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Analysis: Marriage 'core of Milingo case'

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Tuesday, 21 August 2001 22:29 (ET)

Analysis: Marriage 'core of Milingo case'

 WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- The core of the problem between the Roman
Catholic Church and Archbishop Emanuel Milingo is respect for the
institution of marriage and the wife's role in it, a Unification Church
official who traveled to Rome as a spokesman for the controversial African
prelate said Tuesday.

 The immediate issue is what kind of meeting Milingo and Maria Sung, the
Korean acupuncturist he married in a mass Unification Church ceremony last
May, are to have, Rev. Philip Schanker told United Press International by
telephone from Rome.

 The Vatican has agreed that there may be a meeting, but, Schanker said, it
wants the meeting kept short and for the archbishop to leave with the people
who bring him to it. Schanker said this showed they had already decided on
what the conclusion of the meeting would be without the participation of the

 Maria Sung wants a meeting at which she and her husband are able to
discuss the situation fully and then freely do whatever they decide upon,
Schanker said.

 Schanker stressed that although affiliated with the Family Federation for
World Peace and Unification (of which he is a vice-president), headed by the
Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church, he was in Rome at
the behest of Milingo and the Unification bodies had neither sent him there
nor paid his way.

 "I serve at the pleasure of the archbishop," Schanker said.

 Schanker said that the last public utterance by Milingo before he dropped
from sight following his meeting with Pope John Paul II on Aug. 7 was, "I
will reconcile with the (Catholic) Church but not without my wife."

 Schanker echoed charges made in recent days by Sung that the prelate is
being held against his will.

 "Milingo is under duress," Schanker said. Another member of his party told
UPI they had no idea of where the archbishop was.

 But a Vatican source denied the allegation to UPI, saying Milingo was
staying at an apartment provided by the Vatican, which was "arranging his
daily itinerary."

 Both sides agree that despite his close relations with Moon, Milingo did
not become a member of the Unification Church. The Family Federation, which
stands for the commitment of husbands and wives to their marriages, includes
members from many different world religions, Schanker said.

 Asked about the role of South Korea's ambassador to the Holy See, Schanker
said that Yang Il Bae was first asked by the Vatican to be an intermediary
with Sung but now represented the wife's cause.

 "All we are here to support is the right of the wife and the desire of the
husband to have her rights respected," said Schanker. "This is not a
propaganda war and we are not trying to convert the archbishop."

 Schanker said that the body representing married Italian priests had come
out Tuesday in support of Milingo.

 Referring to Sung's declared intention of fasting until death if she is
not allowed to see her husband, Schanker said that at the moment, he saw it
as a sacrifice by one spouse for the other. But, as Unification principles
hold taking one's own life to be wrong, he would have to reconsider were her
life threatened by the fast.

 Sung's action in coming to Rome and demanding to see her husband was
shocking to traditional Catholics, as many Italians are, Schanker said,
because it went against an established pattern. Traditionalists regarded
celibacy as the highest state and a cleric who departed from it as a fallen
priest. What would follow was for the priest to repent while the woman
simply exited the scene.

 What was shocking about Sung, he said, was that she did not disappear but
has spoken up for the woman's rights in marriage.

 Negotiations over the meeting between the archbishop and his wife were
continuing, he said.

 UPI is owned by News World Communications Inc., a media company founded by
the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.
All rights reserved.

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