VATICAN CITY (AP) – Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, the Zambian prelate who angered the Vatican by getting married in 2001, has been excommunicated for again defying the Holy See by installing four married men as bishops, the Vatican said Tuesday.
The Vatican said Milingo, 76, was “automatically excommunicated” under church law for the ordination of the men at a church in Washington on Sunday.
The Archdiocese of Washington said Sunday that the installations were not valid.
Milingo is in a condition of “progressive, open break with communion with the Church,” the Vatican said in a statement.
The four men, who claim affiliation with the breakaway Synod of Old Catholic Churches, also were automatically excommunicated for being ordained, the Vatican said.
In its announcement of the excommunication, the Vatican accused Milingo of “sowing division and dismay among the faithful,” and said it lost patience with him after trying to persuade him against the ordinations.
…One of the four men whom Milingo ordained, the Rev. George Augustus Stallings, Jr., said by telephone from Washington that Vatican officials had “badgered” the Zambian prelate by telling him he would risk “going to hell” if he went ahead with the ordinations.
Stallings is not exactly a reliable witness. Exactly how did the Vatican know of the impending ordinations in the first place? It is possible that they had been working with him and that Bishop Milingo told them of his plans, but I think it is highly doubtful that they would say that he would go to hell for this disobedience. They would surely mention the excommunication, thought this is certainly no one way ticket to Hell.
`They excommunicated me then, and I rose from the dead, I guess, and came back to haunt them,” Stallings said.
No surprise that somebody who started a breakaway church would have a Christ complex. Though I truly hope that he does rise from the dead in that he repents of his acts and once again comes in full communion with Holy Mother Church.
A reader sent me the text of the communique while I was writing this.
"With great concern, the Holy See has followed the recent activities of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, emeritus of Lusaka, Zambia, with his new association of married priests, spreading division and confusion among the faithful.
"Church representatives of various levels have tried in vain to contact Archbishop Milingo in order to dissuade him from persisting in actions that provoke scandal, especially among the faithful who followed his pastoral ministry in favor of the poor and the sick.
"Bearing in mind the understanding shown, also recently, by Peter’s Successor towards this aged pastor of the Church, the Holy See has awaited with vigilant patience the evolution of events which, unfortunately, have led Archbishop Milingo to a position of irregularity and of progressively open rupture of communion with the Church, first with his attempted marriage and then with the ordination of four bishops on Sunday, September 24, in Washington D.C., U.S.A.
"For this public act both Archbishop Milingo and the four ordinands have incurred excommunication ‘latae sententiae,’ as laid down in Canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law. Moreover, the Church does not recognize, nor does she intend to recognize in the future, these ordinations and all ordinations deriving from them; and she considers the canonical status of the four supposed-bishops as being that they held prior to this ordination.
The Apostolic See, attentive to the unity and peace of the flock of Christ, had hoped that the fraternal influence of people close to Archbishop Milingo would cause him to rethink and return to full communion with the Pope. Unfortunately the latest developments have made these hopes more unlikely.
"At times of ecclesial suffering such as these, may prayers intensify among all the community of the faithful."
May our prayers intensify indeed. It is interesting though that the Vatican considers these ordinations as not being recognized. I wonder what defect of form or intention they specifically considered.
On a lighter note. If the Vatican had a Starbucks would they serve a latte sententiae? If they did would the refund be reserved to the Holy See?