Fr Dominic Valanmanal, a Catholic priest from Kerala, has stirred controversy by saying autistic children are like animals. Delivering a sermon, a video of which is being circulated, he can be seen talking about autistic children, holding the parents responsible for the condition of the kids.
In the sermon, the priest says, “Why does this generation have autism and hyperactivity? The children of this generation – young men, young women – should keep this in mind. Alcohol, cigarette, beedi, narcotics, paan, adultery, masturbation, homosexuality, porn – if you are addicted to any of these, I say to you in the name of God. Dear children, keep in mind, tomorrow when you get married and have children, there is a high possibility of bearing these type of children. It is because the anointing (sanctity) is lost. The young men and women are 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.”
Fr Dominic serves as a priest under the diocese of Kanjirappally and is also director of the Marian Retreat Centre, Idukki.
A petition was started on Change.org to take action against the priest who was supposed to visit Ireland in October this year to preach at a community centre in Dublin, hosted by the Catholic Church. Even in his video, Fr Dominic talks about ‘curing’ children in Ireland by placing his hand on them and praying.
John Chacko, who started the petition, had addressed it to the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin. Three days ago, John posted an update that the Archbishop has asked the church to withdraw the invitation to Fr Dominic. The Irish Times also reported that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has asked the invitation to Fr Dominic to lead a retreat in Dublin be withdrawn.