12 June 2009

Zambia: Vatican Excommunicates Priest Over Milingo Ties

Lusaka — The Vatican has excommunicated Father Luciano Mbewe from the Catholic Church for openly congregating with excommunicated former archbishop of Lusaka, Emmanuel Milingo and members of his 'Married Priests Now' movement and another church.

The president of the Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC), Bishop George Lungu said in a statement that Fr Mbewe is no longer a member of the Catholic Church and whatever religious functions he holds are outside the Catholic Church. He added that the Catholic Apostolic National Church of Zambia which the priest heads is not part of the Roman Catholic Church.

"Even if signs and symbols, as well as attire being used during the services resemble those of the Catholic Church, the services conducted are not part of the Catholic Church," the bishop said adding that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in Rome excommunicated Fr Mbewe because of the offence of schism according to Canon 1364 & 1 of the Code of Canon Law (C.J.C).

"We, however, urge our Catholic faithful and other Christians to continue praying for our brother in spite of being separated, by his own actions, from the Catholic Church," Bishop Lungu said in a statement carried by the Times of Zambia.

Meanwhile, the Zambia Episcopal Conference has reiterated that the former Archbishop of Lusaka, Emmanuel Milingo, remains excommunicated.

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