Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the Last Rites (also known as Extreme Unction)

In a tragic event which took the United States by surprise was the assassination of John F. Kennedy by Lee Harvey Oswald on November 22, 1963 at 12:30 pm. He was riding along in his Presidential Limousine in Texas, when he was shot in the head. He was obviously dead from the enormous wound he had sustained. Others, including the Governor of Texas were injured as well.

One thing about the assassination of which many are not aware, is that after being shot, a priest gave President John F. Kennedy his Last Rites, also known as Extreme Unction and more recently, Anointing of the Sick. This is one of the seven sacraments established by Christ.

The Priest who performed this sacrament was the Very Reverend Oscar L. Huber. Like all sacraments, Extreme Unction affects the soul of the recipient. According to the priest who performed the ceremony, although JFK appeared dead, his soul may still have been within his body, and although not visible to human eyes, the President could have accepted the sacrament before his soul left his body.

The following is taken from Time Magazine from Friday, November 29, 1963, and gives a lot of information.

At 12:45, two Roman Catholic priests went swiftly into the emergency room. A policeman came out. "How is he?" a reporter asked. "He's dead," came the reply. Assistant Press Secretary Malcolm Kilduff appeared. To a deluge of questions, he screamed, "I can't say, I just can't say!"

Last Rites. But he was dead. It was about 1 p.m. The Very Rev. Oscar L. Huber drew back a sheet that covered the President's face, and anointed John Kennedy's forehead with oil. He gave him conditional absolution—tendered when a priest has no way of knowing the victim's mind or whether the soul has yet left the body. In Latin, Father Huber said, "I absolve you from all censures and sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. If you are living, may the Lord by this holy anointing forgive whatever you have sinned. Amen. I, by the faculty given to me by the Apostolic See, grant to you a plenary indulgence and remission of all sins and I bless you. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."

Then he covered the President's face once more with the sheet and in English offered the prayers for the Dying and for the Departed Soul: "May the most clement Virgin Mary, Mother of God, the most loving consoler of the afflicted, commend to her Son the soul of this servant, John . . . Jesus, Mary and Joseph, assist me in my last agony. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, may I sleep and rest in peace in your holy company . . . Grant, O Lord, that while we here lament the departure of Your servant, we may ever remember that we are most certainly to follow him. Give us grace to prepare for that last hour by a good life, that we may not be surprised by a sudden death but be ever watching, for when Thou shall call that soul, we may enter eternal glory through Christ, Our Lord. Eternal rest grant him, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. Amen."

Jacqueline Kennedy stood next to the President's body, and with a clear voice, prayed with the others: "Our Father, Who art in Heaven . . ." and "Hail, Mary, full of grace. . . ." End of Quote from Time.

These are very beautiful prayers said during a solemn occasion. May we pray that the soul of John F. Kennedy is with the Lord, just as we pray for everyone who leaves this world for the next.

1 comment:

  1. Only God can forgive sins and not man. The Bible teaches in Genesis that the body (made from the dust of the earth) plus the breath of life from God and man becomes a living soul or being. The concept of an immortal soul comes from Greek mythology and not the Word of God.