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November 15, 2005

Last Rites

Priest: This is hardly the place to discuss that, Professor. Who knows but that, at the bottom of her soul, which God alone can see, just in these last moments, there is the longing to free herself from sin by a death-bed confession.

I had trouble understanding much of the play, but I thought these words were powerful and stood out to me. I was really confused during this time in the play when Dr. Bernhardi would not let the priest in to give the girl her last rites. I think the priest was right and she should have been given her last rites, even if she was happy and didn't know she was dying. She was going to die either way, she might as well be cleared of her sins before passing away. Does anyone have any idea why Prof wouldn't let the priest bless her before she died? Isn't that matter up to the family anyway?

Posted by AmandaNichols at November 15, 2005 12:37 PM

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It's so hard to understand who that decision was up to. I'm with you though, I had a really hard time with this play. But this is in a foreign country in which we are not familiar as well as a foreign time. But I have no idea why he woulnd't let the priest in.

Posted by: Chera Pupi at November 15, 2005 02:20 PM

The girl thought she was recovering and would be out of the hospital soon. If the priest came and gave her last rites, she would know that she was actually going to die. Berhardi didn't want to spoil it for her. He wanted to let her die happy.

The last rites are supposed to be a comfort to the patient, but believing that you're going to live is much more comforting.

Posted by: Kayla Sawyer at November 15, 2005 03:05 PM

I think that the matter is up to the family, but they didnt know where her family was. They just knew what was wrong with her. I think that Bernhardi just didnt want the priest interfering all the chaos that was going on at that time. I didnt really get it either Amanda.

Posted by: Denamarie at November 15, 2005 03:53 PM

K I commented on Denamarie's blog about this topic also! I think that the priest did not want the priest to ruin her happiness. Everyone knows what priests symobilze when they make a special trip to visit you on your deathbed. Imagine if you were an aetheist and you had a priest walk into your room before you were going to die. I would ot like that and I would have probably been very upset and stressed out that this priest thinks he is going to "cure" me. People who are not religious can get very offended by this action and because there was no family there to clear up the unanswered question, they did not know who or what the girl wanted. Either way, the priest could have ruin the girls happiness by making an apperance and that is what doctor b. feared the most. He trie to protect her and her last moments on earth.

Posted by: Gina at November 15, 2005 09:27 PM

The last rites are a catholic tradtion i have never gotten. If the girl did not get them did that mean she would not go to heaven or have a chance. I think that the doctors in this story were all about the medical aspect of their job and less about the emotional. that would explan why bernhadi would not allow the presence of a priest.

Posted by: Rachel Prichard at November 15, 2005 10:34 PM

While nobody knows for sure what is the interior state of anybody when they die, the priest's assumption is that, because the patient had been pregnant and there was no husband by her side, she probably had sins to confess, and giving her the chance to confess those sins would have been important for the good of her soul.

You don't actually have to be conscious in order to receive the Anointing of the Sick, though. That's a separate procedure from the Sacrament of Reconciliation (which includes the confession of sins).

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at November 15, 2005 10:45 PM

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