CESNUR - center for studies on new religions

"Milingo Saddens Bishops"

by Webster Malido ("The Post", May 30, 2001)

Catholic Bishops in Zambia are deeply saddened and pained by the defection of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo by marrying in the Moon Sect.
In a statement yesterday, the Zambian Bishops stated that they had for a long time tried to reach out to Archbishop Milingo but that he had unfortunately rejected their regular and honest advice.
"Other people in the Church, including the Holy Father, have tried to reach out to him, but he took this advice as a form of persecution (Mt,18:15-17)," the statement stated.
"In spite of all the efforts made by us and others, he decided to go on with his plan to marry, thereby turning his back on the Catholic Church." The Bishops stated that by his action, the former Archbishop has put himself outside the Catholic Church.
"This implies that he is no longer a Bishop nor part of the Catholic Church," the statement read in part. They stated that the former Archbishop has betrayed his vows by attempting marriage while still under his priestly commitments.
They stated that his act portrays his failure to abide by sound apostolic tradition, which suddenly induced him not to perceive the advice from so many and not to discern the truth. "He rather portrayed the others as not understanding his actions," the Bishops observed.
They stated that they felt deep sympathy for the many people who put their trust in the former Archbishop but now felt betrayed and abandoned by his action. The Bishops advised that a challenge for those who had been betrayed is to make a right choice by committing themselves to follow Jesus Christ, who has the words of eternal life, rather than anyone else. They stated that the action by the former Archbishop was a reminder "to us of our own fragility in faith".
"It should therefore make us humble. Left to ourselves, without deep faith in Christ, we remain fragile and open to sin," they stated. However, the Bishops stated that the defection of Milingo does not change the Church of Jesus Christ, as it continues to bring His teaching and sacraments to the world.
The Bishops invited all Christians to continue praying for the former Archbishop in the hope that he will decide to repent and come back to the Church. The Vatican has also expressed deep regret at the decision by Milingo to marry in the Moon Sect.
According to a statement issued by the Press Office of the Holy See on Monday, the Vatican regretted that Milingo has caused a deep injury to the Church Communion by breaking away from the vows which Bishops have to live with. The Vatican stated that by his action, Milingo will not be considered Bishop of the Catholic Church anymore.
"The Faithful are invited to draw the appropriate consequences of his behaviour and his actions that constitute the pre-supposition for sanctions provided by Canon Law, which will be communicated to him and subsequently made known," the Statement read. The Apostolic Nunciature in Lusaka is, however, convinced that what happened now does not cast a shadow on the Catholic Episcopate as such, or on the Bishops, priests, religious and Catholics in Zambia.
"Rather it makes all of us more humble and attentive, given that all men and women experience their fragility in the faith, which remains in the peril of loss until the last day of our life," read the Apostolic Nunciature's statement.
The 71-year-old former archbishop of Lusaka married 43-year-old doctor, Maria Sung of South Korea on Sunday in a Unification Church, commonly known as the Moonies, ceremony, attended by 60 couples in New York.

"Blessed Be God in the Highest - Statement on Archbishop Milingo"

(Press Release)

FORT ERIE: MAY 29, 2001: The Fatima Center has expressed shock and dismay at the news that Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo was “married” in a group wedding presided over by Sun Myung Moon.
The ceremony took place on Sunday, May 27, in New York.
The Archbishop took this tragic action because he believes that the Lord told him to do it.
“Now at 71 years of age, after a lifetime of devotion to the Church and to my priestly vows, the Lord has called me to take a step that will change my life forever, which will enable me to be a vehicle of His grace and blessing to Africa and the world, but one which I expect will alter my relationship with the Roman Catholic Church as well”, Milingo said in a statement issued Saturday.
“As a celibate priest, matrimony was the furthest thing from my mind. It is only through the command of Jesus, and the counsel and support of Rev. and Mrs. Moon that I take this unexpected and bold step, one that I have wrestled with in my heart for some time”, he said.
Archbishop Milingo obviously failed to follow the Scriptural mandate to “test the spirit”, since the Good Lord would not command a bishop to break his vow of celibacy. Nor would Heaven direct a Catholic to be married by Sun Myung Moon, a man whose followers claim that Jesus is not God, and claim that Moon is the Messiah who is completing the salvation Jesus Christ failed to accomplish.
Catholic News Service reported that Archbishop Milingo had disappeared from Italy about a week earlier, and could not be reached.
Three nuns of a religious order founded by the Archbishop had flown from Zambia to New York to try to find him, hoping they could talk him out of this drastic step.
Even the Vatican made several futile efforts to contact him.
The Archbishop’s recent behavior had been abnormal in other ways. Before he ceased communication, he failed to cancel a number of scheduled appearances in Italy and elsewhere. In North America, he was to appear at May Marian conference held in Pittsburgh along with speakers such as Father Andrew Apostoli and Father Mitchell Pacwa, but the Archbishop himself canceled this engagement.
The Fatima Center is deeply saddened by Archbishop Milingo’s attempt at marriage, which, of course, cannot be recognized as such by any Catholic, and it in no way supports his recent actions in this regard. Nor does it support his newly-announced views that the Catholic Church should abandon its teaching on priestly celibacy.
Even bishops are not exempt from the snares and deceits of the devil, who “goes about as a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) A possible explanation as to what happend to the Archbishop is found in the May 27 edition of the Italian daily Il Messaggero, which ran an interview with Father Gabriel Amorth, an exorcist who has performed more than 5,000 exorcisms in Rome.
Father Amorth says that he believes Archbishop Milingo had been "brainwashed" by the Moonie sect.
"Reconstructing the last years in reverse," said Father Amorth, "we have noticed that the Moon sect made a ruthless hunt for him. Even the persons involved in the coercion have been identified, they have subjected him to brainwashing. In particular, an Italian family, which disappeared with him to the U.S.A. There were many of them plotting for some time to drag him into their net with much astuteness and premeditation. And he let himself be snared."
"They got him in a moment of discouragement and depression" Father Amorth explains. "Perhaps he resented the 'kick out' he received from Holy Mother Church, he was worn down by the struggle they subjected him to. He didn't realize that he was prey for those who worked on him for a considerable time, and little by little, they broke him down. Now in my opinion, Milingo is beyond recovery, because he is no longer approachable."
Father Amorth, who is a colleague and admirer of Archbishop Milingo, concludes that the Moonies "have a deadly method for depersonalizing people" and that there are cases where adherents of the Moonie sect need to be "deprogrammed" before "they return to normal lives."
The Fatima Center urges its friends and supporters to pray for the Archbishop that he may return to his vocation in the Catholic Church.

"Zambian bishops say Milingo no longer Catholic"

(Reuters, May 29, 2001)

LUSAKA, Zambia - Zambia's Episcopal Conference of Roman Catholic bishops said Tuesday that controversial Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo had excommunicated himself by marrying a South Korean acupuncturist at the weekend.
"He is no longer a bishop nor part of the Catholic Church," the bishops said after crisis talks called in the wake of Milingo's marriage to Maria Sung at a New York group wedding conducted by Unification Church leader Sun Myung Moon.
The statement came a day after Vatican chief spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said Milingo could no longer be considered a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church and warned of "foreseen canonical sanctions," which analysts saw as excommunication.
The bishops said Milingo had betrayed his vows by marrying while still a priest, had turned his back on the Roman Catholic Church and had failed to live by sound apostolic tradition.
They said Milingo had also betrayed millions of people who looked up to him as a Christian role model and a man to trust.
"We feel deep sympathy for the many people who put their trust in the former archbishop and now feel betrayed and abandoned by his action. The action of the former archbishop is a reminder to us of our own fragility in faith," they said in the statement issued by Medado Mazombwe, archbishop of Lusaka.
The sentiments of the bishops will be communicated to the Vatican. Their statement portrayed the charismatic 71-year-old Milingo as a cleric who had refused to take sound advice from his Zambian colleagues as well as from Pope John Paul.
The independent daily Post newspaper, in a scathing editorial Tuesday, said marrying the 43-year-old was a grave mistake and had "unleashed a process that was self-destructive for Catholicism and for himself."
"There are many things that need to be reformed in the Catholic Church. But we don't think Moonie weddings by archbishops is the best way to do it," the editorial said.
"Archbishop Milingo's conduct was questionable, unacceptable. ... We hope Milingo's followers in Zambia will appreciate that his was a personal cause which deserves little solidarity," the newspaper added.
The Post asked how a Catholic priest could have agreed to be married by the Rev. Moon, the leader of the controversial Unification Church hailed as a Messiah by his followers.
Milingo's marriage is the latest in a string of embarrassments he has caused the Vatican.
In defiance of diocesan bishops in Italy, he has presided over colorful masses and meetings at which he has carried out impromptu exorcisms. Last September, Milingo, who moved to Rome in 1983, was quietly stripped of his job in a Vatican department.

Statement from the Catholic Bishops in Zambia on the defection of the former Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo from the Catholic Church

(May 29, 2001)

We, the Catholic Bishops in Zambia are deeply saddened and pained by the defection of Archbishop Milingo in his attempt to marry in the Moon Sect. For a long time we have tried to reach out to Archbishop Milingo, who has unfortunately rejected our regular and honest advice. Other people in the Church, including the Holy Father, have tried to reach out to him, but he took this advice as a form of persecution (Mt,18:15-17). In spite of all the efforts made by us and others, he decided to go on with his plan to marry, thereby turning his back on the Catholic Church. By doing this, the former Archbishop has put himself outside the Catholic Church. This implies that he is no longer a Bishop nor part of the Catholic Church. The former Archbishop has betrayed his vows by attempting marriage while still under his priestly commitments.
The defection of the former Archbishop should not come as a surprise to us. Even among the apostles one of them did fall. His act portrays his failure to abide by sound apostolic tradition, which suddenly induced him not to perceive the advice from so many and not to discern the truth. He rather portrayed the others as not understanding his actions.
We feel deep sympathy for the many people who put their trust in the former Archbishop and now feel betrayed and abandoned by his action. A challenge for them now is to make a right choice by committing themselves to follow Jesus Christ, who has the words of eternal life, rather than anyone else (Jn 6:8). The action by the former archbishop is a reminder to us of our own fragility in faith. It should therefore make us humble. Left to ourselves, without deep faith in Christ, we remain fragile and open to sin. However, the defection of any one of us does not change the Church of Jesus Christ, as it continues to bring His teaching and sacraments to the world.
Finally, we invite all Christians to continue praying for the former Archbishop in the hope that he will decide to repent and come back to the Church.

"Newly married archbishop says he'll work full time with Rev. Moon"

by Tracy Early ("Catholic News Service", May 29, 2001)

NEW YORK -- Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, married in a 60-couple wedding May 27 in New York, said he would be working on a full-time basis with the organization run by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
In a Catholic News Service interview May 29, the archbishop said he hoped to work in Africa but could not say where ``till Rev. Moon and his organization give us a job description.''
He said, however, that he did not plan to leave the Catholic Church, and he continues to regard Pope John Paul II as the successor of St. Peter and vicar of Christ.
``Every day I say a rosary for the Holy Father, and I will continue that,'' he said. ``Every document that comes from the pope I will take very seriously.''
But while recognizing his continuing obligation as a bishop to obey the pope, he said he could not give up the ``mandate from God'' to conduct the healing and exorcism services that brought opposition from church officials.
He said he would continue conducting those services in addition to carrying out whatever duties Rev. Moon gave him.
Asked if he was concerned about the possibility of excommunication, Archbishop Milingo said ``excommunication'' was ``an old term'' and ``does not mean anything at all.''
``How can you put out of the church someone who believes in the church?'' he asked.
Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said Archbishop Milingo had placed himself outside the church by participating in the wedding and that formal canonical penalties would be announced against him.
Navarro-Valls said Archbishop Milingo would be personally informed of the church penalties against him before they are made public. The archbishop holds no church office at present, but he was expected to be suspended from the active priestly ministry.
Church law says that an apostate -- one who abandons the faith -- incurs automatic excommunication. However, determining apostasy can be a complicated matter, especially if the person involved still proclaims himself a member of the church.
Archbishop Milingo, who will be 71 June 13, was interviewed at offices of Rev. Moon's organization in New York two days after he was married to Maria Sung, a 43-year-old acupuncturist from Korea, in a ceremony with Rev. and Mrs. Moon officiating.
Sung was present for the interview but did not speak. Archbishop Milingo said she knew a little English and a little Italian, and they communicated ``as far as we can.'' He said he hoped she would learn more English and he could learn some Korean.
He said he hoped to have children, and she had told him she thought it would be possible. But he said they were following the pattern Rev. Moon established of living together ``as brother and sister'' for a 40-day purification period before consummating the marriage.
He said that although she belonged to Rev. Moon's Unification Church, he found ``her belief in Jesus is such (that) one could rightly put that (membership in the Unification Church) aside.'' He began giving her Communion at the Mass he celebrated earlier that day, he said.
(Although people speak in general terms of the Unification Church, and followers of Rev. Moon meet in local ``family churches,'' Rev. Moon did not identify his original organization as a church but as the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity. When he dissolved that organization in 1997, he replaced it with the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.)
Archbishop Milingo appeared at the interview in a black suit and said Rev. Moon was providing that and everything else he needed because he had left everything at the apartment he was occupying at the Vatican.
He said he had spoken by phone with a lawyer about disposal of property at the Italian village of Zagarolo that a benefactor had given for use of his Emmanuel Foundation and the congregations he established, he said.
Archbishop Milingo said he would continue to call himself an archbishop, but ``I don't think I will wear the clothes of the clergy because I don't want to offend some scrupulous Catholics.''
Catholics who have been supporting his work and now feel hurt by his actions should not look on him as ``the cause of their suffering,'' but find suffering in the fact that ``the mandate I received from God has been blocked and impeded continuously,'' Archbishop Milingo said.
``The Catholic Church should be honest enough to see that the cause is not Archbishop Milingo, but the fact that they have not accepted what I received from God,'' he said.
The archbishop said that when he first went to Italy, sometimes 50-60 priests would join with him as concelebrants at his Masses. But bishops and superiors of religious orders warned them to stop collaborating with him and ``punished'' them in various ways if they continued, he said.
Archbishop Milingo said that when he was forbidden to use churches, he began holding services in hotels and warehouses.
He indicated that the final showdown began in March when a top official of the Congregation for Bishops told him in a telephone conversation that he should no longer celebrate Masses in warehouses.
Archbishop Milingo said some priests told him that the official would be willing to take him to one of his regular Saturday meetings with the pope.
But the archbishop said he wanted a chance to explain his situation to the pope, and the congregation head would only have taken him along as a ``spanner boy'' -- an assistant who carries tools for a mechanic.
``I have never heard anything directly from the pope against me,'' Archbishop Milingo said.
Archbishop Milingo said the Rev. and Mrs. Geun-Sik Song, missionaries for Rev. Moon's organization in Rome, heard about him and contacted him three years ago.
They introduced him to Rev. Moon, who subsequently invited him to participate in some events, including meetings in Washington and Korea, Archbishop Milingo said.
Then, this year, with his work blocked and people referring to him derisively as an African ``witch doctor'' engaged in superstition, Rev. Moon ``offered me a chance.''

"Para comprender una decisión"

para Armando Lozano Hernandez ("El Mundo", 29 de mayo de 2001)

La noticia de la boda de Monseñor Milingo en la «secta» Moon pone de manifiesto por un lado la falta de respeto que existe hacia la libertad de creencias y, por otro, la importancia de contemplar el fenómeno religioso en su vertiente original o sagrada.
La libertad no descalifica gratuitamente, sino que opina con conocimiento de causa. El calificativo de «secta» tiene connotaciones inequívocamente peyorativas y es una falta de respeto para nuestra Iglesia y una agresión contra la tolerancia que debe existir en una sociedad plural y democrática, máxime cuando la reciente Sentencia del Tribunal Constitucional de 15 de febrero ordenó la inscripción de la Iglesia de Unificación en el Registro de Entidades Religiosas, cosa que ya se ha efectuado, culminado así un largo proceso y subrayando que «adolecían de clara inconsistencia» los argumentos utilizados para aludir a la presunta peligrosidad de la Iglesia de Unificación.
Por otra parte todo fenómeno religioso tiene sus raíces en una revelación o en una profunda experiencia personal. Sin embargo, una vez que se institucionaliza parece olvidar sus orígenes y niega la posibilidad de una nueva revelación. ¿Qué ocurrió con el judío Jesús? Pues simplemente que fue, al igual que sus apóstoles, rechazado por el propio grupo en el que surgió. No venía a negar la Ley de Moisés, sino a darle cumplimiento, pero su mensaje fue considerado blasfemo, satánico y merecedor de la cruz.
De ahí surgió el hoy extendido cristianismo que lamentablemente volvió a perseguir a todos los reformadores o a quienes aportaban interpretaciones diferentes, frecuentemente en aspectos no esenciales.
Los arrianos, los católicos, los ortodoxos, los luteranos, los calvinistas, los evangélicos, etcétera se persiguieron con saña en sus respectivas áreas de dominio, originando baños de sangre ajenos a la voluntad de Dios. Hoy en día las persecuciones no suelen ser tan sangrientas, pero continúan las descalificaciones mutuas, la falta de diálogo y de cooperación, y ello impide que las religiones puedan ejercer el papel de constructores de la paz.
Monseñor Milingo, en su declaración pública respecto a su decisión de casarse, afirma que «condenar sin conocer el mensaje del reverendo Moon es actuar al igual que se ha hecho en la Historia con la mayoría de profetas y santos». Afirma que el reverendo Moon «nunca» le ha pedido que niegue o abandone su fe católica. Y añade que no se ha unido a la Iglesia del reverendo Moon porque en realidad el reverendo Moon no trabaja por crear otra Iglesia más, sino «por eliminar las barreras entre todos los credos, naciones y razas».
Pedro y Pablo se sintieron inspirados por el Dios de Moisés, no por un Dios distinto, y Monseñor Milingo viene a afirmar lo mismo. Considera que debe su amor y su vida a Jesús y a la Virgen María y que ellos le han inspirado al tomar la decisión de ser bendecido en matrimonio, y expresa su «eterna gratitud y respeto al Santo Padre Juan Pablo II». Por todo ello conviene preguntarse ¿no sería conveniente abordar con respeto su personal decisión y, si se estima oportuno, criticarla, pero una vez después de haber conocido con precisión su contenido y motivos?
El nuevo siglo será revolucionario. Hay un anhelo de fraternidad y universalidad latente. ¿Podría ser que el mensaje del reverendo Moon fuese el catalizador para realizarlo?
Armando Lozano Hernández es presidente de la Iglesia de Unificación en España.

"Archbishop Was Rev. Moon´s 'New Catc'" Korean Aims to Bolster Sagging Sect, Expert Says"

(Zenit.org, May 29, 2001)

ROME-- Sun Myung Moon recruited Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo because the Korean's sect is in decline and needs a famous figure to help it break into Africa, says a specialist on new religions.
Massimo Introvigne, director of the Center of Research Studies on New Religions, in an article in the Italian newspaper Avvenire, said he believes that Moon did everything in his power to attract Milingo and make him his point man for Africa.
Milingo, 70, the former archbishop of Lusaka, on Sunday married a 43-year-old acupuncturist in a group wedding conducted by Moon in New York.
The next day the Vatican said Milingo had "placed himself outside the Catholic Church" and was no longer considered a bishop.
Introvigne, one of the world's leading experts on sects and new religious movements, said the Reverend Moon's financial and media empire is doing well, but his sect is in decline in the religious sense. Hence, Milingo was a great "new catch," Introvigne contended.
"Moon was losing followers and is no longer much in the news," Introvigne noted. Given this stagnation, Moon saw in Milingo a unique media opportunity, said Introvigne.
Yet what can an ordinary African prelate and a Korean proclaiming himself the "second messiah" have in common? "Anyone who has followed Milingo in the last few years," said Introvigne, "has noted a tendency toward positions that are typical of that current of the U.S. Protestant world called pre-millenarianism, which predicts the carrying-off of the elect to heaven following apocalyptic events, the manifestation of the Antichrist, and the thousand-year reign on earth of the faithful with Jesus."
This theology is accompanied by the "devaluation of celibacy," and has the "evangelical" ambit as background, which is prevalent in the United States and the Moon movement, Introvigne added.
In Milingo's press statement there were "theological derivations -- such as Satan's blood, which is also poured in the Church and must be purified -- which are very, very similar to Moon's speeches in internal circles," Introvigne explained.
He added that The Unification Church founded by Moon no longer exists. Moon announced that it had a 40-year life cycle; having been born in 1954, it has been dissolved for seven years.
Introvigne said that two very diverse groups remain active: the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, composed of all those who at any given time adhere to Moon's cultural ends, and do not leave their original religion (an intention expressed by Milingo); and the Church of Families for Unification, embracing those who really think Moon is the messiah.
Some, like former President George H. Bush, look favorably on Moon, because he is the media magnate who "plays a political role of the right, in contrast to a great part of the U.S. press, which has a different line," Introvigne said.
Now the challenge for Moon is to translate the media success attained with Milingo, Introvigne speculated.
"There are political men, for example, South Americans, who are happy to shake his hand because of the political support that Moon entails, but not much more," Introvigne said. The same thing could happen to Moon this time, he added.
Moon will try to launch his movement with Milingo in Africa, where it already exists but is small, Introvigne speculated.
In that continent, religion is "hot," Introvigne said, adding, "Milingo will certainly be used to spread the movement, but I wonder if he will have results."

"Così Moon ha attratto Milingo"

di Gianni Santamaria ("Avvenire", 29 maggio 2001)

L'esperto di nuovi movimenti religiosi: il santone coreano è in declino d'immagine, di qui l'«acquisto» del vescovo
Parla Introvigne.

Navarro: è di fatto fuori dalla Chiesa
Il portavoce vaticano: grave ferita all'unità della Chiesa. Ora i fedeli devono trarne le conseguenze. Inevitabili le sanzioni canoniche

Monsignor Emmanuel Milingo «si è posto di fatto fuori dalla Chiesa cattolica». Lo ha detto ieri ai giornalisti il portavoce della Santa Sede, Joaquin Navarro-Valls. Le parole del direttore della Sala stampa vaticana costituiscono la prima reazione ufficiale d'Oltretevere al matrimonio del vescovo africano con la coreana Sung Ryae Soon (43 anni), celebrato domenica a New York, nell'ambito di una delle cerimonie nuziali collettive della setta del sedicente reverendo Moon.

In un breve comunicato diffuso al termine della mattinata di ieri, Navarro non adopera mai la parola «scomunica», anche se alcuni accenni sembrano andare proprio in quella direzione. «Con la partecipazione al rito pubblico di matrimonio presso la setta di "Moon" - si legge nella dichiarazione - egli (cioé Milingo, ndr) si è posto di fatto fuori della Chiesa cattolica e ha inferto una grave ferita alla comunione che i vescovi in primo luogo devono manifestare con la Chiesa».

«Egli perciò - prosegue il portavoce della Santa Sede - non potrà essere considerato come vescovo della Chiesa cattolica ed i fedeli sono invitati a trarre le dovute conseguenze del suo comportamento e delle sue azioni, che costituiscono il presupposto per le previste sanzioni canoniche, che prossimamente gli saranno comunicate e poi rese pubbliche».

La dichiarazione di Navarro, però, si apre con la dolorosa constatazione del grave gesto compiuto dall'ex arcivescovo di Lusaka. È questo, infatti, il sentimento con cui la notizia è stata accolta in Vaticano. «Ovviamente - ha osservato il direttore della Sala stampa vaticana - la Santa Sede ha preso atto con vivo rammarico del gesto compiuto dall'arcivescovo monsignor Emmanuel Milingo».

Anche sabato, alla vigilia dell'annunciato matrimonio, Navarro aveva espresso lo sconcerto delle gerarchie vaticane. «Si spera che le notizie circolanti non siano vere», aveva commentato. E invece il presule nato in Zambia 71 anni fa e noto per la sua presunta attività di guaritore e di esorcista le ha purtroppo confermate.

Mentre l'impero mediatico ed economico di Moon va bene, «gli aspetti spirituali sono un po' in declino. È un gruppo che perde membri ed era un po' uscito dalle cronache». L'«acquisto» di Milingo va letto dunque come un colpo strategico per rilanciare la "faccia della luna" più in ombra della galassia del reverendo Sun Myung Moon: quella religiosa. Ne è convinto Massimo Introvigne, direttore del Centro studi di ricerca sulle nuove religioni (Cesnur). La sua opinione è da ricercatore: Introvigne non usa mai il termine "setta" e non crede a un "lavaggio del cervello".

L'«occhio particolare» di Moon per Milingo è apparso, però, evidente. Sia per il dorato "cordone mediatico" steso intorno al presule africano. Sia per il fatto che, rivela Introvigne, citando sue fonti negli Stati Uniti, Milingo avrebbe conosciuto la sposa già da tempo. Ma cosa può accomunare un arcivescovo cattolico africano e un coreano che si proclama il secondo Messia? «Credo che chi ha seguito Milingo in questi ultimi anni ha notato una deriva verso posizioni tipiche di quella corrente del mondo protestante americano detta premillenarismo, la quale prevede il rapimento degli eletti in cielo seguito da avvenimenti apocalittici, la manifestazione dell'anticristo, e poi un regno di mille anni dei fedeli con Gesù sulla terra». Una teologia che porta in sé la «svalutazione del celibato» e che fa da sfondo comune, pur con distinzioni, tra l'ambito evangelical, diffusissimo negli States, e il movimento di Moon. A questa convergenza il reverendo di origine coreana aggiunge poi la dottrina sul proprio ruolo di secondo Messia, «venuto a completare l'opera di Cristo e a ergersi contro l'anticristo».

Al suo interno il movimento di Moon è. poi, più complesso di quanto sembri. E ciò si riverbera anche in quella che Introvigne definisce l'«ambiguità» della posizione di Milingo. La Chiesa dell'Unificazione, infatti, a rigore non esiste più. Come aveva annunciato il fondatore essa aveva un ciclo vitale di 40 anni ed, essendo nata nel 1954, è ormai sciolta da sette. Rimangono in vita due realtà «molto diverse»: la Federazione delle famiglie per la pace e l'unificazione mondiale, della quale fanno parte tutti coloro che in qualche modo aderiscono ai fini culturali di Moon e che non lasciano la religione d'origine (intenzione manifestata anche da Milingo). Costoro considerano Moon un leader profetico per la restaurazione di valori «conservatori». Oltre a questa ci sono poi molte associazioni, tra le quali la Chiesa delle famiglie per l'unificazione, «che riunisce chi veramente crede che Moon sia il Messia». E all'inizio della lunga dichiarazione alla stampa di Milingo, nota Introvigne, esistono «derive teologiche, come quella del sangue di Satana che scorre anche nella Chiesa e da cui ci si deve purificare, che sono molto, molto simili ai discorsi che fa Moon nelle cerchie interne». Non si sa se Milingo si sia convinto di una compatibilità che la Chiesa ovviamente rigetta, certo è la convergenza dell'ex arcivescovo di Lusaka potrebbe anche essere frutto di «fattori umani, troppo umani», dice lo studioso.

La differenza di fondo tra i due volti della galassia-Moon parte proprio dai numeri. Perché, spiega lo studioso che al movimento ha dedicato anche un libro, del primo fanno parte milioni di persone: un numero poco quantificabile dato che i Moonies considerano aderente anche chi ha semplicemente firmato una petizione per strada. Alla seconda aderiscono in meno di un milione, concentrati in Corea e Giappone, con presenze negli Usa di decine di migliaia di seguaci. In Europa siamo nell'ordine delle migliaia. E in Italia l'obiettivo è arrivare a mille.

Introvigne cita una sua esperienza in presa diretta da osservatore a uno matrimoni collettivi del passato. «Era l'ultima cerimonia di massa in uno stadio a Washington. La cerimonia nuziale di domenica scorsa era di massa per modo di dire. E parlando con quegli sposi ho notato che più della metà dei miei interlocutori escludeva assolutamente che Moon fosse il Messia». Così come non ci credono numerose personalità importanti, come l'ex presidente Bush, che pure guardano con favore a Moon. Per loro l'aspetto più importante è il tycoon, il magnate dei media che possiede tre quotidiani «che svolgono un ruolo politico di destra, mentre in gran parte della stampa americana è orientata diversamente».

Ma l'attività di Moon guarda molto anche alla "cooptazione" di altri leader religiosi. In modo sincretistico. Come. ad esempio, il leader nero degli islamici americani Louis Farrakhan, che "concelebrava" con Moon proprio in quel raduno di anni fa. Per questo caso specifico lo studioso parla, però, piuttosto di incontro tra «debolezze», tra «leader un po' ostracizzati dall'establishment religioso americano». In fondo, dice, il terreno di incontro non è tanto a livello politico, ma morale: famiglia, lotta all'aborto, alla prostituzione e alla droga. Due compagni di strada davvero strani, rimarca, se si considera che il primo è amico di Saddam Hussein e l'altro di Bush, «ma in America queste cose succedono...».

Da ultimo: Milingo può essere considerato un apripista per uno "sbarco" africano di Moon? «Il suo problema è tradurre i successi mediatici. Ci sono uomini politici, ad esempio sudamericani, contenti di stringergli la mano e del sostegno politico che lui apporta», ma non più di questo. In Africa, il movimento esiste ma è molto piccolo, racconta l'esperto. Una decina d'anni fa ha avuto aderenti e problemi con una persona, in Zimbabwe, che si dichiarava in contatto con lo spirito di un figlio di Moon, morto tragicamente. In quel continente, però, la religione è «calda», conclude, Introvigne. Milingo «sarà certamente utilizzato per espandere il movimento, ma mi chiedo con quali risultati».

Back to Reverend Moon - Unification Church Special Page

[Home Page] [Cos'è il CESNUR] [Biblioteca del CESNUR] [Testi e documenti] [Libri] [Convegni]

cesnur e-mail

[Home Page] [About CESNUR] [CESNUR Library] [Texts & Documents] [Book Reviews] [Conferences]