I Was Hoodwinked-Milingo

The Times of Zambia, Dec. 7, 2002
http://allafrica.com/

Controversial Catholic Church Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo said in Lusaka yesterday he was hoodwinked into marrying Maria Sung by the Moonies.

He said the Unification Church had set conditions that he could only penetrate the sect and preach the gospel if he married one of them.

On arrival from Italy at the Lusaka International Airport amid tight security by State police and plain clothes agents, Archbishop Milingo said however, he was partly to blame for allowing himself to be lured into the trap and break the celibacy vows.

He said his family had advised him against denouncing the celibacy vows but explained that as far as he was concerned the marriage was not a private arrangement but a public posture to win more hearts to the Lord.

He later regretted the radical decision he had taken to marry Maria Sung which tarnished the image of the Catholic Church.

The 72 year old clergyman caused a sensation and outrage in the entire Catholic world when he married a 44 year old South Korean physician Sung at a mass wedding in New York in 2001.

‘I was given a condition to marry Maria to enable me to reach out to the moonies in my gospel administration,’ he told Press men and an anxious crowd of relatives and Catholic officials at the VIP lounge.

Conspicuously missing from the welcoming team was Ms Sung who had early in the year travelled to Zambia to lobby for what she termed the release of her husband from captivity.

World Family Federation spokesman Chisoni Ngoma yesterday said Ms Sung was in America and stressed that there was no way she would be in Zambia without the church knowing.

She had travelled back to Korea after a series of public appearances to evoke sympathy.

Asked about the scandals in the Catholic Church relating to the issue of celibacy, the prelate said the matter bordered on one’s state of mind and spiritual strength.

The Vatican never recognised Milingo’s marriage and threatened to ex-communicate the cleric until he divorced his wife who later protested and went on hunger strike.

She demanded to see her husband whom she said had been kidnapped and held against his will at unknown location.

Ms Sung was at one point even regarded to have been carrying Milingo’s baby.

Archbishop Milingo protested that some people wanted to take advantage of his human weakness to discredit the entire Catholic Church.

He said after serious reflections, he repented and decided to get back to the church.

The clergyman who appeared to be in high spirits and had been away from Zambia for more than 20 years told journalists that it was not his intention to marry except that it was a temptation that had come in his course of duty.

‘The marriage was against my will except that it was a condition I was subjected to by the Unification Church in the course of my duties as a preacher but I have miraculously come back to my work.’

He said the controversy about his marriage should be put to rest now because he was a changed man after his one year retreat in Argentina.

‘The Maria Sung story is finished and I have got nothing to do with her. I thank Reverend Moon (leader of the church) for what his church did for me in arranging the wedding but I have no intentions whatsoever to get in touch with him because I can be misunderstood,’ he said.

He said it was gratifying that the Pope never bothered to ask him about his failed marriage but just welcomed him back to the Vatican and urged him to carry on with the work of God.

‘I was not in conflict with the Catholic Church but with some bishops. I am grateful to the Pope who never discussed anything to do with my marriage affair,’ he said.

Contrary to speculations that he was being held against his will by the Vatican and that he was at one point shackled to punish him for his deeds, the Archbishop said

he was never tormented or persecuted.

He said he had a peaceful retreat which reconciled his well-being and brought him closer to God.

‘I had good company and support from the country I was living in during my one year retreat. I can say it was a community as I had bishops who I always interacted with,’ he said.

He was happy to be in Zambia where he was scheduled to preside over a series of masses, meet family members and pay his respects to his elder sister who died last year.

Archbishop Milingo who was welcomed by Archbishop of Lusaka Medardo Mazombwe, Father Ignatius Mwebe, Apostolic Pro-nuncio in Zambia, Orlando Antoniom and other Catholic leaders said he had to offer respect and mourn his sister in accordance with the traditional customs. Milingo will be in Zambia for two weeks.

Father Mwebe in a vote of thanks, said he was happy that Archbishop Milingo had finally arrived in Zambia to end all speculations surrounding his safety and reunion with the church.

Milingo has had a long history of difficult relations with some Vatican officials especially when he started blending his teachings with unorthodox healing which involved exorcism of evil spirits.

He was called to the Vatican in the late 80’s so that his healing sessions could be closely monitored.

Milingo has since written a book FISHED OUT OF THE MUD in which he accuses the Unification Church of trying to brainwash him.

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