News24

Defrocked cleric demands pension

2009-12-19 16:22

Lusaka - A former Zambian archbishop on Saturday said he wanted the Roman Catholic Church to pay him pension for the 23 years he worked in Italy, after he was defrocked for consecrating married men as bishops.

Emmanuel Milingo, 79, who has practised exorcism and advocates optional celibacy for priests, told the private Radio Phoenix station he was still a fully ordained Catholic cleric.

"I was assigned by the late Pope John Paul to work in Italy. I worked for 23 years and now the church wants to take advantage of marriage to deny me my pension," Milingo said.

On Thursday, the Vatican announced the defrocking of Milingo. He had been excommunicated in 2006 for "his increasing split" with Church rules for consecrating four married priests as bishops.

In 2001, he shocked the Catholic establishment by marrying a Korean acupuncturist in a mass "Moony" wedding ceremony in New York presided over by the founder of the Unification Church himself, Reverend Sun Myung Moon.

Defrocking entails dismissing a priest from the clerical state and prohibits such individuals from donning clerical attire and strips them of priestly rights and duties

Milingo also claimed that he was aware that the church had in the past executed clerics that came up with intentions of marriage whilst serving as priests.

"I know a lot about the church than those condemning me. The church twice executed those who came up with such intentions and I know where they are buried in Rome," Milingo said.