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Why Milingo Claims Not to Have Joined the Unification Church

by Massimo Introvigne

International media are reporting and labeling as "bizarre" claims by Catholic Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo that he feels that, by being married by Reverend Moon, he has not joined the Unification Church nor left the Roman Catholic Church. He of course realizes he is breaching canon law for marrying without having formally left the holy orders and received a specific permission to marry from Rome; but he denies he has joined a different religion. From the point of view of the Unification movement, the claim is not bizarre - it is obvious. Nobody can "join" the Unification Church for the good reason that it no longer exists. On May 1, 1994, the fortieth anniversary of the foundation of the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity was celebrated in Seoul. According to the Reverend Moon, this event represented the attainment of a fundamental stage in his movement's history, which permitted him to declare the conclusion of the "cycle" of the Unification Church as such. He then inaugurated the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) which combined all the organizations the Reverend Moon had created. The Reverend Moon affirmed that the "course" of religion was finished and that, with the beginning of the new "era of the family", God will now meet humankind in the family. At this time it was declared that it was necessary to campaign for the purification of love and the sanctification of the family. Thus other religious organizations which possess similar ethical standards will be invited to participate in this umbrella organization. The Unification Church will continue, in order to support the religious functions of its members, as the Unification Family Church, one of the many religious organizations within the FFWPU. Most couples "blessed" in recent years by Rev. Moon belong to FFWPU but do not belong to the Unification Family Church, and most claim they have never left their original religion. Summing up, being "blessed" in marriage by Rev. Moon and joining the FFWPU is not the same as joining the (old) Unification Church.
This is, of course, the point of view of the Unification movement, and apparently of Milingo himself. Obviously the Roman Catholic Church, which forbids "dual membership" of Catholics in any organization which is likely even to "compromise" the faith (witness its continuing position that Catholics should not join even the blandest Masonic lodges), will not particularly care about the distinction, and will take a very different view.

See From the Unification Church to the Unification Movement, 1994-1999: Five Years of Dramatic Changes by Massimo Introvigne

Back to Reverend Moon - Unification Church Special Page

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