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Catholic chaplain anointed McVeigh before death

Before Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was executed in Terre Haute on Monday night Australian time, he was anointed by a Catholic prison chaplain.

Terre Haute Fr Ron Ashmore told CNS that he received word from one of McVeigh's attorneys that McVeigh "received the anointing of the dying."

Bureau of Prisons spokesman James N. Cross declined to release the name of the prison chaplain who performed the anointing.

Many media reports referred vaguely to McVeigh receiving Catholic "last rites" without spelling out which ones.

Father Ashmore, who had spoken and corresponded with McVeigh while he was in the federal prison, said he did not know if McVeigh also received Viaticum - Communion for the dying - or if he went to confession.

But he added, "I don't know if that's essential. We believe as Catholics that there are two sacraments that communicate Christ's forgiveness of our sinfulness."

"Those people who say he's never expressed remorse only know what he has or hasn't done publicly," the priest commented. "They do not know what has happened in the depths of his heart, and Tim did not choose to reveal that, for the most part."