The Italian Almanac

the marriage of Milingo

Italian News - September 27

Monsignor Emmanuel Milingo, the archbishop who shocked the Vatican in 2001 by defecting to a sect and marrying a Korean acupuncturist, has been excommunicated. The Vatican announced the move on Tuesday after receiving confirmation that Milingo had gone ahead with an illicit ceremony to consecrate four married priests as bishops.

The 76-year-old Zambian churchman was "in a condition of irregularity and progressive, open rupture with the Church," said a statement, adding that he had "sown division and alarm among the faithful". Excommunication is the most serious penalty that the Catholic Church can inflict on one of its members and involves a person being totally cut off from the ecclesiastical community.

Flying in the face of Catholic doctrine, Milingo has argued recently that priests should be allowed to marry and in July he founded an association of like-minded clerics to promote his cause. The Vatican statement said various top Church officials tried to dissuade him from going ahead with the consecration ceremony which took place in Washington on September 24.

The Vatican has never shown any sign of altering its long tradition of demanding celibacy from priests, despite calls for a rethink from dissidents in the US and elsewhere.