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Wife accepts Archbishop Milingo's decision to end marriage

Following their first meeting in three weeks, the wife of Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo said on Wednesday that she accepts his decision to leave her.

"For the great love for my husband, I'll respect his decision" to leave me, Maria Sung said, adding she was ending her 16-day hunger strike. "But that doesn't change the feeling I have for him in my heart."

She said she would never be with another man and would try to support Milingo in his work throughout her life. She said she hoped they would be reunited "in the afterlife".

She said Milingo had not asked her forgiveness for having left her. But he "expressed love to me as a brother to a sister," she said.

Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo and Sung met for three hours at the Arcangelo Hotel in Rome, where he delivered a letter to her explaining his reasons for leaving.

"My commitments in the life of the church, with celibacy, don't allow me to be married," Milingo said in the handwritten letter, a copy of which was sent by the Vatican to news organisations. "The call from my church to my first commitment is just."

He said he was aware of Sung's suffering and would pray for her every day.