Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, the former chief prelate of the Catholic Church in Zambia who was excommunicated after marrying and attempting to ordain four married priests as bishops, has published his memoirs, BBC News reports.
Before a crowd of some one hundred journalists and cameramen, Archbishop Milingo launched his book in a bookshop near the Trevi fountain in Rome.
Milingo, who now has some associations with the Unification Church, defended his decision to disobey the celibacy requirement for archbishops in marrying his South Korean wife, Maria Sung. He claimed that 150,000 priests have left the Church to marry, 25,000 of them in the United States.
His mission, he said, was to be the apostle of married priests. "We are claiming our rights. We are priests forever and we are members of the Catholic Church," he said.
The archbishop’s book, titled “Confessions of an Excommunicated Catholic,” covers his rise from childhood poverty to his appointment as one of the youngest bishops of the Catholic Church.
Milingo was briefly restricted to Rome after the Vatican became uneasy about his faith-healing ministry in Zambia. The archbishop left Italy for the United States, where he became close to the Unification Church run by Reverend Sun Myung Moon.
Archbishop Milingo has denied he is a member of Moon’s Unification Church, popularly known as “Moonies.” However, his international travels appear to be subsidized by Moon’s Korea-based sect, and Milingo married his wife in a mass wedding ceremony at which Sun Myung Moon presided.