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
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.