Statement on Archbishop Milingo
FORT ERIE: MAY 29, 2001: The Fatima Center has expressed shock and dismay at the news that Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo was married in a group wedding presided over by Sun Myung Moon.
The ceremony took place on Sunday, May 27, in New York.
The Archbishop took this tragic action because he believes that the Lord told him to do it.
Now at 71 years of age, after a lifetime of devotion to the Church and to my priestly vows, the Lord has called me to take a step that will change my life forever, which will enable me to be a vehicle of His grace and blessing to Africa and the world, but one which I expect will alter my relationship with the Roman Catholic Church as well, Milingo said in a statement issued Saturday.
As a celibate priest, matrimony was the furthest thing from my mind. It is only through the command of Jesus, and the counsel and support of Rev. and Mrs. Moon that I take this unexpected and bold step, one that I have wrestled with in my heart for some time, he said.
Archbishop Milingo obviously failed to follow the Scriptural mandate to test the spirit, since the Good Lord would not command a bishop to break his vow of celibacy. Nor would Heaven direct a Catholic to be married by Sun Myung Moon, a man whose followers claim that Jesus is not God, and claim that Moon is the Messiah who is completing the salvation Jesus Christ failed to accomplish.
Catholic News Service reported that Archbishop Milingo had disappeared from Italy about a week earlier, and could not be reached.
Three nuns of a religious order founded by the Archbishop had flown from Zambia to New York to try to find him, hoping they could talk him out of this drastic step.
Even the Vatican made several futile efforts to contact him.
The Archbishops recent behavior had been abnormal in other ways. Before he ceased communication, he failed to cancel a number of scheduled appearances in Italy and elsewhere. In North America, he was to appear at May Marian conference held in Pittsburgh along with speakers such as Father Andrew Apostoli and Father Mitchell Pacwa, but the Archbishop himself canceled this engagement.
The Fatima Center is deeply saddened by Archbishop Milingos attempt at marriage, which, of course, cannot be recognized as such by any Catholic, and it in no way supports his recent actions in this regard. Nor does it support his newly-announced views that the Catholic Church should abandon its teaching on priestly celibacy.
Even bishops are not exempt from the snares and deceits of the devil, who goes about as a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8) A possible explanation as to what happened to the Archbishop is found in the May 27 edition of the Italian daily Il Messaggero, which ran an interview with Father Gabriel Amorth, an exorcist who has performed more than 5,000 exorcisms in Rome.
Father Amorth says that he believes Archbishop Milingo had been "brainwashed" by the Moonie sect.
"Reconstructing the last years in reverse," said Father Amorth, "we have noticed that the Moon sect made a ruthless hunt for him. Even the persons involved in the coercion have been identified, they have subjected him to brainwashing. In particular, an Italian family, which disappeared with him to the U.S.A. There were many of them plotting for some time to drag him into their net with much astuteness and premeditation. And he let himself be snared.
"They got him in a moment of discouragement and depression," Father Amorth explains. "Perhaps he resented the 'kick out' he received from Holy Mother Church, he was worn down by the struggle they subjected him to. He didn't realize that he was prey for those who worked on him for a considerable time, and little by little, they broke him down. Now in my opinion, Milingo is beyond recovery, because he is no longer approachable."
Father Amorth, who is a colleague and admirer of Archbishop Milingo, concludes that the Moonies "have a deadly method for depersonalizing people" and that there are cases where adherents of the Moonie sect need to be "deprogrammed" before "they return to normal lives."
The Fatima Center urges its friends and supporters to pray for the Archbishop that he may return to his vocation in the Catholic Church.