12/11/2015, 00.00
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Bangkok cardinal calls for the rediscovery of confession and spiritual works of mercy in the Jubilee Year

by Weena Kowitwanij
In a pastoral letter sent to Thai Catholics, Card Kovithavanij stresses Pope Francis’ "special gift," which is the possibility for each diocese to open their own Holy Door. He calls on the faithful to return to the sacrament of reconciliation and undertake works of mercy. "We are all aware of the importance of material works;” yet, spiritual works “are the ones we need the most”.

Bangkok (AsiaNews) – The Jubilee Year inaugurated by Pope Francis should be “a call to all the faithful to return to confession, which is necessary for the indulgence, and to practice works of mercy. We are all aware of the importance of material works, but we understand less spiritual works. Yet, the latter are the ones we need the most,” says Card Kriengsak Kovithavanij, archbishop of Bangkok, in a pastoral letter sent to Catholics in the Thai capital for the Holy Year.

Like any other diocese in the world, Bangkok will open its Holy Door on 13 December. "It is a special gift from the pope,” the cardinal writes. “Following Catholic tradition, seven cathedrals in the world have a Holy Door: four papal basilicas in Rome; the sanctuary of Saint John Vianney, patron saint of priests; Santiago de Compostela (Spain); and Quebec City, in Canada.”

“The chance to go through the door in every diocese is special and defines this Holy Year." To obtain the indulgence, the prelate notes, "it is necessary to approach the sacrament of reconciliation.” Hence, “On behalf of the Thai Bishops' Conference and my brother bishops, I urge all Catholics to go to confession at least once during this Jubilee. Similarly, I wholeheartedly call on you to carry out works of mercy to which this year is dedicated."

“All of us are well aware of the importance of these works,” Card Kovithavanij writes. They include “feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, consoling the prisoners . . . Christ asked us to recognise his body in all those who suffer.”

“Although we may not easily understand this, even spiritual works of mercy are fundamental for us. Bringing Jesus to those who do not know him, teaching the ignorant, and counselling the doubtful are important deeds. We have to practice these indications in our life as true disciples of the Lord."

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See also
Pope: At the Holy Door, Jesus says "Arise!". "With my heart healed I do works of mercy"
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