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||Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo
and new bride Maria
Prelate who strayed finds a way to the Pope’s
ONE of the Catholic church’s most prodigal sons found his
way home to the doorstep of the Vatican yesterday.
Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo scandalised the Catholic world
in May when he defected to the sect of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon
and married a Korean acupuncturist in a mass wedding.
arrived unexpectedly at the papal summer residence at
Castelgandolfo, southeast of Rome on Monday to demand - and a day
later receive - a personal audience with the Pope.
meeting was the start of dialogue that one hopes can lead to
positive developments," the Vatican said yesterday.
wearing a dark suit and open-necked shirt, made no comment when he
left the papal villa but tapped his fingers on his lips in silence.
Until the last minute, it was unclear if the former archbishop of
Lusaka, Zambia would be admitted.
Exactly what welcome
greeted the 71-year-old prelate is also something of a mystery.
Milingo may have wanted to make amends to a Pope who backed his
unorthodox prelate despite in the past despite charges of
unauthorised faith-healing and exorcism.
But the meeting
came just two weeks before an August 20 deadline by which Milingo,
to avoid excommunication, has been told in no uncertain terms he
must publicly return to the Catholic fold.
Last month, the
Vatican spelled out how he must comply with conditions laid down by
the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
He was told
to "(a) Leave (wife) Maria Sung; (b) Sever all links with the sect
Family Federation for World Peace and Unification; (c) Declare
publicly his fidelity to the doctrine and ecclesiastical discipline
of celibacy and manifest his obedience to the Supreme Pontiff by a
clear and unequivocal act."
Yesterday, however, a spokesman
for Moon’s sect said the archbishop had consummated his marriage and
intended to start a family.
"He has begun conjugal life,"
said the Rev. Phillip Schanker.
Milingo had sought the papal
audience to explain his reasons for marrying and his belief that
priests should be allowed to have families, Mr Schanker said.
Excommunication is a total severance from the Church. In modern
times it has been rare, particularly for high-ranking prelates.
But last May’s wedding service in New York could not be
overlooked. One of 60 performed during the day, it was personally
conducted by Moon, who chose Milingo’s bride.
worked in Italy since 1983. But in defiance of diocesan bishops, he
presided at colourful masses and meetings at which he carried out
Last September he was quietly stripped
of his job in a Vatican department.
In November, the Vatican
issued strict new rules on exorcism and faith healing. Milingo was
not mentioned by name, but many of the rules seemed to have been
drafted expressly with him in mind.
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