Pope Francis says that the spiritual and corporal works of mercy are not a simple devotion. Rather, they are the subject matter on which we will be tested on judgement day, and catechists must renew their efforts to teach the faithful what they are.
The Pope said this today when he addressed participants in the plenary session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
He recounted that some time ago, in Paul VI Hall, he had an audience with members of an “important movement.”
“And I touched on the subject of the works of mercy,” Francis said. “I paused and I asked the question: ‘Which one of you remembers well what are the spiritual and corporal works of mercy? Whoever remembers them, raise his hand.’ There were no more than 20 in a Hall of 7,000. We must teach this to the faithful again, which is so important.”
“When in the evening of life, we are asked if we fed the hungry and gave drink to the thirsty, we will also be asked if we helped persons come out of doubt, if we were committed to receive sinners, admonishing and correcting them, if we were capable of combatting ignorance, especially that concerning the Christian faith and the good life,” the Pontiff reflected. “This attention to the works of mercy is important: they are not a devotion. It is the concreteness of how Christians must carry forward the spirit of mercy.”
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text of his address, which included a reflection on collegiality and the complementarity between hierarchical and charismatic gifts: http://zenit.org/articles/popes-address-to-congregation-for-doctrine-of-the-faith/
List and explanation of the works of mercy provided by the US bishops: