December 11, 2006
Excommunicated Roman Catholic Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, center, with new bishops, Father Raymond Grosswirth, left, and Father Dominic Riccio, right.
WEST NEW YORK, New Jersey (AP) -- An excommunicated Roman Catholic archbishop continued to defy the Vatican when he installed two married priests as bishops on Sunday.
In front of a sea of reporters and photographers and several dozen congregants, Raymond A. Grosswirth of Rochester, New York, and Dominic Riccio, of the Newark Archdiocese, were installed by Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo at the Trinity Reformed Church. The ceremony concluded a two-day convention of Milingo's advocacy group, Married Priests Now!
In a visible break from tradition, the wives of both men helped their husbands on with their vestments before each man was anointed.
Milingo, 76, installed four married men as Roman Catholic bishops in September, including Peter Paul Brennan of New York and Patrick Trujillo of Newark. Milingo was later excommunicated by the Vatican, and Pope Benedict XVI followed that decision by convening a summit that reaffirmed mandatory celibacy for clergy.
Members of Milingo's group believe that reinstating priests who are married would help ease a shortage of priests. According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, the number of priests has dropped from 58,600 in 1965 to 41,790 this year.
Milingo has called celibacy "outdated" and was married in 2001 to a Korean acupuncturist chosen for him by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon in a mass wedding performed by Moon's Unification Church.
Milingo's ties to Moon, whose doctrines are considered beyond the bounds of traditional Christianity, have caused consternation in Catholic circles. Moon's American Clergy Leadership Conference paid for much of Milingo's conference this weekend.