ROME, AUG. 27, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo broke his weeks-old silence following his meeting with John Paul II and confirmed his desire to return to the Catholic Church.
He also expressed the wish to meet with Maria Sung, the woman he married in the Reverend Sun Myung Moon´s sect, to explain his decision.
In an interview Friday on Italian television, the former archbishop of Lusaka, Zambia, criticized Moon and other leaders of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification who oppose his desire to meet with Sung.
Sung went on a two-week hunger strike after the archbishop decided to leave her and return to the Church.
On television, the archbishop read a message stating: “To my sister Maria Sung, peace in Christ. My Mother, the Catholic Church, has called me to return to her sheepfold. Some prelates have spoken to me in the name of Jesus to help me understand the great responsibility that I have in the Church.
“There are many people seeking me and waiting for me, especially the congregations that I, myself, founded which await my spiritual guidance. The Holy Father´s words moved me: ´In the name of Jesus Christ, return to the Catholic Church.´ My fervent desire, therefore, is to obey the Holy Father and submit myself to the laws of Holy Mother Church. I love you as a sister. I shall continue to pray for you all my life. May the Lord bless you.”
Archbishop Milingo appeared thin, with a days-old beard, but was serene and lucid when he answered reporters´ questions.
“I am doing everything possible to meet with Maria, so that we can both talk about our future,” the archbishop said during the TV interview. The problem, he pointed out, is that the Moon sect is impeding such a meeting.
“If Maria had been able to read this letter, she certainly would have understood, but her reception of this letter has been impeded,” the archbishop said. “They have not wanted to give it to her.”
“How is it that you took such an astounding step?” one reporter asked.
“For 30 years,” Archbishop Milingo said, “I have worked with the needy and sick, even in the midst of many difficulties. Sometimes I was accused of witchcraft and superstition. I felt alone. Then, little by little, the Unification Church approached me, preaching true love in marriage. So I joined them. However, I later understood that I had made a very serious mistake. I have repented and, as a result, have requested the Holy Father´s [permission] to re-enter the Church.”
The archbishop told reporters that following the marriage ceremony in New York, the Moon sect kept him segregated and would not allow him to speak to any of his friends.
Maria Sung watched the TV interview with reporters at her hotel in Rome. At the end of the program she jumped up and said: “I don´t believe it; he has been drugged. I will continue to fast.”
The archbishop met John Paul II on Aug. 7. Four days later he wrote a letter to the Pontiff, which was later published by the Vatican Press Office.
In the letter, the archbishop confirmed his desire to return to the Catholic Church, and to be faithful to the vow of celibacy. He said in the letter that he would no longer live with Sung, or maintain relations with the Moon sect. These were the conditions established by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in order to avoid excommunication.
Moon organized the marriage between Archbishop Milingo and Maria Sung. In the sect, marriage is characterized by mass ceremonies of partners who do not know one another. It is not recognized by the Catholic Church.