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Archbishop to leave wife

15aug01
A ZAMBIAN archbishop whose marriage scandalised the Vatican is giving up his wife and returning to the Catholic Church, the Vatican said.

It also said Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo was breaking off his relationship with the Rev Sun Myung Moon.

Milingo was married in a mass ceremony conducted by Moon on May 27 in New York.

The Vatican released a brief letter it said the 71-year-old Milingo wrote on Saturday to Pope John Paul announcing the decisions.

The letter said Milingo was recommitting his life "in the Catholic church with all my heart, renouncing my living together with Maria Sung and my relationship with the Rev Moon and the Family Federation for World Peace".

"I am your humble and obedient servant," the letter to the pope said.

The woman Milingo married, Maria Sung, said she began fasting at midnight to force Vatican officials to reunite her with her husband. She said she would renounce food "until he is free to meet me or until I die".

Officials travelling with her could not be reached immediately for comment.

Sung says she has been kept apart from her husband since they came together to the Vatican and Milingo met with the pope last week.

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, a 43-year-old South Korean doctor, suggested yesterday that she may be pregnant. But she said she was not worried about possible health risks from her fast and would only drink water.

Milingo had been threatened with excommunication for marrying Sung. He has said priests need not be celibate and that God's blessings were meant to be given through the family.

Most Catholics consider Moon's doctrines well beyond the bounds of traditional Christianity. For instance, Moon's followers regard Moon as the messiah who is completing the salvation Jesus Christ failed to accomplish.

In each of the past two years, Milingo has appeared at group weddings conducted by Moon.

The rituals, called "Holy Blessing Ceremonies," are a central practice of Moon's religion, and Moon arranges the marriages personally.


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