01/07/2015, 00.00
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Bangkok archbishop asks God for the strength to be a good cardinal

"As a bishop, my role is to lead the Church that was entrusted to me, which I will continue to do," said Mgr Kriengsak Kovithavanij after his appointment by Pope Francis. "The appointment as cardinal is an honour" and "also means looking at society in a broader way." February's consistory, set to reform the Curia, is "a gift from God that comes to us through the pope."

Bangkok (AsiaNews) - On receiving the news last Sunday that Pope Francis appointed him as cardinal, Mgr Kriengsak Kovithavanij said, "I entered the chapel near my office, and opened my heart to God and asked him for the strength to face as best I could such news. I promised the Lord that I would dedicate all my strength and make every possible effort for the good of the Church and society."

"As a bishop, my role is to lead the Church that was entrusted to me, which I will continue to do," Mgr Kovithavanij said at the Catholic Social Communications of Thailand (CSCT).

"The appointment as cardinal is an honour. Being a cardinal means advising the pope by expressing one's opinions on global or specific issues. The new cardinals, who come from Africa and Asia, show even more the Catholic Church's universality."

Francis set the consistory for 14 February. On 12 and 13 February, he will receive all the cardinals to "reflect on the guidelines and proposals for the reform of the Roman Curia."

Speaking about his appointment, Mgr Kovithavanij said, "I think it is a grace and gift from God through the pope. As far as my role as a bishop, I shall have to ask greater cooperation from my staff."

As bishop and cardinal, "I will continue to decide according to my conscience, not only for me personally but also for those who are in difficulty. Being a cardinal also means looking at society in a broader way."

For the prelate, "We must strive to look at reality from a national, continental and even global point of view. This way we can be a useful part of Thai society, Asian nations and the universal Church."

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