Ministry to the Sick
Part 2 History

Chapter s27 The Time After Trent [1700-1899 CE]

Importance of This Period

Secular History

Church History

Ministry to the Sick and Dying

Importance of This Period

1.  Facts, Attitudes, Behavior, Group Behavior  Review the Dynamics of Change.  While Catholics living in the 21st century (period #10 of this grid) might have "Period 10 Facts" they often still have "Period 7 Attitudes and Behavior".

2.  Iceberg Metaphor  Review the notes on the Iceberg Metaphor.  While some Catholics may have a "Period 10 Sacrament" (Anointing the Sick) in their conscious theology (the top of the iceberg)  they might still have a "Period 7 Sacrament" (Extreme Unction) in their unconscious theology (the unseen, submerged part of the iceberg). 

3.  Conclusion   This period of the "historical grid" -- the time during which the teachings of the Council of Trent were solidified and taught in the seminaries and in the catechisms -- is very important because it has shaped the unconscious "image" of the sacrament for many older Catholics living today and it has a strong influence on their individual sacramental "behavior" and on the way they celebrate the sacrament in the parish (i.e. their "group behavior").  In addition, for those Catholics who are currently being catechized with the Baltimore Catechism and/or by catechists who were catechized with the Baltimore Catechism and have not taken a good look at the bottom of their iceberg, the teachings of the Council of Trent continue to guide their sacramental understanding and praxis.  Therefore it is vital to understand what was taught and believed during this period if we are to understand what is happening in the contemporary Church.

NOTE:  The more a Catholic was formed in the theology of period 7, the more these images and understandings shaped the "bottom of the iceberg" and the harder it is to assimilate the period 9 and 10 images and understandings.  That is why bishops and priests who were thoroughly grounded in the theology of the Scholastic Manuals during their seminary days find it more difficult than the laity to "reshape" the bottom of the iceberg.   Whereas many "millennials" (those who "came of age" at the beginning of the new millenium) have been shaped "subconsciously" by the attitudes and atmosphere that shaped the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.   For example, in a conference given in Woodhaven MI, May 26, 2101, Fr. Jim Bacik said:  "[While the Second Vatican Council is ancient history] the majority of Catholic collegians have in their religious sensibility many of the major themes from the Second Vatican.  ... They know that we are the Church; that liturgy is communal worship; they understand the importance of ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue.  ... What that tells me is that the victory of the majority of the bishops at the Council is going to prevail; the "reform of the reform" movement is going to fail."  

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Secular History

[From an article in Time, 2000]  What a difference a century makes: 100 years ago in 1900 only 14 Percent of the homes in the US had a bathtub.  Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.  A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars.  There were only 8,000 cars in the US and only 144 miles of paved roads.  The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.  Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California. With a mere 1.4 million residents, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union.  The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.  The average wage in the US was 22 cents an hour. The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.  A competent accountant could expect to earn $2,000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.  More the 95 percent of all births in the US took place at home.  Ninety percent of all US physicians had no college education; instead they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as "substandard".

Sugar cost four cents a pound. Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen. Coffee cost fifteen cents a pound. Most women only washed their hair once a month and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.  The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet.  The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30. The remote desert community was inhabited by only a handful of ranchers and their families. Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores. According to one pharmacist, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and the bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health."  Punch-card data processing had recently been developed, and early predecessors of the modern computer were used for the first time by the government to help compile the 1900 census. 

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Church History

1. This was a period during which the decisions of the Council of Trent were solidified and implemented.  It was the time of the introduction of the Missal of Trent and a new uniformity in the rubrics of the Mass. 

2.  Theology in the seminaries was taught from "manuals" which were compilations of decisions of councils, church law, etc.

3.  Publication of the Catechism of Trent, which in the edition for the USA becomes the Baltimore Catechism.

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Ministry to the Sick

Extreme Unction is commonly understood as the last sacrament which forgives sins and prepares the Christian for death.

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Copyright: Tom Richstatter.  All Rights Reserved.  This page was created by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.  Every effort has been, and is being made to acknowledge sources when the ideas are not my own.  Any failure to comply with the United States Copyright Act (Title 17, United States Code) will be corrected immediately should I become aware of it.  This site was updated on 09/11/12.  Your comments on this site are welcome at trichstatter@franciscan.org