It hasn’t been a good month for African archbishop Emmanuel Milingo. First the Vatican stopped him from appearing at a press conference and now the man of the cloth is holed up in a hospital in Northern Italy undergoing a series of medical exams.
Milingo fell from grace in 2001 when he married Maria Sung in a group ceremony of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification church. Pope John Paul II managed to bring this embarrassing stray back into the fold a few months later, but Milingo has been kept out of the public eye ever since.
His appearance at a benefit to raise funds for Catholic missionary work in Africa on Nov. 3 in Rome would have signaled a fresh start for the 73-year-old. After the Vatican gag order, Milingo headed to Northern Italy where he’s always had a strong base of support. Italian media coverage has been similar to that given movie stars — with much speculation on the reasons for his visit, where he has been staying and what he has been doing. Leading daily Corriere della Sera reported that a friend close to him said his “health is precarious” and that once word got out operators at the hospital in Lecco had been “bombarded”.