OCTOBER 2, 2017
Divine Retreat Centre, Muringoor
SCANDALS AND COURT CASES – 03
IN THE NAME OF GOD: FR. AUGUSTINE VALLOORAN VC
THE REASONS FOR OUR CONTINUING THIS SERIES** ON DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE
**The existing eight critiques (now updated) on the Divine Retreat Centre at our web site are:
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-01 –
ENNEAGRAM NEW AGE PRACTITIONER MINISTERS
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-02
MAUREEN SWEENEY-HOLY LOVE MINISTRIES PROMOTED
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-03
– FALSE MYSTIC VASSULA RYDEN INVITED
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-04
– USE OF THE HINDU BINDI OR TILAK MARK ON FOREHEAD
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-05
– HINDU YOGA PROMOTED
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-05-B – REBUTTAL OF FR AUGUSTINE VALLOORAN ON YOGA
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-07 – “CRUSADERS OF JESUS WITH MARY” MINISTRY PROMOTED
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-08 –
CONDEMNATION OF DRINKING ALCOHOL AND SMOKING
To obtain a better understanding of the present file, please read
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE SCANDALS AND COURT CASES-01 (INTRODUCTION)
30 SEPTEMBER 2017
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE SCANDALS AND COURT CASES-02 (FAKE PREACHER PAUL GANESH IYER EXPOSED)
1 OCTOBER 2017
Below is a letter dated May 7, 2007 that I addressed to Fr. Augustine Vallooran, Director of the Divine Retreat Centre, (DRC) Muringoor, and which was sent to him by snail mail as well as by email. By the year 2007, my web site was well established. The fact that I have not uploaded this letter on the site till now is evidence that I was very reluctant to write about the goings-on at the DRC. Excepting one, all of the other nine preceding reports were released after the year 2007 when it became evident to me that things at the DRC were going downhill at an accelerated rate.
By the time this present file is being reproduced ten years down the line, I have been filing detailed reports on some of the issues that I first mentioned here in 2007, identifying the individuals by their names. In the case of those individuals whom I have not identified so far, their names will be included within brackets in the present file or in separate reports that are to follow. It is the same with dates where I have not been specific.
I have stored in a cupboard thousands of papers that relate to my part-time ministry since May-June 1982 and my full-time ministry since 1995. These papers will be studied by me over the next few months, and my reports updated, God-willing.
IN THE NAME OF GOD
Dear Rev. Fr. Augustine,
Since March 2006, I have been following with serious concern the developments at the Divine Retreat Centre, Muringoor, Kerala, more so because of the number of letters and telephone calls that I have been receiving over the last one week since the stories about the alleged happenings at the DRC were repeatedly broadcast by CNN IBN, Headlines Today, and other TV channels from May 1 to May 4*.
Some calls were from charismatic Catholics in ministry; others, regrettably, were from those who might have benefited from a retreat at the Centre. I had a different response to the latter, but, with the former, I was obliged to regretfully admit that there can be no smoke without a fire.
(*Details of these issues will be documented in future reports.)
In April 2006, I had received an email:
Sent: Wednesday, April 05, 2006 9:17 AM
Subject: Please pray for Fr. Augustine Vallooran
Please pray for Fr. Augustine Vallooran. More details at http://www.YouMeAndJesus.com.
An Eye opener to a high profile cyber crime in Kerala, India…
(The site and its many links does not open today.)
I did not open it till I was alerted by a friend that it included a portion of my testimony** in which I had written favourably about you and the Centre, and which they had copied from my web site.
On visiting http://www.YouMeAndJesus.com and noting that it was against the Divine Retreat Centre, I wrote to you. It was the same day that you completed your mission in Canada and the United States:
Subject: MISUSE OF MY PERSONAL TESTIMONY
Dear Fr. Augustine,
I have just written a letter*** to those you and me and Jesus people whom I had never heard of before this evening.
I put your name, along with that of Mr. A. who alerted me, in the BCC of that letter. I shall forward you the reply from them if I receive one. […]
Subject: MISUSE OF MY PERSONAL TESTIMONY
Dear Fr. Augustine, Glen & Teresa, and my very dear Swapna,
I have just written a letter to those you & me & Jesus people whom I never heard of before this evening.
I put your names, along with that of Mr. A. who alerted me, in the Bcc. of that letter. I shall forward you a reply from them if I receive one. I hope you all understand that I do not have any dealings with them. You know from your experience of me that I conduct my ministry openly, not clandestinely. I look forward to receiving an acknowledgement from all of you that you received these emails from me. Let us pray together, Michael Prabhu
I did not hear from those anonymous people; neither did you respond. (Swapna Abraham wrote in reply.)
Tuesday, April 4, 2006, 08:36 PM
– Divine News
I had a second marvelous encounter with the Holy Spirit at the Divine Retreat Centre in Muringoor in Kerala State (four visits in 1995), and then again with the team of the late Fr. Francis Rebello SJ and Fr. James Manjackal MSFS (1997-1998). After about 4 years of ‘full-time’ ministry from 1995 as an ‘evangelist’, during which period I equipped myself by spiritual reading and study, I was led into this particular ministry against the ‘New Age’ in early 1999.
My call to ministry was confirmed by all the above priests, and also by Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC of Divine Retreat Centre during my first meeting with him in 1995, but it had been prophesied to me by Fr. A. V. deSouza of Poona [Pune] in 1985 during his retreat in Delhi when he did not have the least idea about my identity and my spiritual life.
On July 10, 2006, I wrote to you informing you that Lalith Perera of Colombo, who was due to minister at your Power Retreat 2006 (July 30 to August 4) was also a preacher of Enneagram retreats* which the Vatican warns about as an occult practice in a Document on the New Age.
I provided you with sufficient evidence about this esoteric personality-typing device for you to take an informed and responsible decision.
Other lay Catholics also wrote to you, requesting you not to allow that to happen. I have the copies of their letters to you as well as your replies to them, which are almost identical to the one that you wrote me, justifying the invitation to Lalith Perera, just because he was bringing along with him a large number of Sri Lankans for the programme.
After the programme, someone sent me a CD recorded at the Centre and told me that I might be shocked at its contents. To be honest with you, I had forgotten about it till now, and I will remember to view it later. (I never did.)
Meanwhile I had continued to make enquiries in a particular direction as the evidence that I got from Sri Lanka showed far less numbers than the figure of 400 Sri Lankans that a UCAN report quoted you as saying as having attended the retreat. Someone must have informed you about my persistent enquiries and so you wrote to me charging me with “maligning” you and “spreading rumours”:
I would have appreciated it better if you had come and asked me directly and cleared all doubts yourself instead of using round about methods in a sustained effort to malign us. Please desist from spreading rumours about us.
Fr Augustine Vallooran VC
Dear Fr. Augustine,
I thank you for your email. I do not know what specific issue you are referring to. It would have been better if you had been specific. I receive and write a few thousand emails every month, and though I maintain meticulous records of all my correspondence … I am not able to place your problem. I would not “malign” you, Divine Retreat Centre, or your ministry. Or anyone else’s.
As a matter of fact, an unknown web site that did malign Divine, used (without my permission) a testimony of mine from my web site, one that speaks very favourably of your good self and the Centre. I had written to you about it in April this year, explain to you that I do not know them, but you did not respond to my letter.
My ministry is known for its integrity, and for its impartiality. And for the accuracy of it’s reporting on errors that concern the Faith. And I have willingly paid a heavy price for it especially to people who are in charismatic ministry, and who desire that the truth be suppressed.
Knowing me from 1995, you are aware that I always first approach the persons concerned with the issue. When I receive evasive or incorrect answers, and sometimes threats, or my communication is rejected, I bring the errors into the light (Ephesians 5:11).
If you are referring to my making enquiries about certain aspects of the Lalith Perera-Enneagrams episode, I followed the necessary Christian procedures to the letter. The report* on my web site will bear testimony to that. The issue was never closed. You will concur with me that continuing to make enquiries to establish facts is not wrong when an error has already been committed and is then justified. Enquiries help establish facts and ensure that matters are properly documented.
Enquiries and reports continue until an error is seen to be corrected. But since the last such enquiry I made in that connection was maybe around 6-8 weeks ago, I am sincerely unaware of what you are referring to.
All correspondence in this ministry is done in a spirit of open enquiry. If you will kindly reveal what or who you are referring to, I can give you a proper reply or even an apology if it is in order.
*DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-01
Predictably, you did not reply to my letter.
Accordingly I put together the above-referred report and uploaded it on my web site. The report includes all correspondence on the subject with your good self and with others, priests as well as lay persons. It now needs to be updated.
From the time of the incident till last week, I have continued to write to you as I am wont to, wishing you for the feasts of Christmas and Easter, and sending you copies of my latest postings and reports. However, unlike in the past, you have now chosen not to respond.
You can decide for yourself whether you are being objective. Or subjective.
May I remind you of my first meetings with you in your room during my earliest four retreats at Divine Retreat Centre, February to September 1995. You did not know me or my background, but you gave me Jeremiah 1:4 and 5, and overwhelmed, I wept in your presence.
And the word of the Lord came to me, saying: Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and made thee a prophet unto the nations. Douay-Rheims
God was using DRC more mightily during those days than he seems to be since of late.
I had moved away from the mainstream Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) where I was beginning to see signs of compromise and worldliness and was glad to find a place like “Potta” (as DRC was colloquially referred to) deeply rooted in the Bible and in the exercise of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
You will recall that on no less than three occasions between 1997 and 1999 you had asked me either to stay behind at DRC to serve as a counselor or to return to Kerala with your team from Chennai for the same purpose.
I attended the first Counselor’s Training Programme as well as the first Bible College at the DRC.
There came a time when the “mainstream” CCR rejected me, labelling me as a “Potta”-pusher (because I was giving a lot of Potta-related testimonies in my sharings).
Soon I had noted that there was a great chasm between the preaching and the practice at the Centre. I began to see that many events were not isolated incidents but part of the culture of the Centre. I, who used to rise to vigorously defend the Centre (like I did when the then Chairman of the Madras Service Team of the CCR stated that “Potta is full of aberrations”), was finally forced to admit that “God may be using Potta, but Potta is “using” God.”
One day, the Lord spoke to me at the DRC and the message that He gave me to give you was this:
“My people (here) do not love Me as their first love, as they did in the beginning; the miracles that I work here are not as numerous or as marvelous as they were earlier.”
At that time, I did not realize that there was a Word like that in Revelation 2:4. (Note that verse 5 calls for repentance.)
The message was confirmed to me just a few moments later by a perfect stranger from a village in Karnataka who said to me the same thing. I must confess that, like Jonah, I was afraid to convey the message to you, knowing of your proneness to displays of great anger. So I shared the message with two of your team members (Glen and Teresa La’Rive) who can testify to it even today. I wonder if they conveyed it to you.
There were several unsavoury incidents and happenings that I brought to your notice during my many sojourns in your Centre. At that time, I was naïve enough to believe that maybe you were unaware of them and that you would be pleased that I brought them to your attention so that you could take remedial action. However, you either curtly dismissed me each time, and finally you lashed out at me publicly in the priests’/preachers’ dining hall (which you had allowed me to use) and threatened to call your security guards and have me evicted.
You are aware by now that I maintain fairly meticulous records, though I now wish that I had done a better job in the case of the DRC. If you examine the reports at my web site, you would know that I report facts, and almost always with some documentation. Even if there isn’t any, my personal integrity has never been in doubt.
Before I enumerate some of the incidents, and which I am prayerfully considering consolidating in detail in a report or reports to be posted on the web site, I would like to clarify and state:
1. As the Director of the Centre, you have taken credit for the good and glorious things and so you must also be held responsible for the wrongdoings, if any, of the Centre and your subordinates.
2. I do not accept the defensive explanation given by many well-intentioned persons in favour of the Centre. Some of them may be ignorant on what goes on down there on the ground at the Divine Retreat Centre. Having seen, heard, and experienced for myself, I have no hesitation in saying that some of the statements of some persons, including senior priests at the DRC, are nothing but lies.
3. It has been my experience with some very, very senior charismatic priests, including yourself, that they do not mind using their anointing for discerning that a person has a prophetic gift, but when the very same person later speaks prophetically to (that may also be read as against) them, their message is rejected.
Below is a letter written by me last year to the investigating authorities in Kerala State:
March 16, 2006
KIND ATTENTION: Inspector General of Police Mr. Vinson M. Paul, Kochi
SUBJECT: DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE, MURINGOOR
This is in reference to the Honourable Kerala High Court Directive of March 10, 2006 by Justice K. Padmanabhan Nair to the Kerala State Government to constitute a Special Investigation team headed by your good self to investigate the many complaints made about the Divine Retreat Centre.
There can be no doubt about the good work being done by the Vincentian Fathers at their retreat centres in Potta, Muringoor and elsewhere. You, as a Christian, may be aware of that. I myself have attended several spiritual programmes conducted at the Divine Retreat Centre and also some conducted in other cities by the Centre. The Holy Spirit of God moves powerfully there and thousands of people have been healed of physical diseases and barren women become fertile after doctors have given up all hope. Thousands are delivered from addiction to narcotics and alcohol, broken marriages are renewed and property disputes settled amicably. The priests do not take money for these services which are done in the name of Jesus Christ, using teachings from the Holy Bible. There are no attempts at conversion or baptism of non-Christians.
Most Catholics who attend the retreats return home better Christians, loving God and neighbour and paying their taxes, obeying the law of the land and living as better citizens of this nation.
However, if there is any shred of truth in the criminal allegations made against the Centre, they must be investigated and the guilty, if any, punished by law.
Wherever there are human beings, there is opportunity for error, and crime. And there is always the possibility that some priests preach one thing and do another. In that case, it must be the guilty individual who is punished, not the Retreat Centre as a whole.
I myself have never been happy about some things; I list a few of them here.
Several thousand people register for the weekly retreats for which the boarding/lodging charges are very low. However, receipts for the money collected are not given, except on request, and then only to priests and religious to enable them to claim reimbursement. How is all that money accounted for and audited?
The same question applies to the religious articles, books, CDs, etc. that are sold at DRC.
People have “donated” Rs 30,000 to the DRC for each room booked in their names. Multiple bookings are done for the same room. Again, receipts are not issued.
The volunteers and staff complain that they are grossly underpaid. Some claim that they have to run from pillar to post for months to get anything, if at all.
The “volunteers” at the DRC serve as a sort of security force and to maintain discipline and order. Most of them are grossly rude and abusive, to say the least. They are verbally and physical abusive and are probably the worst public face of the Centre.
Robberies of visitors belongings from the dormitories are commonplace even though the dormitory gates are kept locked when the talks in the halls are in progress.
I have personally witnessed volunteers most mercilessly kicking and beating up a man who had argued with them in the foyer of the English block, even after a police van arrived to take him away.
If a retreatant has even a genuine grievance and raises it, he is threatened by these volunteers and he gives up in fear and disgust. Volunteers have claimed that they can lock any retreatant up by alleging that the person was taking drugs or misbehaving in public. I have heard a priest (Fr. Augustine Vallooran)
boast during his preaching that no one can exit the gates of the Centre once the retreat commences, even if he chooses to not attend the retreat. The priest boasted that even a senior police officer could not leave the compound and that the local police would not entertain any complaints against them.
I was present when a man from Coimbatore died within minutes of his being brought from there by ambulance to the DRC. The priests, who were close friends of the deceased’s family (Mr. Jayaraj), refused even to come and bless the body, there was no doctor present to provide medical assistance and no medical certificate was issued, and a few minutes later the body was rushed back across state lines the same ambulance. I am certain that sections of the Indian Penal Code were violated that day.
There was a Paul Ganesh Iyer, a Brahmin from Chennai who preached there for maybe two or three years. Almost every word of his “testimony” was a lie. It is possible that the priest (Fr. Augustine Vallooran)
who commissioned him knew the truth but permitted him as it was good for the crowds to hear his stories. Iyer, at best an ayurvedic compounder, was practising as a qualified medical doctor for that entire period, administering injections and writing prescriptions until the Centre was threatened with exposure by a letter, a copy of which is with me, addressed to the Superintendent of Police, Chalakudy and the Commissioner of Police, Chennai, as a consequence of which Iyer was immediately evicted from the Centre.
(DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE SCANDALS AND COURT CASES-02
(FAKE PREACHER PAUL GANESH IYER EXPOSED))
I am very much in support of the Centre, but if un-Christian things are going on, they must be stopped for the good of all. There have been rumours of many unfortunate incidents (the finding of dead bodies, rapes, etc.)
I trust that you will conduct an impartial investigation but it will be difficult for you to unearth anything.
There is a solidarity among the residents and an unspoken code of secrecy. Also fear. You can see for yourself how many of the volunteers and staff sincerely smile. Love and joy are preached, but seem to be missing among most staff at the Centre.
My only intention in writing is that truth and justice prevail and that the law of the land be upheld.
And by that, if the practice at the Centre more closely matches the preaching, then the Spirit of God will have the freedom to move there even more powerfully than He is now.
Sd./- Michael Prabhu (contact details…)
COPY TO: HON’BLE JUSTICE K. PADMANABHAN NAIR
As briefly as possible, I would like to list some of the injustices, errors and other goings-on at the Divine Retreat Centre, Muringoor, as noted during my several months of stay in the English section:
1. People are held at the Centre against their will. If they change their mind about attending the retreat sessions, they are not allowed to leave the Centre. Mr. Titus Jesudoss of Chennai, a senior legal counsel of the Tamil Nadu State Government, can testify to his forcible detention. You have publicly stated that no one can leave the Centre once the gates are shut.
2. People are threatened if they protest any unfairness and are violently beaten up if they persist. I myself have received several threats from volunteers when I protested their rough handling of retreatants at the counters or in the dining hall. We are told that we would be tied up, beaten, and put in a room from which there is no escape. I have been manhandled without prior warning for taking pictures with my camera in the Malayalam section. My camera was returned to me only because a known person intervened and vouched for me. The volunteers are a law unto themselves.
3. One Mr. Paul Ganesh Iyer, an ayurvedic compounder from Chennai, treated patients at your hospital, administered injections and wrote medical prescriptions for patients and retreatants for at least two years.
I have copies of the document exposing him as a fraud and con-man. It was on the basis of this document, copies of which were sent to the police […] that Iyer was hurriedly evicted from the Centre in order to pre-empt a police investigation.
4. Iyer’s testimony was proved to be 1% fact and 99% humbug. One can only wonder to what extent you were aware of that and colluded with his fabricated stories.
So too was the testimony of Mr. Vinoo Philip (of Bangalore/Kochi) whose circumstances at the time of his attending his first retreat at DRC I knew personally. (I had purchased his toiletries and collected money from some of my friends to enable him to attend a successive retreat. Soon he was put in charge of your travel counter and starting giving his false testimony to married couples.)
He was later terminated by you when he relapsed into alcoholism. (His wife and son Raunaq also kicked him out a second time.)
It is a known fact that not a word can be preached at DRC without your full approval. That is why testimonies like that of Mr. Aravindaksha Menon are identically delivered each time.
5. One of your leading priests is an active homosexual. He misuses his position as a priest and counselor to seduce young men who go to him with their problems with their homosexual tendencies.
I am in possession of a damning letter hand-written and signed by this priest and posted along with a colour photograph to one such unfortunate youth. (I have to unearth that letter from a huge pile of old records.)
6. People say that the easiest way to get “darshan” with you is to let you know that they have a donation to make. They say that when they meet you on their next visit, you do not treat them with the same cordiality as when they gave you the money. Several people have regretted having paid Rs. 30,000 for a room at DRC.
I have yet to meet anyone who admits having received a receipt for such a huge amount. (It’s Rs. 50,000 today.)
7. On several occasions I have requested a receipt for the payment that I made as Registration Fee for the retreats and special programmes that I attended. My request was always greeted with hostility. However, in my presence, receipts were issue to priests and nuns so that they could claim reimbursement on their return.
I have never been able to reconcile myself to the fact that several hundred thousand devotees have given money to the Centre without getting a cash receipt.
8. The Enneagram issue apart, two senior persons ministering at Divine and a counselor were found by me to master Pranic Healing and Reiki healers. When I orally reported this to you, you casually dismissed my concern.
Later, when I shared this with two national-level visiting preachers who had come to DRC from outside, and you came to know of it, you summoned me back to the priest’s dining hall, shouted loudly at me in front of dozens of preachers and counselors and threatened to have me evicted by your security. (The day: February 15, 2000)
Both persons later surrendered to me their occult paraphernalia and Reiki Master’s certificates.
Further, since you publicly called me a liar regarding my self-defense and explanation, six retreatants who were my roommates signed a statement giving their full addresses certifying the truth about your counselor.
(The name of one of the persons who was a Reiki Master and surrendered to me his original Reiki Master’s certificate is Johannes Michael Rix. He was in the Intercession ministry under Sr. Mareena. He stayed with me in Chennai and I gave him assistance to leave India via Bangladesh/Nepal after he was evicted from DRC by Fr. Vallooran when the police found that he had overstayed his Indian visa. He was very short on money after his stay there and had almost no possessions. He shared that he was given no assistance by the Centre and in fact was treated badly and without compassion. He now lives in Wurms, Germany and is married to a Sri Lankan. He told me that Fr. Vallooran tried to get him to marry a Malayali girl from the Centre.
The counselor who was a trained Pranic healer, staying in room no. 107 and who confessed that in my room, no. 18, in front of six others, was named Paul. The incidents took place on February 15 and 16, 2000 during the Evangelisation Retreat and Intensive Spiritual Refresher Course, February 7-25, 2000.
The preacher Aravindaksha Menon, also known as Jeswin Paul, informed me in the presence of a volunteer named R. Fuller and others that one Fr. Jose Jacob, not a Vincentian priest, residing at the DRC, was a practitioner of Reiki and Pranic healing.
Documentary evidence will be published in a separate report shortly)
9. Your legal defense of the Centre against the investigation charges mentions that you have homoeopathic and ayurvedic doctors. Kindly read the Vatican’s February 3, 2003 Document on the New Age which refers to treatments using homoeopathy and herbal medicines. Then please read the articles at my web site www.ephesians-511.net which explain why homoeopathy, ayurveda and naturopathy are New Age.
One of your senior-most preachers announced that he goes for treatment to a yoga centre.
Your Centre’s magazines have also written favourably about naturopathy, yoga and Vipassana meditation and thus misguided thousands of Catholics. I have brought these errors too to your attention. (Separate report)
10. I bought a praise and worship audio tape of the duo Abey and Swapna at DRC produced by you simply because it promised “live” worship. The “live” part turned out to be canned applause inserted between the tracks. I was cheated.
11. Your keyboard wizard Mr. Thankachan was selling some cure-all concoction for the fabulous amount of Rs. 1,000 per kilogram. This business was being transacted by him every Saturday in his room behind the stage of the main English retreat hall.
When I reported this to you (after failing to get it stopped by the Administrator) you expressed your anger at my interfering in DRC matters. However, that Saturday evening Mr. Thankachan was summoned from his residence to DRC and I believe that he was soon evicted from your Centre.
(Earlier, DRC had encouraged retreatants to visit and pray with the charismatically gifted brothers of the Blind Congregation across the road from your main gate. When it was found that the Blind Brothers were immensely popular, that people were consulting them for messages, and that donations to their Congregation had increased considerably, Fr. Vallooran posted printed instructions in DRC that the Blind Brothers were not part of the ministry of DRC and that once retreatants vacated their rooms to make way for incoming people and exited the main gate with their luggage, they would not be readmitted into DRC.
Thankachan realized his opportunity and began to hold the luggage of retreatants who would walk across to the Blind Brothers and come back later to collect it in return for the purchase of his concocted “medicine”.)
12. Most of the volunteers form a subservient low-paid or unpaid work force often because they come from troubled or criminal backgrounds and have nowhere to go.
Some of them shared with me that they were receiving a poor three-figure monthly salary or nothing at all. A very senior volunteer (Raphy) claimed that he had a wife and children back in his village who lived in a house without electricity, and had received no increment in over five years. A couple of preachers (from the Tamil and Hindi sections) told me that they were made to run from pillar to post for weeks, even months, to receive even one instalment of their promised emoluments. (One of them is Br. Martin Panjikaran who now runs a prophetic ministry in another part of Kerala. I cannot reveal the name of the other as he is still there because of his response to his calling from God. Later, I intend to reproduce some letters that I have in my records.)
13. The Centre preaches many virtues (integrity, compassion, tolerance, love) but they are conspicuous by their absence in the behaviour of your preachers and volunteers.
Except for a handful of preachers and praise and worship leaders, most are rather unapproachable and very arrogant. On June 19, 2000, I had copied to you a letter (To be reproduced in a separate file) that I wrote to preacher Mr. C.K. Joseph who heads your team of counselors. Neither of you responded.
People remark that, at DRC, for the most part one is greeted by business-like, forbidding, unsmiling faces from the main gate through the reception to the registration and into the dining hall.
I used to reflect that every anonymous devotee, no matter his or her personal standing in ministry or apostolate, is treated as if he or she has come to the centre quite ignorant and carrying a spiritual begging bowl.
When a person is suddenly identified as being a leader in ministry or in the Renewal, the attitude of everybody to them changes; some of those people end up being invited to minister at DRC.
Many people are uncomfortable with the crowded dormitories and are unable to use the bunker beds because of physical handicaps. Getting a room for a genuinely needy person with no “connections” is an ordeal, and I used to park myself at the reception and watch the tired incoming retreatants being miserably treated by the volunteers and other staff. Whether they were old or sick, they were yelled at and shoved around. To avoid this, people started coming with recommendation letters for the purchased rooms which are meant solely for the donor and his immediate family. The DRC used to be very egalitarian in its early days but today an elite class of retreatants has developed.
In Chennai for instance one has only to contact Vinoo Antony (who purports to be your relative), presently Chairman of the Madras Service Team of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, and his wife Darlene, to get a letter thus entitling the bearer to a room. A very rich relative of mine obtained such a letter through a couple of intermediaries. I know many such Catholic room owners who provide similar letters to people going to DRC.
14. I have never been to a retreat centre where there is as much partiality shown to people as at DRC.
People who do favours for DRC in their respective cities are accorded preferential treatment.
When the team preaches outside DRC, the priests visit — and often stay at — the homes of the very wealthy. They do not visit or stay with the lowly, the poor and the sick.
The team is picked up and transported in the most luxurious cars and stays at bar-attached star-rated hotels. (I have dined with you at one of them… the Riga in Wellington.)
In Chennai there is one very wealthy businessman living in a penthouse who never tired of telling people which priests from DRC have queued up at his Pantheon Road condominium. He claims that he has donated Rs 1.45 crores (14,500,000) in cash to the DRC. He lost all respect for our priests. He is now a Pentecostal.
15. For one who has the eyes to see… there is an underlying uneasiness to be felt at DRC, and a sense of “fear”, the fear that Big Brother is watching or listening. It is a known fact that any small infraction of rules or even the suspicion of it, is immediately reported up the ladder and dealt with swiftly. And often harshly.
There was that volunteer named George who later took charge of the books/religious articles stall and was finally thrown out after being caught for robbing the Centre. I was trying to assist a Kannada-speaking woman who had fallen in the bathroom at night and fractured her leg. Her family wanted to return to their village but George would not listen to them. There was no doctor available and the gates were locked. They also did not have money to travel as they were in possession of return tickets by rail. On learning that I had given them money, he picked up an argument with me. He misinterpreted something I said as a slur against you (Fr. Vallooran) and threatened me that I would be beaten and tied to a bed in a special room if I continued to argue with him. Admittedly, I was afraid and backed off.
Confidences by your staff (which are rather exceptional) are shared in whispers, looking over the shoulder literally and figuratively speaking.
One person (Rix, point no. 8) who stayed with me after leaving DRC finally admitted that the rot starts at the very top (Fr. Vallooran). To run a tight ship, a reign of fear is resorted to. Spying and reporting on people is rampant. It is no wonder then that the volunteers are abusive, knowing that retreatants can do nothing about it.
16. Even years ago, long before the court cases that made public news, I had heard that people were mysteriously disappearing or being found dead at the Centre. Just a few days ago I was told about the case of a man who was found with his face eaten by ants. A senior priest hushed up the matter and produced a death certificate.
17. Unqualified persons have headed important departments at the Centre. There is the case of fake doctor Paul Ganesh Iyer (DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE SCANDALS AND COURT CASES-02). Then there is the late Mr. Jolly Sebastian of Kolathur, Chennai. He reportedly headed the Drug Rehabilitation Centre and two of his email ids were email@example.com and
firstname.lastname@example.org, “deadd” standing for de-addiction. He was a disciple of New Ager Fr. Bede Griffiths of the Catholic Ashrams movement, a yoga practitioner, pranic healer and reiki master… and much, much more. You name it, he was into it. He called his “ministry” an “ecumenical” one. And he was counselling and de-addicting alcohol and narcotics abusers at DRC till he too was thrown out.
For a period of about one week, I had the “privilege” of being invited by you to attend the debriefing meetings held at 10:00 PM in your room. It was Christmas week or immediately after. I do not recall the dates but it will be in my records. I remember sharing Christmas cake with you, Glen & Teresa La’Rive, Abey & Swapna, John Paul, Advocate A.M. Mathew and a few other elite preachers. At that time, I saw a different — the true — face of things at DRC – the disparaging comments you made about a retreatant in white dress who was dancing with abandon (she was Miss Wheeler, a dentist from Chennai, now married to a Pentecostal pastor in Australia), your refusal to accept your presence in the room when you got a call (“tell him I’m not here”) and so much more.
I was quite scandalized by the dichotomy between what the retreatants see and what goes on in private.
Now, to come to the subject of the ongoing police investigations into complaints filed against the Divine Retreat Centre. The present investigation by the law covers only particular allegations of crime and corruption.
But if one were to talk to people like me or interrogate the preachers, a host of issues will surface.
Why is there a high turnover (attrition rate) of stellar preachers at the DRC? They preach for two or three or five years (as John Paul did) and then disappear without a trace. John Paul was by far the most versatile and spell-binding orator (was it in six or nine languages?) of the DRC. I was there the week that he left the Centre. There was no farewell, no acknowledgement of his having gone away after (exactly) five years almost to the week (was it a binding contract as some suspect?) that he first surfaced. It was rumoured that he had become a Pentecostal and was preaching with some new denomination in Kerala. Why on earth would a preacher from DRC become a Protestant straight out of a Catholic atmosphere? I could hazard a guess!
(Even stranger is the case of Fr. Joseph Ayyankolil from your Vincentian Congregation. He was the Director at the Arulalayam Retreat Centre in Ambattur, near Chennai, when I met him in the mid-1990s. My wife Angela and I had been going over once a week for several months to start an English ministry there with his help. I went to investigate the rabidly anti-Catholic cult of Mr. Joseph Ponnara which is thriving and has a large and wealthy following on a large campus located at Muriyad just a few kilometers from your Centre.
Fr. Ayyankolil joined the cult in 2005. He must be in his mid-70s now. I found him quite happy to play second fiddle to Ponnara. He is not even permitted to preach. He offers fake “Masses” for the retreatants who come to Muriyad from all parts of India, rejecting the Catholic gospel of the nearby Divine Retreat Centre.
I wonder what the reason/s could be for such a good and holy priest like Fr. Joseph to leave the Vincentian Congregation and the Catholic Church in his old age.)
Why is all of this happening in a place where the Holy Spirit of God is moving mightily?
I was present when one of 16-year-old Goan girl Swati Shirodkar’s legs instantaneously extended by 3 inches to normal size. (Two years later it was being announced as a 4 inches growth.) Her doctor father from the U.S.A. and two brothers were in the row behind me.
I was present when Royston D’Souza of BHEL Trichy was instantly healed of leprosy. He too was seated near me and I had noticed the white marks that we was trying to conceal on his ears and face.
My family members and I have experienced emotional, physical and spiritual healings, some of them nothing short of miraculous, at Divine Retreat Centre.
Why then does one find the situation at DRC so evil that it results in all the sin and error that I have chronicled?
I am prayerfully considering reproducing my old reports and letters (all presently in hard copy), updating them and posting them on this ministry’s web site.
(The time is NOW! 2017. If you have not read DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE SCANDALS AND COURT CASES-01 (INTRODUCTION), please do so right now.)
I shall be away in Mangalore and Kochi from the 12th to 22nd of May.
In the meantime I look forward to hearing from you in response to this letter. […]
Subject: IN THE NAME OF GOD
Dear Rev. Fr. Augustine,
Please read the attachment.
I look forward to your response.
RELATED VINCENTIAN CONGREGATION FILES
RAPE AND SEXUAL ABUSE BY INDIAN PRIESTS-CHURCH FAILS TO PUNISH GUILTY 04
22/28 JUNE/2 JULY 2017 (CORRESPONDENCE RELATED TO RAPE COMMITTED BY FR. JOBY KACHAPPILLY VC)
RAPE AND SEXUAL ABUSE BY INDIAN PRIESTS-CHURCH FAILS TO PUNISH GUILTY 05 (PROFILE OF FR. JOBY KACHAPPILLY, THE ABSCONDING RAPIST PRIEST HIDING IN ROME)
RAPE AND SEXUAL ABUSE BY INDIAN PRIESTS-CHURCH FAILS TO PUNISH GUILTY 06
(FINAL NOTIFICATION TO THE INDIAN CHURCH) 10 JULY 2017
RAPE AND SEXUAL ABUSE BY INDIAN PRIESTS-CHURCH FAILS TO PUNISH GUILTY 07 (INTIMIDATION AND BLACKMAIL OF RAPE SURVIVOR BY FR JOHN PUTHANPURACKAL VC) 10 JULY 2017
RAPE AND SEXUAL ABUSE BY INDIAN PRIESTS-CHURCH FAILS TO PUNISH GUILTY 09 (PROPOSED RETREAT BY RAPIST-PRIEST FR. JOBY KACHAPPILLY VC AT ST. MICHAEL’S CATHOLIC CHURCH, SHARJAH, SEPTEMBER 2-4, 2017) 2 AUGUST 2017
RAPE AND SEXUAL ABUSE BY INDIAN PRIESTS-CHURCH FAILS TO PUNISH GUILTY 10 (RETREAT BY FR. JOBY KACHAPPILLY VC AT ST. MICHAEL’S CATHOLIC CHURCH, SHARJAH, CANCELLED) 3 AUGUST 2017
RAPE AND SEXUAL ABUSE BY INDIAN PRIESTS-CHURCH FAILS TO PUNISH GUILTY 11 (FR. JOBY KACHAPPILLY VC IN HIDING IN ROME CONTINUES TO CONDUCT RETREATS OVERSEAS WITH SUPPORT FROM HIS CONGREGATION) 8 AUGUST 2017
RAPE AND SEXUAL ABUSE BY INDIAN PRIESTS-CHURCH FAILS TO PUNISH GUILTY 12 (COMPLAINT AGAINST RAPIST FR. JOBY KACHAPPILLY VC LODGED WITH NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR WOMEN) 20 AUGUST 2017
RAPE AND SEXUAL ABUSE BY INDIAN PRIESTS-CHURCH FAILS TO PUNISH GUILTY 13 (BANGALORE MEETING WITH VINCENTIAN PRIESTS AND CHURCH REPRESENTATIVE IN FR. JOBY KACHAPPILLY VC CASE) 20 AUGUST 2017
RAPE AND SEXUAL ABUSE BY INDIAN PRIESTS-CHURCH FAILS TO PUNISH GUILTY 14 (FR. JOBY KACHAPPILLY VC IN HIDING IN ROME CONTINUES TO CONDUCT RETREATS OVERSEAS WITH SUPPORT FROM HIS CONGREGATION – 02) 27 AUGUST 2017
RAPE AND SEXUAL ABUSE BY INDIAN PRIESTS-CHURCH FAILS TO PUNISH GUILTY 15 (SOME EVIDENCE AGAINST THE CRIMINAL PRIEST FR. JOBY KACHAPPILLY VC AND HIS ASSOCIATES) 28 AUGUST 2017
RAPIST PRIEST FR. JOBY KACHAPPILLY-THE CATHOLIC CHURCHS GURMEET RAM RAHIM SINGH
28 AUGUST 2017
RAPE AND SEXUAL ABUSE BY INDIAN PRIESTS-CHURCH FAILS TO PUNISH GUILTY 17 (VINCENTIAN PRIEST FR. SAM KOONAMPLACKIL OF LOGOS RETREAT CENTRE MOLESTS WOMEN) 30 AUGUST 2017
RAPE AND SEXUAL ABUSE BY INDIAN PRIESTS-CHURCH FAILS TO PUNISH GUILTY 19 (FR. JOBY KACHAPPILLY VC IN HIDING IN ROME CONTINUES TO CONDUCT RETREATS OVERSEAS WITH SUPPORT FROM HIS CONGREGATION – 03) 14 SEPTEMBER 2017
RAPE AND SEXUAL ABUSE BY INDIAN PRIESTS-CHURCH FAILS TO PUNISH GUILTY 20 (FR. JOBY KACHAPPILLY VC IN HIDING IN ROME CONTINUES TO CONDUCT RETREATS OVERSEAS WITH SUPPORT FROM HIS CONGREGATION – 04) 27 SEPTEMBER 2017
RAPE AND SEXUAL ABUSE BY INDIAN PRIESTS-CHURCH FAILS TO PUNISH GUILTY 21 (VEDIKA PEREIRA SPEAKS UP FOR FR. JOBY) 27 SEPTEMBER 2017
RAPE AND SEXUAL ABUSE BY INDIAN PRIESTS-CHURCH FAILS TO PUNISH GUILTY 22 (NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR WOMEN WRITES TO COMMISSIONER OF POLICE) 30 SEPTEMBER 2017