Don't get me wrong, I love clarity when it comes to the faith and moral teachings of the Church as well as the Church's canon law.
But I tend to agree with Pope Francis who told a theology seminary in my hometown of Naples that, “Mercy is not only a pastoral attitude, but it is the very substance of the Gospel of Jesus,” he said. “I encourage you to study how, in the various disciplines - dogmatic, morals, spirituality, law and so on - the centrality of mercy can be reflected..."
Bishops, priests and deacons as well as other pastoral workers must listen to their parishioners and not be so wrapped up in a particular moral teaching so as to miss the struggle that almost every human being has in his personal life.
Let's take the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Strictly speaking this Sacrament should be administered to people who are entering a serious illness or are dying from a particular disease or medical issue.
Some would say, though, that this Sacrament should only be offered to those who have a particular illness, not to those who might die from some procedure that has nothing to do with a particular illness.
For example, let's say a perfectly healthy person who has the need for a knee replacement due to wear and tear, seeks out a priest for the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick prior to surgery. I would have no problem offering this person the Sacrament, because knee replacement is a difficult surgery and recovery can be lengthy. On top of that one is completely placed under anesthesia.
One can anticipate a number of things that could happen but might not, to include death itself during the surgery.
Why not anoint this person and encourage others to seek the Sacrament for any serious surgery they will have?
I just had a colonoscopy and was put under with a mild anesthesia. But I could have died and there could have been serious complications if the GI doctor nicked or clipped something that caused the loss of blood to the point of death. I might not have awoken from the anesthesia. Should I have been anointed prior to this surgery????? I wasn't because some would say to have been anointed for this would have be an abuse of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.
The more doctrinaire and legalistic would say the Sacrament is only for a serious illness and the anointing is to address that illness already present, not to foresee unexpected or unforeseen circumstances such as sudden death from anesthesia or a medical mishap.
Many years ago I had a parishioner undergo elective surgery to reduce the size of her stomach so she might lose weight. Her obesity was such that she could suffer a stroke or heart attack and die.
I anointed her prior to the surgery. And yes, something went wrong during the surgery, and she died on the operating table.
Was I wrong to anoint her?