Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil on Investigations at Divine Retreat Centre

Statement by His Eminence Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil

Major Archbishop Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese

The Divine Retreat Centre at Muringoor shelters countless distressed people in deep misery who flock together week after week seeking divine help. Held in high esteem both in the Church as well as in society. This Retreat Centre had a humble beginning under the ministries of a few committed Vincentian priests who have fully devoted their lives to be at the service of all men and women who are plunged in deep misery and to preach the Good News of the Gospel. It is a Centre of healing and relief for the mentally sick and those abandoned by their own dear ones. The Good News of the Gospel preached there is the Word of Jesus Christ who came "To proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed."

Observing the change of life effected in the lives of people through this Retreat Centre, people of different walks of life irrespective of caste or creed, are being attracted to Divine. Through the ministry of God's Word preached at this Retreat Centre, countless people addicted to alcohol and narcotics have reformed their lives and have resumed their responsibilities in their homes. Through the witness of these people, the renown of the Divine Retreat Centre has spread throughout Kerala and to the rest of the world. As a result right now, the Ministry of the Word is carried out in Malayalam, English, Kannada, Hindi, Konkani, Telugu, and Tamil languages in Divine Retreat Centre each week.

Divine Retreat Centre is a House of Refuge for the broken, the afflicted, the unwanted mental patients and the AIDS victims ostracized by society. Thousands of patients come here to pray for their healing. A large number of people get healings because of their faith. Listening to God's Word of Love, people give up their evil ways of life and reform themselves - bringing peace and joy to society. Retreat Centres of this kind are lighthouses to those who stray from the right path in the journey of life.

That the powers of evil fight relentlessly against those who do good to society is not an isolated instance in the history of mankind. The unending flow of thousands of people to Divine Retreat Centre for their spiritual awakening is not being relished by a microscopic minority. They conspire and devise plans to malign this Retreat Centre among the public. At the beginning, they brought charges against the priests who serve at this Retreat Centre. Although there were court cases, the doors of the Divine Retreat Centre were left open for all. Anyone could at any time step in. At this Retreat Centre, to my knowledge, nothing is done secretly or under cover of concealment. That is precisely why when the Honourable Court ordered an inquiry, the Director of Divine Retreat Centre boldly declared that they would fully cooperate with the inquiry.

The Police Inquiry in a Centre of Prayer and Worship should have been conducted in a decent and respectable manner. Instead of observing and getting to know the ground realities, it is deplorable that a police investigation trespassing all the limits of decency and respectability was carried out. The media projection of the recent police investigation at the Divine Retreat Centre is itself despicable.

Anybody could at any time visit the quarters of AIDS victims and those thrown out from the mainstream of society. An inquiry moved by prejudices and misleading propaganda is not likely to be impartial and objective. The police action has cut deep wounds in the minds of millions of people who have availed themselves of the service of this Retreat Centre and who hold Divine in high esteem. The Police as well as the Government should have encouraged the works of mercy being carried out by religious groups and voluntary associations of this country. It is also the responsibility of the Government to care for the poor and the sick and to rehabilitate them. To show respect and decency to religious groups is a basic principle of democracy. Those responsible for it should see that justice is done to everybody. Because the Christians are tolerant, it is cruel and inhumane to conclude that anything can be done to them. The Police have dishonoured not only the religious community associated with the Divine Retreat Centre but also all those who devote themselves day and night for the works of mercy at this Retreat Centre. The Government and the Home Minister are urgently called upon to correct the police excesses and to take the necessary steps not to repeat such unwarranted actions in future.

Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil
Major Archbishop, Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese
11 October 2006

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I simply amazed and happy to know about this blog.As I step into this blog and hope to remain in my fraternity as a Konkani Catholic, may we be inspired by each other to spraed The Word. As a writer, I can voice my opinion with my words which I am sure shall be picked up for a common cause.I wish all of You at KC a Blesse and Fruitful New Year.
Rajesh Rodricks