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Vatican envoy explains Milingo's condition

There's a deliberate campaign of misinformation over Archbishop Milingo's issue bent on maligning the Catholic Church, according to the Vatican's nuncio in Zambia Archbishop Orlando Antonini.

Zambian chief government spokesman Newstead Zimba has also called for calm among the Zambian public following the assurance from the Vatican that Archbishop Milingo is alive and well.

In an interview this week, Archbishop Antonini said he regretted that there was a deliberate campaign of misinformation by certain quarters in the country bent on maligning the Catholic Church.

He said the same misinformation was now threatening the safety at the Embassy as several local groups had indicated that they would demonstrate against the alleged holding of Archbishop Milingo against his will by the Vatican. "Archbishop Milingo is on a retreat and immediately he completes this, he will continue with his public ministry ," said.

Archbishop Antonini said a line of communication between his embassy and the government had been established and all relevant information on Archbishop Milingo was being communicated.

Explaining the whole episode, Archbishop Antonini said Archbishop Milingo had gone back to the Vatican on his own and has never been held against his wishes. "In the Catholic Church it is normal for someone to take such a sabbatical leave after being in such a situation," he stated.

Explaining the events after the Moonies arranged wedding with Maria Sung, his former physician, Archbishop Antonini said even the Catholic Church experienced a lot of difficulties communicating with him because he was being kept away by the Unification Church.

"Even when this ceremony was taking place, I will not refer to it as a marriage, because the Church does not recognise it, the Vatican tried to get him but he was kept away," Archbishop Antonini said. "The Vatican failed to communicate with him even with the help of the FBI."

Archbishop Antonini said a short while after the "ceremony" Archbishop Milingo voluntarily went to Italy and left Sung in Milan. He said it was at this point that he visited the Vatican and called on the Pope.

Archbishop Milingo expected to return to full ministry (4/6/02)
Archbishop 'a virtual prisoner of Vatican' (3/7/02)
His Grace Archbishop Milingo

The Post (Lusaka)

15 Aug 2002