Can laymen say the office of Visitation of the Sick? How much?

Discussion in 'Liturgy, and Book of Common Prayer' started by DadHocHypothesis, Mar 3, 2022.

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  1. DadHocHypothesis

    DadHocHypothesis Member

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  2. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    Yes. But a layman would not say the Benediction: The Lord bless thee, and keep thee. The Lord make his face to shine upon thee. . .

    Also, laymen should not be anointing with the Oil of Unction - they should not typically have the holy oils. This brings me to another point: clergy should be getting oils from their bishop, not the local Christian bookstore or their favorite supermarket.
     
  3. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    Would those oils from the local Christian book store of supermarket not be valid Holy Oils?
     
  4. Matthew J Taylor

    Matthew J Taylor Member

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    Would you permit a father to say the Benediction over their children?

    I have holy oil from Cathedral of the Theotokos, Joy of All Who Sorrow, San Francisco, which is distributed freely to all who request.
     
  5. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    The oils that have been given by the bishop were, presumably, blessed. It's possible that the Christian bookstore might have blessed oil but it's seldom possible to know. Usually the stuff is just marketed as being from Israel or the Mediterranean.

    But the consecrated oils are a sign of the office of the ministry. The text in James says to call the elders of the church for the Unction of the sick.
     
  6. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    No, I do not think they should. This is the role of the ordained clergy. When the BCP says, 'Minister', I do not believe it means any old minister. I think it was taken as read it would mean a priest.

    As Fr Shane R says it should be the priest who anoints the individual with the holy oil of the sick. This is one of the holy oils the bishop blesses at the Chrism Mass on Maundy Thursday and that is where the priest should get his oil from.

    The rite also mentions the person making a confession and being given the absolution. This, too, must be done by a priest.

    If you are a layperson and someone is sick then what we do is pray for them. We leave the rites to be administered to the clergy to them.
     
  7. DadHocHypothesis

    DadHocHypothesis Member

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    As the son of a Christian bookstore employee (the "yes, we sell rosaries, Chick tracts, and shofars" kind), I can confirm that.
     
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  8. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    LLMs (Local Lay Ministers), can distribute the sacrament to the sick in just the same way as handkerchiefs were distributed and healed the sick in the Apostle Paul's day. Acts 19:11-12. The blessing can also be said except the words 'you' and 'your' are replaced by 'us' and 'our'. I should know because I regularly distribute the Holy Sacrament to the sick and I am avowedly a layman. My priest supports me in this ministry as a fellow minister. What an LLM is not authorised to do is consecration of sacraments or the administering of extreme unction, before death. That should be done by a priest. Unction for healing can be quite legitimately performed by a LLM.
    .
     
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  9. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    From the Offices of Instruction:
    WHAT orders of Ministers are there in the Church?
    Answer. Bishops, Priests, and Deacons; which or-
    ders have been in the Church from the earliest times.

    Question.
    What is the office of a Bishop?
    Answer. The office of a Bishop is, to be a chief pas-
    tor in the Church; to confer Holy Orders; and to admin-
    ister Confirmation.

    Question.
    What is the office of a Priest?
    Answer. The office of a Priest is, to minister to the
    people committed to his care; to preach the Word of God;
    to baptize; to celebrate the Holy Communion; and to pro-
    nounce Absolution and Blessing in God’s Name.

    Question.
    What is the office of a Deacon?
    Answer. The office of a Deacon is, to assist the Priest
    in Divine Service, and in his other ministrations, under the
    direction of the Bishop.
     
  10. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    A typical case of Wikipedia inaccuracy here. The Catholic Church is not the catholic church of the Nicene Creed, it is the Roman Catholic Denomination of the internationally catholic church of the Nicene Creed. The Offices of Instruction are not recognised by The Church of England, they are rules and regulations of the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England and Anglicans throughout the world are not Roman Catholic they are catholic with a small 'c' as in the Nicene creed. The catecism quoted does not apply to the Church of England, the Anglican Communion or any church other than those afiliated to the Roman Catholic Denomination. Until such time as the Roman Catholic Denomination alters its doctrines and praxis in accordance with a sensible interpretation of Holy Scripture, it will not even be properly a catholic church, just the Roman Catholic Denomination.

    What the Roman Catholic Denomination insists upon regarding as rules set out in the catechism laid out by itself is entirely its own affair. Nothing to do with me.
    .
     
  11. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    Wrong. The quotation is from the American Prayer Book.
     
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  12. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The Rite in Common Worship says that in the Laying on of Hands with Prayer and Anointing the anointing can only be administered by a minister authorised by canon B37. Canon B37 says it must be a priest.
     
  13. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I stand corrected then.
    .
     
  14. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    B 37 Of the ministry to the sick

    1. The minister shall use his best endeavours to ensure that he be speedily informed when any person is sick or in danger of death in the parish, and shall as soon as possible resort unto him to exhort, instruct, and comfort him in his distress in such manner as he shall think most needful and convenient.

    2. When any person sick or in danger of death or so impotent that he cannot go to church is desirous of receiving the most comfortable sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, the priest, having knowledge thereof, shall as soon as may be visit him, and unless there be any grave reason to the contrary, shall reverently minister the same to the said person at such place and time as may be convenient.

    3. If any such person so desires, the priest may lay hands upon him and may anoint him with oil on the forehead with the sign of the Cross using a form of service authorized by Canon B 1 and using pure olive oil consecrated by the bishop of the diocese or otherwise by the priest himself in accordance with such form of service.

    So basically what I said was correct. " What an LLM is not authorised to do is consecration of sacraments or the administering of extreme unction, before death. That should be done by a priest." I'm fairly sure though that what you say is true, that: "the Laying on of Hands with Prayer and Anointing . . . can only be administered by a priest. Which I was interpreting as Holy Unction, i.e. the last rights.

    B37 certainly needs updating though. The way it reads above only men would be entitled to be ehorted, instucted or comforted, or administer these comforts as minister, according to the wording of B37.

    Also B37.2 must also have been updated because my Bishop and priest has no problem with me an LLM taking reserved sacrament to the residents of my independent living community and celebrating Holy Communion with them. It is one of the things I am authorised to do. At least B37.2 recognises women also as getting infirm enough not to be able to get to church and can so also receive reserved sacrament or sacraments consecrated by the priest in their presence.
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  15. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Actually though most of these 'rules' are merely a question of denominational discipline. They are not God ordained edicts which would be sinful in God's eyes to ignore. If I wish to remain within the contraints laid upon my by my oath to my Bishop, to abide by the rules of the Church of England, then I must know and obey the directives of those who have oversight and care of my soul. That is a matter of personal integrity.

    If however I attended a motor accident or train crash and a severely injured person near to death begged me for prayer and the laying on of hands, in spite of my status as a licensed LAY minister, I most definitely would not refuse them just because I'm not an ordained priest. I am quite confident that God would not be displeased with me, neither probably would my Bishop or my Priest. Rules are for the guidance of the wise but merely the blind obedience of fools.
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  16. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Claiming that obeying rules is merely the blind obedience of fools is the claim that you can ignore those rules you find inconvenient. It is a poor excuse for not following rules. Rules are not made in a vacuum but they are made for necessary reasons. If we were all to ignore rules and do what we wanted we have anarchy.

    I do not think the language of Canon B37 needs to be updated. Using the pronoun 'he' is not there to insult anyone. It is simply established practice. Language does not become better by using constructions such as he or she. It just becomes less easy to read.

    Because your bishop and priest permit you to do something is not evidence the Church has changed its Canon Law. It is more likely evidence that they are disobeying the Church's law.

    However, what you describe doing is not necessarily prohibited by the said canon. Lay people can take Holy Communion to the disabled, elderly, houseboud, sick, etc. If that is all you are doing there is no question of a problem.

    This thread is not about that, though. It is asking whether a lay person can anoint people with the oil of the sick. The answer to that, in the C of E, at least, is no they cannot a priest must do it.
     
  17. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    In principle the rules of any human organisation should normally be followed by anyone with authority or under authority within it. (And the visible church is a human institution, no matter what denomination or sect one resides in). However to feel oneself utterly bound by those human institution rules in every possible situation would reveal an astonishingly low degree of initiative. So low that in any military situation it could even constitute dereliction of duty. In the case I imagined it would, in my opinion, have constituted a dereliction of my duty to God and to my neighbour. It would not be an excuse for anything. It would be the legitimate exercising of initiative in an extreme situation in obedience to my conscience, guided by The Holy Spirit. That would far outrank the Anglican Church and all it's bishops. Ultimately my commanding officer in all situations, no matter how extreme, is Jesus Christ and his orders come to me through The Holy Spirit.

    If everyone were always as unfailingly and assiduously obedient to rules as you suggest they should be, there would never have been a Reformation and Jesus Christ would never had negatively commented upon the rules of the Pharisees and advised his disciples not to follow their example.

    As far as I can make out, and in my own experiece so far, I think you are correct.
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    Last edited: Mar 6, 2022
  18. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I think the question presented here goes to the issue of how one interprets Jesus' "binding and loosing" statements.

    Mat 16:16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
    Mat 16:17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
    Mat 16:18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
    Mat 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

    Mat 18:15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
    Mat 18:16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
    Mat 18:17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
    Mat 18:18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
    Mat 18:19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.
    Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”


    It has been previously stated in a different thread that this 'power to bind and loose' is given to the Church (impliedly to its hierarchy) for matters of discipline and rule-making, and therefore the rules governing such matters (as who may distribute the Eucharist or who may anoint the sick with oil) are binding in God's eyes because He gave this rule-making authority to the officially-ordained leaders. In this interpretation, disobeying the rule set forth by the hierarchy is tantamount to disobeying God.

    Some Christians interpret the passage differently. They think that Jesus' words are applicable to all born-again disciples. Why? Let's ponder.

    Rather than take the above verses in isolation (a method that can lead to distortions), it is preferable to "let Scripture interpret Scripture," so we could look for interpretational clues elsewhere in Scripture to see if this interpretation is the best one. What can we find?

    Rev 1:4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,
    Rev 1:5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood
    Rev 1:6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen
    .

    1Pe 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
    1Pe 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
    1Pe 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
    1Pe 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
    1Pe 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
    1Pe 2:10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy
    .

    These passages suggest that all members of the spiritual Church are priests before God. Everyone who is a "living stone" laid by God upon the precious Cornerstone (Christ) is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit has remade our spirits with new life, and He continually works in and through us. The power of God is present in the "lowest" member of the Body of Christ on earth (even the littlest toe) and He is moving upon us to be His hands, His feet, His channel of blessings, His light and salt, to reach out to those around us for the sake of His glory.

    Notice that Jesus qualified in Matt. 18:19-20 what He said about binding and loosing in verse 18. In v. 19-20 we read, "if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them." Jesus said, "two of you." Two of who? Two (or three) who are gathered in Jesus' name. He didn't say, 'at least one priest'. Impliedly, any two born-again, Spirit-led Christians who have come together "in Jesus' name," i.e., to act on His behalf and to the Father's glory.

    Thus, some interpret the "binding and loosing" passages as a delegation of authority unto every disciple to act in Jesus' name and as His body on earth, doing as He was doing when He personally ministered by preaching, teaching, and healing.

    For those who state that only a priest may anoint the sick with oil, let us recall Jesus' reaction when the disciples informed Him that someone outside of their 'circle' was ministering in Jesus' name:
    Mar 9:38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.”
    Mar 9:39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me.
    Mar 9:40 For the one who is not against us is for us
    .

    Notwithstanding all of the above, it is reasonable to state that those who have made a vow of obedience to a member of hierarchy (such as a bishop) have made an act of voluntary submission to those whom they have recognized as authorities, and their vow should be uppermost in their conscience. I do not know if a LLM makes a vow to his bishop or merely to his priest, but whichever it is, that person has been accepted as legitimate authority and the LLM has promised to obey the rules laid down by the one over him. If he cannot do so, perhaps his conscience should guide him to seek release from his vow (if applicable...I am not thoroughly versed in the requirements for becoming a LLM).

    But laity have not made any promises.... ;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2022
  19. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Good thought through post Rexlion. LLMs (a newfangled title with slightly different functions - I was anointed and licensed as a Lay Reader originally), all of us were required to swear or affirm obedience to our bishop, (whoever that may now or eventually be, I have had at least six over the years in two different diocese), AND the doctrines of the Church of England.

    Any obedience to my priest is unwritten and unspoken just 'a given' as friends and fellow servants of Christ. Under all normal circumstances I believe an LLM is morally obliged to keep his oath to the earthly organisation he is a representative of. I am simultaneously though a representative of Christ, as are all other of his disciples, and my oath to HIM to serve my conscience guided by His Spirit, I believe, takes precedence over any other oaths to any earthly organisation.
    .
     
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  20. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Your argument can equally be turned round and used as an argument as to why a perosn should do whatever they want. They can justify any bad behaviour with the same argument.

    I do not think it is pharasaical to obey rules. I believe rules exist for a reason. That doesn't mean all rules are good. Some are quite plainly bad or ill-thoughtout. However, on the whole I think things work better when we observe the rules. What would happen if we all decided that we're going to ignore red traffic lights or not obey the unwritten rule of joining the back of the queue. I know we all often grumble about rules and there are rules we would all like to see abolished but things work better when there are rules and most of us follow them. I didn't want to use a religious example as I don't know if we could find any common ground on such. Nonetheless here is one. I do not think that lay people should be doing the things that we have clergy for. That is not the same thing as saying I don't think the clergy must do everything and the laity nothing. However, I do believe the clergy are different and can only do certain things. I believe what the Canons of the Church of England say are that the C of E also thinks this. If bishops and priests do not want to obey the canons because they think they are wrong I think their honest approach should be seek to have them changed or if it is not what they agree with then they ought not to be Anglican clergy but leave and join a church that does fit into their polity.

    I think it's a dangeous thing when an individual decides that a rule is wrong and that individual decides that he/she will ignore the rule. If a rule is bad, leads to the unintended outcome, etc. then we need to get a consensus of opinion and have the rule changed through the proper channels. I think it very dangerous when a person thinks they can ignore the rules because the Holy Spirit is telling them they can. I don't think that is the kind of church the Anglican Church is. I suspect that is a point of theology on which we shall not reach agreement.