By : Matters India Reporter
Idukki, July 09: Indian Catholic priest Fr Dominic Valanmanal, who preached that an increased incidence of autism and hyperactivity in children is due to their parents’ lifestyle has apologised for his remarks.
“I have a deep affection towards autistic children. I tell their parents that I am part of their family. I am deeply saddened to hear that my words have hurt them. They are the children of the good God and I continue to pray for them,” Fr Valanmanal says in the video.
In a previous video the priest had stirred controversy by saying that autistic children behave like animals. He also said that young men and women who are addicted to alcohol, cigarette, beedi, narcotics, paan, adultery, masturbation, homosexuality and porn are likely to bear these type of children when they get married because the anointing (sanctity) is lost.
Following this Ireland and Canada cancelled their invite for Fr Valanmanal to conduct retreats in their dioceses. They stated that the priest’s statements did not reflect the pastoral care and concern that the Church has towards children and adults living with autism and their families.
Fr Dominic serves as a priest under the Syro Malabar Diocese of Kanjirappally in the south Indian state of Kerala and is also director of the Marian Retreat Centre, Idukki.