Vatican Announces First Mass of Zambian Archbishop Who Embarrassed Church With Marriage
The Associated Press, Nov. 15, 2002
V A T I C A N C I T Y, Nov. 15 — The Zambian archbishop who scandalized the Catholic Church by getting married last year will celebrate his first public Mass next week since returning to active duty, the Vatican said Friday
Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo married South Korean acupuncturist Maria Sung in a group ceremony led by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon last year, but subsequently rejected the marriage after a request from Pope John Paul II. Milingo then vanished from public view.
The archbishop spent one year in seclusion in Argentina, before returning to Italy to take up his ministry again.
Milingo will celebrate the Mass on Thursday in L’Abbazia di Casamari, near Frosinone, east of Rome, the Vatican said in a statement.
The Vatican also released videotape showing Milingo arriving two days earlier at his new home in Zagarolo, also near Rome, and blessing a chapel.
In the video, Milingo is seen praying in his simple blue chapel, surrounded by priests, nuns and a few friends. At one point, he sings the Ave Maria in an African dialect. He is also shown blessing a hangar-type facility that has been erected on the property to accommodate the crowds that are expected to flock to his services.
Milingo was no stranger to controversy in the Church even before his marriage, conducting religious ceremonies that troubled some Vatican officials.
He was summoned to Rome in 1983 after resigning from his post as archbishop of Lusaka, Zambia, for faith healing ceremonies and exorcism. Large crowds of people then flocked to Rome seeking cures from Milingo, and the Vatican removed him from his post there.
At the time of his marriage, Milingo said that celibacy was poisoning the priesthood and that his marriage would allow God’s blessings to be given through his new family. But Milingo renounced his marriage after a private audience with the pope, leading Sung to claim that her husband was being held against his will. Vatican officials denied the claims.