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14 Sep 2015 News Vatican Comments (1)

Pope encourages work of cooperatives

Pope Francis met with directors and employees of an Italian credit union on September 12 and encouraged it and other cooperatives “to continue to be the motor t…

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31 Dec 2014 Q&A Comments (1)

Is it right to be proud of some things?

Full Question When is it okay to be proud? Can I be "proud" of my Catholic faith? Can I be "proud" of my many years of marriage? Answer Theol…

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04 Nov 2014 Q&A Comments (18)

Where did people who died before Christ go?

Full Question Where did people who died before Christ go? Answer According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, before the Resurrection, Abra…

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04 Jul 2016 USA Comments (8)

True story behind 'Miracles From Heaven'

Annabel Beam was only 9-years-old when she fell down a hollowed-out tree and landed on her skull. Despite other horror stories in which spines were snapped and …

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05 May 2016 Vatican Comments (1)

Individuals are more generous than governments over immigration, says Cardinal Nichols

The cardinal said political leaders need to look at what we gain from migration, as well as the problems we confront Cardinal Vincent Nichols has said that man…

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24 Nov 2015 Europe News No comments

Two new Auxiliary Bishops are appointed for the Diocese Westminster Cathedral by Pope Francis

Pope Francis has appointed two new Auxiliary Bishops to be ordained on 25th January, 2016 on the feast of the Conversion of St Paul. Canon Paul McAleenan, a pri…

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06 Aug 2016 News Comments (1)

US nuns urge Presidential candidates to refrain from ‘dehumanising language’

More than 5,600 religious have signed a letter to all the Presidential candidates More than 5,600 American women religious have signed a letter addressed to Pr…

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29 Nov 2015 Middle East - Africa News No comments

Pope Francis "Messenger of Peace" welcomed in Central Africa

Pope Francis arrived Central Africa in the morning hours of 29th November, 2015 after visiting Kenya and Uganda in the past few days of his pastoral visit to Af…

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18 Feb 2016 Articles No comments

Unless You Become Like Little Children

As a youngster, I thought going to church was a mystical adventure filled with a strange language, bells and incense. We knew we were in a sacred place because …

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Could JFK have received last rites if he was already dead?

Full Question

The movie JFK said that a priest performed the last rites on the slain president. It was obvious that someone shot with such a terrible head wound already was dead, so why would a priest bother to perform the last rites?

Answer

The problem is that the onset of death is not so obvious. We really don’t know, scientifically, what constitutes physical death. Is it when breathing stops, when the heart stops, or when there is no brain activity? In spiritual terms death is when the soul leaves the body.

Priests are not able to discern exactly when this occurs. No physical event defines when the soul leaves. No “vacancy” sign pops up. Once all activity associated with life is gone and the process of decomposition begins, then it is clear the soul is no longer present, but at what moment the soul left we can’t tell. Unless he is sure death occurred, a priest should perform the anointing (Jas 5:14-15).










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1 comment

  1. Betty Marinchek Reply

    Amen.

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