H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Francis Xavier Kriengsak KOVITHAVANIJ, Archbishop of Bangkok (THAILAND)
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand is of the opinion that it is necessary that all the Bishops, priests, men and women religious and the laity be concretely revived in faith and Christian life aiming at “Discipleship and sharing the Good News” with regards to the teaching of the Church, liturgy, life of prayers and continuous formation, using the means of “BEC” (Basic Ecclesial Communities) through coordination of the various Catholic entities and the CBCT commissions especially the Episcopal Commission for Pastoral Care of the Christians. The parochial community will enable the BEC to be the sign of active life of a parish which will be a new community, “communion of communities”, based on the culture of love and will become a good approach for the pastoral care and evangelization “Ad gentes”.- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Dominique REY, Bishop of Fréjus-Toulon (FRANCE)
The Catholic Church in Thailand is amid our brothers and sisters of other faiths. The Church is essentially the sign and instrument of announcing the Kingdom of God and all the disciples of Christ are called to announce and share the Good News to both those who have not yet heard and those who are not yet in the same sheepfold. The appropriate way to bring about mutual understanding in society is through the “Interreligious Dialogue” which is the way suitable for our new evangelization.
In the context of multiple cultures in Asia the dialogue with respect will widen the venue of mutual listening to the religious experiences and mutual collaboration. The Catholic faithful through the Basic Ecclesial Community, therefore, filled with faith, love and hope will be able to enter into the dialogue not only, with our Christian brothers and sisters of various denominations, but also with the Buddhists, the majority of the population in Thailand, to cooperate and together create true unity and peace in Thai society. And with the Risen Lord in the midst of “two or three, united in His name”, we Catholic faithful in Thailand, can share God's love to everyone.
Evangelization’s finality is the conversion of men, in other words, embracing the novelty of Christ (cf. Instrumentum laboris, no. 24). This conversion begins within the Church through the pastoral changes to be carried out. For the countries of ancient Christianity this means going from a traditional Christianity to a Christianity of personal adhesion to Jesus Christ and missionary involvement.What I thought was worth reflecting on was the very different situations of the Church in Thailand and in France, and the way in which these very different situations colours these two contributions.
This pastoral conversion concerns all the baptized and all the actors of ecclesial life, but especially the pastors: bishops and priests. For the new evangelization to not be merely a slogan or a catalogue of actions to be taken, to not be asphyxiated by immobility, bureaucracy or clericalism, the pastors must be better prepared in the practice of the pastoral governing.
1. This conversion of the pastors first points out a task of personal sanctification.
2. This conversion must be followed by a deeper re-reading of the Council texts and the Magisterium of the Church, to be able to penetrate an ecclesial and theological intelligence of missionary renewal, of which he is the minister.
3. This conversion also calls for an apprenticeship on the new way of practicing pastoral responsibility: to place the direct proclamation of faith at the head of the ordinary pastoral, to promote a catechesis of initiation of the catechumenal type for beginners and those starting again and proper apologetic paths, to develop an ecclesiology of communion that allows the complementarity of the states of life and embraces the charisms, to favor the creation of places of welcome and of dialogue open to spiritual expectations, to incite the witness of charity in Christians.
4. Finally, the new evangelization calls for “a new style of pastoral life” (Pastores dabo vobis, no. 18) for priests and for bishops.