Milingo Accuses Catholics of Illicit Sex, Homosexuality

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The Post (Lusaka)

August 8, 2001
Posted to the web August 8, 2001

Brighton Phiri

The Catholic Church has become scandalised by immorality, former Catholic Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo has charged.

Reacting to the Vatican's ultimatum last week, Milingo said celibacy which was a vital part of the Church's spiritual purity and power had become a facade. "Secret affairs and marriages, illegitimate children, rampant homosexuality, pedophilia and illicit sex have riddled the priesthood to the extent that the UN Commission on Human Rights has investigated the church for sexual abuse, and the western media is filled with stories of lawsuits and scandals surrounding the Church," Milingo said.

"From such hypocrisy, how can priests be the sanctifiers of the community?" Milingo said the Church was powerless to overcome the onslaught of divorce, adultery, and sexually transmitted diseases that plague society. "In my own native Zambia, the death rate is more than 4 times the birth rate due to AIDS," he said. Milingo said he married not out of mere personal satisfaction, weakness, temptation, secret and shame, but with God's blessing.

"How can I now leave my wife, whom God gave to me, with whom I have now begun conjugal life, and to whom I have pledged fidelity before Him?" he asked. Milingo said it was time for the Church to take the same step. Milingo said he was the happiest and most blessed of men before God. "My story is simple.

As a boy tending cattle in my native Africa, God called me to his service, and drew me to the bosom of my Mother, the Catholic Church. I served her with sincerity, and sought to love God by loving people. In 1974, God gave me a gift, and commissioned me as the Lord had commissioned His disciples: to heal the sick, cast out devils, and preach the Gospel [Luke 9:2]. I offered my gift to my Church and her flock," Milingo said. "Many people eagerly responded, receiving this spiritual gift from God. But my Church rejected it, and tried her best to bind and restrict me." Milingo complained that when Africans expressed their love for Jesus through their own cultural forms, just as Europeans had long done through theirs, the Church leaders grew to mistrust them.

"They called me a 'witch doctor' and branded the people's response as 'voodoo'. I was scandalised with false charges and wild rumours, and though each was disproved one-by-one, I was exiled to Rome," Milingo said. "They feared I would only be trouble in Africa." And the BBC reports that Milingo,who had been threatened with excommunication for marrying a Korean woman at a "Moonie" mass wedding, has been received by Pope John Paul. The meeting at the Pope's summer residence at Castelgandolfo, near Rome, took place in strict secrecy.

Afterwards, the Vatican put out a cautious statement to the effect that a dialogue had begun with the Archbishop which might hopefully lead to positive developments. A spokesman for Milingo said he had sought the papal audience to explain his belief that priests should be allowed to marry and have families.

"He has begun conjugal life," Reverend Phillip Schanker said in a telephone interview with Associated Press from Washington D.C. "He has come to understand that all the blessings of God were meant to be given through the family."

Milingo's recent marriage to a South Korean acupuncturist at a mass wedding in New York was arranged by the Moonies, an American religious sect run by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon.

News of the wedding ceremony upset the Vatican, which has given the archbishop until 20 August to renounce his marriage, publicly promise to remain celibate, leave the Moonies and re-affirm his allegiance to the Pope. Otherwise Milingo will be formally excommunicated. Milingo, who is 71 years old, has been at the centre of controversy for nearly 20 years.

Copyright 2001 The Post. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

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