Washington D.C., Sep 28, 2006 / 22:00 pm America/Denver (CNA).Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, who was excommunicated Tuesday, said he does not accept his excommunication and will continue his campaign to persuade the Vatican to allow married priests. The 76-year-old archbishop married a Korean acupuncturist in 2001.
"We do not accept this excommunication and lovingly return it to His Holiness, our beloved Pope Benedict XVI, to . . . withdraw it and join us in recalling married priests to service once again," said excommunicated Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo in a written statement read for him at a news conference at Imani Temple in Northeast Washington.
According to the Washington Post, the retired archbishop of Lusaka, Zambia, was at the news conference, surrounded by the four men he illicitly installed as bishops Sunday. The four, who were also excommunicated and who will not be recognized as bishops by the Vatican, include George Augustus Stallings of Washington, Patrick Trujillo of New Jersey, Peter Paul Brennan of New York and Joseph Gouthro of Nevada.
The statement also claimed that 25,000 married priests in the United States could help the Catholic Church with its clergy shortage if it would lift "the medieval church-imposed regulation" requiring celibacy.
The Vatican this week released a statement acknowledging the excommunication of the men. According to Canon Law, the five excommunicated themselves by their actions - the statement from the Vatican served as a public recognition of the consequences of the illicit ordination.
Excommunication bars the archbishop and the four others from presiding at public worship or administering the sacraments.
The Rev. Robert Kaslyn, who teaches canon law at Catholic University, told the Post that Milingo has already demonstrated his break from the Church, despite what he says. “It's very easy to say you're in communion with the Catholic Church, and yet if you're not recognized by other bishops," that relationship is not real, Kaslyn said. "Communion is a two-way street."
Washington Archdiocese spokeswoman Susan Gibbs noted again that the ordinations are illicit and said that the archdiocese will continue to “pray for his reconciliation."
Milingo, who resides in Washington with his wife, recently started an organization called Married Priests Now!