Q. 1. When does a person qualify to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing?
A. 1. In the early days of the Catholic Church, the Sacrament of Anointing was administered as a ritual of healing.
Over time, this Sacrament shifted towards a Sacrament to be received on the deathbed, with the forgiveness of sins (Sacrament of Confession) having been added to it. What was once a Sacrament of Healing for the faithful had become the Sacrament of the dying in preparation for Heaven.
Since Vatican II, the Catholic Church has emphasized to the faithful that the Sacrament of Healing, known as the "Last Rites," was not only for those who are at the point of death. It was for all those who are seriously ill whereas there is a possibility that they may die from their illness.
Canon Law # 1004 §1. "The anointing of the sick can be administered to a member of the faithful who, having reached the use of reason, begins to be in danger (of death) due to sickness or old age.
Contrary to the misconception held by many, such being a liturgical abuse, serious illness does not include spiritual and mental illnesses.
"Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders (priest) of the church, and they should pray for him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord." [James 5:14]