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Catholic Dictionary




Primarily refers to the ministry of Christ, who during his public life on earth healed the sick, cured the dear-mutes, paralytics, and blind, and delivered those possessed by the devil. Also refers to the Church's care, since early Christian times, for the sick and those in physical or emotional need. But always in imitation of Christ, the Church's health or healing ministry was understood as not stopping with people's bodily needs. It is concerned with the whole person, body and soul, and seeks to alleviate every human pain or disability, whether physical, psychological, or spiritual. Among the sacraments, penance and anointing are specially directed to healing, both primarily to heal sickness of the soul and anointing also (if it is God's will) to heal the body.