Milingo excommunicated: from the Vatican website (in Italian)
"With great concern, the Holy See has followed the recent activities of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, emeritus of Lusaka, Zambia, with his new association of married priests, spreading division and confusion among the faithful.
"Church representatives of various levels have tried in vain to contact Archbishop Milingo in order to dissuade him from persisting in actions that provoke scandal, especially among the faithful who followed his pastoral ministry in favor of the poor and the sick.
"Bearing in mind the understanding shown, also recently, by Peter's Successor towards this aged pastor of the Church, the Holy See has awaited with vigilant patience the evolution of events which, unfortunately, have led Archbishop Milingo to a position of irregularity and of progressively open rupture of communion with the Church, first with his attempted marriage and then with the ordination of four bishops on Sunday, September 24, in Washington D.C., U.S.A.
"For this public act both Archbishop Milingo and the four ordinands have incurred excommunication 'latae sententiae,' as laid down in Canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law. Moreover, the Church does not recognize, nor does she intend to recognize in the future, these ordinations and all ordinations deriving from them; and she considers the canonical status of the four supposed-bishops as being that they held prior to this ordination.
The Apostolic See, attentive to the unity and peace of the flock of Christ, had hoped that the fraternal influence of people close to Archbishop Milingo would cause him to rethink and return to full communion with the Pope. Unfortunately the latest developments have made these hopes more unlikely.
"At times of ecclesial suffering such as these, may prayers intensify among all the community of the faithful."
Update: As the day goes on, keep up with the comments - there are going to be questions and discussions about the status of the episcopal ordinations Milingo performed, especially in comparison to the Lefebvrite episcopal ordinations. Busy, busy canonists.
From Ed Peters:
Folks, whatever the final answer is here, I think you all are reading too much into the phrase "canonical status". This is, after all, an unsigned press release, not a decree. "Canonical status" here might simply refer to the most fundamental canonical status there is in the Church, that of being ordained or lay (1983 CIC 207.1). If so, then the VIS statement means that these ordinations are not seen as VALID. And that would be fascinating. Remember, B16, as Cdl. Ratzinger, pulled the plug on Mormon baptism, and they sure looked valid for a long time. Maybe Rome has had it with the explosion of illicit ordinations out there, and is taking at harder look at validity issues. Finally. In any case, it seems that what Milingo actually did on Sept. 24 was either an ordination, an attempted or pseudo-ordination, or is otherwise being viewed as an equivalent act subject to censure under 1983 CIC 1382. Recall that, in the post-conciliar reform of canon law, criminal law or sanctions was cut to the barest of bones. Since then, many canonists have noted that the canonical descriptions of many crimes seem too narrow to encompass within their strict terms (per 1983 CIC 18) the variations with which actual offenders commit their deeds. While the facts on Milingo are being sorted out, keep alert to the possiblity that, as the living organism which it is, canon law is expanding, in its terms or interpretations, before our eyes to help the Church confront better the multiform duplicities of human behavior.