Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo is reported to have left his base in Zagarolo near Rome to stay with a female painter friend in Lecco, Lombardy within Italy.
But the Vatican Embassy in Zambia says it knows nothing about Archbishop Milingo’s reported departure from his Zagarolo base.
According to reports in Australia’s The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, Archbishop Milingo is alleged to have left Zagarolo near Rome, where he had been confined to a religious community, and gone to stay with a female painter friend, Alba Vitali, in Lecco, Lombardy. According to The Sydney Morning Herald report of November 18 2003, Arch-bishop Milingo is said to have two weeks earlier left Zagarolo and was receiving medical attention at Lecco Hospital.
“Archbishop Milingo is not returning to Rome because the Vatican never cared about him nor provided proper treatment. In future he will operate freely in Lombardy,” Vitali is quoted by the paper.
At that time, Vitali said the archbishop was in Lecco Hospital for a check-up, guarded by police.
“He was a prisoner at Zagarolo,” Vitali is further quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald.
“Even though it was his property rather than being that of the Vatican. He’s not going back to Rome, where too many crimes are committed in the shadow of the Pope.”
The Vatican press office said it had nothing to say about Archbishop Milingo.
“It is believed that she is convinced he needs a more congenial atmosphere than at Zagarolo, and also medical care,” reports the Australian publication.
But the Vatican embassy in Zambia says it is not aware of Archbishop Milingo’s reported departure from his Zagarolo home.
“I don’t know anything,” a Catholic sister from the embassy said in response to whether the Vatican was aware of anything about Milingo’s reported move.
“Whatever will be worthy to announce, we will announce in the papers. But up to now, there is nothing to announce to the print.”
On May 27, 2001, Archbishop Milingo shocked the Vatican by marrying Maria Sung in a collective ceremony in a New York hotel.
Together with Maria Sung, he went to South Korea for some weeks and then lived in New York but Vatican emissaries convinced him to return to Rome.
After a meeting with the Pope, he renounced the marriage.
And the Catholic World News reports that against the advice of the Vatican, Archbishop Milingo embarked on a trip to Zambia despite the opposition of the Zambian bishops’ conference.
It reports that Milingo has been living in a community near Rome, where he reportedly found the life overly restrictive, and sought approval from the Congregation for Bishops for a trip to Zambia.
The Congregation is said to have advised against the trip but Archbishop Milingo travelled to Zambia.
On whether the Vatican had sanctioned Archbishop Milingo’s trip to Zambia, the Vatican embassy in Zambia said it did not because it was his private visit as he had come for his sister’s funeral.