July 2012, 04:34 PM)

Picture of Eileen Rettig
Re: Part Three of the Course, Third Assignment, Question 2
by Eileen Rettig - Monday, 6 August 2012, 6:17 PM

Vatican II brought about several changes in both the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick. The most visible change to Reconciliation was making the screen between priest and penitent optional but that is merely the outward sign of inner changes. Three forms were defined, the private confession to the priest, a communal that combined a community prayer service with private confession and a general penitential service for a community. In the private form of Reconciliation the priest is instructed to be more pastoral toward the penitent. It can be a bit of psychological counseling along with scriptural reading and prayers. Unfortunately these changes could not bring the laity back to this sacrament in any great numbers, which is a sad commentary on the delay of Rome to address the issues of confession.

Likewise the anointing of the sick has undergone changes that are mostly positive in nature. The bishops have attempted to return the sacrament to the more ancient ritual practices of the patristic era. While the minister of the sacrament is still the priest because forgiveness of sin is still part of the ritual, the laity is encouraged to consider asking for anointing more frequently. It is not just for the dying but also for occasions of serious but not terminal illnesses and prior to surgery. Those caring for the recipient are encouraged to attend the anointing; this includes loved ones, doctors, and nurses.

The intention of the changes in both sacraments appears to be an effort to encourage Catholics to seek the forgiveness and mercy of Christ. It is an attempt to bring closer union with the Orthodox Churches of the East who did not appear to fall into the legalism that became such an integral part of the Church in the West.

The fact that Rome waited for such a long time to respond to the needs of both the better educated society of the Western countries and the cultural needs of people in non-European countries has led to a decline in the use of the sacrament of Reconciliation. Vatican II stressed the primacy of the individual conscience in deciding whether an act was sinful. With the advent of oral contraceptives many married couples chose to limit their family size for various reasons despite the ruling by Rome that artificial contraception was sinful. A large majority of these couples chose either to avoid confession altogether or simply omitted the fact that they used contraception.

The Euro-centric point of view which the Roman Church has exhibited for millennia has made it difficult to tailor the rites for non-European cultures. The question becomes how to devise these rituals for African and Asian cultures? What accommodations can be made for the people of the mixed cultures of the former Spanish colonies of Central and South America, part Indian and part Spanish? Only when the officials of the Curia can adapt the rituals to the people will there be a return to these sacraments of forgiveness and healing that are an important part of the faith instituted by Jesus Christ and taught by his Apostles.

GRADE 4 (Accurate and evaluative.)

(Edited by Dr. Joe - original submission Tuesday, 31 July 2012, 06:54 PM)