CESNUR - center for studies on new religions

Roma, 22 Agosto 2001

Il Direttore della Sala Stampa della Santa Sede, Dr. Joaquín Navarro-Valls, ha rilasciato questa mattina ai giornalisti la seguente dichiarazione:
Mons. Milingo incontrerà la Signora Maria Sung per comunicarle le sue decisioni. Sia questo incontro che le condizioni di esso sono state decise da Mons. Milingo nella sua totale libertà: la Santa Sede non può né vuole imporre nulla alla coscienza dell’arcivescovo.

"Vatican: Archbishop, Wife Will Meet"

by Roxana M. Popescu (AP, August 22, 2001)

VATICAN CITY --An archbishop whose marriage scandalized the Vatican has agreed to meet with his wife after a two-week spiritual retreat, the Vatican said Wednesday.
Emmanuel Milingo, 71, ``will meet Maria Sung to communicate his decisions to her,'' said Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls.
However, questions were immediately raised over whether the two sides could agree on terms for the meeting.
The wife, Maria Sung, a 43-year-old acupuncturist, said that Vatican had set unacceptable conditions. The Vatican, meanwhile, denied setting any conditions.
Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said that Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, 71, had made the decision to meet with Sung and set the conditions ``in total liberty.''
``The Holy See cannot and does not want to impose anything upon the conscience of the archbishop,'' he said in a brief statement.
The statement did not say when the couple would meet or whether it would be in private, something Sung has demanded.
Sung's spokesman, the Rev. Phillip Schanker, said the Vatican had agreed Tuesday to a private meeting, then backed away from that commitment. He also said the Vatican had set seven conditions for the meeting, but would not disclose what they were.
``We are extremely disappointed,'' said Schanker, an official of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Family Federation for World Peace and Unification Movement.
The South Korean ambassador to the Vatican has been trying for days to arrange a meeting between Milingo and his wife, who has been on a hunger strike since Aug. 14.
``Maria is fasting for one purpose--for a private meeting with her husband. Nothing else can be discussed,'' said Schanker.
Milingo and Sung were married at a May 27 group wedding in New York conducted by Moon.
Sung says she hasn't heard from Milingo since Aug. 8, the day after the Zambian archbishop met with Pope John Paul II after the Vatican threatened to kick him out of the church if he didn't leave Sung.
Earlier this month, the Vatican released what it said was a handwritten, signed letter from Milingo in which he said he had decided to return to the church and leave his wife.
Since Milingo disappeared from public sight, the Vatican has not disclosed his whereabouts, saying only that he is on a spiritual retreat and that he should be left alone to pray.

"Pastors Want Milingo, Wife to Meet"

by Roxana M. Popescu (AP, August 21, 2001)

ROME -- Two American pastors have joined the crusade to arrange a meeting between Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo and the wife the Vatican insists he give up.
The Revs. T.L. Barrett of the Life Center Church of God in Christ in Chicago and Hycel Taylor of the Second Baptist Church in Evanston, Ill., said they have asked for an audience with the pope.
The two Protestant ministers hope to persuade him to allow a meeting between Milingo, 71, and Maria Sung, 43, the woman he married May 27 in a group wedding conducted by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
"We will go as neutral and objective friends of Christendom to request his Holiness, Pope John Paul II, to allow Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo to personally and privately express his true intentions to his wife and to the world," Taylor said at a news conference Tuesday.
Barrett said he and Taylor also want to ensure that "this black man who is unique in the Catholic Church is receiving the justice that is due and is treated fairly."
Milingo, who is from Zambia, was already out of favor with the Vatican for having conducted faith healings and exorcisms. After the wedding, the Vatican threatened him with excommunication.
The Vatican later suspended that threat, saying the archbishop had decided to return to the church. His whereabouts were not disclosed. The Vatican has said Milingo is on a spiritual retreat and should be left alone to pray.
Sung, an acupuncturist from South Korea, went on a hunger strike Aug. 14, saying she hasn't met with her husband since Aug. 6, the day before his audience with the pope. She has said she fears Milingo is being held against his will.
The South Korean ambassador to the Holy See also has been meeting with Vatican officials for days to try to set up a meeting between Milingo and Sung.
The Vatican has offered the ambassador a meeting between delegations representing both spouses, said the Rev. Philip Schanker, an official of Moon's church who is acting as Sung's spokesman. Sung rejected the offer, insisting on a face-to-face meeting with her husband, he said.

"Bishop to meet Korean bride"

by John Phillips ("The Times," August 19, 2001)

The Vatican plans to allow Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo to meet his South Korean wife to try to persuade her to end a hunger strike. Maria Sung, 43, who married the bishop, 71, in a Unification Church ceremony on May 27, has refused to eat for six days. She protesting in Rome against Mgr Milingo’s decision to leave her after his recent reconciliation with the Roman Catholic Church.
Last weekend Yang Il Bae, the South Korean Ambassador to the Holy See, met Mrs Sung at the Vatican’s request. He tried unsuccessfully to give her a farewell letter from the bishop, who scandalised many Catholics by marrying Mrs Sung in a collective wedding ceremony held in New York by the Unification Church, the sect founded in 1954 by the Rev Sun Myung Moon.
After the meeting the Ambassador said that the Vatican would agree to a meeting between the bishop and Mrs Sung to prevent her continuing her hunger strike.
In June the Vatican threatened to excommunicate Mgr Milingo unless he renounced the wedding and declared his loyalty to the Catholic Church. Earlier this month the bishop met the Pope and began what the Vatican described as a period of “reflection and prayer”. Then Mrs Sung appeared in Rome and accused the Vatican of holding the Zambian bishop against his will, something the the Vatican strongly denies.

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