Pope Dismisses Two Bishops

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of a bishop accused of covering up sexual abuse in Ireland, and has dismissed an African archbishop from the clerical state.

The Catholic News Agency (CNA) is reporting that the Pope has dismissed Emmanuel Milingo, Archbishop of Lusaka, from the clerical state for persistently acting against Church teaching. Milingo was suspended and excommunicated latae sententiae for serious transgressions in the last eight years.

Archbishop Milingo is best known for is 2001 marriage to Mrs. Maria Sung and for his efforts to abolish the discipline of priestly celibacy, which include giving interviews “in open disobedience to the repeated interventions of the Holy See,” an official statement from the Vatican press office states.

Milingo also ordained four bishops in 2006 without the required pontifical mandate and was excommunicated “latae sententiae”—by the very commission of the offense —following the order of the Holy See.

“Sadly,” says the Vatican’s statement, “Archbishop Milingo has shown no sign of the desired repentance with a view to returning to full communion” with the Catholic Church. “Rather he has persisted in the unlawful exercise of acts belonging to the episcopal office, committing new crimes against the unity of the Holy Church.”

These new crimes concern the ordination of more bishops without Vatican approval, and will now be penalized with dismissal from the clerical state. This means he will be prohibited from performing the exercise of any ministry in the Church.

Therefore, continues the statement, “the participation of the faithful in any future celebrations organized by Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo is to be considered unlawful.”

The Pope has also accepted the resignation of Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray who was accused of failing to properly respond to allegations of sexual abuse in the Murphy report. The report was published last month and details allegations of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin from 1975 to 2004.

Bishop Murray came to Rome on Dec. 6 to meet with Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect for the Congregation of Bishops, and to deliver his letter of resignation. The Pope had the final say in whether or not to accept his resignation.

(The Catholic News Agency contributed to this story)

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