The Nation (Nairobi)

20 December 2009

Zambia: Sacked Milingo Demands Pension

Lusaka — Ex-communicated Roman Catholic archbishop Emmanuel Milingo has rejected the decision by Benedict XVI to unfrock, describing it as "invalid" and said he wanted the Roman Catholic Church to pay him pension for the 23 years he worked in Italy.

Speaking in Lusaka, Milingo said he did not accept the decision by the Vatican to strip him of his titles, which he had held for about 50 years, insisting he would always be a priest.

He also said the letter addressed to him is "not valid" because it did not have the emblem of and seal from the pope.

"I don't accept that," said 79-year-old Milingo, a Zambian national.

Milingo demanded his pension from the Vatican.

"The frontline of the Catholic church are the priests...let people not think I am going to give up, my dear lord," Milingo said.

"I was assigned by the late Pope John Paul to work in Italy. I worked for 23 years and now the church wants to take advantage of marriage to deny me my pension," Milingo said.

Milingo said his Vicar General in the USA would respond on issues pertaining to his dismissal.

The Vatican announced on Thursday that Pope Benedict dismissed Milingo from the clerical state, the most extraordinary penalty that can be imposed on a bishop.

In 2001, Milingo shocked the Catholic establishment by marrying a Korean acupuncturist in a mass "Moony" wedding ceremony in New York presided over by the founder of the Unification Church himself, Reverend Sun Myung Moon.

Defrocking entails dismissing a priest from the clerical state and prohibits such individuals from donning clerical attire and strips them of priestly rights and duties

Milingo also claimed that he was aware that the church had in the past executed clerics that came up with intentions of marriage whilst serving as priests.

"I know a lot about the church than those condemning me. The church twice executed those who came up with such intentions and I know where they are buried in Rome," Milingo said.

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