Archbishop Albert Ranjith, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has written to the South Africa bishops’ conference president Cardinal Wilfrid Napier concerning the “Anointing with the Oil of Gladness” services.
“It is reported that the faithful are frequently being anointed during what are called ‘Healing Services’ by deacons or even lay ministers who use a so-called ‘Oil of Gladness’ that is claimed to be ‘Sacramental,’ the letter says, according to the Catholic Information Service for Africa.
The archbishop notes that Canon Law expressly forbids anyone other than a priest from administering the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.
His letter states that there are only three blessed oils used in the Roman Ritual: the oil of catechumens, the oil of the sick, and the Sacred Chrism.
“The use of any other oil or any other ‘anointing’ than those found in the approved liturgical books must be considered proscribed and subject to ecclesiastical penalties,” he continues.
“The Congregation kindly asks that the bishops of South Africa be made aware of the above-mentioned confusion so that proper catechesis and sacramental discipline can be restored where it may be lacking,” Archbishop Ranjith concludes.