What follows is the full statement of the Vatican issued today, July 17, 2001, regarding Archbishop Milingo. Notice the signatory (Cardinal Ratzinger), the attribution (by mandate of the Supreme Pontiff, the Pope).
The document also contains a serious distortion of the facts, noting in point 2: "...having verified the impossibility of communicating with Archbishop Milingo."
In fact, the Archbishop sent several letters explaining his position, suggesting solutions whereby he could remain within the Catholic Church, and requesting a meeting with the Holy Father BEFORE he consummated his marriage. The first of these was sent June 10 by DHL to the Papal Secretary, and by fax to the Secretary of State among others. Receipt of the letter was verified by His Grace's supporters who called to confirm. Fax & phone numbers were provided, as well as a return address in NY. No response was ever given.
In addition, the Archbishop has organizations, offices, staff and associates in Rome, most of whom have been in contact with him, and who are in contact with the Vatican. He also has a legal representative who communicated with the Vatican on his behalf 200+ times in recent years. None of them ever were asked how to reach the Archbishop. Yet every time His Grace tried to communicate with one of the congregations he founded, to encourage them solve their confusion and doubt or comfort them under their persecution, they were threatened with sanction if they talked to him at all. Even his efforts to support them financially have been blocked.
Archbishop Milingo has reached out in good faith, but it has not been reciprocated. Despite a promise to communicate with the Archbishop privately first (ZENIT News, May 28, 2001), a propaganda campaign has been waged continually. Today, the Archbishop released the first letter he sent to the Vatican on June 10. All further communication will be copied to the media. Despite the church's effort to remove this "thorn," a powerful movement is just beginning.
When His Grace visited the opening session of the CORPUS Semi-annual conference (the US association of married priests and nuns), they shouted "Let him speak!" and called him to the stage for a standing ovation, followed by a brief and forthright testimony about his Blessing. He has received invitations from churches around the country, and is planning a speaking tour, to organize interfaith support and unity for his family-centered mission to Africa, as well as forge unity between Africa and the African-American community.
The Vatican statement is below, the July 10 letter to the Vatican will follow.
THE CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, after mature reflection and by mandate of the Supreme Pontiff, and fulfilling its responsibility for protecting faith and morals in the life of the Church, finds itself obliged to proceed in accordance with Canon 1347 § 1 of the Code of Canon Law in order to protect the faithful from the serious harm caused by the recent behaviour of the Most Reverend Emmanuel Milingo, Archbishop Emeritus of Lusaka.
The said Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
Should Archbishop Milingo not formally act by 20 August 2001 to fulfil what is hereby required of him, excommunication reserved to the Holy See will be imposed.
The Church, obliged as she is to proceed to this painful action for the good of the faithful, does not cease to pray to the Lord, the Good Shepherd, for the desired return of the Archbishop to the embrace of the Church and the common Father.
Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 16 July 2001.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B.
Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli
[01206-02.01] [Original text: Italian]