Monday, August 20, 2007
BISHOP JOHN BOSCO MANAT CHUABSAMAI - CONNECTING THE DOTS
Susanna has gathered up a wealth of information on this bishop that I will try to deliver in a coherent manner, even though there are a lot of interconnecting details. Hopefully she will chime in with a correction when I go astray.
First, he was a Bishop of Ratchaburi, Thailand.
Since much of the information is centered in Thailand, a bit of background on the thinking over there. Peter Tatchell's website describes the attitude of the culture in an article titled "Thailand: Gayness, Bar Boys and Sex Tourism - Peter Tatchell looks at the myths and realities of the country that many call a gay paradise". The article opens this way:
There are no laws against homosexuality in Thailand. The capital, Bangkok, boasts over 60 gay bars and sex establishments. It's not uncommon to see gay men walking arm in arm in the street. No-one seems to bat an eye-lid.
This, together with the abundance of beautiful Thai youths, has led many westerners to describe the country as a "gay paradise."
The reality is, alas, somewhat different and more complex. In the opinion of Noi, a 24 year old male nurse at a Bangkok hospital: "European gays are mesmerised by all the pretty boys and night-clubs. They mistakenly assume that this means there is equality for homosexuals in Thailand. In fact, the social integration of gay people is quite ambiguous, even precarious. The toleration of so many gay bars has as much to do with maintaining the profits of the tourist industry as with the social acceptance of homosexuals."
The idea that Thai society has a somewhat contradictory attitude towards homosexuality is echoed by Chuan, a gay university lecturer:
"In Thailand, the distinction between heterosexuality and homosexuality is more blurred and tenuous than in the West. Our culture is very gentle. Thai men are much less macho. A lot of them are open to homosexual experiences and these are fairly well tolerated by our society."
"Yet there's little public discussion about homosexuality or awareness of lesbian and gay issues. It's a curious mixture of tolerance, ignorance and evasion."
If you want confirmation of that cultural background, Google "Thailand" and "Homosexuality" and you'll get it. I'll provide just one example--an Amazon listing for the book THAI FOR GAY TOURISTS.
With that background in mind, next turn to the priest Martin Lucia. Reach back in your memory and recall that he was a member of the Apostolic Formation Center for Christian Renew-All as reported by the Rick A. Ross Institute until the center was shut down. Remember that homosexual acts of the inner circle was the cause of the society being disbanded. Recall that Fr. Martin Lucia turned from this organization to the promotion of Eucharistic Adoration as his next adventure.
Next turn to Athol Bloomer's bio, "My Spiritual Journey" part 3 and read about his activities in Thailand:
There I met Father Surin and Bishop Manat and we instantly clicked. Father Surin asked me to pray over the group at midnight in the small Adoration chapel and the Holy Spirit powerfully touched all the people there. The Thais were seeking spirituality but the charismatic and Marian movements had not reached them before. The Bishop asked me to speak on Eucharistic Adoration and other spiritual topics while he translated for me. This started a ministry with Father Surin and the Bishop at which I would speak and pray over people for the Holy Spirit to touch them and heal them spiritually, emotionally and physically. It was a bit of a shock to have a lay person ministering in this way in Thailand as it was very clergy centred but because I was a foreigner and I was under the authority of the Bishop and priests and ministered with them, I was accepted.
When I had left the seminary and returned to teaching I had lost contact with my best friend Patrick who had been my godfather (sponsor) when I became a Catholic and we had worked together in the street kid community and then been in the Seminary together. I didn't know that he had gone to Thailand and spent 6 months trying to get the first chapel of Perpetual Adoration started in Thailand. Just when it was about to start much to the disappointment of all, the priest decided he didn't want it. Patrick very depressed and downhearted left Thailand and I arrived about 3 weeks later to start praying for it to come to Thailand. I had always remained close to the mission of promoting Adoration and believed God told me I would see Patrick in the future in Thailand and that one day the Lord would take me to Jerusalem. I later was able to introduce Patrick and Father Martin our superior to Father Surin and the Bishop who was to become our Bishop protector in our re-formed Society called the Missionary Society of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament.
That brings me to the suspension of the Missionary Society of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament (see page 76 at the website), although there is no reason given for this suspension.
The Congregation for Clergy advises that the Missionary Society of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament has been suspended from its activities pending the results of an investigation by the Holy See. Two of the founders of this Society, established under the sponsorship of the former Bishop of Ratchaburi, Thailand, live in Houston. Some priests and laity associated with the Society live in several places in the United States.
Bishop Manat has an interesting history. Apparently his resignation was not voluntary if this angelqueen.org forum is accurate:
Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 9:37 pm Post subject:
Bishop John Basco Manat Chuabsamai --- many people ask of His Excellency. Any updates?
I asked Fr. Couture about His Excellency a couple years ago, and he said he is doing work quietly in Thailand, especially translating, after being forcibly resigned in 2003.
Another source offers a possible reason why Bishop Manat may have been forcibly resigned. Check out the report at the SSPX website:
Another Bishop returns to Catholic Tradition - A conference given by Bishop John Bosco Manat of Thailand - Given by His Excellency John Bosco Chuabsamai Manat, current Bishop of the Diocese of Ratchaburi, Thailand, at the Society of Saint Pius X’s United States District Priests’ Meeting held at Saint Thomas Aquinas Seminary, Winona, MN (February 15, 2001).
Bishop Manat gives a little background in the article:
I am a priest from before Vatican II. I studied theology and philosophy in Madras, India, for seven years. This seminary was run by the Salesian Fathers to whom the diocese had been given for more than 50 years. Then, it was divided into two dioceses, with the Salesians taking the southern portion and the northern district given to the native priests. I am the fifth bishop of this diocese formed of the southern region. Many priests in my diocese are given the name John Bosco, even though we are not Salesians, but we are disciples of the Salesian Fathers. You might say we are "half religious" because we were trained by the Salesian Fathers!
I was ordained to the priesthood on May 10, 1961. I have pastoral experience in parish, school, and seminary work. My former bishop sent me to get my Master’s degree in philosophy at Catholic University, Washington, DC (1976-77). When I returned to Thailand I taught philosophy in Lux Mundi Seminary for eight years. Lux Mundi is the only major seminary in Thailand....
In Asia we have the CCA [Christian Council of Asia]. It is an imitation of the WCC [World Council of Churches]. We have made up a new common body to organize meetings which we call AMCU, standing for for Asian Movement of Christian Unity, an office created during my tenure of the last 12 years. We used to sponsor common meetings of Christians and Protestants. In Thailand, we don’t call non-Catholics "Protestants;" we commonly refer to them as "Christians." By this organization we have frequent meetings to work together for a better understanding and for friendship. The AMCU sponsors joint prayer meetings for Christian unity (in the last week of January) at alternating Catholic and Protestant sites. It organizes group study on certain theological issues. In any case, we propose to defend the Catholic Church of the Vatican II documents.
Now, about interreligious dialogue....The bishops of Asia emphasized the importance of interreligious dialogue because Asia is the cradle of many religions of the world. We live surrounded by the pagans and sects so we cannot evangelize directly; we have to use interreligious dialogue as a means of evangelization. So when Dominus Jesu was published [cf. the September 2001 issue of Si Si No No, #42 —Ed.], protests came from many parts of the Catholic Church in Asia that the Church was going back, that it was unacceptable, that interreligious dialogue had to continue, that we had to hold hands with other religions for our survival....
As far as I have seen, the ecumenical inter-religious dialogue is good only to make friends with people of other religions. It is good for peaceful coexistence, but has little or no effect on conversion. In fact, because they have been told to respect freedom of conscience, priests and religious are less active in making converts....
I was sent to Catholic University for my philosophy study. I was flowing in the mainstream of Vatican II, smoothly and happily, until one day in May 1993. It was the turning point of my life.
When I was in Manila a friend encouraged me to go to Agoo, a part of the La Union Diocese [formerly of Bishop Salvador Lazo (1916-2000)]. Great numbers of people were going there to see an apparition of our Lady and a statue of the Madonna which reportedly wept tears of blood. In November of that year I had a chance to visit there and speak with the seer who told me that Bishop Lazo, the former bishop then retired in Manila, was in favor of this apparition and that I should meet with him.
So I went to see Bishop Lazo and talked with him about the weeping Madonna. He told me as much as he knew about it from his own experience. I invited him to visit my diocese in Thailand and our relationship became more close. Later, when my duties took me to Manila, I used to go to visit Bishop Lazo... half an hour… one hour... The first time I went there he said, "Bishop, these are books for you to read." So I took the books and began to read, little by little. Another time I went and saw him he said: "Bishop, you must say the Tridentine Mass at least once or twice a month for your diocese. It is full of grace for your diocese." I listened to him but I didn’t put it into practice because I thought, "Where can I find an old Missal?!" No more! "Without an old Missal I cannot say the Tridentine Mass!" When I went back to Manila another time, I visited him again. He said, "Bishop Manat, I just read this book and I cannot bear it to see the prelates of the Church, the Pope, Ratzinger. They are modernists." I did not believe it. I just listened and kept it in my heart. He told me that I had to visit the priory of the Society of Saint Pius X nearby. I nodded my head. "OK, it is interesting," I thought. Who would introduce me to them? Moreover, hadn’t I heard that this Society of Archbishop Lefebvre... He was a schismatic, wasn’t he? How could I go to them? I felt I had to keep away from this Society. But, I didn’t refuse Bishop Lazo. The last time I went to visit him before his hospitalization, he said, "Go to the priory." I said, "Next time."...
I have not yet told any bishop that I came to learn things from the Society of Saint Pius X. They would be shocked! I think there are some good bishops, but since they have not had the chance to read the good books I have read, they have no chance to see reality. They have not seen what I have seen during these three weeks in your country, so they are in darkness. I can pass on what I have learned, but will they form the same convictions as I did? I don’t know... You can give books to anyone, but will they put them down somewhere and never read them? You have to pray that God may catch someone like He caught me. If you are not open to God’s grace, there is no chance.
Bishop Manat presided at the funeral of Bishop Lazo.
The acceptance of the resignation of Bishop Manat is reported here.
Vatican City (Fides Service) – The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II has (24 July 2003) accepted the renunciation of the pastoral government of the diocese of Ratchaburi (Thailand), presented by Bishop John Bosco Manat Chuabsamai, in conformity with the Code of Canon Law, code 401 § 2 (S.L.) (Fides Service 24/7/2003; lines 4; words 49)
The Wikipedia entry for Bishop Manat indicates he was born October 31, 1935. That means that in 2003 when he resigned he was 68 years old.
In the Code of Canon Law, 401 reads as follows:
Can. 401 §1 A diocesan Bishop who has completed his seventy-fifth year of age is requested to offer his resignation from office to the Supreme Pontiff, who, taking all the circumstances into account, will make provision accordingly.
§2 A diocesan Bishop who, because of illness or some other grave reason, has become unsuited for the fulfilment of his office, is earnestly requested to offer his resignation from office.
It looks as though he was forcibly retired.
To be continued...