APRIL 2000/JUNE 2, 2013
Errors in Divine Retreat Centre, Muringoor – 05
THE REASONS FOR OUR CONTINUING THIS SERIES ON DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE
1. The spirituality of the Divine Retreat Centre [DRC] is “charismatic”. One gets the impression that the DRC’s “charismatics”, both preaching teams as well as regular devotees, believe that they are “superior” to other Catholics.
Since my antecedents are not known to many who visit our web site, I proudly affirm that my spirituality is charismatic.
I must add that one of my spiritual directors, a holy and orthodox French Benedictine priest, actually finds it impossible to reconcile my “conservative” ministry with my being “charismatic”. To him it’s an oxymoron. To me, it seems a natural thing.
I have attended literally dozens of retreats and special events including a Bible College and a training programme in Counselling at the DRC between 1995 and 2000. I still do, as in the past, recommend to others these retreats for the reason that the preaching of the Word of God at the DRC has led to the transformation of many lives.
However, it is generally accepted that the contents of the retreat programmes have not evolved much since their inception over two decades ago and the retreats have continued to be by and large what can only be termed as an “initiation” into the Faith. This has resulted in little growth in the spiritual lives of most regular retreatants for whom the Centre becomes a place of pilgrimage and recourse when in need. Many, lacking “solid food” which they now pursue, end up as Pentecostals.
2a. It has been my observation for a very long time that the Divine Retreat Centre, Muringoor, has been the propagator of errors and abuses, including in the liturgy of the Mass, something that, as an apologist, I now find impossible to ignore.
I admit adhering to and participating in most if not all of them at one time or another for several reasons, the chief among them being ignorance; moreover, no one objected to them and almost every charismatic priest, religious and lay leader practised them. However, circumstances — and the personal counsel of some good CCR leaders who would like to see these abuses and errors stopped — make it imperative that they be now exposed. Some teachings at the DRC are not Catholic.
2b. It has been my experience — when I have pointed out these errors and abuses from time to time — that most die-hard devotees of the Divine Retreat Centre are not very receptive to fraternal correction of any sort, or even discussion of the possibility of the Centre being in error. Their responses have ranged from indulgence to hostility. My pointing out that I am only appealing to the teaching of the Church has not saved me from being labeled “anti-Divine Retreat Centre”.
The DRC has become a holy cow for many both within and without the institution and any criticism is viewed as bordering on the sacrilegious. I can truthfully state that this attitude goes right up to the top of the administration. In case my statements appear outrageous, let the reader be assured that, in the course of this series,
I will provide the necessary evidence
to support them.
3. The focus of the first article in the series was on DRC‘s Enneagrams proponent, Sri Lankan preacher Lalith Perera; see DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-01,
It was originally published as ENNEAGRAM PRACTITIONER MINISTERS AT DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE.
The Enneagram is a New Age, occult personality-typing system. See ENNEAGRAMS SUMMARY
for more information on Enneagrams.
Despite the evidence provided to its Director, Fr Augustine Vallooran VC and letters of protest sent to him by several Catholics, DRC continues to invite occult-tainted Lalith Perera to minister at the Centre every year sine our report in 2006.
4. The immediate reason for this series on the Divine Retreat Centre, Muringoor, was the refusal of priests at the Centre to engage in civil correspondence with us in regard to our genuine concern about their promotion of a controversial mystic, see our September 2012 report MAUREEN SWEENEY-HOLY LOVE MINISTRIES
http://ephesians-511.net/docs/MAUREEN_SWEENEY-HOLY_LOVE_MINISTRIES.doc. This resulted in the report DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-02, http://ephesians-511.net/docs/DIVINE_RETREAT_CENTRE_ERRORS-02.doc.
If that attitude was an isolated one, there would have been no necessity for this series. Unfortunately, it was a repeat of the 2006 enneagram preacher DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-01 issue. These first two reports of the series do indeed confirm that the Divine Retreat Centre indeed does not take kindly to fraternal correction or attempt to correct serious error. More evidence of that will be provided.
The Vincentian Fathers have either never replied to my letters drawing their attention to errors that are propagated at their retreat centres and in the Indian church at large, or if they ever did, as in the cases of the Enneagram proponent Lalith Perera [DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-01] and the controversial mystic Maureen Sweeney‘s devotions [DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-02], the letters are evasive or harsh.
5. In closing DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-02, I wrote, “Apparently, the Divine Retreat Centre has made a habit of promoting false mystics, one such being a Greek Orthodox woman, Vassula Ryden whose messages have been condemned by Rome as dangerous” and to be shunned by Catholics.
6. The fourth report in the series is on the use of Hindu and superstitious marks on forehead and face by the Centre’s Catholic devotees and retreatants. See DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-04
The present report concerns the top echelons of the DRC‘s Vincentian administration dalliance with yoga.
Following, is a letter [edited] that I received just today from an Indian Catholic in the United States:
Sent: Sunday, June 02, 2013 4:34 AM
Subject: Re: WE COMPLETE A DECADE OF INTERNET MINISTRY, PRAISE THE LORD
Thanks for your e mail. Congratulations on completing 10 years in your [Internet] ministry. Well done and may God continue to bless your work. I am sorry that I have not kept in touch. I had just stopped using the computer and did not check my emails.
I read about the errors that you have been detecting at DRC Potta and the frustration that you have been facing when you have recd. no response from the authorities there. I have been for a retreat there 4 times. The last time was about 2 1/2 years ago. I agree with you that people go there for a restful pilgrimage. On my last retreat I was surprised that at the end a DVD was shown of all their charitable work and an appeal was made for funds. But what really disturbed me is that the inmates do yoga for exercise. A lady who has been there a few times emailed Fr Augustine Vallooran asking if she could do yoga as recommended by her doctor (I had told her that yoga is not compatible with Christianity). He replied to say yes as long as she does not chant anything and does it as a form of exercise. Here in the US yoga is so common. I am so concerned with my grand daughter who is 5 1/2 years old who will be going for a summer camp conducted by a friend of my daughter who is a yoga teacher. It really pains me to see how much new age involvement my daughter and her family have been involved in especially acupuncture, acupressure, chiropractic etc. especially during her pregnancy. May God protect them and the children from the harmfully effects of all these practices. The latest has been craniosacral therapy.
Sorry to bother you with my sorrows. Please pray for me and my family love and God bless. LA
Antony Cardinal Padiyara, the Syro-Malabar Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly died in March 2000 in a yoga centre which he had founded at Kakkanad in Kerala. It was called the “Cardinal Padiyara Nature Cure and Yoga Ashram“.
One of the Divine group of institutions‘ magazines, Vachanotsavam, carried this in its April 2000 issue:
Cardinal Padiyara passes away
Kochi: Cardinal Antony Padiyara, one of the most revered church leaders in India and the first Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, which has headquarters in Kochi, passed away here on 23rd March. Cardinal Padiyara (79), who had stepped down in 1996 as Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, the world’s second-largest individual Catholic Church, on health grounds, breathed his last at the Yoga and Nature Cure Centre he had founded near here. […]
He was the head and father of the three-million strong Syro-Malabar Church for four years.
What does one understand from the above news story published in a charismatic magazine that is otherwise almost exclusively confined to printing healing testimonies, scripture-based teaching and spiritual reading?
Mainly that the top management of the Vincentian Fathers’ Congregation which run the Potta Ashram, the Divine Retreat Centre in Muringoor and several other retreat centres across India have no moral judgements on the Hindu spiritual discipline of yoga. They instead, as we have noted from the letter written by LA, actually recommend it to retreatants, even in writing as Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC, the Director has done.
The news story also reveals the extent to which the Hinduisation of the Church in the guise of inculturation has spread its tentacles. If it has infiltrated the premier charismatic retreat centre in all of Asia and far beyond, and neutralised its leading preachers, there is little else that can escape its insidious reach.
If the spiritual head of three million Catholics, a Cardinal who in principle is a potential Pope, practices yoga which two Vatican documents have declared as New Age, and founds a yoga centre, and if that yoga centre is patronised by the preachers of Potta and Divine Retreat Centre, what is the state of the Indian church?
I am in the process of emailing one of my periodic updates, having completed ten years of Internet ministry [using email and a web site] to around one thousand addresses on my mailing list, individually. It is in the context of that update that I received the response from LA which I copied on the previous page.
The letter from LA stirred my memory: I had been writing against New Age [yoga included] for several years before May 2003, the month I went online a decade ago. I had been using a FACIT electronic typewriter with one-line display before I purchased the desktop computer in 2003. I would photocopy the typed-out pages and distribute them by hand or snail mail them to anyone who might be a prospective reader. I estimate that I circulated over 500,000 sheets of my writings as this process continued for years after I started to use a printer along with my new pc. I even maintained a record of my distribution list, complete with serial numbers and dates and names of the recipient of my writings. When LA‘s letter jogged my memory, I dug into my hard copy archives and retrieved a number of my papers related to Potta/the Divine Retreat Centre.
They will be reproduced in the continuation of this series, commencing right here.
Almost the very first* pre-2003 letter that I am copying out to be published on this ministry’s web site is the one below, addressed to the editor, Vachanotsavam, in response to the news story in its April 2000 issue:
25 April 2000
You must be aware that every major Catholic evangelist strongly opposes the practise of yoga by Christians even in its most innocent forms as a simple breathing exercise or physical workout.
Bro. Jose Anathanam [The Covenant People, Kanjirapally], Bro. Trevor Lewis [Jeevan Asha Ministries, Mumbai] etc. and Bro. Fritz Mascarenhas [Bangalore] include a condemnation of yoga in all their talks whenever they preach against occult practices like Zen, Reiki, Pranic Healing, etc. I have heard Bro. Fritz speak against yoga at Divine Retreat Centre itself.
I am in complete and whole-hearted agreement with these preachers.
I myself have prepared a pamphlet against yoga which is being encouraged now by Catholic bishops and even a Cardinal [in “Christian Meditation through Yoga” by Gilbert Carlo SVD] and being propagated by Catholic priests.
So it is most unfortunate that Vachanotsavam magazine has printed in its issue of April 2000 the information that a Cardinal of the Catholic Church founded a yoga centre and died in it: Cardinal Padiyara passes away,
That particular information should have been edited out. Its inclusion is interpreted, rightly or wrongly, as an endorsement by the Church as well as by the Potta fathers that yoga [which is promoted by a Cardinal] may be safely and beneficially practised by Catholics.
During some of his recent talks, Fr. Mathew Naickomparambil VC has been sharing about his recuperating at a nature-therapy centre in Kerala. We are concerned that it could be the same one. Could you please clarify?
Also, many of us who love Potta and Divine Retreat Centre as our own, are of the firm opinion that even if it is a different one from the Yoga Centre, it is better that we do not refer to “nature cure” when preaching Jesus Christ, as less-informed persons might get misled or scandalized. Once again, we request you to clarify your position.
We have circulated copies of this letter to evangelists and lay leaders across the country as we are concerned about the increasing acceptance in the Church of yoga as a harmless physical exercise which it is not.
Sd/- Michael Prabhu and others, [postal address in full]
*I might have reproduced a couple of others in earlier reports.
Today I know that the founding father of the Divine group of institutions, Fr. Mathew Naickomparambil, had in fact referred to the very same Yoga and Nature Cure Centre where he was accustomed to take treatment.
I did not get a reply from the editor of Vachanotsavam.
I wrote to a leading preacher of Divine Retreat Centre, [the letter in its entirety will be reproduced in DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-06]; I reproduce below the portion immediately concerning the issue at hand:
14 June 2000
Dear Reverend Father Augustine Mundackatt VC,
[…] I want to bring to your notice a news item that was carried in the Vachanotsavam issue of April 2000 titled “Cardinal Padiyara passes away“. I enclose herewith a copy of it along with a photocopy of my letter dated April 25, 2000, addressed to The Editor, Vachanotsavam. I have not received an acknowledgement. Catholics are already confused as many Catholic priests are propagating yoga through training sessions and publishing of books on yoga practice and now your article gives the impression that the yoga system is approved by Divine Retreat Centre. I believe that a clarification is needed here too. It will be good for me to receive it to include in my forthcoming article on yoga. […]
I did not get a reply from the Fr Augustine Mundackatt.
firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com ; firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com ; firstname.lastname@example.org
divineyouth.drc@gmail. com ; Prasad Naik ; email@example.com ; firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com ; firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com
Sent: Tuesday, June 04, 2013 5:48 PM Subject: DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS
Dear Fathers Augustine and Michael,
This refers to my previous letter to you, below. Fr. Michael responded but his reply was curt and dismissive.
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Cc:
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; divineyouth.drc@gmail. com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
Sent: Sunday, January 06, 2013 8:08 AM Subject:
THE “ROSARY OF THE UNBORN” PROMOTED AT THE DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE, MURINGOOR, IS NOT APPROVED BY THE CHURCH […]
[See report for the referred letters]
I replied to him but I did not get his
Accordingly, I published my report
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-02
8 FEBRUARY 2013 – MAUREEN SWEENEY-HOLY LOVE MINISTRIES
Since the errors at Divine Retreat Centre that I have been writing to you about over the course of more than a decade remain uncorrected, I have continued to publish other reports.
The others published so far in the series are:
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-01
AUGUST 2006/JANUARY 2010/JULY/SEPTEMBER 2012/FEBRUARY 2013 – ENNEAGRAM PRACTITIONER LALITH PERERA
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-03
8 FEBRUARY 2013
– VASSULA RYDEN
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-04
19 FEBRUARY 2013 – BINDI OR TILAK MARK
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-05
APRIL 2000/2 JUNE 2013 – YOGA
1. CARDINAL OSWALD GRACIAS ENDORSES YOGA FOR CATHOLICS
25 FEBRUARY/9 APRIL 2013
2. FR JOHN FERREIRA-YOGA, SURYANAMASKAR AT ST. PETER’S COLLEGE, AGRA
APRIL 2008/NOVEMBER 2010/25 FEBRUARY 2013
3. FR ADRIAN MASCARENHAS-YOGA AT ST PATRICK’S CHURCH BANGALORE JULY/NOVEMBER 28, 2011
4. FR JOHN VALDARIS-NEW AGE CURES FOR CANCER
31 JANUARY 2013
5. YOGA IN THE DIOCESE OF MANGALORE APRIL 2007/SEPTEMBER 2007
6. YOGA, SURYANAMASKAR, GAYATRI MANTRA, PRANAYAMA TO BE MADE COMPULSORY IN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS MARCH-APRIL 2007
7. CARDINAL OSWALD GRACIAS ENDORSES YOGA FOR CATHOLICS
8. PAPAL CANDIDATE OSWALD CARDINAL GRACIAS ENDORSES YOGA
1. NEW AGE GURUS 1 SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR AND THE ‘ART OF LIVING’ SEP-DEC 2006/AUGUST 2009
2. TRUTH, LIES AND YOGA-ERROL FERNANDES
3. WAS JESUS A YOGI? SYNCRETISM AND INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE-ERROL FERNANDES
4. YOGA MARCH 2007/DECEMBER 2009
5. YOGA AND DELIVERANCE
6. YOGA IS SATANIC-EXORCIST FR GABRIELE AMORTH
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011/MAY 2012
7. YOGA-SUMMARY JANUARY 2007
8. YOGA-WHAT DOES THE CATHOLIC CATECHISM SAY ABOUT IT
21 JANUARY 2013
9. YOGA-WHAT DOES THE CATHOLIC CHURCH SAY ABOUT IT? APRIL 2009
1. LETTER TO THE BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON SOME ASPECTS OF CHRISTIAN MEDITATION CDF/CARDINAL JOSEPH RATZINGER OCTOBER 15, 1989
2. JESUS CHRIST THE BEARER OF THE WATER OF LIFE, A CHRISTIAN REFLECTION ON THE NEW AGE COMBINED VATICAN DICASTERIES FEBRUARY 3, 2003
Categories: new age