Vatican Announces Controversial Archbishop's Return to Public Life

Archbishop Milingo to Celebrate Mass on November 21

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 15, 2002 ( Next week, Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo will again take up his public engagements in a small town near Rome, a Vatican press statement reported.

The text, published by the Vatican Press Office, informs «the faithful» that on Nov. 21, the archbishop emeritus of Lusaka will preside over a solemn Eucharistic celebration at the Abbey of Casamari, in the diocese of Frosinone.

It will be the first public event for the exorcist Archbishop, after a year of spiritual retreat in Argentina following his May 2001 «marriage,» to Maria Sung, in a ceremony of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (Unification Church), headed by Korean Reverend Sun Myung Moon; the marriage was not recognized by the Catholic Church.

Archbishop Milingo’s first public appearance since his spiritual retreat was on Italian state television (RAI) at the end of September. He said that «he had suffered much, but that this trial is now behind him.»

«I am well, although I have lived through difficult times. I have also lived through happy times in Argentina. I have had time to pray, write, compose music, and reflect,» he added.

The Abbey of Casamari, where he will take up his public meetings, is near the town of Zagarolo, where the archbishop is residing.

Before his contact with the Unification Church, Archbishop Milingo celebrated «healing» Masses, attended by thousands of faithful. Since these ceremonies were often emotional, with «reinterpretations» of the exorcism ritual, the Italian bishops prohibited Archbishop Milingo from holding them in their dioceses. Archbishop Milingo explained last August when he returned to the Catholic Church at the Pope’s request, this isolation ended in a crisis, that led him to seek recognition of his work from the Unification Church.

The Vatican’s announcement of the archbishop’s first public Mass emphasizes the Catholic Church’s full acceptance of the archbishop, Vatican sources told ZENIT.

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