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Milingo was excommunicated in Sept. 2006 for defying the Vatican by installing four married men as priests.
The 76-year-old Milingo has long had a troubled relationship with the Vatican. In 2001, he was married to a South Korean acupuncturist chosen for him by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon of the Unification Church, in a group wedding ceremony in New York. Upon appeal from Pope John Paul II a few months later, he renounced that union.
He gained a strong following in a church where he had been stationed near Rome because of his reputation as an exorcist. But Catholic officials accused him of promoting African indigenous beliefs by performing mass exorcisms and healing ceremonies.
- Source: Vatican Excommunicates Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, FOX News, USA, Sep. 26, 2006
Fellow Catholic clergymen, who describe Milingo as a ''loose cannon,'' have been trying to figure him out for more than two decades.
A rising clerical star in his native Zambia, he became at 39 one of the youngest Catholic archbishops. He later performed scandalous faith healing and exorcisms before large crowds.
In 1983 he was transferred from Zambia to a Vatican desk job, but he continued his unorthodox practices in Italy against his superiors' wishes, performing in hotels and factories until he was removed again and stripped of his ultimate perk: a Vatican apartment.
The archbishop's lawyer, Emanuela Comiero, told the Italian newspaper La Stampa that his eviction last year pushed Milingo over the edge. He embraced Moon's church because it ''showed him the respect and consideration that were denied him at the Vatican,'' the lawyer said.
- Source: Archbishop's wife: It's not over, Tribune News Services, Aug. 26, 2001
While the Catholic Chuch has excommunicated Milingo for installing bishops without permission from the Vatican, most Christians are more concerned about Milingo’s lack of spiritual discerment as demonstrated by his connections to Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon - a cult leader and religious lunatic. Moon’s lunacy includes claiming that he is the messiah, and was commissioned by God to finish what - in Moon’s opinion - Jesus Christ failed to accomplish.
Upon his reappearance in the US, Milingo held a press conference in which he announced Married Priests Now, his new mission to override church rules and let married priests continue their ministries.
The Zambian archbishop said he was championing the cause of married priests even before his marriage, but his new goal is to end the church’s celibacy rule.
“I feel it is time for the church to reconcile with married priests,” Milingo said. Now, he said, they push them aside.
At a news conference, he appealed to priests punished for marrying to “come out of their Catholic prisons and be reinstated, taking once more their pastoral responsibility among the married priests.”
“To those priests who may feel that by marrying they have stepped down or fallen short, unleash your burden of humiliation, exclusivity and shame. Come among your fellow `sinners,’ so considered, who were to be branded, and to be forgotten forever as weaklings.”
- Source: Emmanual Milingo: Bishop Seeks to Change No-Marriage Rule, AP, via Forbes.com, USA, July 12, 2006
Milingo has stated that he wants to promote better understanding between the Catholic Church and Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church:
Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo says he has no intention of launching a new sect in Africa funded by Rev. Sun Myung Moon as a rival to Roman Catholicism, and charged that his latest break with the Vatican is the result of “intolerable restrictions” imposed on him over the last five years, as well as a deep “lack of appreciation” for his spiritual gifts as an exorcist.
Now, Milingo says, he wants to help reconcile married priests with the Catholic Church, as well as to promote better understanding between Catholicism and Moon’s Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.
Milingo spoke to NCR July 14 in an exclusive interview in a hotel room in Arlington, Va., just outside of Washington.
Earlier in the day, Milingo took part in a press conference announcing the formation of a new group, “Married Priests Now!”, which will agitate for the return of roughly 150,000 married priests who have left the church in recent decades.
- Source: Emmanuel Milingo Outlines His New Mission, Catholic Information Services for Africa, via AllAfrica.com, Kenya, July 24, 2006
At a second installation of married priests, Milingo thanked Moon for his support:
A renegade Roman Catholic archbishop who was excommunicated by the Vatican after he installed married priests as bishops acknowledged Saturday that South Korean evangelist Rev. Sun Myung Moon is supporting his crusade against mandatory celibacy.
At a weekend conference of married priests, Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo distributed a statement to participants headlined “Thanks,” crediting Moon for his backing for the meeting and for Milingo’s Married Priests Now! advocacy group.
“Today we are present as beneficiaries of Rev. Moon,” Milingo wrote.
“In order to ensure the success of our convocation, he dedicated his key organizations to give their utmost support in every way needed to the Married Priests Now!”
- Source: Archbishop says Sun Myung Moon behind fight for married priests, AP, via Canada.com, USA, Dec. 9, 2006
Investigative reporter John Gorenfeld had documented that the domain name for Married Priests Now, marriedpriestsnow.org, was registered by David Payer, Sun Myung Moon's webmaster.
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