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Archbishop's Wife Prays at Vatican


The Associated Press, Mon 13 Aug 2001
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ROME (AP) — The wife of a Zambian archbishop whose marriage scandalized the Vatican went to the center of the Roman Catholic Church on Monday to pray that she be reunited with her husband.

Maria Sung's hour-long visit to the Vatican came after she announced plans to begin a hunger strike Tuesday if church officials denied her request to see her husband, Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo. She said he was not the ``private property'' of the church.

``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.

The Vatican has not disclosed Milingo's whereabouts, saying only that he is on a spiritual retreat and that he should be left alone to pray.

Sung spent an hour Monday afternoon visiting St. Peter's Square and St. Peter's Basilica, first praying in front of an obelisk and then inside at the main papal altar.

Responding to journalists' questions, Sung, who was married May 27, also suggested she may be pregnant by Milingo.

She said her period is late, which could be because of travel and physical exhaustion ``or because I'm expecting a child.'' She said she will wait to be reunited with Milingo before taking a pregnancy test.

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.''

Milingo and his wife traveled to Italy last week, and Milingo met 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 Aug. 6 and hasn't heard from him since Wednesday.



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Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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