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Archbishop Milingo: Derobes and re-robes

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POOR old Emmanuel Milingo, a man of God, was caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, between God and flesh. And it looks like God is winning as usual. But it was a dicey affair, a very close run thing.

For several months, the 71-year-old Zambian-born Roman Catholic Archbishop forgot all about his avowed fidelity to the doctrine of his church, for he by then, on May, 27th, 2001, stripped the garb of celibacy off his body and got married to a 43-year-old Korean acupuncturist, Maria Sung, for better for worse, till death do part them.

The wedding was among about 60 conducted that same day by Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the leader of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, a sect which Milingo had earlier joined from the Catholic faith.

In his reaction on the development, Temi Mike-Pearse noted that this was a stab in the back of the Vatican, which promptly threatened the charismatic faith leader and exorcist with excommunication, if he did not return to the Catholic fold by August 20, 2001, and by returning, the pope means, the wedded archbishop leaving and denouncing his newly married and wedded wife, Maria Sung, and also renouncing membership of moon’s sect.

Milingo, initially, did not buldge, but after a meeting with the Vatican, Pope John Paul II, in his summerhouse in southeast Rome, on August 8, 2001, Milingo had a re-think, for whatever transpired during the meeting remains a secret up till date, but, the discussions held worked; because shortly after the meeting, Milingo embarked on a private retreat.

His whereabouts were unknown for fasting and praying sessions preparatory to his return to the Catholic Church. And by the time the August 25, deadline expired; he had reportedly written a letter stating his intention to renounce his marriage with Sung and sever his Moon’s Unification Church.

This purported letter triggered Sung’s emotional outburst and the sect’s agitation. First, Sung declared the letter false and insisted that she must see her husband face to face. “I want to see him face to face so we can pray about the future together.

It is not God’s will that we be separated, she maintained; But, still her pleas and words did not sway Milingo for later, he appeared on an Italian television station and confirmed that he has returned to the Catholic Church, adding that he loved Sung “like a sister” now.

Yet, despite the fact that the Archbishop did make it open that he has denounced his marriage with Sung, the woman did not believe it and maintained then that she would be convinced only until she and her husband have had a long, serious talk about their relationship and added that the hunger strike which she embarked upon then for several weeks bared testimony to her unchanged standpoint.

Her call to see her husband at that time boarded on the suspicion that Archbishop Milingo was brainwashed by the Vatican during their closed-door meeting into returning to the Catholic Church and was shielded from her by the Vatican, an allegation and imagination which officials in papacy denied.

Nevertheless, today, it is no more news that Archibishop Milingo returned to the Catholic Church and picked up from where he left, that up till date, the Catholic Church heaved a high sigh of relief; for it came very close to excommunicating a high-ranking prelate, something that has been quite very rare in recent modern times.

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