Update: Extreme Unction / Anointing of the Sick / PoS Priests & gatekeeper MDs


Seen from out front of the nursing home late Sunday evening, November 24, 2019, after a day of Adoration, Masses, socials, Communion calls, and nursing homes in various towns and beyond. It’s so cool to be able to take Jesus around His beautiful creation to the members of His little flock He loves so much. I am unworthy, just another PoS. But Jesus is so good and kind. I love being a priest for Jesus, with Jesus.

Update: A priest friend on the other side of the Diocese texted me the following. I asked his permission to put it up. He said yes. So here’s his response to my original post below:

“Read your piece about anointing. It sickens me that priests will make excuses about just doing their job. When I get the call, I go. If there’s even the slightest reason to think someone needs anointing, I do it. I throw in the Apostolic Pardon as well if there’s any whiff of danger of death. In my mind, I will be in more trouble at the judgement for the people I didn’t anoint that I should’ve than the people I did anoint that I shouldn’t have.

“I was talking to a (Protestant) hospital chaplain about a training I want to do for the chaplains around here to help them better understand what priests do and what the sacraments are so they can secure better pastoral care, i.e. by communicating with us better. She says on their end the biggest problem is getting priests to show up, which breaks my heart. There is nothing more important when that call comes in, unless I’m in the middle of Mass.”

You have to know, most priests feel this way. I’m also personally upset about this because Jesus has provided that I meet up with priests who are really idiots when it comes to this Sacrament. I myself have a certain malady which can bring death very quickly, or leave you just barely hanging on to life until it passes. It’s hereditary. I got it from mom, who died from it, as to about 1/3 of people who have it, regardless of any would-be emergency room intervention. The priests either refused to give anoint me (sooooo disheartening) or would be cutesy cutesy and make up their own sacramental words, you know, after praying, anointing with words to the effect of “God is nice. Have a nice day.” Then they would run away (just as disheartening).

Original post:

There are excellent, holy, dedicated, good priests, shepherds who wouldn’t hesitate at all to lay down their lives for the sheep in the face of the wolves. I know heaps of those good priests, so very many of them in my diocese. I rejoice. But once in a while one encounters a PoS priest who will do anything not to do the priest thing. My ire is stirred, indignant for the needs of Jesus’ little flock.

Late last night I got a call requesting, later today, a pastoral intervention in another parish that will require from some hundreds of miles of travel. I won’t say what diocese it’s in. It’s about a doctor scheduling an urgent operation for someone who is, as the hours go by, ever more in extremis, at the extremes of this life, death. When a request was made of the parish priest for Anointing of the Sick, the priest said that the policy is that no Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick will be provided to anyone whomsoever who does not trundle off to a doctor to get a note saying that such person is a candidate for the Anointing of the Sick. But that’s what the urgently scheduled operation is all about. So, someone direly sick is to make an arduous mountain journey to the in-town doctor – assuming that such appointments could ever be made – so as to get a note, and then make an appointment with the priest. As if whatever doctor (likely not Catholic and possibly atheist) could make a pastoral decision about a Sacrament of the Catholic Church. And all that could take days, or where I am, weeks, months. Well. Four letter expletives come to mind.

Dear priests, listen up. The doctrine of the Church on this is that if a person has an illness which without intervention could possibly lead a person to death, whenever that might be, such a person is already a candidate for this Sacrament. In other words, don’t hesitate. Provide the Sacrament. Bring Jesus’ little flock encouragement, strengthened in good friendship with Jesus. I mean, y’all do know the spiritual benefits of this Sacrament, don’t you?

If there have been abuses of this Sacrament in the past, so what? Are you holding that against the sheep right in front of you? That doesn’t make sense. So, this isn’t about protecting the Sacrament, is it? No. What is it about? Clericalism of the worst kind? That’s for any priest who has such a malicious and insane policy to answer.

Meanwhile, please God, I’ll be able to take care of member of Jesus’ little flock in some hours. And then I’ll see if that policy in that parish can be changed.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta often said that we don’t need more priests. Not at all. We need good, holy priests who are close to Jesus. That’s what she used to say. I agree. Jesus is calling young men to this end.

But everyone: Go to Confession. Pray for good, holy vocations to the priesthood.

My own personal update: The trip to provide this Sacrament, with Holy Communion, was very successful. The person is now under the knife. Yesterday, when I arrived with Jesus, the person was shedding tears, saying saying that this is proof of just how much Jesus loves us. It is such a joy to be a priest, hanging around Jesus, watching Jesus at work. Truly a great joy and consolation.


Filed under Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Vocations

9 responses to “Update: Extreme Unction / Anointing of the Sick / PoS Priests & gatekeeper MDs

  1. pelerin

    One of my friends is the only Catholic working in a local Care Home. She was shocked one day when phoning the priest in the area asking if he could call as one of the Catholic patients was nearing the end of life. He told her that there was no need as he had seen the patient the week before. I have no idea if this is the usual practice and that there was indeed no need for another visit. Our priests are very over worked and cannot be everywhere at once but my friend was quite upset at his reply.
    I have personal experience of my previous parish priest arriving on his bike within 20 minutes of calling him for which I remain extremely grateful.

    • Father George David Byers

      I hesitate to comment as I’m in s small parish. If the priest is 24/7 anointing he’s doing great. But the rule is that if the person’s condition worsens or is nearer death go ahead and anoint again.

  2. Claire Dion

    Thanking God for you dear shepherd. I also thank God for your courage and truthfulness.

  3. Janine

    Praying for priests and for a safe trip for you Father 🙂 . Thank you so very much for taking care of us sheep.

  4. sanfelipe007

    Praying for you, Father, as always. A little extra, right now, for the sake of that soul. Going to confession, too, for the sake of my soul. Just before Advent.

  5. Lisa Hoffer

    This situation resonates with me. I work in cancer care and a few years ago while working at a Catholic hospital, I spoke with one of my patients dying of lung cancer who was hospitalized. She expressed regret she had eloped and married outside the Church and expressed an interest in being reconciled to her faith. Long story short, ( I first had to go through the Jewish chaplain assigned to her floor), the Catholic priest/chaplain from a foreign country refused to hear her confession as she was invalidly married. He actually told me she (although dying) had go to her parish church and remedy her irregular situation first. Understand that her husband was devastated his wife was dying and there was no way she could be actively intimate with her husband due to her condition. This direction from the priest despite being told that she had been away from the church for 40 years and had no parish. I confronted him about the insanity of this approach and asked him if he didn’t think it was more important to bring her soul back to God before she died. I got no answer. So what happened next? The Protestant clergy woman wearing a Roman collar arranged to have a celebration of the patient’s upcoming wedding anniversary in the hospital room with cake, balloons, blessings and prayers included. She died a few days later, never making it home on hospice. And never getting a chance to come HOME.

    • Father George David Byers

      My solidarity with all involved, but that priest… What the hell… On her death bed! Hail Mary…

  6. Aussie Mum

    A world without good holy priests would be horrible – no Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, no Confession, no Extreme Unction. The Catholic priesthood is what stands between us and hell. I am so very grateful for good holy priests. Thank you Father for all you do. I am so glad that you are on your way to the dangerously ill person soon to undergo surgery. It’s a very long drive and I pray all goes well.

  7. Joisy Goil

    I too am praying for you, Father George.

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