Friday, September 15, 2006

Milingo Hits the Road

The photo might say it all -- but just in case, the renegade Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo has begun his schedule of public appearances and seeks to amp it up a bit with a conference to be held this weekend.

The controversial Zambian prelate, who married a Korean acupuncturist in a 2001 ceremony of the Rev Sung Myung Moon's Unification church, then reconciled with the Holy See after a summer full of drama, only to U-turn earlier this year and announce his return to his wife whilst seeking to re-integrate all the priests who've left to marry back into the fold, will headline a "Married Priests Now!" convocation in Saddle Brook, NJ, in the archdiocese of Newark. Organizers are saying that "Each day will begin with a Mass concelebrated by 120 married priests. Married priests and their wives are coming from Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Italy and Canada, and from a dozen states."

Oy vey.

Among slated speakers are Leonard Swidler, the noted progressive from Temple University in Philadelphia and head of the Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church (ARCC) and, intriguingly, Peter Manseau, the author of Vows, the story of his priest-father and nun-mother, who met and married amidst the tumult of Boston Catholicism in the '60s.

At summer's end, Milingo, the 76 year-old retired archbishop of Lusaka -- who was brought to Rome in the early 1980s amid concerns over his free-wheeling charismatic healing ministry -- further stirred the pot amid reports that he was lending a hand to Dan Brown's next project, a book on exorcisms. The latter news served to further vex the Vatican, which warned of "serious consequences" if he continued to proceed with the Brown collaboration.