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MARIA Sung ... appeal to Vatican to let her see her husband. Picture: AP.
Bishop's wife makes hunger strike threat

13aug01
THE wife of a Zambian archbishop who scandalised the Vatican by getting married has appealed to church officials to let her see her husband and threatened to go on a hunger strike if they didn't.

In the latest twist to a case that has rocked the Vatican, Maria Sung suggested her husband, Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, was being held against his will by the church and vowed to risk her life to find him.

"I am afraid that my husband is not free to speak with me," a tearful Ms Sung told a press conference at a Rome hotel yesterday, reading from a prepared statement in Italian. "I am asking the church, that my husband loves, to tell me where he is."

Archbishop Milingo and his wife, who were married in one of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's mass weddings on May 27, travelled to Italy last week.

Archbishop Milingo had sought an audience with the Pope to explain his reasons for getting married. He has said priests need not be celibate and that God's blessings were meant to be given through the family.

Pope John Paul II received him on Tuesday. After the meeting, the Vatican suspended its threat to excommunicate Archbishop Milingo while talks continued.

Yesterday, the Vatican's orthodoxy watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, said Archbishop Milingo had come to a decision after being reminded by the Pontiff "of his responsibilities to God and the church".

"After the lamentable events to which he was a protagonist, he has decided to take a period of reflection and prayer in view of his total reconciliation," it said.

Archbishop Milingo has said he did not 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.

Ms Sung said she had not seen her husband since Monday. They spoke briefly by telephone on Wednesday.

"He told me he was facing a difficult fight and that he was not free to talk but would call back soon," she said.

Ms Sung said efforts to reach Archbishop Milingo through his Italian handlers had failed.

Ms Sung said she would begin fasting in three days or less if she wasn't allowed to see her husband.

Associated Press


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