Father Dominic Valanmanal, an Idukki-based Catholic priest who was forced to cancel his retreats in foreign countries after his shocking remark over autistic kids, now plans to conduct a ‘prayer meet’ and a counselling session for autistic children and their parents.
Reportedly, Father Dominic has scheduled a counselling session for parents of autistic children at Marian Retreat Centre at Anakkara in Idukki on November 17 and 18. Following the counselling, a “prayer meeting” has also been arranged for autistic kids at the retreat centre.
Besides that, a prayer meeting for the autistic children is scheduled at Renewal Retreat Centre at Bengaluru on November 8 and 9. However, these special programmes are not listed at the retreat centre’s official website.
Father Dominic Valanmanal, a Syro-Malabar Church priest from Kanjirappally diocese and the director of the retreat centre at Anakkara, had stirred a controversy by comparing children with autism to ‘animals’. In a video, Father Valanmanal had said that adultery, masturbation, homosexuality and porn addiction leads to having children with autism.
He had said, “It is because the anointing (sanctity) is lost. The young men and women have not filled with the Holy Spirit anymore. Afterwards, they lead an animal-like life. They copulate like animals. They bear children like animals. Therefore, those children will also be like animals. Animals do not speak, they do not have ears and can’t hear. It is not human”.
Father Valanmanal’s remark created a big controversy and three countries – Australia, Canada, Ireland, cancelled his retreats. Later, the priest cancelled all his international tours for this year. The website of the Marian retreat centre also removed the list of the outside retreat programmes of the priest.
However, Father Valanmanal and church officials claimed that the video was fabricated and the priest did not conduct any remarks against autism kids. In July, the priest expressed regrets in his controversial statement through a video.