Maria Sung vows to proceed with hunger strike at Vatican
August 13, 2001; Monday 8:30 AM Eastern Time

ROME (AP) - Saying her husband was not the "private property" of the Roman Catholic Church, the wife of an archbishop whose marriage scandalized the Vatican vowed Monday to go ahead with a hunger strike unless she hears from him.

Maria Sung said she will begin the hunger strike at the Vatican on Tuesday, respecting an ultimatum she set at a news conference on Saturday.

"Since we got married and we are husband and wife and against our will we were separated, until we are united again together, I will fast," Sung told The Associated Press through a translator.

Saying she has complete faith in her husband's character and faithfulness to her, Sung rebuked the Vatican for keeping him away from her.

"Before being a Catholic, he is a human being," Sung said. "He is not private property of the Catholic Church. I don't want to fight with the Catholic Church, all I want is to find my husband."

The Vatican has not disclosed his whereabouts, saying only that he is on a spirtual retreat and that he should be left alone to pray.

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

Sung said she hasn't seen her husband since last Monday and hasn't heard from him since Wednesday. On Saturday, she suggested that the church was holding her husband against his will.