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Vatican suspends threat to excommunicate Moonie archbishop

The Vatican has suspended its threat to excommunicate an archbishop who was married in a Moonie mass wedding.

The announcement came a day after the Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo had an audience with the Pope.

A Vatican statement said it hoped the meeting could "lead to positive developments".

Milingo had been threatened with excommunication if he failed leave his wife by August 20, sever ties with the Rev Sun Myung Moon's movement and remain celibate. A Vatican official said that no new deadline has been set and that the Vatican expects it will take some time to resolve the case.

Milingo had sought the papal audience to explain his reasons for marrying and his belief that priests should be allowed to have families.

He has said that celibacy has fulfilled its purpose but is now poisoning the priesthood.

The 71-year-old archbishop was married in May in a group ceremony at a New York hotel in one of Moon's mass weddings. His bride, 43-year-old South Korean doctor Maria Sung, was selected by Moon.

His Grace Archbishop Milingo (personal website)