The Post (Zambia), Dec. 6, 2002
The story of Maria Sung is over, said Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo yesterday.
Addressing journalists at Lusaka International Airport when he arrived in the country from Rome, Archbishop Milingo said he would, however, meet Sung in public like any other Zambian who were looking forward to meeting him. Asked how he felt about his former wife Maria Sung, Archbishop Milingo said there was a published book which contained possible questions and answers about his relationship with her.
“We have of course people who are living in the third would always coming late, the story of Maria Sung is finished,” Archbishop Milingo said. “We have got nothing to do with that, I myself the fact that I went to Argentina, it was the time I had to reconstruct myself spiritually and at the same time get to my own church.”
Archbishop Milingo who spent a year in Argentina for retreat after a brief marriage with Maria Sung, said it was important that he had to reconstruct himself and get through the ‘dark stones’ back to the Catholic Church while the story of Maria Sung remained closed.
Archbishop Milingo, who was accompanied by Fr. Enrico Pepe from the Focolarini Movement, said he was aware that a lot of Zambians would like to see or read about him in the media and that he would not stop them, including Maria Sung.
“There are thousands of Zambians who would like to meet me, they would like to see me on television, in newspapers, so Maria should be satisfied with that because she is not the only one, she wouldn’t insist to have special rights,” he said. Archbishop Milingo said he could not be consumed by an individual like Sung.
He said he never had any intentions of marrying Sung but that it was a condition by the Unification church for him to carry out his healing faith and preaching the word of God. Archbishop Milingo said he was previously misunderstood by the Catholic Church about his healing sermons and decided to go where this could be accepted.
“What I was taking was not a personal business but to preach and cast the devil, heal the sick,” Archbishop Milingo said. “It was not my intention at all to marry but a condition I was given. I am not a common bread, I can’t be consumed by one person.”
He said even after the Unification church led by the Sun Myung Moon had offered him some field to preach and heal the sick people and preach the word of God, he told them he would remain a dedicated Catholic. He said even in his Ngoni custom, he could not just marry without involving elders explaining that his association with Sung was not a marriage but a condition for him to be given a healing field.
“Traditionally I can’t just pick up a woman and say this is my wife, so traditionally my people did not know,” Archbishop Milingo said. “I got a call from my elder brother when I was in Argentina who said after our father died he was our father and he asked me, ‘What are you doing with that Muzungu?’” Archbishop Milingo said the question of marriage with Sung did not therefore exist anymore.
He said it had become inevitable for him to seek freedom of executing his healing faith after ‘suffering in silence’ since 1973 in the Catholic Church. “There was air in the Church which made it difficult for me to teach, to heal and preach,” he said.
Archbishop Milingo said he had never personally differed with the Pope John Paul II over his marriage with Maria Sung. Archbishop Milingo said there was nothing to hide about his marriage with Sung because he did it publicly and that things had now changed. He said the Pope John Paul II was readmitted him to the Church without making any reference to Sung but only discussed other issues concerning the Church.
He said there was nothing controversial about his marriage as he been and still married to God. Archbishop Milingo also expressed sadness that some people were spreading rumours that he was tortured and shackled in chains by the Catholic when he returned from Mexico where he married in a mass Unification church led by Rev. Moon. Archbishop said he would pray for the Unification church for the help they rendered to him. He said he had never been in touch with Reverend Sun Myung Moon since he returned to the Catholic Church because there was nothing that could bring them together.
“It has been a passing phase but I am grateful for what they did to me, I have no contact with them,” he said. Archbishop Milingo said he was happy to return to Zambia since 2000 and that he would stay the longest time since he left the country 20 years ago. “I used to come before to just sleep in for some days and then go away, but this time I have longer time than before,” he said.
Archbishop Milingo said he would also pay his last respects to his late sister Adelaide Chilumbu in Chipata as per Zambian tradition who died when he was on retreat in Argentina last year. Archbishop Milingo said the Catholic Church was dealing with the matters of priests’ involvement in illicit activities and non compliance to celibacy.
He said the Catholic Church, like any other church, had doubting Thomases who did not believe and Peters who denied Jesus even when they were together. Archbishop Milingo is expected to conduct thanksgiving mass in Chipata on Sunday and Kabwata next week.
And Episcopal Conference of Zambia general secretary Fr. Ignatius Mwebe said the Church would ensure that Archbishop Milingo’s two weeks stay in the country was a pleasant one. He said government had not replied whether they would meet Archbishop Milingo during his visit before he returns to Rome.
Fr. Mwebe said the Church had written to government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs whether President Levy Mwanawasa could meet the Archbishop. Archbishop Milingo was met at the Lusaka International Airport by Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Orlando Antonini, Lusaka Archbishop Merdado Mazombwe, Fr. Paul Samasumo and Fr. Mwebe.
There was heavy police presence at Lusaka International Airport fearing Sung would be there as the British Airways plane which Archbishop Milingo travelled into touched down.