WASHINGTON – An African archbishop who wants to make celibacy optional for priests installed four married men Sunday as Roman Catholic bishops.
The Archdiocese of Washington did not recognize the installations. "This means nothing within the church," spokeswoman Susan Gibbs said.
Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo – whose marriage to a woman chosen by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon scandalized the Roman Catholic Church – performed the ceremonies at a Capitol Hill church.
Installed were the Rev. George Augustus Stallings, Jr., of Washington, Peter Paul Brennan, of New York, Patrick Trujillo, of Newark, N.J., and Joseph Gouthro, of Las Vegas.
The four men claim affiliation to the breakaway Synod of Old Catholic Churches.
"We are not only validly ordained Catholic bishops, but we are ordained Roman Catholic bishops," Stallings said.
Sad news indeed. We have followed the archbishop’s foibles throughout the years. They have been so wacky that they were somewhat amusing. There has been much talk recently of him being excommunicated, though there can be no doubt that this act will lead to it.
I previously wrote the educational game parody Where in the World is Archbishop Milingo. Well this week he is living in Washington D.C. area.
Update: Canonist Ed Peters posts:
By ordaining to the episcopate, without a pontifical mandate, four men (who happen to be married, though that is not required here), the notorious Abp. Milingo has just walked right into an unambiguous excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See (1983 CIC 1382). The only canonical question I can see is whether notification of an excommunication can be sent via email.
Oddly, though, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Washington says "this means nothing in the Church." I wish that were so. This stunt is not like a woman’s "ordination", which in one regard "means nothing" in the Church. This ordination most definitely means several things: it means the episcopal orders Christ entrusted to His Church have just been conferred on four patently ill-disposed men; it means five men are now automatically excommunicated; and it means Rome is squarely faced with a grave violation of ecclesiastical order.
Update 2 from Ed Peters:
Well, veeery interesting, we seem to have a split in the news sources on a relevant point. Some print sources refer to Milingo ordaining bishops, others to his installing bishops. If it was the latter, and if that act did not include ordaining them (one website, which I know little about, would seem to support that interpretation) then Milingo would not be in violation of Canon 1382, as I argued above, though he likely would be at risk of canonical penalties for, among other things, abuse of ecclesiastical power (1983 CIC 1389) and communicatio in sacris (1983 CIC 1365). My thanks to a brother canonist for alerting me to this possibility; now let’s see what might turn up over the next few days.