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The BBC's David Willey
"Monsignor Milingo... is no longer to be considered a bishop of the Catholic Church"
 real 28k

Sunday, 27 May, 2001, 21:32 GMT 22:32 UK
Archbishop marries in Moon ceremony
Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo and his bride at a group wedding conducted by the Rev Sun Myung Moon
Archbishop Milingo's bride was selected by the Rev Moon
A controversial Roman Catholic Archbishop who has long been an embarrassment to the Vatican has married a Korean woman in a group wedding conducted by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon.

Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo opens himself up to excommunication by going through with the ceremony.

The Lord has called me to take a step that will change my life forever

Emmanuel Milingo
But a spokesman for the Rev Moon's Unification Church - also known as the Moonies - said Archbishop Milingo is "not leaving the Church or disassociating himself from the Catholic tradition".

The bride - identified as Sung Ryae Soon, from South Korea - was chosen for him earlier in the week, said a spokesman for Moon's movement.

Archbishop Milingo said God was the inspiration for his decision to marry, in defiance of Church doctrine which requires priests to be celibate.

"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," he said in a statement before the ceremony.

Forced out

The maverick Catholic was archbishop of Lusaka, Zambia, until 1983, when he resigned under pressure from Rome - an almost unprecedented event.

The Vatican objected to allegations that he carried out faith healings and exorcisms and brought him to Rome to make it easier to keep an eye on him.

The Reverend Sun Myung Moon
The Rev Moon's followers believe he is the messiah
But he continued to perform healings at well-attended public ceremonies that brought him a following in Europe.

Last year, the Vatican issued new guidelines on exorcism that were widely understood to be aimed at Archbishop Milingo.

He was quietly retired from his position at the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People last year.

A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on his marriage "until we hear something directly from Milingo".

I am and always will be devoted to the Church that I love

Emmanuel Milingo
Under Catholic doctrine, he can be excommunicated if he is found guilty of apostasy, renouncing his faith.

He has appeared at group weddings conducted by the Rev Moon in the past two years.

Return to Africa

Archbishop Milingo said he and his wife would move to Africa to continue his mission.

"I am and always will be devoted to the Church that I love," he said.

Former Catholic priest George Stallings, an American, also married at the ceremony on Sunday.

He was excommunicated in 1990 for founding the African American Catholic Congregation, which he now leads.

The Rev Moon personally arranges many of the pairings at the mass weddings that are a central part of the church he leads.

His followers believe that the "Lord of the Second Advent" will appear at the end of time with his wife to complete the redemption begun by Jesus.

According to the teaching of the 81-year-old Korean-born Reverend Moon, the second messiah was born in Korea around 1920.

The Rev Moon has lived in the United States since 1973, and controls a network of non-profit organisations and businesses.

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See also:

24 Nov 00 | Europe
Vatican lays down exorcism law
13 Feb 00 | Asia-Pacific
In pictures: Moonies' mass wedding
10 Feb 00 | Asia-Pacific
10,000 to wed in stadium
03 Feb 00 | Americas
Moonies aim to score with Brazilians
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