Media Reports: Pope John Paul Given ‘Last Rites’

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope John Paul, whose health deteriorated suddenly on Thursday, has received the Roman Catholic sacrament reserved for the sick and dying, Italian media reported.

A Vatican spokesman said he could not confirm the reports but Church sources said it was likely the Pontiff had received the sacrament, given the precarious state of his health.

The sacrament, which involves anointing the sick person with special oils, was once called “Last Rites” or “Extreme Unction.” It is now known as the Sacrament of the Infirm.