Q. Is the apostolic blessing at the hour of death still used by Roman Catholic priests?
Deacon Marty Wager, Littleton, Colo.
A. Here is a reply from Father Francis Hoffman, J.C.D.:
Yes, the Apostolic Pardon is still used by priests. In fact, just eight days prior I gave the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, along with viaticum, to an elderly man. But first I heard his confession. As part of the ritual, I also offered him the Apostolic Pardon, explaining to him and all present that in danger of death a priest has the faculty to bestow the Apostolic Pardon upon the penitent and thereby absolve him from all sins and any and all canonical penalties attached to those sins. This gave the man tremendous peace. We prayed the Litany of the Saints and then he renewed his baptismal promises. He was transformed by the power of grace and the mercy of God. He died 24 hours later, and I am confident that he went to heaven. We should all be so lucky to die fortified by the grace of the sacraments. Here is the formula: “By the authority which the Apostolic See has given me, I grant you a full pardon and the remission of all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”