Brothers and sisters,
The entire nation of Italy, although on vacation and on the beach, is talking about only one thing. This morning at 6:00 AM, in front of St. Peter's Square, 2 Italian women were waiting for Maria. They gave their names & contact numbers, and pledged to support her. At this moment in the north of Italy, one strong supporter of His Grace is gathering many people to support. We will be meeting her soon. Some sisters have indicated their desire to come and support ... let the Holy Spirit work.
Many other amazing things are happening, and will become known soon. Most interesting is the international coverage, especially in the U.S. The atmosphere has been increasingly combative, and the media began to pit the FFWPU against the Catholic Church, which is not the true heart of the situation at all. Finally today, in pro-Vatican TV and newspapers, very vicious and negative information was printed ... drugs, brainwashing, etc. The Italian membership was very hurt and upset. These media claimed that Maria Milingo is an innocent puppet (they were nice to her, because the whole nation sympathizes with her), and that the FFWPU is just using her to promote itself and attack the Catholic Church. Although we have expressed our love and respect for the Church and the Holy Father, it did get lost in the intensity and pace of the first few days. In addition, a false report came out in a wire service that Rev. Moon had called Maria, or was in some way involved in the situation. This misinformation could easily antagonize everyone. We called and challenged the reporter, went through her notes, and a correction will be out tomorrow.
Public opinion is increasingly supportive as each day passes without Milingo appearing. More and more people are reaching the same conclusion. But you can imagine how offensive and upsetting this is for the church, and we must be sensitive to this. These pro-Vatican media are trying to raise the complaint of an "American media machine," portraying it in an exploitative way. In fact, we are desperate to keep the eyes of the world on the situation, to protect His Grace.
Today, at a calm, sincere, and straightforward press conference after Maria's visit to the hospital, her health situation, and the results of a pregnancy test were announced. This was not to exploit this issue, but to remove the innuendo and circus atmosphere, and make clear that this issue was not going to be exploited. The media was disappointed that, without a baby, the drama might lose its intensity, but we then focused upon Maria's heart, who is the FFWPU, and what is our heart toward this situation.
I will forward the most important statements, but I will simply say that on this evening's TV, for the first time since the beginning of this struggle, the words "munisti" (moonie), "secta" (cult), and other forms of disrespect disappeared from every report we saw. Find below Maria's statement, with the FFWPU statements to follow later. Please note the bold challenge included later in the text ...
love & prayer,
Statement by Mrs. Maria Milingo
Wife of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo
August 17, 2001, Rome, Italy
The great hope of Monsignor Milingo and I has been that God will bless us with a child. Although I am sad to discover that that blessing has not yet come, I am relieved that I do not need to be preoccupied with protecting the life of a child, and can focus my entire heart and soul on finding my husband. I do not want to die. I want to see my husband. I do not want to accuse the Catholic Church. I just want to see the face of my husband. I believe that this is the only way to reach him.
My husband and I married in front of God and the world. We began our life together. As Jesus said, we are no longer two people, we are one flesh, and what God has joined together, let no man put asunder [Matthew 19:4-7]. No matter what anyone says, I will not betray my commitment to my husband. How can anyone ask him to simply ignore his commitment to me?
When my husband made the difficult decision to get married, it was only through the guidance of God that he did. He was guided by Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Catherine, and others. When he stood in front of the world announcing our marriage, his concern was not only for the broken families in society, but for the moral crisis within the priesthood. He simply said, "let's be honest." Those who are involved in these same moral crimes and secrets have no right to accuse him. I ask you all to be honest. I ask you all to help me find my husband. And I ask the women who are secretly or openly married to men of the cloth, those who can understand what my husband is trying to do, to help me, to support me.
More than anyone, my husband loves and respects the Holy Father. That is why he came to Rome, and that is the one person he wanted to see. I ask the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, to intervene and help me to meet my husband. I am truly sorry to the church, and to the people of Italy, for all the trouble that I have made for you. But I only want one thing: to see my husband, face-to-face, and to pray together to God for His guidance for our future. Until that day comes, I have nothing more to say.
Maria Sung Milingo