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Married archbishop visits pope's residence; requests meeting

Source: AAP|Published: Tuesday August 7, 9:11 AM

ROME, Aug 6 AP - An archbishop threatened with excommunication for having gotten married went to the pope's summer retreat this evening requesting a meeting, news reports said.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo met with Pope John Paul II or any other Vatican official, but the ANSA news agency said Milingo spent 30 minutes at Castel Gandolfo, where the pontiff has been staying.

Milingo had requested an audience with the pope to discuss his reasons for getting married in one of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's mass weddings. He has also asked to be released from his vow of celibacy to consummate the marriage.

The Vatican has given Milingo until August 20 to leave his new wife, sever his ties with Moon's movement, publicly promise to remain celibate and “manifest his obedience to the Supreme Pontiff.”

If he doesn't, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith - the Vatican's watchdog for orthodoxy - has said he will be excommunicated.

The 71-year-old archbishop was married May 27 in a group ceremony at a New York hotel. His bride, 43-year-old Maria Sung, was selected by Moon, as is customary in Moon's movement, the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.

Milingo, who has said he doesn't want to leave the church, has long been at odds with the Catholic hierarchy.

He was archbishop of Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, when he ran afoul of the Vatican over his faith healing and exorcisms. He resigned under pressure in 1983, a rare occurrence with an archbishop below normal retirement age and in good health.

Milingo then was brought to Rome as a functionary in the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, but continued public healing and exorcism. Last year, he was quietly retired from the post.


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