The Words of the Schanker Family
Archbishop Milingo's Words on August 29, 2001
September 5, 2001
Brothers & Sisters,
Here is the essential content of what Archbishop Milingo said to me personally during the nearly three hour meeting he had with Maria on August 29. It should be helpful in understanding his heart and mind, though numerous questions remain regarding the situation he was/is in:
The Words of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo
(Spoken to Reverend Phillip Schanker during the 3-hour Farewell Meeting with Maria Sung) Wednesday, August 29, 2001, Hotel Arcangelo, Rome, Italy
I. As I first entered the downstairs lounge where the meeting took place, Archbishop Milingo was already sitting there. As I crossed the room, he shouted my name warmly, with a smile: "Ahhh, Rev. Schanker!" He then explained the following, as if to say, "imagine that!" with a slightly apologetic tone as well.
"They took me right from the airport in Milan. I couldn’t even reach the hotel. These two women. No… a man and a woman. I did not even have the opportunity to call Maria."
I then said to him, as we clasped hands and greeted each other:
"Your Grace, we have only been doing what we thought you wanted us to do." Are you allright?" He nodded in acknowledgement.
II. Others then came in the room, and soon Maria came downstairs from the hotel room we had prepared for her. Their meeting began, at first with the 2 translators. After about 5 minutes, the translators were sent away, and they talked privately for about 15 minutes or so. Then the Archbishop asked for something to be explained more deeply, and the translators returned. Their discussion continued for another hour and a half, while the two witnesses from each side (Rev. Oliver and myself & 2 priests) plus the two doctors talked frankly and cordially in an adjacent room, separated by a heavy curtain. At various moments of intensity or movement, there were occasional peeks from the witnesses. But the Archbishop and Maria remained in the far corner of a rather large room, and so were able to speak privately.
After a little more than 2 hours Maria began to cry. We were all drawn out from behind the curtain by the obvious emotion of the moment, but all kept a respectable distance, wanting to support and respect at the same time. As Maria wept with her head down, the Archbishop called out, "Schanker!" I approached, and sat opposite him, and a significant conversation began (we were soon joined by Rev. Oliver).
III. MILINGO- You must help Maria understand. She doesn’t realize that I understand her suffering. I too am suffering. You see, our love was such that we were completely one. She has loved me like no one else. I understand how deeply she loved me, and I will never forget her love. I too will love her always, but we must be brother and sister. Our marriage must become a sacrifice.
You see, all of my life I have believed that the Holy Father is the voice of Jesus Christ on earth. And when Jesus himself commands me, what can I do? I also have responsibility to my three congregations, and cannot simply abandon them.
But Rev. Schanker, I delivered the message to the Pope. I spoke clearly of celibacy and marriage, and the church must now consider all that I have said and done. I understand clearly the role of the family and the Kingdom of God, and will teach this to the people. I retain my love for the Divine Principle, most especially the History of Restoration, as you know. I stand by everything I have said and done in the past months, but the Pope said, ‘not you! You have a responsibility to the church.’
SCHANKER- Your Grace, I believed everything you said then, and I believe you now. I know your deep love for the Holy Father, and I would never try to interfere with that love. But I cannot imagine your future in the Catholic Church.
MILINGO- But they have welcomed me with open arms. They are not concerned at all about what happened in the past. They are only happy to have me at home.
The Archbishop then conveyed a sense that he did not really fit where he was, but did not convey it as accusation or bitterness.
SCHANKER- Do you have any message for Reverend Moon?
MILINGO- Tell him I am doing what he asked me to do: living for the sake of others.
Then Rev. Oliver discussed several points with the Archbishop, and the meeting proceeded toward its conclusion. At the very end Maria clung to the Archbishop, and did not want to let go. As I helped her to sit down, I leaned over and quietly spoke in the Archbishop’s ear: "Your Grace, I fear for your future." He looked at me, clasped my wrist, and shook his head reassuringly. "No, no, no" he said.
We had two more warm and cordial goodbyes: once as we rose from the chairs to leave, where we embraced, and once more just before he went outside to a throng of reporters. From beginning to end, Archbishop Milingo never conveyed distance, or coldness, or anger, or accusation to Maria or any of us.
One small regret I have is that 3-4 security (unauthorized) remained on the downstairs level for quite some time, and were often in the eyesight of the Archbishop. Vatican spokesperson Dr. Joaquin Navarro-Valls had entered the situation earlier that day (a story in itself), and he waited for 45 minutes or so from the beginning before leaving. Those who came with the Archbishop were clearly not expecting a long meeting, and were not pleased with it.
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