Milingo Rejects Invitation to Avoid Excommunication

Says He Wants to Be Accepted as "Married Archbishop"

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WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 27, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Rejecting the Vatican´s invitation to avoid excommunication, former Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo said he will stay with the woman he married last May in a wedding presided over by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon.



At a press conference Wednesday, the former archbishop of Lusaka, Zambia, who is known for his exorcism and healing ceremonies, announced that he would disregard the July 17 request of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to avoid excommunication.

The document, signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, asked Milingo "to be separated from Maria Sung," the 43-year-old Korean acupuncturist whom he married in a mass wedding led by Moon.

The document also asked Milingo to break all relations with the "Family Federation for World Peace and Unification" sect, and to "publicly declare fidelity to the doctrine and ecclesiastical discipline of celibacy and to manifest his obedience to the Supreme Pontiff by a clear and unequivocal act."

Milingo has until Aug. 20 to comply -- or face excommunication, the text clarified.

At the press session, organized by the American Clergy Leadership Conference, which is part of Moon´s movement, Milingo, who was seated next to Maria Sung, said: "I want to remain in the Catholic Church and be accepted as a married archbishop."

Milingo added that if he were excommunicated, he would not ordain priests or bishops.

He said that, in a certain sense, Jesus failed in his mission as messiah: "Death was imposed on Jesus ... he was killed before he was able to carry out his plans."