VATICAN CITY (Reuters) — Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, the African faith healer and exorcist who shocked Catholics by marrying in the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church in 2001, returned to the Vatican Wednesday.
Milingo, who has been living quietly in a 13th century monastery south of Rome in the last two years since he returned to the Catholic Church, attended Pope John Paul II’s general audience with bishops from an ecumenical group of which he is a member.
It was the first time he had been seen in public in the Vatican in nearly three years.
The former archbishop of Lusaka, Zambia, disappeared from the Vatican in spring of 2001 to marry Maria Sung, a 43-year-old Korean woman whom Moon, the controversial South Korean-born evangelist, had chosen for him.
Milingo shocked the Vatican by attending a mass wedding in a tuxedo and kissing his white-gowned wife for the cameras in a ceremony in a New York hotel.
The Vatican, which never recognized the marriage, threatened him with excommunication.
In the summer of 2001, Milingo and Sung came to Italy separately. He said he wanted to return to the Church. She went on a hunger strike, gave bedside interviews in her hotel room and claimed the Vatican had kidnapped her husband.
He left Sung, rejoined the Church and went into seclusion for rehabilitation.