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Monday August 27 5:05 PM ET

Archbishop's Wife Writes to Pope, Asks for Husband


AP Photo
Married Archbishop to Reconcile With Church

By Jane Barrett

ROME (Reuters) - The woman who controversially married Catholic Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo at a mass wedding ceremony organized by Rev Sun Myung Moon has written to Pope John Paul (news - web sites) asking to see her husband again.

In an open letter published in Italian newspapers on Monday, Korean Maria Sung said she had married Milingo before God and the world and had made promises she would never go back on.

``But if he intends to renounce everything he promised, let him sit down with me and tell me to my face. Let him explain everything with his heart on his sleeve, like the free and responsible man that he is,'' Sung wrote.

Sung, 43, has demanded to see Milingo since the Zambian archbishop arrived in Italy earlier this month to make amends with the Vatican (news - web sites) which threatened to excommunicate him unless he renounced Sung and Moon and declared his obedience to the Pope.

After an audience with the Pontiff, Milingo vanished from public view for more than two weeks before appearing on prime time television on Friday to say he was returning to the Church.

During his 16-day absence, Sung declared a hunger strike and said she would not eat until she saw him face-to-face.

She also prayed in St. Peter's Square every day and called frequent news briefings with members of Moon's Unification Church to explain her cause.

``I am truly sorry if during my attempt to find my husband, my actions have caused you any discomfort or offence,'' Sung wrote to the Pope, who often defended Milingo when other clergy wanted him disciplined for his controversial faith healings and exorcisms.

``I know my husband loves you very deeply. I know that he has always...hoped to find a way of reconciling himself with the Holy Church as a married man as well as a believer.''

Italian news agencies later on Monday reported that Sung had sent a second letter to the Pope asking again to see Milingo.

``Holy Father, please ask those who are with my husband to let me meet him. If it is him who does not want to see me, remind him of his duty to respect my rights,'' the agencies quoted the letter as saying.

Milingo told Friday's main evening news program he had been moved to obey the Pope's call to return to the Church.

``I love you (Maria) as a sister and I will continue to pray for you for the rest of my life,'' the 71-year-old Milingo said.

He did not specify that he would leave Sung but recalled ''the celibacy I promised'' and said he would not marry again if he could go back in time.

Sung, who started her hunger strike 13 days ago, says Milingo never left the Catholic Church to marry but wrote that if the African archbishop explained his thinking to her, she would not put up any barriers to his decision.

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Earlier Stories
Milingo Says He Joined Moon Because He Felt Alone (August 25)
Married Archbishop Milingo Says Returns to Church (August 24)

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