BENEDICT XV 1914-1922

On Dying and Dead Schismatics *


[Reply of the Holy Office to various local ordinaries, May 17 1916]



  1. Whether when material schismatics at the point of death, in good faith seek either absolution or extreme unction, these sacraments can be conferred on them without their renouncing errors?– Reply: In the negative, but that it be required that they reject errors as best they can, and make a profession of faith.


  1. Whether absolution and extreme unction can be conferred on schismatics at the point of death when unconscious?–Reply: Conditionally, in the affirmative, especially if from additional circumstances it can be conjectured that they at least implicitly reject their errors, yet effectually removing scandal, at least by manifesting to bystanders that they accept the Church and have returned at the last moment to unity.


III. As regards ecclesiastical burial the Roman Ritual must stand firm.


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