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 CNS Story:

MILINGO-EXCOMMUNICATE (SECOND UPDATE) Sep-26-2006 (860 words) xxxi

Vatican says Archbishop Milingo, four others incur excommunication

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Recent ordinations made without papal approval have placed Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo and the four prelates he ordained under automatic excommunication, the Vatican said.

Starting with his "attempted marriage" in 2001 until his Sept. 24 ordinations of four bishops in Washington, Archbishop Milingo's actions have led him to "a condition of irregularity and progressive breach in communion with the church," said a written statement by the Vatican press office.

Various church officials tried "in vain" to contact the retired archbishop of Lusaka, Zambia, and "dissuade him from continuing acts that provoke scandal," the Sept. 26 press statement said.

It said that despite the "patient vigilance" shown by the Vatican and Pope Benedict XVI in hoping the retired archbishop would return to full communion with the church, the archbishop's Sept. 24 ordinations "have dashed such hopes."

Because of the unapproved ordinations, "both Archbishop Milingo and the four ordained men are under a 'latae sententiae' excommunication, according to Canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law," the statement said. A bishop who consecrates a bishop without a pontifical mandate and the person who receives the consecration from him automatically incur the penalty of excommunication.

The Vatican statement also said "the church does not recognize nor does it intend to recognize in the future such ordinations and all the ordinations derived from them." It also added that the canonical status of the "four presumed bishops is the same in which they found themselves before ordination" by Archbishop Milingo.

The press office statement said the Vatican had been following the archbishop's activities "with marked apprehension." It said his involvement with a new association of married priests has helped sow "division and perplexity among the faithful."

The men the archbishop ordained, all of whom already claimed to have been ordained bishops in the Old Catholic Church, were leading figures the previous week in a "Married Priests Now!" convocation held by Archbishop Milingo in Saddle Brook, N.J.

Archbishop Milingo had told convocation participants that he was under Vatican orders to stop his campaign for married priests or face suspension from ministry.

A news release from Archbishop Milingo's group claimed the new ordinations would make the Old Catholic bishops "bishops of the Roman Catholic Church."

The ordinations took place in Washington at Imani Temple, the headquarters of Archbishop George A. Stallings Jr., a former Catholic priest of the Washington Archdiocese who broke from the church in 1989 to form his own African American Catholic Congregation. In 1990 Archbishop Stallings was ordained a bishop by bishops of independent Old Catholic churches.

Archbishop Stallings, who was one of the bishops re-ordained by Archbishop Milingo, told Catholic News Service Sept. 25 that the ceremony the day before "was not a prayer service; it was the liturgy of ordination and consecration of bishops" using the official Catholic liturgical rite.

He said all four had already been ordained bishops at separate times in the Old Catholic community but they sought conditional ordination from Archbishop Milingo to overcome any doubts the Vatican might raise about the validity or apostolic succession of their previous ordinations.

He said he had no doubt about the validity of his previous ordination, "but I'm also well aware of the political, hegemonic maneuverings and manipulation of the Roman Catholic Church as it seeks to deny the validity of my orders or the orders of any other bishop -- Catholic bishop -- ordained outside of the Roman Catholic Church."

Archbishop Milingo also ordained:

-- Bishop Peter Paul Brennan of the African Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Catholic Diocese of the Americas, who according to one Web site was first consecrated a bishop on June 10, 1978, and subsequently reconsecrated in October 1979 and twice more in March 1987.

-- Archbishop Patrick E. Trujillo of the Archdiocese of Our Lady of Guadalupe of New Jersey of the Old Catholic Church in America, who was originally consecrated in 1997.

-- Bishop Joseph J. Gouthro of Las Vegas, presiding bishop of the Catholic Apostolic Church International.

Archbishop Milingo was archbishop of Lusaka from 1969 until 1983, when the Vatican asked him to resign because he refused to stop using healing and exorcism rituals that were judged to be inconsistent with Catholic teaching.

In 2001 he married Korean acupuncturist Maria Sung in a mass ceremony arranged by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church, which is now called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. He subsequently separated from her at the personal urging of Pope John Paul II, but when he came to the United States this July to announce his "Married Priests Now!" movement, he said he was reuniting with her.

Efforts by CNS to reach Archbishop Milingo were unsuccessful.

In the phone interview, Archbishop Stallings laughed as he said, "According to Rome, we've all been excommunicated -- which means absolutely nothing to anyone who understands that the Roman Catholic Church has neither ownership nor control over anyone's destiny and that the Roman Catholic Church is not the one who gives salvation."

- - -

Contributing to this story was Jerry Filteau in Washington.


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