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Catholic Dictionary

Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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A person who because of some accident or disability has temporarily or permanently lost the power of mental awareness. Certain sacraments can be validly and fruitfully conferred on an unconscious person provided that, before lapsing into the unconscious condition, the person had at least the implicit willingness to receive the sacrament and the necessary dispositions. Thus an unconscious person can be baptized, sacramentally absolved, and given the anointing of the sick; although in practice these sacraments are administered conditionally in such circumstances, i.e., assuming that the necessary requirements are satisfied.

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