This story is from our network Source: AP

Pope meets with married archbishop

POPE John Paul II met with an archbishop who was married in one of the Rev Sun Myung Moon's mass weddings and broke his vow of celibacy.

The Vatican said it was the start of a dialogue, but its threat to excommunicate the archbishop remains.

The Rev Emmanuel Milingo had his audience with the pope at the pontiff's summer retreat at Castel Gandolfo, in the hills outside Rome today.

A Vatican statement said it hoped the meeting could "lead to positive developments".

But the Vatican has already threatened to kick Milingo out of the church if he doesn't leave his wife by Aug 20, sever ties with Moon's movement and remain celibate.

Milingo has said he has no plans to do so, and today, a spokesman said he had consummated his marriage and intended to start a family with his new wife.

"He has begun conjugal life," said the Rev Phillip Schanker, who is also a spokesman for Moon's Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.

Milingo had sought the papal audience to explain his reasons for marrying and his belief that priests should be allowed to have families.

He has said that celibacy has fulfilled its purpose but is now poisoning the priesthood.

"He has come to understand that all the blessings of God were meant to be given through the family," Schanker said.

Schanker said the meeting was arranged through private channels because Milingo's official requests for an audience with the pope had been met with silence from the Vatican.

Milingo went to Castel Gandolfo at first yesterday evening, met with Vatican officials, and returned today morning for his audience. He made no comment to reporters after the meeting.

The 71-year-old archbishop was married May 27 in a group ceremony at a New York hotel in one of Moon's mass weddings. His bride, 43-year-old Maria Sung, was selected by Moon, as is customary in Moon's movement.

After the wedding, Milingo asked to be released from his vow of celibacy. But Schanker - and Milingo's own official website - said Milingo consummated the marriage before hearing back from the Vatican.

Milingo's wife travelled with him to Rome, but was not present in his meeting with the pope, Schanker said.

Milingo has said he doesn't want to leave the church that he loves, although he has said it needs to be reformed.

He 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 very 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 that post.

Clone doctor compared to Hitler
Envoys fight for Taliban captives
Tea fraudster backs new Fiji party
Political sniping erodes peace hopes
1335 years' jail for porn
Bush's daughters live it up in LA
US fumes as Dubya goes bush
Reformist president for Iran
Hunt for Tommy Suharto steps up
Storm death toll hits 101
11 dead, three kidnapped in Aceh
Children hacked to death in tribal payback
Kidman, Cruise arrive separately for film
Clinton offered Oxford professorship
Anthrax bombers threaten Prince: report
Study reveals loss of night sky
Madonna 'eyes $24m new home'
Tourist gives birth on bus
Scientists announce human cloning attempt
Man married 203 times

We welcome your comments on our stories. If this issue arouses interest, we will publish our readers' views.
Fill in the form below and click on the submit button.

Your Name:

Your comment:

privacy policy            2001 Advertiser Newspapers Ltd

Archive Search:
Newstext is our online newspaper library – with more than 150 papers archived. You need to register to search.
Pick a pic from our extensive archives at Newsphotos.
CareerOne, Australia's best jobs database.

Job type:



Advanced Search
Find a home anywhere.

Suburb or postcode: