Zamnet, Dec. 19, 2002
LUSAKA, December 19 — Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo has appealed to all former Catholic priests who broke away from the church to form the Zambia Sacramental Church at the height of the debate on celibacy to return to the fold.
Archbishop Milingo also advised his former wife Maria Sung to come to accept that she married the wrong man and that her religion must help her forget about him.
He said in an interview on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) television last night that all ex-priests claiming to be his followers should return to the church because there was no need to break away.
“I had sinned but now I am reconciled with the church so there is no need for other priests to be stubborn,” he said.
He said Christianity was all about forgiveness and he saw no reason why Christians should not forgive him for the sins he committed.
A group of ex-priests who broke away from the Catholic Church to form the Sacramental Church where priests would be allowed to marry claimed the idea came from Archbishop Milingo.
Father Azanga Mbewe said two weeks before his short-lived marriage, Archbishop Milingo talked to him and another priest on the creation of an alternative church where priests would be given the option to marry, a claim Milingo denied yesterday.
Father Mbewe said doing away with celibacy was the only way to save the Catholic Church which was currently embroiled in scandals of immorality and sexual abuse.
Archbishop Milingo who married Sung in 2001 advised her to completely forget about him.
“If she had passed through the grieving I went through and if religion really cares for her, she will come to the conclusion that she married the wrong man,” he said.
The 72-year-old former Archbishop of Lusaka left Zambia in 1982 for the Vatican in a blaze of controversy over the manner in which he was conducting mass which included faith-healing and exorcism