Are Last Rites Valid for Jews?

There won’t be any video today.

I wrote this earlier this morning, and I planned to record the video after we took our cat, Shadow, for his two-week steroid shot, which he has been getting for 11 months due to him having cancer. He has been having trouble for the past week or so with urinating, and he has been uncomfortable and in pain. When we saw the Vet, she talked to us and we all knew, with her confirmation, that it was time to put him down.

Understandably, I am not in the mood to talk to anyone about anything right now, so since this was already written I will post it. I am sure you all feel for us, and Donna and I thank you for your compassion.

 

I was reading Dear Abby this morning and there was a Reform Jewish man who wrote about his wife, who had converted to Judaism and on her deathbed (she was comatose) her family asked if they could have a Priest administer the Last Rites of the Roman Catholic church. The man agreed as a way to be kind to the family, but now is having second thoughts about it.

Abby, in her usual politically correct answer, said the woman was comatose and whatever was said didn’t matter to her, so it was OK and he shouldn’t feel guilty.

I thought about this, as my initial response was, “No! You didn’t do that, did you, Mister?”, but I didn’t want to be unfair. After all, Abby is right that the woman didn’t have any idea what was going on. But, then again, when administering the Last Rites to an unconscious person are the statements the person is supposed to make made for them? I know when a baby is baptized, the godparents speak on behalf of the baby, so if a person is being given Last Rites, and they cannot speak for themselves, will the Priest intercede on their behalf?

I researched Last Rites and it reads like Tax form instructions. There are actually three different rites or sacraments that are given, and part of the rite is to have the person repeat the Apostolic Creed, which is this:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead.

If the person cannot do so because they are unconscious, then (from what I have read) they can either receive a Plenary Indulgence or a partial indulgence, which is essentially saying that they will be given a “bye” on the consequences of their sins since they cannot ask for forgiveness.

Overall, I think when the husband allowed his Jewish wife to have someone say the Last Rites over her, he did the wrong thing. I see this as just another example of the typical Roman Catholic stance that Jews are wrong and they need to be converted. This was, maybe (a BIG maybe) asked by the family because they truly were concerned for the soul of their “lost” family member, but it still is disrespectful to her. She chose to convert to Judaism, and the Catholic family members should have respected that.

But Catholicism has never really respected Judaism, or any other religion (for that matter), and I believe in this case they wanted the nearly dead person to come back to Christ before it was “too late.”

People have a right to choose what they will believe in, and whether or not we like their choice, we must respect it. I think this request by the family to have Last Rites administered is not just disrespectful, but an abomination- a sad attempt to convert someone who has already made her choice but is now unable to fight them. And to request this from a man who is watching his wife dying, and probably not fully able to make decisions due to his grief, is just disgusting.

I can understand that the family may have been doing what they thought was best for the woman, but it is just another example of Roman Catholic disrespect for any beliefs other than what they believe. I think the Priest that administered the Last Rites was also at fault- he, of all people, should have respected the choice of the comatose woman and said that no one can accept Yeshua by proxy.
Oh, wait- that is what the Roman Catholic Church does, isn’t it?  The baptism ceremony has the godparents accepting Jesus for the baby. Later, at the Confirmation ceremony (the child is 7 or 8 years of age), they perform the catechism now (supposedly) the child now speaking for him or herself accepting Jesus as their “Lord.”

I asked my wife, who was raised Roman Catholic and went to a Catholic school if she knew anyone that refused to go to Confirmation, and she said of course not. In Catholic school, you do it, period. Between the Nuns and your parents, you really have no choice. The Church tells you this is what you must do.

This is the attitude of the “Church”, in general, whether Roman Catholic, Protestant or whatever other denomination of Christian there is. They see Jews and other religions as inferior and feel the need to convert them, misinterpreting the statement Yeshua made in Matthew 28:19 when he was ascending to heaven and told the Talmudim (Disciples) to make disciples of everyone.

I think it should be understood since he also told them (Matthew 10:14) to wipe the dust from their sandals if they were rejected, that to make disciples doesn’t mean to force people to be a disciple, but to give them the opportunity to choose to be a disciple.

Unfortunately, from my experience, the only religion of the “Big Three” that does not actively try to convert everyone is Judaism.  We do not try to make Jews out of everyone, and I don’t believe that is what Yeshua meant when he said to make disciples out of everyone. I believe, based on his being Jewish, that he meant to spread the word to Jews (remember- he came only for the House of Israel) about their Messiah. Not to actively convert the Gentiles. However, God did allow the salvation of those Gentiles who CHOSE to accept Yeshua and, thereby CHOSE to convert to Judaism. Christianity, as we know it today, didn’t come about until Constantine in the Third Century. Back in Yeshua’s day, and for the next hundred years or so, accepting Yeshua meant becoming a Jew.

In conclusion, there may be some reading this who feel I am being unfair and coming down on the Roman Catholic’s too hard, and maybe I am. As a Jewish man brought up being called “Christ Killer” and other such insults, I may be a little extra sensitive when I see any Christian forcing their beliefs on someone else.

But that doesn’t mean that what they are doing is acceptable. We each have to choose God and Messiah on our own, without coercion or threat, and I truly believe that any form of conversion which is not our own, free will choice will not be acceptable to God.

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Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

 

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