Michael Michai Kitbunchu
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Michael Michai Kitbunchu

  • Michael Michai Kitbunchu
  • ?
Cardinal, Archbishop Emeritus of Bangkok
Michael Michai Kitbunchu.jpg
Cardinal Kitbunchu with Princess Galyani Vadhana and S.P. Somtow at Bangkok Opera
Appointed18 December 1972
Installed3 June 1973
Term ended14 May 2009
PredecessorJoseph Khiamsun Nittayo
SuccessorFrancis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij
Other post(s)Cardinal-Priest of San Lorenzo in Panisperna
Ordination20 December 1959
by Gregorio Pietro Agagianian
Consecration3 June 1973
by Joseph Khiamsun Nittayo
Created cardinal2 February 1983
by Pope John Paul II
Personal details
Born (1929-01-25) 25 January 1929 (age 92)
Sam Phran, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
DenominationRoman Catholic
  • Joseph Yuhong Kitbunchu (deceased)
  • Maria Klueab Kitbunchu (deceased)
Mottoper crucem ad lucem
Coat of armsMichael Michai Kitbunchu ?   's coat of arms

Michael Michai Kitbunchu (Thai: ? , pronounced [m?j.kl m?:.t?j kìt.b?n.t?:, m?j.k-, m?j.kn-]; born 25 January 1929) is a Thai prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Bangkok from 1973 to 2009 and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1983. He has been the Protopriest of the College of Cardinals since 14 December 2016.

Early life and ministry

Kitbunchu was born in Sam Phran, a district of the Nakhon Pathom Province, to a family of Chinese descent and studied at the minor seminary of Si Racha.[1] He then furthered his studies at the Pontifical Urbanian Athenaeum De Propaganda Fide in Rome, from where he obtained a licentiate in both philosophy and theology.[2] While in Rome, he was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Grégoire-Pierre Agagianian on 20 December 1959.

He returned to Thailand and served as assistant pastor and then pastor in Bang Kham, and later became pastor of Calvary Parish in Bangkok.[2] He was also an archdiocesan consultor and served as rector of the metropolitan seminary of Bangkok from 1965 to 1972.

Episcopal career

On 18 December 1972, Pope Paul VI appointed Kitbunchu the second Archbishop of Bangkok. He received his episcopal consecration on 3 June 1973 from Archbishop Joseph Khiamsun Nittayo, with Bishops Lawrence Thienchai Samanchit and Michel-Auguste-Marie Langer, MEP, serving as co-consecrators. He served as President of the Thai Episcopal Conference from 1979 to 1982, and again from 2000 to 2006.[2]

Pope John Paul II created him Cardinal-Priest of San Lorenzo in Panisperna in the consistory of 2 February 1983; he was the first cardinal from Thailand. Kitbunchu was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI. He denied funeral Masses to drug traffickers, saying that such people "destroy society" and engage in "acts of indirect murder."[3] He once expressed his opposition to abortion by saying, "Abortion is a great crime, because the one who should protect the child in her womb becomes the one who destroys the child."[4]

During the 2006 political crisis in his Thailand, Kitbunchu called for unity, saying, "All Thai people are patriotic and want the country to progress and develop on all fields, but now the political crisis has disturbed and worried the people." He also asked Thais to "correct what is wrong and forgive each other."[5]

Kitbunchu resigned from his position as Archbishop of Bangkok on 14 May 2009. At the time of his retirement, he was the oldest active head of an archdiocese in the Latin Rite. In addition to his national Thai language, he can also speak Latin, English, Italian, French and Chinese (Standard Mandarin as well as his mother tongue of Teochew).[2]


  1. ^ "Bangkok's Chinese-Thai Catholics want Chinese Mass". Spero News. 5 May 2006.
  2. ^ a b c d "KITBUNCHU Card. Michael Michai". Holy See.
  3. ^ "Cardinal Tells Priests to Deny Funerals to Drug Traffickers". UCA News. 9 May 2003.
  4. ^ "Michai Kitbunchu, first cardinal from Thailand". Asia News. 14 April 2005.
  5. ^ "Five Religious Leaders Call For Unity In Time Of Political Chaos". UCA News. 24 March 2006.

External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Joseph Khiamsun Nittayo
Archbishop of Bangkok
18 December 1972 - 14 May 2009
Succeeded by
Kriengsak Kovitvanit
Preceded by
Antonio Caggiano
Cardinal-Priest of San Lorenzo in Panisperna
2 February 1983 -
Preceded by
Paulo Evaristo Arns
Cardinal Protopriest
14 December 2016 -

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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