The Archbishop Emeritus of Lusaka, Zambia, Emmanuel Milingo, was in the United States yesterday and held a press conference at the National Press Club. The press release advertizing the event claimed:
Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, the charismatic cleric whose "non-conventional" healing ministry, public marriage and call for an end to mandatory celibacy led to controversy with the Vatican, plans to embark on an independent charismatic ministry to reconcile married priests with the Catholic Faith. "There is no more important healing than the reconciliation of 150,000 married priests with the 'Mother Church,' and the healing of a Church in crisis through renewing marriage and family," notes the 76-year-old archbishop.
Personally ordained by Pope Paul VI in 1969 at the young age of 39, Milingo was recalled to Rome in 1982 amidst controversy over his extraordinary healing powers. His ministry to "preach the Gospel, heal the sick and cast out devils" (Matt. 10:8, Mark 16:15, Luke 9:2) flourished in Europe, and his popularity grew despite efforts to restrict his ministry. Working from Rome under the protection of Pope John Paul II, his marriage to a South Korean acupuncturist in 2001 drew international media attention. His marriage was not recognized by the Church, and out of respect and love for the Holy Father, he honored the pontiff's request to return to his healing ministry in Rome.
"Archbishop Milingo is not seeking to defy or divide the (Roman Catholic) Church, but is acting out of deep love for the Church and concern for its future," notes Archbishop George Augustus Stallings, founder of the African American Catholic Congregation. Married priests from Italy, South America and the United States will join the archbishop as he launches a ministry for the renewal of family for the future of the Catholic Faith. "The Church has nothing to lose by allowing priests the option to marry. Historically, out of holy marriages have come priests, popes, and loving servants of God and the Church," Milingo says.
The Holy See issued the following release regarding the Archbishop's visit to the U.S.:
"The Holy See has not yet received precise information concerning the aim of the journey to the United States of America by Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, emeritus of Lusaka, Zambia.
"In any case, if the declarations attributed to him concerning ecclesiastical celibacy were to prove authentic, the only thing to do would be to deplore them, Church discipline on this matter being well known."
It seems from Milingo's press release and the content of his statement at the press conference that he has not abandoned his infidelity to the Church.
I wonder where this will lead next.
Update: Catholic News Agency has an article on the press conference.