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Michael Michai Kitbunchu

His Eminence
  • Michael Michai Kitbunchu
  • ไมเกิ้ล มีชัย กิจบุญชู
Cardinal, Archbishop Emeritus of Bangkok
See Bangkok
Appointed 18 December 1972
Installed 3 June 1973
Term ended 14 May 2009
Predecessor Joseph Khiamsun Nittayo
Successor Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij
Other posts Cardinal-Priest of San Lorenzo in Panisperna
Ordination 20 December 1959
by Grégoire-Pierre Agagianian
Consecration 3 June 1973
by Joseph Khiamsun Nittayo
Created Cardinal 2 February 1983
by Pope John Paul II
Rank Cardinal-Priest
Personal details
Born (1929-01-25) 25 January 1929
Samphran, Nakhon Pathom Province, Thailand
Denomination Roman Catholic
  • Joseph-Yuhong Kitbunchu
  • Maria-Klueab Kitbunchu
Motto per crucem ad lucem
Coat of arms }

Michael Michai Kitbunchu (Thai: ไมเกิ้ล มีชัย กิจบุญชู; born 25 January 1929) is a Thai Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Bangkok from 1973 to 2009, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1983.

Early life and ministry

Michael Kitbunchu was born in Samphran, a district of the Nakhon Pathom Province, and studied at the minor seminary of Siracha.[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.[3]

Upon his return to Thailand, Kitbunchu served as assistant pastor and then pastor in Bangham, 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.[1]

Episcopal career

On 18 December 1972, Kitbunchu was appointed the second Archbishop of Bangkok by Pope Paul VI.[3] 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.[3] He served as President of the Thai Episcopal Conference from 1979 to 1982, and again from 2000 to 2006.[1][2]

Pope John Paul II created him Cardinal-Priest of S. Lorenzo in Panisperna in the consistory of 2 February 1983; he is the first cardinal from Thailand.[1] Kitbunchu was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI.[3] He refused funeral Masses for drug traffickers, saying that such people "destroy society" and engage in "acts of indirect murder."[4] 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."[5]

During the [6]

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 native Thai, he can also speak Latin, English, Italian, French, and Chinese.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d Miranda, Salvador. "KITBUNCHU, Michael Michai". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. 
  2. ^ a b c d "KITBUNCHU Card. Michael Michai".  
  3. ^ a b c d "Michael Michai Cardinal Kitbunchu". 
  4. ^ "Thai Cardinal refusing funeral mass for drug traffickers". Cardinal Rating. 17 April 2005. 
  5. ^ "Michai Kitbunchu, first cardinal from Thailand". 14 April 2005. 
  6. ^ a b "Thai religious leaders call for unity in time of political chaos". Cardinal Rating. 17 May 2006. 
Preceded by
Joseph Khiamsun Nittayo
Archbishop of Bangkok
Succeeded by
Kriengsak Kovitvanit
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