'Missing' Moonie archishop fires journalists' imaginations
The bizarre saga of Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo has taken on a new twist, with the Vatican strongly denying the he is being kept in the papal palace.
Milingo has not been seen since early last week when the Church withdrew a threat of excommunication against him for marrying at a mass wedding ceremony officiated by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon of the South Korean Unification Church.
The Italian daily Il Messagero created a new controversy around the 71-year-old Lusaka archbishop when it published a report Sunday under the heading "Milingo is 'secure' in the papal palace". The article quoted an unnamed source saying Milingo is staying in an attic immediately above Pope John Paul II's apartment.
This version of events was dismissed by Vatican spokesman Father Ciro Benedettini on Sunday with a terse: "I am unable to account for the imagination of journalists."
The Vatican has generally been keeping tight-lipped over the controversial Milingo's activities.
The Vatican press office said Milingo had freely asked for a period of reflection and prayer away from the Korean women he married, and added that if "the feelings of Maria Sung merit respect, the spiritual work of Milingo merits the same respect."