Archbishop Milingo stripped of priestly status
December 17, 2009
Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo—the renegade African prelate who has launched a worldwide crusade for married priests, under the influence of the Korean sect figure Sun Myung Moon—has been defrocked, the Vatican announced on December 17.
Because of Milingo’s “regrettable conduct” that resulted in his canonical suspension in 2001 and later his excommunication in 2006, and because he “has shown no sign of the desired repentance,” the Vatican statement said, “the Holy See has therefore been obliged to impose upon him the further penalty of dismissal from the clerical state.”
Archbishop Milingo was suspended in 2001 after he flew to New York to participate in a mass marriage ceremony, at which Rev. Moon presided, in which he was joined to a Korean woman, Maria Sung. After being reconciled with the Church for a short time, in 2006 the African archbishop ordained four married men as bishops, without the approval of the Holy See, thus incurring automatic excommunication.
In recent months Milingo has continued ordaining bishops in illicit ceremonies. Those ceremonies demonstrate his “persistent contumacy,” the Vatican statement said, and show the need for new disciplinary action.
Because Milingo is now considered a layman, any ordinations that he performs in the future will be invalid. The episcopal ordinations that he has already performed would appear to be valid, albeit illicit. However, the Vatican has refused to recognize the ordinations. The December 17 statement added that “the canonical status of the supposed bishops remains as it was prior to the ordination conferred by Archbishop Milingo.”
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