Catholic Archbishop renounces wife for Church

Tuesday August 14, 2001 13:26 EDT

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, who shocked the Vatican by marrying a woman chosen for him by Rev Sun Myung Moon, has renounced his life with his wife and returned to the Catholic Church.

In a letter sent to Pope John Paul on Aug. 11 and released by the Vatican Tuesday, Milingo said he had also turned his back on Moon's controversial Unification Church.

"I now rededicate my life to the Catholic Church with all my heart, I renounce my life together with (wife) Maria Sung and my dealings with Rev. Moon and his Family Federation for World Peace," the letter read.

Milingo married Sung at a mass wedding in New York last May, prompting the Vatican to threaten him with excommunication. Last week, he turned up unexpectedly at the Pope's summer residence near Rome, apparently in the hope of making amends.

"Your words: 'In the name of Jesus, come back to the Catholic Church' were both a call to my home Church and a paternal order to live out my faithfulness and obedience to you, Christ's representative on Earth," Milingo wrote in the letter.

Milingo has not been seen publicly since last week.

Sung, who says she might be carrying the Zambian-born archbishop's child, believes he is being kept away from her by force and has started a hunger strike, saying she will not eat anything until she sees Milingo or until she dies.