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Tuesday, 7 August, 2001, 15:47 GMT 16:47 UK
'Moonie' archbishop meets Pope
Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo and his bride at a group wedding conducted by the Rev Sun Myung Moon
Archbishop Milingo's bride was selected by Rev Moon
Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, the controversial Zambian archbishop who had been threatened with excommunication for marrying a Korean woman at a "Moonie" mass wedding, has been received by Pope John Paul.

The meeting at the Pope's summer residence at Castelgandolfo, near Rome, took place in strict secrecy.

Afterwards, the Vatican put out a cautious statement to the effect that a dialogue had begun with the archbishop which might hopefully lead to positive developments.


He has begun conjugal life

Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo's spokesman

A spokesman for the Archbishop said that he had sought the papal audience to explain his belief that priests should be allowed to marry and have families.

"He has begun conjugal life," Reverend Phillip Schanker said in a telephone interview with Associated Press from Washington D.C.

"He has come to understand that all the blessings of God were meant to be given through the family."

Scandal

The archbishop's recent marriage to a South Korean acupuncturist at a mass wedding in New York was arranged by the Moonies, an American religious sect run by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon.

News of the wedding ceremony upset the Vatican, which has given the archbishop until 20 August to renounce his marriage, publicly promise to remain celibate, leave the Moonies and re-affirm his allegiance to the Pope.

The Reverend Sun Myung Moon
The Rev Moon regularly celebrates mass weddings and claims 4.5 million followers worldwide

Otherwise he will be formally excommunicated.

Archbishop Milingo, who is 71 years old, has been at the centre of controversy for nearly 20 years.

He was recalled to Rome from his former post as head of the Catholic Church in Zambia in 1983 after being accused of witchcraft.

Archbishop Milingo claims that as a Catholic priest he has the right to cast out devils, but recently the Vatican rewrote the rules regarding church exorcisms, effectively withdrawing his permission to carry out faith-healing activities.

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
28 May 01 | Americas
Vatican disowns 'Moonie' archbishop
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