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The Boston Globe OnlineBoston.com
Boston Globe Online / Nation | World
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US ministers try to broker meeting of archbishop and his wife

By Roxana M. Popescu, Associated Press, 8/22/2001

ROME - Two American ministers joined an effort yesterday to arrange a meeting between Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo and the wife the Vatican insists he give up.

The ministers - the Rev. T. L. Barrett of the Life Center Church of God in Christ in Chicago and the Rev. Hycel Taylor of Second Baptist Church in Evanston, Ill. - said they had asked for an audience with Pope John Paul II.

The two Protestant ministers hope to persuade the pope to allow a meeting between Milingo, 71, and Maria Sung, 43, the South Korean woman whom he married May 27 in a group wedding in New York conducted by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, leader of the Unification Church.

''We will go as neutral and objective friends of Christendom to request His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, to allow Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo to personally and privately express his true intentions to his wife and to the world,'' Taylor said at a press conference.

Barrett said that he and Taylor also want to ensure that ''this black man who is unique in the Catholic Church is receiving the justice that is due and is treated fairly.''

Milingo, who is from Zambia, had already been out of favor at the Vatican because of his practice of faith healings and exorcisms. After the wedding, the Vatican threatened him with excommunication.

Sung, an acupuncturist, has said that she hasn't met with her husband since Aug. 6, the day before his audience with the pope.

The Vatican, which later suspended its excommunication threat, has not disclosed the archbishop's whereabouts. It has said that he has decided to return to the church, was on a spiritual retreat, and should be left alone to pray.

Their case has also attracted the efforts of the South Korean government. Seoul's ambassador to the Holy See has been meeting with Vatican officials for days, trying to set up a meeting between Milingo and Sung.

The ambassador, Yang Il-Bae, met again with Sung yesterday, after a first meeting on Saturday.

The Rev. Philip Schanker, an official of the Unification Church who is acting as Sung's spokesman, refused to discuss details of the meeting, which lasted about 40 minutes and occurred in Sung's Rome hotel room.

But Schanker said: ''We are very hopeful. I can happily say discussions have resumed.

''We felt the concern of the Holy Father and the Catholic Church,'' Schanker added.

The ambassador had previously offered a meeting between delegations representing both spouses. Schanker said Sung rejected the offer, insisting on a face-to-face meeting with her husband.

Sung began her hunger strike Aug. 14.

This story ran on page A16 of the Boston Globe on 8/22/2001.
Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company.

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