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Groups express concern over Married Priests Now

Daily Record, USA
Dec. 7, 2006
Abbott Koloff
www.dailyrecord.com

ReligionNewsBlog.com • Thursday December 7, 2006

Organizations with similiar goals uncomfortable with connection, assistance from Unification Church

PARSIPPANY — A schism appears to be developing between one upstart organization supporting the end of mandatory celibacy for Roman Catholic priests and other groups that have been doing the same thing for years.

At least one organization representing married priests came out this week against the recently-formed Married Priests Now, which is holding a convention this weekend at the Sheraton Hotel.

Other organizations said their members have mixed feelings about the group and were particularly concerned about its connection with the Unification Church’s Rev. Sung Myung Moon, who has called himself the Messiah.

Unifiction Church: A Cult of Christianity
Theologically, the Unification Church is, at best, a cult of Christianity. It does not represent historical, biblical Christianity in any way. Leader Sun Myung Moon’s theology can only be described as insane.
Given the fact that the Unification Church rejects the essential doctrines of the Christian faith, teaches heresy, and engages in unbiblical practices, Christian churches can not have unity and/or any form of cooperation with the Unification Church or its front groups.

“That doesn’t click with most Roman Catholics,” said Russell Ditzel, president of CORPUS, a national organization representing 1,500 priests who left ministries in the Roman Catholic Church to get married.

Organizers for the Married Priests Now convention, which begins Friday evening and ends Sunday, had been predicting as many as 1,000 married priests participating, 600 in person and others by satellite. They said on Wednesday that just 200 married priests have registered to attend.

Ditzel and other married priests expressed support of the goals of Married Priests Now, which is led by renegade Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, who was excommunicated earlier this year after ordaining four married men as bishops. But they also expressed apprehension about Milingo’s connections with Moon.

Milingo was married in a mass wedding ceremony by Moon and members of his organization acknowledged that Moon supplied some of the funding for this week’s convention.

Peter Paul Brennan, one of the men ordained as a bishop by Milingo in September, said on Wednesday that while Moon supports Married Priests Now, he is not part of the organization.

“Rev. Moon has nothing to do with Married Priests Now,”Brennan said. “He does support the concept and he is providing funds through (Milingo’s) wife. She supports him because he gets nothing from the Vatican.”

No convention support

While Milingo was excommunicated in September, church historians say he technically remains an archbishop, although he is not allowed to function as one. They say it is illegal for Milingo to perform ordinations but theologians are divided over whether they have any validity.

Milingo, who referred all questions Wednesday to other members of his organization, has said he plans to ordain three married men as priests in a ceremony on Sunday to be held at an independent church in West New York.

A group called Celibacy Is The Issue, known as CITI, issued a press release this week indicating it did not support the Married Priests Now convention.

The statement said CITI would not be represented at the convention.

It also said CITI, which runs a listing of married men working as priests outside the traditional church structure, does not represent any priest under the jurisdiction of “one considered a schismatic bishop.” Louise Haggett, founder of CITI, said in a telephone interview that she was referring to Milingo.

“We are Roman Catholics and plan to stay that way,” she said of her group.

Paul Mayer, a former Benedictine monk who got married decades ago, said he sent out e-mails this past week warning married priests and organizations that represent them about Milingo’s connection with Moon.

“It is very troubling,” said Mayer, who lived in a Newton monastery for 18 years and now lives in East Orange. “I consider him (Moon) to be sinister.”

Brennan acknowledged that Moon supplied money to help pay for hotel rooms and food for participants at this weekend’s convention. But he said Married Priests Now is a separate entity, and Moon was simply supporting the cause of ending mandatory celibacy in the Catholic Church.

“It doesn’t bother me,” Brennan said of Moon’s contributions. “I think it’s wonderful that the Rev. Moon is being generous.”

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