By Joseph Kung Za Hmung
Yangon, (GNJ): Bishop Francis Daw Tang who was emeritus bishop of Myitkyina Diocese in the northern part of Myanmar, feels he does not get a fair trail from Pope Francis. The Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Myanmar announced in November 18th 2020 that Pope Francis accepted the request of Bishop Francis Daw Tang to retire from his office for his health reason. But priests and laypeople from his diocese said he is healthy and he was forced to retire for being reported to the Pope on land purchase and sale issues by his internal wicked priests who want to be bishops.
I sent my questions’ email to His Excellency asking if he truly feels Vatican does not give him a fair trial. However Bishop Francis Daw Tang replied me only he thanked for my email without answering any question of my email.
According to Sr. Maria Roi, Bishop Francis Daw Tang bought about (8000) acres of lands (Vacant / Fallow / Virgin land (rice land), ya (dry land), kaing (alluvial land) and garden) in his diocesan territory to prevent total land occupation of Chinese businessmen and local big companies so that the local people can do farming his diocesan lands for their self-employment and self-income. The nun confirmed that many people of war internal displaced people were resettled in some lands which his Excellency had bought for the Church. She said she thinks Bishop Francis may not properly discuss his plans and ideas with his priests before applying lands to government and to Kachin Independent Army (KIA) which is Kachin Ethnic Armed Group, before buying and selling lands. She concluded that due to lack of consultation and enough information given to his priests, they might have reported his land business to Pope Francis as personal interest and Church financial abuses.
His closest person told me that Bishop Francis feels, even if a drug carrier or seller gets a trial in court with his lawyer, why he was not given any opportunity to defend his accused case by Vatican Ambassador to Myanmar and by Pope Francis.
Bishop Emeritus Francis Daw Tang raised this unfair decision of Pope Francis to Cardinal Charles Bo who is now Apostolic Administrator of Myitkyina diocese, during a public meeting in February 2021 in which Cardinal Charles Bo, Bishop’s Counselors and Church elders of laity were present. This meeting was done in February 2021. And he continued to reply me that Cardinal Charles Bo did not reply anything on his question just giving a smile to him.
Mr. Joseph Myat Soe Lat told me that he learnt Vatican sent Cardinal Charles Bo to visit Myitkyina in September 2020 to investigate the accused case, reported by some priests to Vatican. The trip was done too. However, he viewed as Bishop Francis felt unjust trail, the investigation one-sided and the investigator and Vatican did not give an opportunity to Bishop Francis Daw Tang to defend his accused case.
Bishop Francis told the attendants that as a Bishop, I had bought thousands of acres of lands for my diocese and some of lands were registered in my name to make sure that no one can secretly sell lands to others. However, he added that he was reported to Holy Father by his opposite priests to whom the Holy See listened to them and he was not given a chance to explain my action on the accused case to the See.
A local reliable person said that Cardinal Charles Bo who is Archbishop of Yangon and is also Apostolic Administrator of Myitkyina diocese, set up a land committee which investigated the accused case (land ownership and land money of Bishop Francis Daw Tang) and the committee founded that Bishop Francis Daw Tang proved all evidence of lands and land money which are properly recorded in the diocese without any misuse.
A nun from a local parish said Bishop Francis is goodhearted bishop who loves the Church, but he is quite poor in diocesan management that his inner priests (vicar general, chancellor, counselors, procurators) who want to be a bishop, toppled him down from his throne.
A layman said that bishop Francis is a humble and obedient bishop but such humility and obedience made him blind and he did not see his inner priests be transferred. He added that the actual age of the Excellency is 72 years old but his registered age is 73 years old.
A local Catechist said that the Church is funny inside priests’ jealousy and we expect a better and a transparent bishop in our diocese under the leadership of Cardinal Charles Bo.
A nun who asked me not to mention her name said that while Bishop Daw Tang is humble and a man of prayer, he is quite weak in pastoral programs for development of his diocese and of his Catholics. She added to say that as a bishop, lands are less important than pastoral development of his diocese but so far she knew that the accused land ownership is actually for the diocese of Myitkyina and for his people.
When Cardinal Charles Bo becomes the Apostolic Administrator of Myitkyina diocese, he reconfirmed the posts of priests who had made Bishop Francis Daw Tang fell down from his throne till April 2021. But in May 2021, he finally transferred and changed the positions and priests with new priests in the diocesan curia of Myitkyina. He already replaced chancellor and procurator with new priests.
While digging reason of being forced to retirement from his Episcopal ministry, Bishop Emeritus Francis Daw Tang knowing Vatican is moving to a long distance from him, lives in obedience and serving the Lord as much as he could. Justice is preached but not practiced to many Catholic Bishops in the Catholic Church. Therefore many bishops, priests, religious, nuns and laypeople who tirelessly served the Church, the people and God until they die, finally felt marginalized and forsaken by the Church Officials.
The Chief-Editor of Gloria News Journal, which is the first private Catholic journal, chose Bishop Francis Daw Tang as Person of the Year 2016 for his project on rehabilitation center of Drug Addicted Youth in Myitkyina city.
After administering Myitkyina diocese for (7) months, Cardinal Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon and Apostolic Administrator of Myitkyina diocese, has been starting election process of collecting suitable (3) candidates from his priests among them to be a bishop for Myitkyina diocese.
Regarding with the accused case, I sent an email to His Excellency Bishop Daw Tang to confirm or reject what he is being accused of. However he did not reply me my questions to confirm if he is corrupted. While Bishop Emeritus Francis Daw Tang is a a zero for corrupted priests of Myitkyina diocese and Vatican, he will be however remembered as a hero for thousands of Kachin people.
Bishop Francis Daw Tang was born on Dec. 19, 1949, in Bum Dum village, Panghkak parish. He was ordained a deacon on Dec. 4, 1979, in St. Joseph Catholic Major Seminary, Yangon. He was ordained a priest on March 25, 1979, at Pangkak parish, by Bishop Paul Zinghtung Grawng. He then served in Nanghling parish for 14 years. From 1993 to 2002, he was Phakant parish priest. On April 11, 2002, he received Episcopal Consecration and served as Auxiliary Bishop of Myitkyina. He was appointed Apostolic Administrator of Myitkyina diocese indefinitely on June 11, 2003. On Dec. 3, 2004, Pope John Paul II appointed him the Bishop of Myitkyina diocese.
Joseph Kung Za Hmung, who is the publisher and Chief-Editor of Gloria News Journal, tirelessly investigated this accused case for 5 months, interviewing some priests, nuns and laypeople in Myitkyina diocese since December 2020.