"Something like this can only be explained by brainwashing," said Father Gabriele Amorth, the exorcist of Rome and a longtime friend of Emmanuel Milingo.
Milingo, the one-time archbishop of Lusaka, Zambia, was married Sunday in New York to a 43-year-old Korean acupuncturist in a ceremony organized by Moon´s Unification Church.
Milingo was transferred to Rome in 1983 after misusing exorcism powers and causing divisions in his African archdiocese. He was given a functionary post in the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers.
He continued to hold exorcisms and spectacles in various dioceses without bishops´ permission. Last year Milingo was asked to resign his council post.
In November, the Vatican moved to regulate the meetings dedicated to exorcisms and faith healing. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faithful published an "Instruction on Prayers for Healing," which establishes the norms for such cases.
The instruction was addressed officially to priests and deacons responsible for conducting liturgical healing prayers. It requires them to ask permission from their bishops and to avoid the presence of the media in healing and exorcism ceremonies.
Father Amorth, who has carried out more than 50,000 exorcisms, said he had personally esteemed Milingo.
In a weekend interview, the Roman exorcist accused Moon´s sect and, in particular, a sect family living in Rome, of having kidnapped and brainwashed the archbishop.
--Q: How did you learn this incredible news [of the wedding]?
--Father Amorth: People close to him told me a few days ago.
--Q: How can such a transformation happen?
--Father Amorth: Reconstructing the last years of his life, we realize that the Moonies have hunted him mercilessly. We have even identified the people who kidnapped him; they have brainwashed him. It is an Italian family in particular, which has disappeared with him in the United States.
For a long time now, many tried to attract him, premeditatedly and with great care. He has allowed himself to be caught.
--Q: It is difficult to think of an archbishop being subjected in this way.
--Father Amorth: They caught him at a time of discouragement and depression. ... He was weakened by the attacks he received.
He didn´t realize that he was a prey for which they had been working for a long time and, little by little, they succeeded and he gave in. Now, from my point of view, Milingo will not be able to recover, in part, because it´s no longer possible to approach him.
--Q: Is the Moonies´ power of submission that strong?
--Father Amorth: Those who follow this sect have a lethal method of "depersonalizing" people. I myself have had to deal with desperate parents of families, who lost one of their children, who vanished and ended up in the United States with this sect.
I have known cases of wives and husbands who have been kidnapped by the sect and have left their spouse and children. There are psychiatrists who have specialized in their recovery.
--Q: What do they do?
--Father Amorth: In the United States they are called "deprogrammers," because they release kidnapped or subjected people. Some have specialized in curing those kidnapped by this sect. Sometimes, the police themselves remove them from Moonie houses. Once deprogrammed, they can return to living.
--Q: How did you react to the news?
--Father Amorth: Absolutely surprised to see, precisely, that he, the archbishop, healer and exorcist, was able to fall into such a trap. Something like this can only be explained by brainwashing. I have known him for many years. He was a valid healer and, above all, an optimum preacher, releasing from demons.
We used to kid one another in a friendly way. As I am bald, he used to say to me: "Father Amorth, instead of hair you have a demon." I answered: "You are black with rage against the demon."