Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
June 4, 2001
Newly married bishop to work for Moonies
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
NEW YORK — Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, married in a 60-couple wedding May 27 in New York, said he would be working on a full-time basis with the organization run by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
In an interview May 29, the Zambian archbishop said he hoped to work in Africa but could not say where "till Rev. Moon and his organization give us a job description."
He said he did not plan to leave the Catholic Church, and he continues to regard Pope John Paul as the successor of St. Peter and vicar of Christ.
"Every day I say a rosary for the Holy Father, and I will continue that," he said. "Every document that comes from the pope I will take very seriously."
But while recognizing his continuing obligation as a bishop to obey the pope, he said he could not give up the "mandate from God" to conduct the healing and exorcism services that brought opposition from Church officials.
He said he would continue conducting those services in addition to carrying out whatever duties Moon gave him.
Asked if he was concerned about the possibility of excommunication, Milingo said "excommunication" was "an old term" and "does not mean anything at all."
"How can you put out of the Church someone who believes in the Church?" he asked.
Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said Milingo had placed himself outside the Church by participating in the wedding and that formal canonical penalties would be announced against him.
Navarro-Valls said Milingo would be personally informed of the Church penalties against him before they are made public. The archbishop holds no Church office at present, but he was expected to be suspended from active priestly ministry.
Milingo, who will be 71 June 13, was interviewed at offices of Moon's organization in New York two days after he was married to Maria Sung, a 43-year-old acupuncturist from Korea, in a ceremony with Rev. and Mrs. Moon officiating.
Sung was present for the interview but did not speak. Milingo said she knew a little English and a little Italian, and they communicated "as far as we can."
He said that although she belonged to Moon's Unification Church, he found "her belief in Jesus is such (that) one could rightly put that (membership in the Unification Church) aside." He began giving her Communion at the Mass he celebrated earlier that day, he said.
(Although people speak in general terms of the Unification Church, Moon did not identify his original organization as a church but as the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity. When he dissolved that organization in 1997, he replaced it with the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.)
Milingo said Moon was providing everything he needed because he had left everything at the apartment he was occupying at the Vatican.
Milingo said he would continue to call himself an archbishop, but "I don't think I will wear the clothes of the clergy because I don't want to offend some scrupulous Catholics."
Catholics who have been supporting his work and now feel hurt by his actions should not look on him as "the cause of their suffering," but find suffering in the fact that "the mandate I received from God has been blocked and impeded continuously," Milingo said.
Milingo said the Rev. and Mrs. Geun-Sik Song, missionaries for Moon's organization in Rome, heard about him and contacted him three years ago.
They introduced him to Moon, who subsequently invited him to participate in some events, including meetings in Washington and Korea, Milingo said.
Then, this year, with his work blocked and people referring to him derisively as an African "witch doctor," Moon "offered me a chance."
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