CPMC Bishops Advisory Committee Statements

CPMC Bishops Advisory Committee Statements

The CPMC Bishops’ Advisory Committee created statements to ensure the use of sacramental wine and allow face-to-face pastoral visits, which enables participation in all sacraments. You can read these statements, as well as the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ guidelines below.

CPMC Bishops Advisory Committee Statements 1

Catholic Bishops’ Statement Regarding Pastoral Care and Sacraments

An appropriate space needs to be made available to hold religious service or pastoral care (and sacraments) with respect to  privacy in a dignified environment which meets the security needs of the institution. 


For reference, Statements by the Federal Bureau of Prisons:

US Department of Justice

Federal Bureau of Prisons

Program Statement 


Number: 5360.10

Date: October 24, 2022

Religious Beliefs and Practices

548.10 (a). The Bureau of Prisons provides inmates and all faith groups with reasonable and equitable opportunities to pursue religious beliefs and practices, consistent with the security and orderly running of the institution and the Bureau of Prisons.

  1. Religious Use of Wine. Inmates may be permitted to receive small amounts of wine as part of a religious ritual only when administered under the supervision of Bureau Chaplains, religious contractors, or Chapel volunteers authorized by the Bureau to perform the ritual.  Wine will be stored behind two locks and accounted for with bin cards.

The consumption of wine under these circumstances will not be considered consumption of alcohol or ingestion of an illegal substance.  Inmates are not allowed to give wine to other inmates.

Training is provided to Chaplaincy staff on the procurement of religious wine.  Chaplaincy staff purchase the wine using normal procurement procedures.  Training on the procedures for storing, using, and disposing of religious wine will be provided to Chaplaincy Services staff, religious contractors, trainees and volunteers.  This will avoid the unnecessary and potentially disruptive confiscation of essential sacred elements.

Wine will be stored in a locked cabinet in a secure area of the Chapel.  For scheduled services for which wine is authorized, Chaplaincy staff will provide the wine to the contract or volunteer community minister in a two-ounce covered container.  The container will be used to measure and transport the wine.  The minister will dispose of the two-ounce container and any unused portion of the wine to protect against contamination or abuse.


Federal Bureau of Prisons

Statements Regarding Access to Catholic Sacraments (Pastoral Care)

Statement on the need for Sacraments – Rites and Obligations of the Christian Faith

Only a Catholic priest with faculties from the bishop of the diocese may

administer the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The rite of reconciliation is especially

significant at a time of illness or impending death. The seal of confession demands

absolute confidentiality, prohibiting the confessor from disclosing any information

regarding the confession. Under no circumstances may institution security interfere with the seal of confession; i.e., audio- or videotaping, requiring the use of a telephone for confession, conducting an investigation, or requiring the presence of a third party.

Security note: Sacrament of Reconciliation

■ Accommodation for sacramental confession for a requesting inmate should be

made as quickly as possible.

■ Only a Catholic priest with faculties may administer the Sacrament of


■ Institution staff may not interfere with the seal of Sacramental Confession – it

demands absolute confidentiality.

Anointing of the Sick is the sacrament of receiving Christ’s healing love and strength

when one is seriously ill or in danger of death. (see section on Burial Rites).

When an inmate is dying, the Catholic priest should be called for the Anointing of the Sick, if this sacrament has not already been given. The dying person, if able, should also receive Viaticum (Holy Communion). Only the Catholic priest may administer the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. The priest is also the normal minister of Viaticum. If the priest is not available, a deacon, Catholic chaplain, or other designated extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may give Viaticum.

When a Catholic person has died, the Catholic chaplain/contractor should be called to pray for the dead person. One who is already dead should not be given Anointing of the Sick. In the absence of a priest after the death, any Christian, preferably a Catholic, may pray at the bedside and perform a sacred ritual returning the baptized to God, from whence he or she came.

The chaplain, following the death of a person, should be available to help in any way

possible – ministering to staff or inmates, or trying to contact the family. The chaplain

should work closely with the executive staff in the notification process.

Celebrating a memorial mass or other memorial service for the deceased inmate helps others to better process the death of the person. The memorial service should be as early as the next day.

Wherever possible, a Catholic inmate should be buried in a Catholic cemetery. If this is not possible, the individual grave should be blessed. Cremation is permissible as long as it is not used as a symbol denying the resurrection of the body.


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