His Eminence 
Michael Michai Kitbunchu
Cardinal Archbishop Emeritus of Bangkok
Cardinal Kitbunchu with Princess Galyani Vadhana and S.P. Somtow at Bangkok Opera
See Bangkok
Enthroned 3 June 1973
Reign ended 14 May 2009
Predecessor Joseph Khiamsun Nittayo
Successor Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij
Ordination 20 December, 1959
Consecration 3 June 1973
Created Cardinal 2 February 1983
Personal details
Born 25 January 1929
Samphran, Thailand

Michael Michai Cardinal 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 December 20, 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 December 18, 1972, Kitbunchu was appointed the second Archbishop of Bangkok by Pope Paul VI.[3] He received his episcopal consecration on June 3, 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 2006 political crisis in his country, 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."[6] He also asked Thais to "correct what is wrong and forgive each other."[6]

Kitbunchu resigned from his position as Archbishop of Bangkok on May 14, 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]


Preceded by
Joseph Khiamsun Nittayo
Archbishop of Bangkok
Succeeded by
Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij
la:Michael Michai Kitbunchu

ja:マイケル・ミーチャイ・キットブンチュー no:Michael Michai Kitbunchuru:Китбунчу, Михаил Мичаи fi:Michael Michai Kitbunchu sv:Michael Michai Kitbunchu th:ไมเกิ้ล มีชัย กิจบุญชู