The Words of the Schanker Family


Phillip Schanker
August 22, 2001

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On Thursday evening, August 23, 2001 at 7:30 PM Rome, Italy time [1:30 PM EDT- in New York & Washington, DC], a candlelight prayer vigil in solidarity with Maria Milingo will be held in front of St. Peter's Square, at the exact spot where Mrs. Milingo has been praying every morning at 6:00 AM. The story of how such an event can even be held at this location is itself a small miracle, that can only be told at a later time. The word has been sent out to Italy & Europe to encourage all who can to come and stand with Maria, and support her right to see her husband. For people of faith and conscience around the world, this is the crucial moment to focus all of our love & prayer in support of Monsignor Milingo in particular.

HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT? The best way to help this effort is: 1) LETTERS OF SUPPORT- Brief letters supporting the right of Maria Milingo to see her husband, imploring the Pope to intervene, or simply sending encouragement to her are welcome. Letters from important and influential leaders will be especially helpful, and may be read at the vigil. These may be addressed to His Holiness John Paul II, Vatican City, or to Maria Milingo, Hotel Dei Mellini, Rome, Italy. ALL letters, to be useful for tomorrow night, should be faxed to: Phillip Schanker at 011-39-063-247-7801, or Luciana at 011-39-062-060-8054. 2) Call friends and contacts in or nearby Rome to JOIN US!

The crucial moment is imminent. Recent days have been filled with strategy & struggle, with the stakes getting higher and the positioning increasing daily. The statement from Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls that a meeting between the Milingos had been arranged was a not in fact correct, and was a part of the positioning. Despite the rancor of today, exacerbated once again by the media, discussions have resumed and we remain hopeful. It has been a challenge to maintain the respect and love toward the Vatican that our True Parents' tradition calls for, while at the same time utilizing the only leverage available to Maria, through the media and the court of public opinion.

The scenario for this situation is well-established in Italian and Mediterranean Catholic culture. The lofty ideal of the priest, and his commitment to celibacy must be respected, while at the same time all understand the impossibility of men living up to these standards. So the priest will fall, we must wink at it & forgive him. When he repents, whether sincerely or only in form, and returns to the true mother church, his responsibility is to enter seclusion and be reconciled. Politically, he must appear reconciled no matter what anyone thinks. The woman has no say, and should fade into the background... her temptress role has been played, and her part is over.

Now, here comes Maria, unwilling to leave the stage... and as a Korean ready to give her life for the sake of pulling the priest from his seclusion, she is an unknown and frightening element. And supporting her is the FFWPU, which does not accept this gap between the ideal of purity and our fallen reality, but is trying to close it through true, God-centered marriage. It is hard to understand this group, so the news has been terrible. The CNN reporter explained, " we already went through this stuff about cults and brainwashing 25 years ago. I couldn't sell a story like this in America today."

Much more to tell & testify.... later. Ciao, Rev. Phillip Schanker

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