A minority of people who contract the coronavirus will become so ill they will be admitted to intensive care for intubation on a ventilator. They may be placed in induced comas, and their chances are not especially good. Those who are Catholics have the right to ask for a priest to administer the Sacrament of the Sick. It would be a good idea to do so while still conscious.

While most people flee a pandemic, good priests, like good doctors, run towards it. Hospital chaplains are active and are conferring last rites while adhering to safety standards that apply to NHS staff.

Official guidance from the bishops has instructed them that “the oil of the sick can be applied using a cotton bud which can be burned afterwards (one end for the head and the other for the hands) and the priest suspends his hands over the sick person for  laying on of hands”.

Praise the Lord

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