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The Boston Globe OnlineBoston.com
Boston Globe Online / Nation | World
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Wife of archbishop begs to see husband

By Associated Press,, 8/12/2001

VATICAN CITY - The wife of an archbishop whose marriage scandalized the Vatican pleaded tearfully yesterday to be allowed to see her husband and threatened to go on a hunger strike if church officials denied her request.

Maria Sung suggested that the church was holding her husband, Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, against his will after he met with the pope and Vatican officials in an effort to open a dialogue and avert his excommunication.

''I am afraid that my husband is not free to speak with me,'' Sung said at a hotel in Rome.

Milingo, a Zambian, and his wife traveled to Italy last week, and Milingo met with the pope Tuesday to discuss his reasons for getting married in a mass wedding held by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's church. Milingo has said that priests need not be celibate and that God's blessings were meant to be given through the family.

The Vatican had threatened to excommunicate Milingo if he didn't leave his wife by Aug. 20, sever his ties with Moon's movement, publicly promise to remain celibate, and ''manifest his obedience to the Supreme Pontiff.''

After the Tuesday meeting, the Vatican suspended that threat while talks continued.

In a statement yesterday, the watchdogs of Catholic orthodoxy, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, said Milingo had decided to reconcile after meeting with the pope.

The statement did not say whether Milingo had agreed to end the marriage.

Milingo has said he doesn't want to leave the church, and after his meeting with the pope said he was going to take time to reflect and pray. But he said he would have to consult his wife before deciding what to do next.

This story ran on page A8 of the Boston Globe on 8/12/2001.
Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company.

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