Saturday, May 26, 2001
New York, NY
As a Catholic baptized in infancy, I have devoted my life to the church. From my ordination in 1958, I have lived a celibate life, and tried to serve God with my whole heart, preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and minister to His people. In the process, I have faithfully served the Catholic Church as Curate, Parish Priest, Archbishop of Lusaka, and Special Delegate for Migrants and Itinerants, among others. I have never sought any worldly station or rank, and have desired only to serve the Lord, His church and His people. The Holy Spirit has been my comfort and counsel, and the Lord Jesus and the Blessed Mother have shed light on my path. I am especially grateful to the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, whose encouragement, acceptance and support have never wavered.
Now, at 71 years of age, after a lifetime of devotion to the Church and to my priestly vows, the Lord has called me to take a step that will change my life forever, which will enable me to be a vehicle of His grace and blessing to Africa and the world, but one which I expect will alter my relationship with the Roman Catholic Church as well. I take this step only in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, and only after many days of prayer and fasting. I suffer not for the opinions of men, and seek only to do God's will. It is important, however, that the many people in Africa, Europe and elsewhere who have trusted my guidance or been blessed by God through the instrument of my service be fully informed of my reasons and motives for this action, lest anyone seek to malign or twist my purposes for their own ends.
On Sunday, May 27, 2001, I will be blessed in marriage with Maria Sung, a Doctor of Acupuncture and a loving and faithful servant of the Lord. As a celibate priest, matrimony was the furthest thing from my mind. It is only through the command of Jesus, and the counsel and support of Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon that I take this unexpected and bold step, one that I have wrestled with in my heart for some time. At the request of my future bride and I, Reverend and Mrs. Moon will officiate the Blessing Ceremony, administer our vows and consecrate our union, together with clergy from various denominations. My reasons for heeding the Lord's command to be blessed in marriage are as follows:
As Genesis 1:27 says, "So God made man in His own image. In the image of God he created him, male and female ..." Our Lord affirmed this scripture when he said: "Have you not read that the one God made them male and female, and for this reason the two are to become one flesh... and what God has joined together, let no man put asunder" (Matthew 19: 4-7). He tells us that marriage itself is the fulfillment of God's purpose of creation- that since God's image is male and female, it is only as a couple that we can fully reflect His nature. After creating Adam, God said, "It is not fitting for man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18). His first direction to them was, "Be fruitful, and multiply. Fill the earth and subdue it" (Genesis 1:28)
Still, the priestly vow of celibacy has a profound meaning in the providence of God. Our first ancestors disobeyed God, partaking of the forbidden fruit. Ashamed of their nakedness, they covered their lower parts, and hid from God. They were cast from the Garden, and their marriage and family life had nothing to do with God. Humanity has inherited the sinful lineage of these fallen parents. Jesus said, "You are of your father, the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires" (John 8:44). Because of the false love between men and women from the very beginning, the path of total devotion to God's service has required us to sacrifice such human desire. St. Paul explained the struggle between serving God and being married, praising those who would "refrain from marriage" (1 Corinthians 7:28-40). Jesus acknowledged those who had "...made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matthew 19:12). Thus my vow of celibacy has been one that I offered with my whole heart.
With the blood of our false father, Satan, running in our veins, we cannot enter the Kingdom of God lest we be born anew, receiving the body and blood of Jesus, and inheriting God's love, life and lineage through His only begotten Son. Thus I have and will continue to celebrate mass every day of my life, for Holy Communion represents the truest and most intimate union with our Heavenly Father.
Yet God has shown me that the oneness of a Godly man and woman is a true reflection of the Holy Trinity. Just as God the Father is one with and manifested in the mystical union of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, so our Heavenly Father can be fully present in the union of a man and woman in the communion of marriage. St. Paul held up the relationship between Jesus and the Mother Church as the model for marriage (Ephesians 5:22-32). The early church, like Paul, looked upon marriage as an unfortunate necessity. Gradually, the vocation of marriage and its original, holy purpose has been resurrected. At the close of Christianity's second millennium, many in the church have realized that the sacrifice of celibate life has fulfilled its purpose. We enter the era when every man and woman is called to fulfill his or her original purpose to reflect God's image.
Sadly, many are unable to reconcile this original longing with their celibate vow, so their commitment has become a hollow shell, an unreachable standard. All manner of defilements, including unnatural lust, illegitimate children, and other secret horrors have burdened the lives of those seeking to serve Him. The increase of homosexuality and pregnancy among priests and nuns has become common knowledge. In this way, Satan's blood has continued to flow into and through God's Church. This satanic blood must be cleansed, and God's true love, life and lineage be restored. To paraphrase Paul, it is time to grow up, to put away childish things, and to face the truth not dimly, through a glass, but face to face.
I have spent my life confronting the devil. Now, by answering God's call to resemble Him fully and restore his original ideal of marriage, I pray to open the way for many others to separate themselves from Satan, purify their spirits and bodies, and help to cleanse and renew the church.
On April 3, 1973, I discovered, almost by chance that I was blessed with the gift of healing. Since then, God has continued to use my gift to bless many. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for He has anointed me to preach the gospel, heal the sick, and beyond my own expectation, to exorcise demons. As I obeyed God as His instrument, countless miracles took place. Thousands upon thousands were blessed through this ministry. Medical Doctors and Native Healers, alike, witnessed the power of God, and many came to the Lord's church through the preaching of the gospel and the charisma of healing. Powerful spiritual experiences took place amongst the congregation of the faithful. The Daughters of the Redeemer, The Brothers of St. John the Baptist, The Children of the Good Shepherd Jesus, and numerous ministries and missions blossomed through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I came to know the powerful presence and work of the spirit world.
Many in the church hierarchy could not understand these powerful manifestations of the spirit, and sought to control or limit them, by restricting my ministry. In spite of my devotion to God's word, my daily offering of mass, and my commitment to the Holy Church, I was accused, feared, and slandered. In addition, I saw that the European cultural dominance of the Church had both limited the Christian message and prevented Africans from truly discovering their original value and spiritual identity. While loving the church and its tradition, I was determined to help overcome the African's imposed sense of cultural inferiority, and to bring new vitality to Christianity by nurturing it in the rich soil of Africa's spiritual heritage. This effort, too, placed me at odds with some church authorities.
My effort to fulfill the mission God has given me has been increasingly frustrated, blocked, and even sabotaged, by some in ecclesiastical authority. I was accused of all manner of earthly and spiritual evils, called to Rome, sued, questioned, examined, and isolated. Ugly rumors were spread about me. Though the concerns were answered one by one, it became clear that I would not be allowed to return to the Archdiocese of Lusaka, to serve the African people whom I love. Obediently, I have remained in Rome nearly twenty years. Although I have been prevented from saying mass in any church within the city limits, I could not abandon the call to preach the gospel, heal the sick, and cast out evil spirits. Painfully, I have become a challenge for the church that I love, and the church that I love has become a fetter that restricts me from my God-given mission. I have wrestled in prayer, asking myself which shall prevail: my vow of obedience to ecclesiastic authority, or my pledge of obedience to God?
Through all the accusations, restrictions, slander and exile, my deep love for the Holy Mother Church has not wavered. Though I have been separated from the people God has called me to serve, and restricted from offering the gifts which the Spirit has continued to manifest through me until now, I continue to observe the faith into which I was baptized. As some in positions of power have been used by the devil to attack me, I have only sought to defend and protect God's church. As I have struggled between the call of God and my obedience to the church, I know that many greater than I have faced the same dilemma, from saints to reformers. Like them, I have no desire to leave the church that I love, and yet I can only follow the Lord's leading.
I pray that my embrace of God's ideal of marriage and family, my determination to follow the Lord's leading and the call of my conscience, and my commitment to the salvation of Africa and the world will touch the hearts of the faithful, and serve as a wake-up call to the church as it enters a new millennium. Two thousand years ago the very people whom God prepared did not know the hour of their visitation. Even as Jesus proclaimed the coming kingdom and preached a new gospel, those who clung to the past named him a devil. When he cleansed the temple the religious leaders worried only about the threat he posed to their authority. They had neither eyes to see nor ears to hear. Let us take care not to repeat the sins of the past.
There will no doubt be those who claim that I have been unduly influenced by others to follow this path. For this reason I have carefully explained the past that makes this course inevitable. Some will believe that I have been converted or controlled, but I assure you, my decisions are my own. I am obedient first and foremost to the command of the Lord Jesus Christ. In lifting up the universal ideal of the family for all humanity, Reverend and Mrs. Moon have never asked me to deny or abandon my Catholic faith. I have asked Father and Mother Moon to arrange and consecrate my marriage because of my respect for the special anointing that God has given them for the building of God-centered marriages and families. I have truly seen that the Kingdom of God can only be established on Earth through true love, and that love can only be established through God-centered families. They are doing the Lord's work.
I can say from the bottom of my heart that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is a man of God. His ministry began in his youth with a calling from Jesus Christ. I have seen his effort and investment to unite people of all faiths and to break down racial barriers. I have prayed to Jesus for long hours about Rev. and Mrs. Moon, and the Lord has guided me to understand and appreciate their special ministry to build loving, God-centered families amongst people of all faiths, in the capacity of True Parents. I have observed that Rev. Moon knows the spirit world, as I have experienced it, in a profound way.
I urge all of the faithful to be most concerned with meeting the living God and doing His will, and pray that my beloved church will take further steps in restructuring its "modus administrandi." To those who would condemn Father and Mother Moon's universal message and ministry without personal investigation, remember that virtually every prophet and saint was misunderstood and rejected. I can only recall the words of Stephen in Acts 7: 51-52: "You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit! Just as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed those who came to announce the coming of the righteous one, whom you have now betrayed and murdered."
Though my heart is heavy for those who love me, but may not yet understand the path I am taking, I am filled with joy and for the opportunity to offer all of my heart and soul and freely use all of the gifts God has given me in His service once again. My partner Maria and I will return to Africa, a continent suffering the scourge of HIV and AIDS, a continent mired in political, economic and social confusion, yet a land with a rich heritage of traditional values of family, community, respect for elders and spirituality. It is our mission to renew that heritage, to bring the healing love of Christ, and use the building block of Godly families to rebuild the society. God has called us to bring a movement of healing and renewal, and for the continent of my birth I will invest the rest of my earthly life. I owe my life and my love to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. I offer my eternal gratitude and respect to the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. I am and always will be devoted to the church that I love.
The same living God who has led me to a life of service to His church and His people, has now led me work with the honorable Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon. I am not joining Rev. Moon's church, for his work is not for any one church, nor any one nation, nor any one race. It is to break down the barriers between all races, nations and creeds, and realize the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. I prayed to Jesus, and the Lord Himself has shown me that His kingdom must be realized through human hearts and hands, and must be based upon true love and true families. He has anointed this ministry and confirmed the rightness of my path. I thank God for the vision and example of Reverend and Mrs. Moon, and pledge to work with men and women of all faiths to realize God's ideal world of peace, happiness and love, which is the ultimate mission of all religions. May God bless all who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
H.G. Emmanuel Milingo Former Archbishop of Lusaka, Zambia May 26, 2001