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Anointing & Faith Healing

JOANA:  Father, my question is about faith healers and quack doctors.  Are they considered genuine or given the power to anoint a sick person?


Only Catholic bishops and priests have the authority to offer the official Anointing of the Sick. It is a sacrament of the Church and very closely connected to the priestly charge over the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. It is an element of the priest’s power to forgive sins or function as a minister of reconciliation. God is at liberty to grant or to facilitate physical restoration and yet the most important element is spiritual healing.

The definition of a “quack doctor” is that he is a fraud. There are too many of those around.

The issue of “faith healers” is more complicated as they include both Catholics and Protestants. There might be an anointing or just the laying on of hands and prayer. God can use whomever he wills. A constant theme of mine is that we should not seek to stifle or ridicule where the Holy Spirit might be active. We can discern something of the truth by the fruits but must be ever on our guard against deception.

I recall an expose several years ago where a minister used a portable receiver in his ear to learn about attendees at the revival or meeting.  The information was whispered to him from a pre-show interview with volunteers. It gave the appearance that the minister was somehow clairvoyant and knew their ills before they came forward. Some of those healed were plants and others had been sent to a special hospital where they were treated but told to keep quiet about the medical intervention. Others got caught up in the euphoria of the moment, claimed healing, only to find themselves still belabored by pain or crippled when the meeting was over and the cameras were off. There was one minister who used to berate those not healed, saying that it was their own fault and that they did not have sufficient faith.  Of course, the organizers were still very quick to pass the money basket to the assembled throng. 

However, with all this said, the miraculous sometimes happens. Miracles of healing are often reported and investigated in the process of canonizing saints. The late Fr. John Lubey here in Washington, DC, (and the priest who married my parents and baptized me), regularly offered healing services along with Mass. People would sometimes collapse (sleeping in the Spirit) when he placed his hands on their heads. He told me that the ministry started in the late 1950’s when he blessed a woman who suffered from a disintegrated hip.  She returned a week later walking with ease and holding x-rays that showed a perfectly formed hip. He was a very humble man and regarded ALL priests as “healing” priests.  He gave all credit to our Lord and never asked for any money for his services.

5 Responses

  1. Fr. Lubey has heard my prayers from Earth for one of his faithful close friends, Mary Martha Griffin as she suffered terribly from anxiety with her dementia illness. I prayed to Blessed Fr. Lubey (as I called him as I was sure he was Blessed on Earth and possibly Greater in Heaven) to ease her anxiety and bring her peace and calm in her time of trial. Each time I prayed before visiting her, she was more calm and at peace. I noticed she relapsed into suffering and fear when I would forget to pray for her to Fr. Lubey before our visits. Lord, help me to always pray for her. More to tell all, now that I am aware Canonization is being considered. Entry made 1-8-2019.

  2. Father Joe,
    In 1966, Father Lubey prayed over my sister after a bad accident, in which the doctors gave her only a slim chance to have a complete recovery.
    We had just moved to MD a week or so prior to the accident, didnt know any priests. At that time, Father Lubey was at Sacred Heart Church in Bowie.(where we became parishioners for decades)
    Father Lubey drove my mother to Washington Hospital Center every day, prayed over my sister who was in a coma for several weeks, (stopping at the Franciscan Monastery on the way each day)
    My sister is 66 years old now, in great health. We know the miracle, we know that God used Father Lubey mightily in her recovery!!
    Father Lubey remained a family friend for many years.
    I’m looking for a book called “In The Name of Jesus, Be Healed”, storiesof healing, meditations etc.
    If any of your readers has a copy they want to share, I have a daughter who has been dealing with cancers for 19 years, who would benefit from reading it. When she was not even 18months Father Lubey held her on his lap and sang to her…I just know that’s why our daughter, 40 years later, has been healed of 8 different cancers. Right now, she’s battling again, so prayers are appreciated.
    I just had to write when you spoke of the power of miraculous healing and Father John Lubey. He was a humble, gentle man of great faith.
    God bless you.


    There are actually two books.

    You can buy both books for $36.80 from the source by following this link:


    Yesterday, July 27, was the anniversary of his death in 1999.

  3. Dear Fr. Joe. I am a lay minister. On one occasion when we had no parish priest Our Archbishop gave me (by phone) permission to visit a dying person and administer the Holy oils of anointing according to the rite, except of course confession neither communion since the person was living in a “common law” relationship. – Was this anointing valid.

    FATHER JOE: If you mean did it count for the sacrament of Extreme Unction or Anointing of the Sick then the answer is NO. Only a priest or bishop can give this sacrament, especially since it is intimately connected with the sacrament of Penance. There are less formal anointings but most bishops forbid them because of confusion with the sacrament or the sin of sacramental simulation. I cannot imagine a bishop giving you permission. Did he think you were a priest? Even deacons cannot give this sacrament.

  4. Good morning Father, Yes I will make a copy and send it. Is there an address to mail it too? Have a wonderful day!

    Father Joseph Jenkins
    Holy Family Catholic Church
    12010 Woodmore Road
    Mitchellville, MD 20721

  5. Dear Father Joseph, My name is Angelo and I’m from Toronto, Canada. I just found your blog and it is very good. I wanted to share something that happened to me many years ago. I was very fortunate too meet Fr. John Lubey in person at one of him healing masses in Washington and it changed my life forever. I was prayed over and blessed by Fr. Lubey and my friend as well. My friend needed healing and he received it through the healing from Jesus through the holy spirit from Fr. Lubey. I’ve since been praying and sharing my faith everyday. I know that Fr. Lubey is still working healing miracles in my life and the people I pray for. I hope one day he will become a Saint. I got a CD copy of the healing mass with Fr. Lubey in 1979 and I still play it today and have shared it with my people who also have been blessed by listening to the words of Father Lubey. I believe in the power of the holy spirit and Fr. Lubey’s love he had and still has for our Lord. God bless you!

    FATHER JOE: If you can burn a CD of the healing Mass, I would love a copy.

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