The Words of the Despres Family

2001 Timeline of Events surrounding Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo and Maria Sung

Mary Jane Despres
August 31, 2001

Here's a timeline of events surrounding Archbishop Milingo and Maria Sung. Comparing various news articles, you'll notice occasional discrepancies in the reported date that certain events took place. Quotations from articles appear in black type just below the URLs. Words in blue type are my comments, clarifications and additions. May our thoughts and prayers for Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo and Maria at this time comfort our Heavenly Father and True Parents,

Saturday, May 26th

On the day before his marriage, Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo wrote "As I have struggled between the call of God and my obedience to the church, I know that many greater than I have faced the same dilemma, from saints to reformers. Like them, I have no desire to leave the church that I love, and yet I can only follow the Lord's leading."

Sunday, May 27th

Archbishop and Maria Milingo are blessed in marriage by Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon among 60 couples from the clergy.

Tuesday, May 29th

An interview with Archbishop Milingo comes out, entitled "Newly married archbishop says he'll work full time with Rev. Moon" ...while recognizing his continuing obligation as a bishop to obey the pope, he said he could not give up the "mandate from God'' to conduct the healing and exorcism services that brought opposition from church officials. He said he would continue conducting those services in addition to carrying out whatever duties Rev. Moon gave him. Asked if he was concerned about the possibility of excommunication, Archbishop Milingo said "excommunication'' was "an old term'' and "does not mean anything at all.'' "How can you put out of the church someone who believes in the church?'' he asked.

Sunday, June 10th

Archbishop Milingo writes a letter to Pope John Paul II, saying Since 1973, when God called me to fulfill the very command our Lord gave to his apostles in Luke 9:1-2, [which reads: "Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick."] I have been criticized, scandalized, investigated, exiled, and made a stranger and a fool in my own mother church. The phenomena that occur when I say mass (phenomena which I did not seek and cannot explain) have led to my being boycotted and banned. Any priests who concelebrated with me have been punished. Meanwhile God has remained with me, the people continue to cry out, and the church has me bound, gagged, and on the shelf.

Considering the canonical issues of the marriage [his marriage to Maria Sung on May 27th], the symbols of wine, water and vows we shared are not unlike traditional weddings all over the world, which can later be sacramentized by the church, as my parents' wedding was. I am hopeful to find a way to strengthen, not diminish the church; to renew and empower, not embarrass the faith.

In light of these facts, I am determined to find the way, if at all possible, to work within the confines of the Catholic Church.

Tuesday, July 17th

On Tuesday, July 17th, the Vatican issued it's ultimatum to Archbishop Milingo. Here is the translation (from Italian) of part of the text of this ultimatum.

The ... Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ... communicates to Archbishop Milingo, in accordance with the above mentioned Canon 1347 1 of the Code of Canon Law, the following public canonical admonition:

1. to separate from Maria Sung;

2. to sever all links with the sect, Family Federation for World Peace and Unification;

3. to declare publicly his fidelity to the doctrine and ecclesiastical discipline of celibacy, and to manifest his obedience to the Supreme Pontiff by a clear and unequivocal act. Should Archbishop Milingo not formally act by 20 August 2001 to fulfill what is hereby required of him, excommunication reserved to the Holy See will be imposed.

Here, from the Catholic Encyclopedia online are some of the consequences of being excommunicated:

...the excommunicated are forbidden either to receive or administer [sacraments, such as Mass], An excommunicated person may not and should not assist at [sacred] ceremonies [such as Mass or Divine Office], and the burial of a shunned excommunicated person in a consecrated cemetery would cause that cemetery to become desecrated.

Sunday, July 22nd

In his July 22nd interview with the BBC, Archbishop Milingo said that he would never be excommunicated, as there was no basis or reason to do that. Here's a bit of the interview:

Reporter: Archbishop, do you care whether you are excommunicated?

Archbishop Milingo: No, I will never be excommunicated! On what basis?

Reporter: Well, it may not be up to you. ... If you won't pledge allegiance and if they believe that you have broken your vow of celibacy, they may excommunicate you against your wishes.

Archbishop Milingo: Not even! They want me. ... They can't do that. There's no basis. They have no reason to do that.

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Archbishop Milingo offers a written Response to the Vatican's Ultimatum What of the 120,000 married priests, who are in fact not ex-priests, but ex-clerics, having been removed from their priestly duties. They, too, love their church, but have become its bastards its second-class citizens.

What I have done, in obedience to God, is to provide a model. By combining the Sacrament of Holy Orders, which defines the priesthood, with the Sacrament of Matrimony, we will strengthen and renew the two parts, while at the same time building a greater and stronger whole. This is what God is asking at the end of 2000 years of the Catholic faith.

At times the church opposed, excommunicated, or even killed its reformers...

... I am truly in the midst of Gods grace, blessing and guidance. After nearly 30 years of struggle and suffering, He is showing me the way. I desperately pray that the work He has given me can be fulfilled through the Holy Catholic Church. But that is to be decided by others, not by me.

At a press conference held July 25th, Archbishop Milingo announces that ...he will stay with the woman he married last May in a wedding presided over by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon.

At the press session, organized by the American Clergy Leadership Conference, which is part of Moons movement, Milingo, who was seated next to Maria Sung, said: "I want to remain in the Catholic Church and be accepted as a married archbishop."

Milingo added that if he were excommunicated, he would not ordain priests or bishops.

Sunday, July 29th

At a church service before 1500 people, Archbishop Milingo called the congregation to return back to the original purpose for which Adam and Eve were called. That is to create and establish blessed families. He testified that Father and Mother Moon had revealed this to him through his study of Divine Principle and that the time has come that all families must return to the original covenant with God.

Sunday, August 5th

Archbishop and Maria Milingo travel to Italy upon learning that the artist who painted Archbishop Milingo's portrait (eleven years ago), Mrs. Alba Vitali, had arranged an impromptu meeting for Archbishop Milingo and the Pope. They trusted her even though Vatican officials had refused to deliver or answer Archbishop Milingo's request for an audience with the Pope.

At this meeting, Archbishop Milingo hoped to discuss ending the requirements for celibacy for Catholic clergy and to gain authorization to remain a married Catholic archbishop despite his threatened excommunication. According to [Rev. Phillip] Schanker, Milingo had breakfast with [Reverend Sun Myung] Moon on Sunday. "I then drove him and his wife to the airport. They flew to Barcelona, Spain, and then on to Milan, Italy, where they parted."

Monday, August 6th

Monday, August 6th, is the last day Maria sees Archbishop Milingo -- upon the Milingo's arrival together in Milan, Italy. ed=print

They had dinner plans [for this evening] , Ms. Sung has said...

Wednesday, August 8th

Two of the archbishop's Italian supporters, Maurizio Bisantis and Alba Vitali, say they had to snatch the drugged archbishop away from the Moonies at Milan airport. The archbishop himself, however, denied that allegation at his August 8th news conference.

We presume that Archbishop Milingo denied, here, that he was drugged, but he did not deny that he had been snatched away from his wife.

Rev. Phillip Schanker refutes Mr. Bisantis's claim that Archbishop Milingo was under medication: Public statements made by Mr. Bisantis claiming that Archbishop Milingo was controlled, under medication, that he had to call secretly, or especially that he had to be "rescued" from America are completely false, grossly unfair and terribly misleading. Shanker said that Milingo continued to Castel Gandolfo [a summer residence of the Pope, outside Rome], while Maria Sung remained in Milan with acquaintances.

Maria Milingo reports in her statement of August 11th: When we arrived in Milan last Monday, we were greeted by Ms. Alba Vitali, as we had planned. Ms. Vitali invited me to be her guest at the Villa Malpenza Hotel, and promised to be in touch soon. Then she and my husband left to see the Holy Father, as he had told me they would. But I have heard nothing from Ms. Vitali for 5 days. I was abandoned and ignored by her. When I called her at her home yesterday, just to ask how to reach my husband, Ms. Vitali hung up the phone, refusing to speak with me. html

Milingo went to the pontiff's summer residence outside Rome Monday evening and met with Vatican officials.

Tuesday, August 7th

[On Tuesday, August 7th] Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo of Lusaka spent about 30 minutes inside the pope's residence at Castelgandolfo outside Rome.]

In his press conference on this day, Archbishop Milingo affirmed that he would want to discuss any future plans with his wife. "By this time, I am no longer single and I must consider another person my wife and her human rights," he told reporters [Tuesday, August 7th].

After Milingo's first two-hour encounter with the Pope and other prelates [on August 7th], including Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, the Vatican's press office announced that the threat of Milingo's excommunication was suspended.

... Milingo, a former archbishop of Lusaka, Zambia, ... met with the pope on Aug. 7 at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.

... Maurizio Bisantis, an Italian Milingo supporter, who helped arrange the meeting, told Catholic News Service that the archbishop spent 45 minutes alone with the pontiff. They were then joined for another hour by other prelates, including Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith. y?coll=la-headlines-world

...the pope received him privately [Tuesday, August 7th] and reportedly admonished him, "In the name of Jesus, come back to the church."

The following article indicates two meetings at Castel Gandolfo, one Tuesday with officials and one Wednesday with the Pope:,5936,253946 9%255E401,00.html

Milingo went to Castel Gandolfo at first yesterday [Tuesday evening, August 7th] and met with Vatican officials, and returned today [Wednesday, August 8th] morning for his audience [personally with the Pope].

Wednesday, August 8th

At a news conference, Vatican officials suspend the August 20th deadline for Archbishop Milingo to "return" to the Catholic fold. There's a picture of Archbishop Milingo at this news conference (dated August 8th) at s_photos&b=41&h=s

According to Father Ciro Benedettini, assistant director of the Vatican Press Office, [the] Aug. 20 [absolute deadline for Archbishop Milingo to declare that he has left his wife, severed his ties with the Moon organization and reaffirmed his loyalty to the Catholic Church and to the Pope] no longer has the character of an ultimatum, as Monsignor Milingos talk with the Pope was a truly new event, which has changed the perspective."

Archbishop Milingo drops from public view, beginning a period of seclusion. [Mr. Maurizio Bisantis told Maria that Archbishop Milingo would be in seclusion for a period of 15 to 20 days.] Archbishop Milingo calls his wife and asks her to get to safety. This was the last time Archbishop Milingo spoke to Maria directly.

Maria writes (on Saturday, August 11th) I have heard from him only once, on Wednesday [August 8th]. [When he called] He told me to leave the hotel in Milan, and go to a safe place. He told me he was facing a difficult fight, and that he was not free to talk, but would call back soon. While the Vatican keeps silent about Milingo's whereabouts, the Italian media reported Friday [August 10th] that he was in a monastery.

Thursday, August 9th

Press Release by Rev. Phillip Schanker:

We support Archbishop Milingo completely, and pray for his effort to reconcile with his church while standing by his wife. We applaud his courageous stand for family, and trust that he will be a powerful voice for purity and fidelity within the Catholic Church.

Another report explains complications the Catholic Church must resolve before deciding whether or not to consecrate the Milingo's marriage by a Catholic Church ceremony.

Quoting Vatican sources, KNA, a German Catholic wire service, reported Thursday that the Holy See had begun a "process of clarification that could be of long duration because complicated theological issues will have to be discussed."

KNA suggested as one solution that the Roman Catholic Church consecrate Milingo's marriage.

"But this would presuppose that he be formally relieved of his status as a cleric," the agency stated. According to several canonical lawyers, this frequently happens in the case of ordinary priests.

However, "it is the practice of the Holy See never to release bishops from their ordination vows," declared Father John Beal, who teaches canon law at Washington's Catholic University.

... Sources in Rome told UPI Thursday the Vatican was "most concerned" about the possibility that Milingo might "illicitly though validly" ordain priest for a schismatic church linked to Moon.

"That's why there is a chance that if the archbishop agreed not to do that the Holy Father might show some flexibility," a Vatican insider suggested.

[This reporter is explaining here that should an excommunicated bishop ever go ahead and ordain someone as a priest -- not letting the candidate for priesthood know of his excommunication -- the new priest is a valid Catholic priest, even though the excommunicated bishop, in officiating for the new priest's ordination as priest, acted illicitly.]

Friday, August 10th

A meeting of the Pope together with Archbishop Milingo and his wife Maria was anticipated but did not take place.

Milingo and his wife were supposed to have met the pontiff together Friday. But is not known if Milingo had seen the pontiff for a second time. Meanwhile, Maria Sung is staying with acquaintances in Rome.

Saturday, August 11th

Just three [or four] days after his private 30 - 45 minute meeting with the Pope, on Saturday, Milingo purportedly writes a letter to the Pope in which he renounces his marriage, cuts off forever his association with FFWPU, and re-commits to the Catholic faith. For him to recant in just three days seems totally improbable. Consequently this letter appears fabricated to those who know Archbishop Milingo's dedication and commitment to his marriage. A copy of this letter, presumably handwritten by Archbishop Milingo to the Pope, was not released to the press until August 14th.

In a statement Saturday [August 11th], the Vatican's orthodoxy watchdog - the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith - said Milingo had decided to reconcile after meeting with the pope and being reminded "of his responsibilities to God and the church.''

"After the lamentable events to which he was a protagonist, he has decided to take a period of reflection and prayer in view of his total reconciliation,'' the statement said.

Controversial Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, who defied the Catholic faith by marrying in May, continued to seclude himself Sunday, following the Vatican's shock announcement that he intends to reconcile with the Church.

Saturday's news came the same day Milingo's wife, Maria Sung, held a tearful news conference at which she threatened to go on a hunger strike unless the Vatican allowed her to communicate with her husband, who is under Church protection, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported.

In an interview by Luigi Accattoli, Mrs. Alba Vitali confesses to arranging to get Archbishop Milingo away from America and the Unificationists. This interview appeared in Corriere della Sera (Italy) on Saturday, August 11. (Links to this article are not online.) Here's part of it:

"Her artist name is Vitalba. She lives in Lecco and painted a portrait of Milingo 11 years ago. She was the one that brought Milingo to the pope. Vitalba [Mrs. Alba Vitali] says she doesn't know where Milingo's wife is [despite the fact that (according to Maria) Mrs. Alba Vitali greeted both Archbishop Milingo and Maria upon their arrival in Milan]. In other words, Mrs. Alba Vitali lied when she said:] His wife wasn't with him when I met the Archbishop at the airport. The archbishop, says Vitali, was with two other people. I deceived them and was able to free Milingo from them.

... [the reporter asks: ] What is going to happen next?

[Mrs. Alba Vitali replies: ] Archbishop Milingo is influenced but safe, says the artist. He is going to have enough time to make up his mind...

In what manner, we wonder, was Archbishop Milingo being influenced?

Sunday, August 12th

Maria has granted an interview for the newspaper Corriere della Sera, in which she says [This article is not online, neither is this a professional translation.]

"I know that he does not want to leave either the Catholic Church or me. Perhaps he will be forced to choose. ... And so I'll wait for him. He'll return to me, soon or later. Our marriage will last for ever, even after this life."

Monday, August 13th

According to the article at Maria Milingo sent away a Vatican delegation -- an American priest, a Korean laywoman and two security men -- who showed up at her hotel, apparently with a message from her husband, saying "I only trust my husband. I do not trust anybody's message."

Tuesday, August 14th

At midnight, Maria begins a fast -- taking no food and only drinking mineral water -- of indefinite length.

Maria Milingo wrote in her official statement of August 14, 2001:

Since we have been separated, the Archbishop called me only once, last Wednesday. He said he was facing great difficulty, and could not speak freely. He promised to call back. Since then, the only things I heard him say from his own lips, are the same things that you heard him say: That he will not decide about our future without me, that the church must respect my human rights, and that he wants to talk to me.

... This morning, August 14, 2001, I began fasting until he [Archbishop Milingo] is free to meet me, or until I die.

The Vatican releases to the press a copy of the handwritten letter, which they claim was written by Archbishop Milingo to the Pope on August 11th.

On Aug. 14, the Vatican released a letter from Milingo to the pope in which he renounced his marriage with Sung, cut his ties with the Unification Church and pledged to return to the Roman Catholic fold.

After hearing the news that Archbishop Milingo is forsaking his marriage with her, Maria tells reporters op_15.html

"If he says he wants to leave me, in his own voice, I'm sure he's under the effect of drugs,'' she told reporters after the Vatican announcement. "I will continue fasting until I die and my spirit will be near him.''

Members of the American Clergy Leadership Conference of the United States, all of whom are acquainted with Archbishop Milingo, write a press release, expressing their concern that Archbishop Milingo may have been detained against his will.

As clergy of many denominations with the highest regard and respect for the Roman Catholic Church, we are deeply concerned about Archbishop Milingos seeming inability to communicate to the world his will, wishes and state of well being. His silence allows for the perception that he is being detained against his will.

Wednesday, August 15th

Maria reports that she is fasting and going to pray at St. Peter's Square in an attempt to potentially save her husband's life. Surrounded by a media posse, she [Maria] has been seen resting in bed alongside a picture of the archbishop or going to St. Peter's to pray. After one such prayer session on August 15th, she ominously told reporters just why she had been praying: "Throughout history the Vatican has killed many people. I asked God that this mistake should not happen anymore in this time."

Friday, August 17th

Taking a pregnancy test, Maria Sung, the wife of Roman Catholic Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, [learns she] is not carrying the child of [Archbishop Milingo].

Maria releases another statement to the press: No matter what anyone says, I will not betray my commitment to my husband. How can anyone ask him to simply ignore his commitment to me?

When my husband made the difficult decision to get married, it was only through the guidance of God that he did. He was guided by Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Catherine, and others. When he stood in front of the world announcing our marriage, his concern was not only for the broken families in society, but for the moral crisis within the priesthood. He simply said, "let's be honest." Those who are involved in these same moral crimes and secrets have no right to accuse him. I ask you all to be honest. I ask you all to help me find my husband. And I ask the women who are secretly or openly married to men of the cloth, those who can understand what my husband is trying to do, to help me, to support me.

In 1999, Archbishop Milingo told a Unificationist sister in Italy that Saint Catherine of Siena [b. 1347 - d. 1380] had given him a message from the spirit world. Saint Catherine of Siena told him that she would always stay close to him, help and support him, but that he had to take responsibility for the restoration of the Vatican and for helping to create unity between Christianity and the True Parents. This was reported in the article, "Intervention of a Holy Spirit," in the January 2001 issue of Today's World magazine.

Tuesday, August 21st

Afternoon News Conference

Two African-American pastors Rev. Hycel B. Taylor of the Second Baptist Church and T. L. Barrett of the Life Center Church of God in Christ, both from Illinois, came to Rome to ask for an audience with Pope John Paul II, hoping to persuade him to allow a meeting between Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo and his hunger-striking wife Maria Sung.

Also ...the Vatican had agreed Tuesday to a private meeting [between Archbishop and Maria Milingo], then backed away from that commitment.

Wednesday, August 22nd

A reporter shares his concerns for Archbishop Milingo and the Catholic Church, should Archbishop Milingo return to the church, leaving his wife.,4273,4243546,00.html Whatever the outcome, it seems the Vatican will emerge the loser from this scabrous affair.

...the Vatican ... has been accused by Ms Sung of having kidnapped her husband and [of having] denied him his right to choose his own destiny.

The conflict has been a magnet for the [Catholic] church's critics, from those who oppose its rules on celibacy to those who suspect it of racist bias. And the unfortunate Archbishop Milingo will find it difficult to avoid cutting a miserable figure, as the man who first betrayed his church and then betrayed his wife.

Thursday, August 23rd

Members of the FFWPU, ministers and children gather in front of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican for a candlelight prayer vigil in support of Maria Milingo.

Friday, August 24th

At noon, a time originally planned for a private meeting between Archbishop and Maria Milingo, there is a televised presentation of a video of Archbishop Milingo, who appears (in the video) not to have shaved for a couple of days. In the televised interview, he announces that he has finalized his decision to leave his wife, whom he now loves "as a sister." 4e0d1e270e50071.html

[This was] ...Milingo's first public appearance in more than two weeks. He dropped out of sight Aug. 8, after a meeting with the pope. The Vatican said Milingo had been on a spiritual retreat during that time.

Milingo indicated that the pope helped him to understand that "God gave me a great responsibility as a bishop," including following the Vatican's insistence that priests cannot marry.

Asked if he would do it all again, Milingo indicated that the advice of Pope John Paul II was too strong for him to once more defy the church. [under FFWPU News, No. 178]

On the way to this press conference, one of his drivers asked him why he hadn't shaved. He replied, "I want the world to see me as I am."

Saturday, August 25th

Rev. Phillip Schanker writes a letter [on 8/25/01] saying that a group of people had arrived to the Vatican earlier that day bringing a doctor with them. They hoped that the doctor might give Archbishop Milingo a check up. They were worried about the Archbishop after seeing his "stressed, or even fuzzy demeanor" during the recorded interview shown on television Friday, August 24th. Also, Rev. Schanker reported that many, who from first-hand experience have come to know the shortcomings of the Catholic Church's regulations requiring lifelong vows of celibacy for Catholic clergy, have come to support the Archbishop. [under FFWPU News, No. 176]

Last night (Friday), a broadcast of an interview with Archbishop Milingo on the pro-Vatican channel did very little to change the growing sentiment of support for Maria Sung. His disheveled, unshaven appearance, his stressed, or even fuzzy demeanor (in the eyes of some), and the things he said could be read a thousand ways. At least one thing is undeniable: in his first sentence, he said that he would soon meet his wife, and his comments were filled with love and respect for her.

Followers of Milingo were especially concerned, finding it difficult to see the warm and bright spirit of God that normally surrounds this saint. One group came to the Vatican today with a doctor, demanding to see the Archbishop.

... The Christian-based community (former Catholics) in Italy is responding, and victims of corruption within the priesthood (forced abortions, abandoned children, special brothels, and worse) are lining up, looking for support and courage to speak after years of fear and harassment.

Sunday, August 26th

August 26th is the 13th day of Maria's fast. Despite the fact that the stated purpose of her fast is so that she might hear Archbishop Milingo's decision about their marriage in person, a meeting between Archbishop Milingo and Maria has not yet been arranged. Phillip Schanker, spokesman for the Unification Church ... has made known that the Vatican sent him a message saying that the archbishop had returned to his retreat and needed two more days to reflect on the proposed conditions for the meeting with his estranged wife.

Maria writes the Pope.,1113,2-10-19_1071909,0 0.html ...her letter [to the Pope] on Sunday indicated she had accepted that Milingo had left her and just wanted to hear it directly from him.,1113,2-10-19_1071909,0 0.html

"If my husband intends to renounce everything that he promised, if he sits before me and tells me to my face, and explains everything with his heart in his hand ... I will listen with all my heart as I'm sure he will listen to me," she wrote.

"Once we are clear, I won't make any opposition," said the letter...

Tuesday, August 28th

On this day, for the first time Maria missed her daily trip to St. Peter's Square, due to illness and fever. Twelve women join Maria in her fast.

In a symbolic act, members of the Unification Church carried an empty chair into the square early Tuesday.

"Maria wants to rest," said the interpreter. "She was very ill last night". >,1113,2-10-19_1071909,0 0.html

Doctors said Monday that Sung had lost 8 kg as a result of her fast and was running a high fever. 06&sc=0#do

12 women have arrived in Rome from Asia and the US and have joined Maria Sung on her hunger strike.

A news article (in Italian) on Tuesday indicates that some people are concerned that Archbishop Milingo, finalizing his decision, might leave the Catholic Church and return to Maria:

Babel Fish translation: With Maria he has been truly something, in nearly three months of cohabitation. "It [he] spoke about she [her] with a sentimentale tone, in tv," [someone] comment. They do not say it, but they fear one " fallen back."

Maria writes a second letter to the Pope requesting to see her husband. 06&sc=0#do

Wednesday, August 29th

On the evening of August 29th, on the sixteenth day of Maria's fast, Archbishop Milingo and Maria were finally able to meet face to face, in a room at the Arcangelo (Archangel) Hotel in Rome. Their farewell meeting, which lasted over two and a half hours, took place under the observation of several representatives from both the Unification and Catholic Churches.

According to one report, Sung drove up to the back door of the hotel hidden under a blanket in the back of a station wagon. Milingo arrived in a car bearing Vatican City plates, and he wore a clergyman's black suit.

Here's a translation, from the following two sources, un.html of the letter Archbishop Milingo handed to Maria, explaining his decision to end his marriage to her:

"My beloved sister Maria Sung,

As the sea carries drowned bodies first on the surface of the waves, and by those waves onto the shore, this has been my destiny. America has deposited me on the shores of Italy, and Italy has borne me to shores of my church in Vatican City, and to the heart of my family, which welcomed me and brought me not to death but to a reinforced life.

My commitment to life in the church and to priestly celibacy does not allow me to be married. It is right that my church has recalled me to my commitment.

I am guilty of [elsewhere translated "aware of"] your suffering. I am with you in all your suffering, praying for you every day. Not only I, but there are many that are with you. The blessing of God will accompany you for all your life.

With sincerity,
Archbishop E. Milingo"

When Milingo left the hotel, the media mobbed him, and Vatican security men had to force a path to his car.

[Maria] Sung appeared at a window, looking pale. She told reporters, "I promised him I will live alone for the rest of my life. I will do my best to support Monsignor Milingo in his mission and in his life."

Maria accepts the fact that Archbishop Milingo has dissolved their marriage and returned to the Catholic Church fold.,5936,27219 22%255E954,00.html

Archbishop Milingo explained his reasons why he had to leave her because of his commitments to the church. She said she accepted them.

"For the great love for my husband, I'll respect his decision," Ms Sung said after the meeting ended. "But that doesn't change the feeling I have for him in my heart."

She said Archbishop Milingo had given her a rosary, that she would try to support him always, and that she hoped they would be reunited "in the afterlife.

After learning of this gathering, Rev. Michael Jenkins (of FFWPU USA) writes Unificationists, reporting Reverend Sun Myung Moon's comment that "God's will is being accomplished," despite the fact that the Archbishop has announced that he is leaving his wife. The letter was posted at [under FFWPU News, No. 183]

Here's an excerpt.

We sincerely thank you for your prayers and support for Archbishop Milingo and Maria. As you know they finally met tonight and they are not getting back together at this time.

Again, do not take this at face value. Father stated that God's will is being accomplished in a very mysterious way. 

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