Emmanuel Milingo

From Chalo Chatu, Zambia online encyclopedia

Emmanuel Milingo (born June 13, 1930) is a former Roman Catholic archbishop from Zambia. In 1969, aged 39, Milingo was consecrated by Pope Paul VI as the bishop of the Archdiocese of Lusaka.[1] In 1983, he stepped down from his position as Archbishop of Lusaka after criticism for exorcism and faith healing practices unapproved by church authorities.[2] In 2001, when Milingo was 71, he received a marriage blessing from Sun Myung Moon, the leader of the Unification Church, despite the prohibition on marriage for ordained priests. In July 2006, he established Married Priests Now!, an advocacy organization to promote the acceptance of married priests in the Roman Catholic Church. On September 24, 2006, Milingo ordained four men as bishops without a papal mandate. The Holy See Press Office announced in an unsigned statement two days later that Milingo had been automatically excommunicated by that act.[3] All four men were married at the time of their ordination. On December 17, 2009, the Holy See Press Office announced that Milingo had been reduced to the lay state, making him no longer a member of the Catholic clergy.[4] He retired from ministry in his movement for married priests in March 2013, appointing Peter Paul Brennan to take his place.[5]

Life and career

Education and ordination

Born in 1930 in Mnukwa (in present-day Zambia) to Yakobe Milingo and Tomaida Lumbiwe, he was educated in St Mary's Presbyterial School in Chipata and attended the Kasina Seminary and Kachebere Seminary. He was ordained a priest in 1958. He was the parish priest in Chipata from 1963 to 1966 and founded the Zambia Helpers' Society during this time. He was the secretary of Mass Media at the Zambia Episcopal Conference from 1966 to 1969 and when he founded the Daughters of the Redeemer. Pope Paul VI consecrated him as bishop of the Archdiocese of Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. He served there from 1969 to 1983.[1]

Investigation of healing ministry

In the 1970s, Milingo conducted public religious services of healing and exorcism which attracted huge crowds. European clergy in Lusaka criticized him for using elements of traditional African religion in his healing sessions. Summoned to Rome for an investigation, he had the support of the charismatic movement in the Roman Catholic Church. As a consequence he was heard by Pope John Paul II and was given permission to continue his healing sessions in Italy where he became a celebrity and had the support of large groups of young people.[6] He was also given a papal assignment to serve as Special Delegate to the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.[7][8]

In 1983, forbidden by Pope John Paul II to return to Zambia, he resigned as Archbishop of Lusaka.[9]

Criticism of the church

In 1992, Milingo endorsed the book On the Eucharist, a Divine Appeal, a collection of messages said to have been given by Jesus Christ in an apparition and written from September 8, 1987, to 1991 by Sr. Anna Ali, DOJS. These messages were a traditional call to conversion and eucharistic devotion, as well as expressing sadness over the current state of the Catholic priesthood. Although he did not hold office as a diocesan bishop at the time, his name appears on the book's purported imprimatur with the date March 17, 1992.

In the late 1990s, Milingo became well known in traditionalist and sedevacantist circles for a speech he gave at the Our Lady of Fatima 2000 International Conference on World Peace, organized by Canadian priest Nicholas Gruner and held November 18–23, 1996, in which he charged that high-ranking members of the church hierarchy were "followers of Satan" or otherwise enabled evil:

The devil in the Catholic Church is so protected now that he is like an animal protected by the government; put on a game preserve that outlaws anyone, especially hunters, from trying to capture or kill it. The devil within the Church today is actually protected by certain Church authorities from the official devil-hunter in the Church — the exorcist. … To the question, 'Are there men of the Curia who are followers of Satan?' Milingo responded, 'Certainly there are priests and bishops. I stop at this level of ecclesiastical hierarchy because I am an archbishop, higher than this I cannot go.'

Milingo claimed to cite papal statements to back up his charges: Paul VI said that the smoke of Satan had entered into the Vatican.[10] He added that the Church tolerated homosexuality and disregarded the obligation of clerical celibacy: Secret affairs and marriages, illegitimate children, rampant homosexuality, pedophilia and illicit sex have riddled the priesthood to the extent that the UN Commission on Human Rights has investigated the church for sexual abuse…".[11]


In May 2001, Milingo said that the Roman Catholic Church should provide priests dispensation from the obligation of celibacy and should readmit married priests to the priestly ministry. To "set an example", at the age of 71, he and Maria Sung, a 43-year-old Korean acupuncturist, married in a blessing ceremony in New York, presided over by Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han Moon. In July 2001, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, officially warned Milingo to separate from Moon and from contacts with the Unification Church.[12] Milingo protested the order, saying,

"How can I now leave my wife? ... For 43 years as a celibate priest ... I only knew God as a male. Now, through my union with Maria, I have come to see the other side of God's heart, which is female."[13]

In August 2001, Milingo met with Pope John Paul II, who appealed to Milingo: "In the name of Jesus Christ, return to the Catholic Church." Milingo agreed to separate from Sung and went into seclusion. Sung went on a hunger strike and appeared outside of St. Peter's Basilica to protest their separation.[14][15]

In interviews on Italian television in 2002, he said that he had spent a year in penitential prayer and meditation in Argentina, at a Capuchin monastery.[15] In November 2003, he made a trip to Africa over the objections of the Catholic bishops there.[16] In 2004 and 2005, he kept a low profile and media accounts suggested that he was living in or near Rome without any official assignment at the Vatican.[17]

Organization for married priests

On July 12, 2006, Milingo announced at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. his "plans to embark on an independent charismatic ministry to reconcile married priests with the Catholic Faith" as an advocate of the removal of the rule of celibacy for Latin Rite priests in the Catholic Church; the group is called Married Priests Now!.[18] The sponsor of the press conference was MJT Television. Archbishop George Augustus Stallings, Jr., also an excommunicated priest, who had founded his own Imani Temple African-American Catholic Congregation, spoke as well.

Stallings stated that "Archbishop Milingo is not seeking to defy or divide the (Roman Catholic) Church, but is acting out of deep love for the Church and concern for its future."[19] Milingo also announced that he wants to bring the Unification Church of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon closer to the Vatican. He announced he wanted them to co-operate in bringing religion to the world. In August 2006 Archbishop Milingo rejoined his wife, Maria Sung, and they live together as a married couple. In January 2010 it was reported that 20 priests in Uganda had formed a break-away Catholic sect which accepts married priests. This was said to be inspired by Milingo and to have around 12,000 members.[20]

First consecration of bishops

On September 24, 2006, Milingo consecrated four married men as bishops,[21] each of whom were already ordained in the Old Catholic line of succession and serving as a bishop in their respective Independent Catholic churches.

One of the four was Stallings. The other three were Archbishop Peter Paul Brennan of the Old Catholic Confederation; Archbishop Patrick E. Trujillo of the Old Catholic Church in America, and Archbishop Joseph J. Gouthro of Las Vegas, presiding bishop of the Catholic Apostolic Church International (CACI).[22]

A second consecration before reduction to lay state

In December 2007, in Brazil, Milingo conferred episcopal ordination on Harold J. Norwood.[23]

Excommunication and reduction to the lay state

Two days after the consecration of the four Americans as bishops, on September 26, 2006, the Holy See's press office announced in an unsigned statement[24] that both Milingo and the four men involved in the episcopal consecration had automatically incurred excommunication (see Latæ sententiæ) in accordance with canon 1382 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law.[25]

In October 2007, Milingo's Vatican passport was revoked, ending his status as a person with diplomatic protection from the Vatican City State.[26]

On December 17, 2009, the Vatican Press Office in an unsigned statement announced that Milingo had been reduced to the lay state. The statement[27] explained the effect of the action as "loss of the rights and duties attached to the clerical state, except for the obligation of celibacy; prohibition of the exercise of any ministry, except as provided for by Canon 976 of the Code of Canon Law in those cases involving danger of death; loss of all offices and functions and of all delegated power, as well as prohibition of the use of clerical attire. Consequently, the participation of the faithful in any future celebrations organized by Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo is to be considered unlawful."[4][28]

Regarding the men ordained as bishops by Milingo, the Vatican Press Office reiterated also a 2006 statement, but this time the statement was unsigned, and not issued by the Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine and Faith, that the Church "does not recognize and does not intend to recognize in the future such ordinations or any ordinations derived from them, and therefore the canonical state of the alleged bishops remains the one they were in before the ordination conferred by the aforementioned Archbishop Milingo." This denial of canonical status simply means that he has no authority to exercise any ministry, just as those bishops of the Society of St Pius X (SSPX) were also without a canonical mission within the Roman Catholic Church. This refusal of 'recognisation' was because the priests that Archbishop Milingo ordained were already 'married' and as such is classified in Canon Law as an 'Impediment' against receiving Orders, nothing however related to their Sacramental Validity which was clearly accepted subsequently by the Official Vatican Spokesmen. The Rev. Ciro Benedettini of the Holy See Press Office, who was responsible for publicly issuing, during the press conference, the communique on Milingo, stated to reporters that any ordinations the excommunicated Milingo had performed prior to his laicization were "illicit but valid", while any subsequent ordinations would be invalid.[29][30] However, Rev. Benedettini's statement that any subsequent ordinations would be invalid is not in keeping with the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church in regards to the indelible sacramental character of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Any ordinations or other sacraments performed by Archbishop Milingo after his laicization would be considered "valid but illicit" because the act of laicization, or any other act for that matter, cannot take away the sacramental character of Holy Orders.[31]

On June 11, 2011, the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts issued a statement about illicitly ordained bishops, pointing out the canons which provide for an automatic latae sententiae excommunication for both the ordaining bishop and those ordained. Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta, Secretary of the Council, explained that the statement applied to the bishops ordained by Milingo as well as to more recent cases.[32]

Further consecrations of bishops

In June 24, 2009, in Nairobi Kenya, Milingo conferred episcopal ordination on Fr Daniel W. Kasomo

Also, in Massa (Italy) on July 15, 2009, he consecrated Vitaliy Kuzhelnyi, a former priest of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, as a bishop.[33]

Split with US married bishops

In 2009, four bishops consecrated by Milingo withdrew from his organization, distanced themselves from him due to "philosophical and theological differences", and announced the start of a separate organization to promote the ordination of married men.[34]

Ecumenical Catholic Apostolic Church of Peace

In August 2010, Milingo was named Patriarch for Southern Africa of the new "Ecumenical Catholic Apostolic Church of Peace",[8][35] and called for married former Catholic clergy to join the movement. In April 2011 he consecrated the Rev. Peter Njogu as a bishop in Nyeri, Kenya.[36][37] In 2012, Milingo praised the late Sun Myung Moon for his work to promote religious unity.[38] Milingo retired from ministry in 2013, appointing Archbishop Peter Paul Brennan as his successor.[5] Later that year, he stated that he still considered himself a Roman Catholic.[39]

Published works

Music albums:

  • Gubudu Gubudu (1995)[40]
  • Milingo Experience (2007)

Animated cartoon:

  • Milingo the Spirit of Africa (1998), co-produced with the Italian cartoonist Mario Verger; music by Lucio Dalla, arrangements by the singer Ron and Aldo Azzaro.

Books: Milingo has written numerous books about healing and exorcism. They contain details about "the world in between" human beings and the divine, a world of evil and of good spiritual beings.

  • The Flower Garden of Jesus the Redeemer
  • Demarcations
  • Precautions in the Ministry of Deliverance
  • Make-Joni (1972), illustrated by Arnold Chimfwembe (Lusaka: Neczam)
  • The World in Between: Christian Healing and the Struggle for Spiritual Survival (1984, London: Orbis Books),
  • Le mie preghiere non sono ascoltate ("My prayers are not heard") (1987),
  • Guaritore d'anime: la mia storia, la mia fede (with Renzo Allegri; Milan: Mondadori, 1997).
  • Confessioni di uno scomunicato ("Confessions of an Excommunicated Catholic") (2008), an autobiography[41][42]



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  5. 5.0 5.1 Excommunicated Bishop Who Advocates for Married Priests Still Identifies Catholic
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  10. On June 29, 1972, Pope Paul VI, speaking of secular influences among Catholics, said that he felt as if "the smoke of Satan had entered through some crack into the temple of God".[1]
  11. Milingo Accuses Catholics of Illicit Sex, Homosexuality
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  19. Archbishop Milingo: 'Married Priesthood Now'; Healer Missing from Italy Emerges in U.S., Proclaims End to Mandatory Celibacy U.S. Newswire
  20. Twenty Ugandan priests form breakaway sect of married clerics, Catholic News Agency, January 9, 2010
  21.  African prelate consecrates married bishops, causing new schism Catholic World News
  22. Vatican says Archbishop Milingo, four others incur excommunication Catholic World News
  23. http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/homepage/nel-mondo/dettaglio-articolo/articolo/milingo-vescovi-18962/
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  31. http://catholicstraightanswers.com/if-a-priest-leaves-the-priesthood-is-he-still-able-to-perform-the-sacraments/
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  38. Milingo: Rev. Moon’s legacy is in religious unity
  39. http://www.religionnews.com/2013/09/11/excommunicated-bishop-still-sees-himself-as-roman-catholic/
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  41. Rebel priest publishes life story BBC
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