Washington D.C., Mar 27, 2020 / 13:54 pm
Update, 4:16 pm MT, March 27:
One hour after the publication of the story below, the Diocese of Springfield informed CNA that it has rescinded its permission for nurses to conduct the physical anointing during the celebration of the anointing of the sick. The diocese declined comment regarding the decision to rescind its policy.
A Massachusetts diocese authorized a change to norms for the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, permitting a nurse, rather than a priest, to conduct the physical anointing, which is an essential part of the sacrament.
"Effective immediately I am allowing the assigned Catholic hospital chaplains, standing outside a patient's room or away from their bedside, to dab a cotton swab with Holy Oil and then allow a nurse to enter the patient's room and administer the oil. If the patient is alert, the prayers may be provided via telephone," Bishop Mitchell Rozanski of Springfield, Mass., told priests in a March 25 message.