Married Archbishop excommunicated over illicit ordinations

The Vatican has declared that controversial Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo has incurred automatic excommunication after he took part in the irregular ordination in Washington DC of four married men as bishops.

Saying that he was "spreading division and confusion among the faithful", the Holy See Press Office yesterday announced that Archbishop Milingo and the four ordinand bishops have incurred automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication under Canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law.

According to the statement, church officials "have tried in vain" to contact Archbishop Milingo in order to dissuade him from his activities.

The statement accuses the Archbishop and his newly formed Married Priests Now! lobby group of "spreading division and confusion among the faithful".

"Moreover, the Church does not recognise, nor does she intend to recognise in the future, these ordinations and all ordinations deriving from them," the statement continues, adding that the canonical status of the four supposed-bishops remains as they were prior to the irregular ordination.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the four men claim affiliation with the breakaway Synod of Old Catholic Churches.

Archbishop Milingo who is 76 years old has long had a troubled relationship with the Vatican.

He was originally accused of promoting African local beliefs by performing mass exorcisms and healing ceremonies in his native Zambia.

After being called to Rome he gained a strong following in a local Rome community.

Then, in 2001 he married a South Korean acupuncturist, Maria Sung, chosen for him by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon of the Unification Church, in a group wedding ceremony in New York.

Upon appeal from Pope John Paul II a few months later, he renounced that union.

Earlier this month the Archbishop received a letter from the head of the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops demanding that he send a letter of repentance to the Pope after it was discovered he had returned to Maria Sung.

Vatican excommunicates married archbishop (Sydney Morning Herald, 27/9/06)
Communique concerning Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo (26/9/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archbishop Milingo Official Website
Emmanuel Milingo (Wikipedia)
Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo (Catholic-Hierarchy)
Holy See Congregation for the Bishops
Unification Church

Controversial Zambian archbishop a married priest - again (CathNews 19/9/06)
Archbishop Milingo returns to ministry (CathNews, 20/11/02)
Archbishop Milingo expected to return to full ministry (CathNews, 4/6/02)
Vatican regrets marriage of Archbishop Milingo (CathNews, 30/5/01)
Korean ambassador mediates in Archbishop Milingo affair (CathNews, 21/1/01)

Holy See Notifies of Milingo's Excommunication (Zenit 26/9/06)
Vatican says Archbishop Milingo, four others incur excommunication (CNS 26/9/06)

27 Sep 2006