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Archbishop Milingo: The Vatican’s Runaway Groom


The Archbishop who eloped five years ago with a Korean manicurist in New York has hopped the pond again to champion the cause of married priests.

76-year-old Emmanuel Milingo – a faith healer and exorcist who may be the only high-ranking member of the Catholic church to cut two pop CDs – was a scandal waiting to happen, again.

Milingo, brought back into the fold by a clement Pope John Paul II in 2001, has been trying to bolt more or less ever since.

He was sequestered in a monastery outside Rome upon return from the U.S., semi-repentant about his quickie marriage to Moonie Maria Sung. He rarely appeared in public and was kept from speaking at least at one religous conference. Two years later, there were a few reports (mostly in the specialist Catholic press) about an unauthorized mystery trip to his native Zambia and an even more secretive hospitalization in Northern Italy after that.

There’s lot of routine, serial reporting from abroad about the runaway cleric – oh yeah, it’s time for the bull-gouging story again! – but after the initial rush of the curious, there wasn’t a lot of follow up about Milingo.

A shame because there’s a lot to say about married priests. Italy already has a long-standing married priest movement - led by Don Serrone, a guy scrappy enough to recently protest in Piazza San Pietro by himself because none of the 8,000 other married priests showed up. My guess? Milingo just didn’t have the coglioni to take on the Vatican at home.

He’s a loose cannon who gets a bit of media attention but is unlikely to be a catalyst for the real debate about celibacy issue in the Catholic church.

I can’t imagine he’ll get an “Aw, shucks” prodigal son welcome home barbecue from Pope Benedict, but we’ll just have to wait and see: his band (aptly named The Monsignor Milingo Experience) is still scheduled for a concert in Italy at the Poretta Soul festival on Saturday.

Share  Posted by Nicole Martinelli at 5:12 PM | Permalink

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