KOCHI: A Kerala priest is facing the ire of the Archbishop of Dublin and a section of the Syro-Malabar community in Ireland for his controversial remarks on the parents of autistic kids. Fr Dominic Valanmanal, Syro-Malabar priest and director of the Marian Retreat Centre at Anakkara in Idukki, is scheduled to lead a three-day retreat in Ireland in August this year.
But the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin and a section of the Syro-Malabar community in Ireland have asked the organisers to withdraw the invite to Fr Valanmanal.
They cited a sermon video of the priest, in which he is seen saying that those who commit adultery, homosexuality or watch porn are at the risk of fathering kids with autism and hyperactivity. Fr Valanmanal, who is on a visit to South Africa, was unavailable for comment. His manager Vimal told Express the video was manipulated.
“This is a six-to-seven-year-old video, which was edited, manipulated and circulated on the social media by some unknown persons. The voice and body language are not matching,” he said.
Vimal said Fr Valanmanal has lodged a police complaint over the video. “We have asked the Kerala Police to take up the matter with their Irish counterpart. We will also approach the archbishop to clear his misunderstanding. There is every possibility that the archbishop was misguided by the video. Also, the opinion was aired through a spokesperson and not directly by the archbishop,” Vimal said.
Meanwhile, a section of the Syro-Malabar community is preparing a mass petition to Ireland’s Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan to ban Fr Valanmanal from entering the country. According to them, the video was of a sermon of Fr Valanmanal in New Zealand. Idukki ASP Mohamed Shafi K and Vandanmedu station house officer Sojo Varghese said they were unaware of such a complaint.