Emmanuel Milingo Lusaka
As a Catholic baptised in infancy, I have devoted my life to the Church. From my ordination in 1958, I have lived a celibate life, and tried to serve God with my whole heart, preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and minister to His people.
In the process, I have faithfully served the Catholic Church as Curate, Parish Priest, Archbishop of Lusaka, and Special Delegate for Migrants and Itinerants, among others. I have never sought any worldly station or rank, and have desired only to serve the Lord, His Church and His people.
The Holy Spirit has been my comfort and counsel, and the Lord Jesus and the Blessed Mother have shed light on my path. I am especially grateful to the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, whose encouragement, acceptance and support have never wavered. I take this step only in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, and only after many days of prayer and fasting. I suffer not for the opinions of men, and seek only to do God's will.
"I have not changed my faith and will continue to celebrate Mass everyday". It is important, however, that the many people in Africa, Europe and elsewhere who have trusted my guidance or been blessed by God through the instrument of my service be fully informed of my reasons and motives for this action, lest anyone seek to malign or twist my purpose for their own ends.
On Sunday, May 27, 2001, I was blessed in marriage with Maria Sung, a doctor of acupuncture and a loving and faithful servant of the Lord.
As a celibate priest, matrimony was the farthest thing from my mind.
It is only through the command of Jesus, and the counsel and support of Reverend and Mrs Sun Myung Moon that I took this unexpected and bold step, one that I have wrestled with in my heart for some time. At the request of my bride and I, Reverend and Mrs Moon officiated the blessing ceremony, administered our vows and consecrated our union, together with clergy from various denominations.
My reasons for heeding the Lord's command to be blessed in marriage are as follows:
I. God's Word: The Purpose of Marriage and Family
As Genesis 1:27 says, "So God made man in His own image. In the image of God he created him, male and female..." Our Lord affirmed this scripture when he said: "Have you not read that the one God made them male and female, and for this reason the two are to become one flesh... and what God has joined together, let no man put asunder (Matthew 19: 4-7). He tells us that marriage itself is the fulfilment of God's purpose of creation - that since God's image is male and female, it is only as a couple that we can fully reflect His nature. After creating Adam, God said: "It is not fitting for man to be alone (Genesis 2:1 8). His first direction to them was, "Be fruitful, and multiply. Fill the earth and subdue (Genesis 1:28). Still, the priestly vow of celibacy has a profound meaning in the providence of God. Our first ancestors disobeyed God, partaking of the forbidden fruit. Ashamed of their nakedness, they covered their lower parts, and hid from God. They were cast from the Garden, and their marriage and family life had nothing to do with God. Humanity has inherited the sinful lineage of these fallen parents. Jesus said: "You are of your father, the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires (John 8:44)". Because of the false love between men and women from the very beginning, the path of total devotion to God's service has required us to sacrifice such human desire. St. Paul explained the struggle between serving God and being married, praising those who would refrain from marriage (1 Corinthians 7:28-40). Jesus acknowledged those who had ... made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 19:12). Thus my vow of celibacy has been one that I offered with my whole heart. With the blood of our false father, Satan, running in our veins, we cannot enter the Kingdom of God lest we be born anew, receiving the body and blood of Jesus, and inheriting God's love, life and lineage through His only begotten Son. Thus I have and will continue to celebrate mass every day of my life, for Holy Communion represents the truest and most intimate union with our Heavenly Father. Yet God has shown me that the oneness of a Godly man and woman is a true reflection of the Holy Trinity. Just as God the Father is one with and manifested in the mystical union of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, so our Heavenly Father can be fully present in the union of a man and woman in the communion of marriage. St. Paul held up the relationship between Jesus and the Mother Church as the model for marriage (Ephesians 5:22-32). The early church, like Paul, looked upon marriage as an unfortunate necessity. Gradually, the vocation of marriage and its original, holy purpose has been resurrected. At the close of Christianity's second millennium, many in the church have realised that the sacrifice of celibate life has fulfilled its purpose. We enter the era when every man and woman is called to fulfil his or her original purpose to reflect God's image. Sadly, many are unable to reconcile this original longing with their celibate vow, so their commitment has become a hollow shell, an unreachable standard.
All manner of defilement, including unnatural lust, illegitimate children, and other secret horrors have burdened the lives of those seeking to serve Him. The increase of homosexuality and pregnancy among priests and nuns has become common knowledge. In this way, Satan's blood has continued to flow into and through God's Church. This satanic blood must be cleansed, and God's true love, life and lineage be restored. To paraphrase Paul, it is time to grow up, to put away childish things, and to face the truth not dimly, through a glass, but face to face. I have spent my life confronting the devil. Now, by answering God's call to resemble Him fully and restore His original ideal of marriage, I pray to open the way for many others to separate themselves from Satan, purify their spirits and bodies, and help to cleanse and renew the Church.
II. My Calling and Mission
On April 3, 1973, I discovered, almost by chance that I was blessed with the gift of healing. Since then, God has continued to use my gift to bless many. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for He has anointed me to preach the gospel, heal the sick, and beyond my own expectation, to exorcise demons. As I obeyed God as His instrument, countless miracles took place. Thousands upon thousands were blessed through this ministry. Medical doctors and native healers, alike, witnessed the power of God, and many came to the Lord's Church through the preaching of the gospel and the charisma of healing. Powerful spiritual experiences took place amongst the congregation of the faithful. The Daughters of the Redeemer, The Brothers of St. John the Baptist, The Children of the Good Shepherd Jesus, and numerous ministries and missions blossomed through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I came to know the powerful presence and work of the spirit world. Many in the Church hierarchy could not understand these powerful manifestations of the spirit, and sought to control or limit them, by restricting my ministry. In spite of my devotion to God's word, my daily offering of mass, and my commitment to the Holy Church, I was accused, feared, and slandered. In addition, I saw that the European cultural dominance of the Church had both limited the Christian message and prevented Africans from truly discovering their original value and spiritual identity. While loving the Church and its tradition, I was determined to help overcome the Africans' imposed sense of cultural inferiority, and to bring new vitality to Christianity by nurturing it in the rich soil of Africa's spiritual heritage. This effort, too, placed me at odds with some church authorities. My effort to fulfil the mission God as given to me has been increasingly frustrated, blocked, and even sabotaged, by some in ecclesiastical authority. I was accused of all manner of earthly and spiritual evils, called to Rome, sued, questioned, examined and isolated. Ugly rumours were spread about me. Though the concerns were answered one by one, it became clear that I would not be allowed to return to the Archdiocese of Lusaka, to serve the African people whom I love. Obediently, I have remained in Rome nearly 20 years. Although I have been prevented from saying Mass in any church within the city limits, I could not abandon the call to preach the gospel, heal the sick, and cast out evil spirits. Painfully, I have become a challenge for the Church that I love, and the Church that I love has become a fetter that restricts me from my God-given mission. I have wrestled in prayer, asking myself which shall prevail: My vow of obedience to ecclesiastic authority, or my pledge of obedience to God?
III. My Love for the Holy Church
Through all the accusations, restrictions, slander and exile, my deep love for the Holy Mother Church has not wavered. Though I have been separated from the people God has called me to serve, and restricted from offering the gifts which the Spirit has continued to manifest through me until now, I continue to observe the faith into which I was baptised. As some in positions of power have been used by the devil to attack me, I have only sought to defend and protect God's Church. As I have struggled between the call of God and my obedience to the Church, I know that many greater than I have faced the same dilemma, from saints to reformers. Like them, I have no desire to leave the Church that I love, and yet I can only follow the Lord's leading. I pray that my embrace of God's ideal of marriage and family, my determination to follow the Lord's leading and the call of my conscience, and my commitment to the salvation of Africa and the world will touch the hearts of the faithful, and serve as a wake-up call to the Church as it enters a new millennium. Two thousand years ago the very people whom God prepared did not know the hour of their visitation. Even as Jesus proclaimed the coming kingdom and preached a new gospel, those who clung to the past named Him a devil. When he cleansed the temple the religious leaders worried only about the threat he posed to their authority. They had neither eyes to see nor ears to hear. Let us take care not to repeat the sins of the past.
IV. My Relationship to Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon
There will no doubt be those who claim that I have been unduly influenced by others to follow this path. For this reason I have carefully explained the past that makes this course inevitable. Some will believe that I have been converted or controlled, but I assure you, my decisions are my own. I am obedient first and foremost to the command of the Lord Jesus Christ. In lifting up the universal ideal of the family for all humanity, Reverend and Mrs Moon have never asked me to deny or abandon my Catholic faith. I asked Father and Mother Moon to arrange and consecrate my marriage because of my respect for the special anointing that God has given them for the building of God-centred marriages and families. I have truly seen that the Kingdom of God can only be established on Earth through true love, and that love can only be established through God-centred families. They are doing the Lord's work. I can say from the bottom of my heart that Reverend Moon is a man of God. His ministry began in his youth with a calling from Jesus Christ. I have seen his effort and investment to unite people of all faiths and to break down racial barriers. I have prayed to Jesus for long hours about Rev and Mrs Moon, and the Lord has guided me to understand and appreciate their special ministry to build loving, God-centred families amongst people of all faiths, in the capacity of True Parents. I have observed that Rev Moon knows the spirit world, as I have experienced it, in a profound way. I urge all of the faithful to be most concerned with meeting the living God and doing His will, and pray that my beloved Church will take further steps in restructuring its "modus administrandi". To those who would condemn Father and Mother Moon's universal message and ministry without personal investigation, remember that virtually every prophet and saint was misunderstood and rejected. I can only recall the words of Stephen in Acts 7: 51-52: "You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. Just as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed those who came to announce the coming of the righteous one, whom you have now betrayed and murdered."
V. Our Future
Though my heart is heavy for those who love me, but may not yet understand the path I am taking, I am filled with joy for the opportunity to offer all of my heart and soul and freely use all of the gifts God has given me in His service once again. My partner Maria and I will return to Africa, a continent suffering the scourge of HIV and Aids, a continent mired in political, economic and social confusion, yet a land with a rich heritage of traditional values of family, community, respect for elders and spirituality. It is our mission to renew that heritage, to bring the healing love of Christ, and use the building block of Godly families to rebuild the society. God has called us to bring a movement of healing and renewal, and for the continent of my birth I will invest the rest of my earthly life. I owe my life and my love to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. I offer my eternal gratitude and respect to the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. I am and always will be devoted to the Church that I love. I am not joining Rev Moon's Church, for his work is not for any one Church, nor any one nation, nor any one race. It is to break down the barriers between all races, nations and creeds, and realise the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. I prayed to Jesus, and the Lord Himself has shown me that His kingdom must be realised through human hearts and hands, and must be based upon true love and true families. He has anointed this ministry and confirmed the rightness of my path.
Archibishop Emmanuel Milingo is getting a big cuddle from his wife of just one week, and looking rather alarmed. This is because the 71-year-old is a priest of the Church of Rome and has been celibate throughout his life. He is not used to the warm affections of a wife, and as Maria Sung - the new Mrs Milingo - puts an arm around his waist, slipping her hand under his black suit jacket and pressing her smiling face to his chest, he seems confused about what to do with his hands.
The newly-weds: 'I have been chaste since I was 12,' says Milingo, 'and it has been a struggle'
As if getting married were not controversial enough, Milingo decided to do it at a mass wedding conducted by the Rev Sun Myung Moon of the Unification Church, which is not at all the same organisation as the Roman Catholic Church.
Milingo looks down at his bride, puts his own arm cautiously around her shoulder and then looks up with a big beaming smile full of fine white teeth. It is a touching moment. We are standing under a glaring neon cross hung above a church in the old Hell's Kitchen district of Manhattan, and the archbishop is beginning to relax.
He loves the cross. On one side, it reads: "Get right with God" and that, he chuckles, is just what he has devoted his life to doing. On the other side, facing Times Square, it blazes out a stark warning in red neon: "Sin will find you out".
It is a matter of debate which of these messages applies in the case of the archbishop, who felt his calling while tending cattle on the grasslands of Zambia in the Forties. He has been at odds with the Vatican for 20 years, and has long been known as the Voodoo Priest, because of the way he tailored Catholicism to suit his African flock - entire services would be devoted to faith healing, exorcism and speaking in tongues. Unsurprisingly, he was recalled to Rome in the early Eighties, to be kept under the watchful eye of the Curia.
But he knows that the Vatican might think that, in flouting his priestly obligation to celibacy, he has gone too far this time. A few hundred years ago, they would have been stacking up the kindling - the thought makes him chuckle.
"If I am called before the Pope, I will go," he says, "but I will have no more of inquisitions. And if I do see His Holiness, then I will explain that I have made some noise, OK, but it is the Church that must come to terms with the need for marriage in modern times."
Milingo is clearly tired after concluding a meeting with some visitors from Rome, who suggested that he had been kidnapped and brainwashed by Moon, but he is ready for a bit of cut and thrust with his Church.
"Let us understand this," he begins. "I am still chaste. In the Rev Moon's church, we must be chaste for 40 days after marriage. This is so that we may get to know each other as brother and sister. This form of marriage is a very strong way of fighting sex. There is a lot of chastity in the Rev Moon's teaching."
Mrs Milingo is a small, well-rounded woman of 43 with a big smile and the warm, easy-going manner of a nurse - in fact, she has had a thriving career as an acupuncturist. Her full name is Sung Ryae Soon. Like Moon, she comes from South Korea and she had been a member of his Church for years before being nominated for duty as a bride.
In broken English and with nervous glances for approval, she makes it clear that she believes her marriage to be a matter of divine destiny, a union ordered by God and Moon, and that she certainly plans to fulfill her vows when her 40 days of waiting are up.
We sit in a steel-and-glass diner in the heart of Manhattan, sipping tea and lemonade. The night blares with the din of Mammon beyond the window. "Delaying consummation may seem very hard," the archbishop says. "And I know that, from the outside, it looks impossible." I find myself in the rather odd position of asking an elderly Roman Catholic bishop if, well will he? And has he ever?
Milingo is not embarrassed. In fact, he is enjoying himself. "Whether we have children in this union will be up to God," he says. "But the Bible records that Abraham became a father at 100, so it is possible, if God wills it." And as for the second question, the answer is "no".
"I had no chance," he says. "I was herding cattle - a shepherd, you see - when I was eight, and then, at 12, I went away to school at the seminary. And then, at 28, I was ordained a priest. So you might say I have been celibate since I was 12, and it has been a struggle, yes, but it is one I have overcome with much prayer and fasting."
Sex clearly remains in the realm of theory and dogma. But Milingo knows his stuff when it comes to tangling with cardinals and Popes.
In the Seventies, he was a hugely popular Archbishop of Lusaka whose methods were rather more violent and literal than the Church had grown used to in the West. His congregation would be a writhing, dancing mass; eyes rolling, demons shrieking, spirits babbling in unknown tongues, and the blessed fainting away in holy ecstasy.
Milingo dubbed this his healing ministry. "I discovered the gift of receiving the Holy Spirit in a most direct way, and of healing," he explains. "I knew this to be my mission. The problem is that the Church has never accepted my mission."
Milingo's critics feared that he had crossed the line from a useful "Africanisation" of European orthodoxy to a new version of voodoo.
Something, it seemed, had gone to the head of a once promising priest.
"I received this message from God in 1973, and my life changed," he says. "Many, many people were healed by my gift. But the reaction of the Devil was indeed terrible. The Church said I must choose between preaching and healing. They did not understand what it was that God wanted from me."
Milingo's apparently successful exorcisms were of particular concern.
Shortly after he had been consecrated as archbishop, a woman visited him in a pitiful state, convinced that her newborn child had been so deeply invaded by the spirit of an animal that he was no longer human.
The species of animal remains unclear, but Milingo suspected the work of a demon. He began to pray. "For three days, I prayed and meditated and prayed and the woman was terribly tormented. But I could feel the enemy, I could feel the force in my hands, it was as tangible as the presence of the Lord. I succeeded in touching that woman, and I touched the Devil that day, and I cast him out. And that began 30 years of exorcisms."
The sort of folk who frequent New York diners late into the night have fallen silent around us, their eyes wide and their heads nodding with enthusiasm. I hear a muttered "Amen".
How did he do it? "With the power of the Holy Spirit," the archbishop answers.
Yes, but how? "Well, I use the formula written by Pope Leo XIII," he says.
But what did that Devil feel like? "You must do these things," he responds with a little laugh, "by reaching the same plain of spiritual existence as that demon or that Devil, so I really cannot tell you what he felt like physically."
In 1982, clerics were sent to investigate Milingo and he was brought before a tribunal of Propaganda Fidei, the department in charge of missionary territories. After more than a year, he was summoned by Pope John Paul himself, and told that his innovations were deemed to have threatened the dignity of the faith. But he would remain an archbishop, in Rome, under the authority of the Pope's Secretary of State, working for the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples. The Pope told him that "we should do all we can to safeguard your charisma", and allowed him to roam with his healing ministry, on the condition that he was always to notify the local bishop.
His reputation spread. Several television documentaries were made, and Milingo appeared to become settled in Rome, learning fluent Italian and playing host to bishops from the growing Catholic congregations of Africa.
But then he began to meet members of Moon's unusual sect. He had decided, he says, that "family values" and the proper education of children were the only hope of preserving civilisation as we know it, and he liked what he found in the Moon teaching. "I believe that you are never too old to learn, and I have learnt a lot from the Rev Moon. He wants to purify society and build a priestly world through marriage."
Sex, he says, was indeed the Fall of Man and, ever since Adam and Eve, there has been fornication, adultery and prostitution to rot the spirit and sow disharmony within the community. Milingo does not seem terribly keen on the practical aspects of abandoning his vow of chastity, whatever Mrs Milingo thinks.
He says that he very much likes the idea of a Moon marriage being between three people - "man, woman and God" - and recalls how he has always crusaded for the sanctity of marriage and the importance of family. But why did he have to get married himself?
"I just decided," he says, with a schoolboy smile, "to practise what I preach."
The defiant Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo said Tuesday he was simply following the Bible's message of promoting love and family when he was married by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon in a public slap at the church's mandate that priests practice celibacy.
Speaking before a conference of clergy in Chicago that was heavily attended by followers of Moon's Unification Church, Milingo said he should not be thrown out of the Roman Catholic Church, as the Vatican indicated it plans to do.
"You don't excommunicate someone who believes," he said. "I've never preached anything against the doctrine."
Told that a married Lutheran minister in Joliet last week was granted special permission from the pope to become a Catholic priest, he responded, "They are not playing fair."
Milingo said he trusted Moon to choose his bride and perform the wedding--a mass ceremony in New York City last month that included 59 other couples--because of the Unification Church's strong emphasis on family. He said other clergy who have quit first and gotten married have been shunned by the Catholic power structure anyway.
Another Catholic priest at the conference said he didn't support Milingo's decision to marry, but he does think celibacy should be optional.
"Most priests have the same opinion," said Monsignor Edward Bikuma, pastor at St. Ephrem on Chicago's North Side, part of the Eastern Rite branch of Catholicism.
Milingo was forced to retire from his post in Africa in 1983 after promoting faith healings and exorcisms. He has kept his title while living in Rome.
Lusaka - Catholic bishops in his homeland, Zambia, have regretted last month's decision by Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo to break the vow of celibacy by participating in a public nuptial ceremony by the Moon sect.
They said 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".
In a statement issued here on May 29, the church leaders urged all Christians to continue praying for Milingo, already dropped by the Vatican, in the hope that he would decide to repent and return to the Church. They said:
"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 others, and us 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." ?
SOURCE: Statement from the Catholic Bishops in Zambia on the defection of former Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo
Lusaka - The Apostolic Nunciature here has released a statement from the Vatican regretting the participation of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo in the Moon sect's public nuptial ceremony, saying he has "put himself outside the Catholic Church".
Reacting to the development, the statement from the Vatican said: "The Holy See took note, with deep regret, of the gesture performed by Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo".
"Regarding the reports about Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, the Apostolic Nunciature in Lusaka would like to make known to the general public the following press release, issued by the Press Office of the Holy See," they said on May 28.
"With his participation in the public nuptial ceremony of the Moon sect he has put himself outside the Catholic Church, causing a deep injury to the Church Communion, which Bishops in the first place have to live and manifest.
"Consequently, he cannot be considered Bishop of the Catholic Church.
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".
In a separate statement also issued here on May 29, the Apostolic Nunciature said it was "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".
SOURCE: The Apostolic Nunciature in Lusaka
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