Thursday, August 16, 2007

An Overview of the CFC Issue

The following is a summary overview of the CFC crisis situation. To get a clear picture of what is going on, one must open his/her eyes to facts, analyze personalities, and review the proof presented. Only then should one make up his/her mind as to what direction to take. Many stories abound, but the proof will only point in one direction. Which way that is is up to you.

Please click on each image to enlarge:

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Anonymous said...

Let me tell now what the bishops will say on Aug. 28th, 2007.
They will say the both CFC & CFC FFL conform with the
Church doctrine and morals. That both groups can serve
the Catholic Church despite their differences. And that it is
up of the bishop of the place to decide on how to handle the

Even now, there is Bishop Arguelles with CFC and Bishop Reyes with
CFC FFL. So, there are no doctrinal or moral problems with either

There may be faults in both groups, but what good is it to find
them? The archdiocese of LA had 500+ children molested by
priests and the same goes for Boston and other places.
Despite that, the Catholic church is still a source of grace and truth
even if sacraments are administered and the gospel is preached
by a sinful priest. (This is the official Church doctrine as articulated by St. Augustine)

There is no heresy nor immorality in CFC and CFC FFL.
And then there is no difference is the vision and mission. So
this is not like the separation from Ligaya where the charism are
inclusive vs exclusive, local vs global, rapid vs paced etc. The problem is with
the leaders who cannot get along are now dragging the members
into their conflict.

Your head will ask you where you stand soon. Now I ask you
to consider a third option - to say no to division and strive to
keep the groups together. If you must choose, then choose both.
Alternate your meetings, but make a stand to keep the community
together. It is like belonging to the Legion of Mary and the Choir.
You do not have to choose one over the other. If you leader
tells you that you cannot join both then I tell you that he is mistaken.

The hope to keep the community together is you. You are the silent
or vocal leader of a call to use people power to keep CFC together.
Because to stay together is an expression of the Christian
love that we professed to follow. Let us show our leaders both Frank
and Joe that there is another way.

Ask the Lord for guidance. If you think this way is something that
the Lord may like, then please pass this along to everyone.

God love you.


Anonymous said...

The current state of the conflict between CFC and FFL can be likened to a conflict of a married couple who were in the thick of reconciliation process, with on going dialogues and a lot of interested parties trying to help out to ensure reconciliation, unity and peace.

Unfortunately, one of the spouses (the woman) opted to join and live with her lover. In this kind of situation prospect and possibility of reconciliation is far from happening. What is worst, when the woman got pregnant and gave birth, wanted to have her child named after the former husband (CFC FFL) which I guess the authorities did not allow (SEC ruling on the registration of the new group).

Do you think with the situation we are in right now we will still be able to attain reconciliation and unification??

Anyway let’s leave it at that and let both CFC and FFL live and let live. Let each one do its share in evangelizing lost souls and FFL not to raid the members of CFC who are already in the light.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

nakakatawa lang dito sa North B (the group which broke away led by Bro. DM) Yung mga bagong recruits are from the GK sites. I wonder how they're going to explain that the new group - FFL got formed because they got tired of GK.

Anyhow, warm bodies parin yun.

Ganito kasi racket nila. Magtatawag kuno ng prayer meeting (walang pasabi na it's the new group)sa dating meeting places ng mga CLP tapos biglang yun na - assembly na pala ng FFL. de syempre gulong gulo na yung mga members kung saan na ba talaga sila.

Couples for Frank or Gawad Meloto?


Remember: CFC was never about the personalities that led you but about the Lord! Dun na ako sa orig.

Anonymous said...

This is so disappointing.
What is happening to our dearest community is confusing and degrading but what disappoints me most is how we react to these issues.. We used our tongues to worship and now were using it to spit venom and toxins that is totally disrespecting our elders or former elders if they are really planning of leaving..

If reconciliation is not possible, then lets pray for the goodness of all.. Let's pray that whatever decisions THEY came up.. its all for Christ and for renewing the face of the earth..


Anonymous said...

"Ganito kasi racket nila. Magtatawag kuno ng prayer meeting (walang pasabi na it's the new group)sa dating meeting places ng mga CLP tapos biglang yun na - assembly na pala ng FFL. de syempre gulong gulo na yung mga members kung saan na ba talaga sila."

Ang tawag dyan, Gapangan.

Ahas lang ang gumagapang sa lupa, hindi tao.

Anonymous said...

correction.. FFL was formed not because they got tired of GK.

i will not transfer there, but at least i tried to listen to their side.. and they are not at all anti-GK.

contributor three said...

By: Dr. Vic S. Cabuquit
CFC-North B


The Couples for Christ, the foremost Catholic lay organization, is 26 years old this year. It has grown into a world-wide network of about one million members. Its thrust has been mainly on evangelization, beginning with the couples themselves and gradually branching into several family and social ministries, offering a unique “womb to tomb” type of evangelization that has reached all the corners of this country and in 160 countries in the world.

It has done remarkably well in its efforts to make a difference, particularly for the poor and indeed, it has achieved accolades from all sectors of society. The plaudits though may have lulled CFC into a false sense of achievement. And pride is just a step away from this.

Now, CFC is on the throes of its most severe crisis; a crisis within its ranks, a crisis amongst its leaders. During the last few years, there had been tell-tale signs of a looming crisis. Unfortunately, these signs were largely ignored.

What Went Wrong? (1)

The decline in membership was one sign. From a high of about 1.2 million members, CFC’s membership dropped to a low of 900,000 in a period of just five years. New members were hard to recruit; participants in Christian Life Programmes (CLPs) were disappointingly low. Ominously, members were simply dropping out. The reasons were varied: different priorities, conflict with members/leaders, wrong charism, lost zeal. Some preferred to stay in the background, as if waiting for the penny to drop.

The significant drop in membership resulted in a decrease in tithes, a perennial problem going from bad to worse. The unexplained CFC debts, which, for a time, ballooned to millions of pesos, further worsened the situation. Overall, there was lack of transparency in how money was being handled. There were instances when money was being spent in advance, that the council was spending beyond its means. This cavalier attitude on finances was reflected in the absence of year-end financial reports and an aversion to so-called ”corporate” auditing procedures. Members were asking amongst themselves, ”how is our money being spent?” The council’s reply, equally cavalier, was, “trust us.”

Another sign centred on the interminable tenures of the members of the Executive Council, the governing body of CFC. Key figures like Frank Padilla, Tony Meloto, Lachie Agana, and Roquel Ponte, had had uninterrupted memberships in the council for about a quarter of a century; an endless merry-go-round of multiple positions and of course, attractive perks. It was not uncommon, for example, for Frank Padilla to report to Frank Padilla who would also report to Frank Padilla. Padilla, in an audacious retort to probing e-mails last year, rationalized this anomaly by claiming no one outside of the council was competent enough to do multiple jobs. These astute men were able to wield a kind of collusive leadership because they themselves were the ones who determined who would constitute the Elder’s Assembly, ostensibly the body with the final say on CFC policies. It was observed that the members of the Executive Council, to preserve their territoriality, nominated only those members who they saw fit as friendly and obedient to their cause. Members who asked too many questions, especially the awkward questions, were excluded. The “awkward” members who somehow managed to get in the council did not last long and were speedily replaced. “Obedience” was the unofficial mantra for that select group.

What Went Wrong? (2)

The Executive Council was dominated by two individuals. Frank Padilla and Tony Meloto: both brilliant, headstrong, and ambitious. One can say that they epitomized CFC. Padilla is a great communicator: excellent in speech and prose. But he often exudes a stiff countenance, lacks a sense of humour, and comes off as an obsessive, controlling icon.

Meloto is a first class strategist, an exceptional man who can readily walk his talk. He has more charisma than Padilla. He has an incredible memory which can be quite disarming. He has the knack of making the other person feel important. Like Padilla, Meloto is passionately controlling.

In the hierarchy of things, Padilla is the mentor, Meloto is the protege. That is, until Gawad Kalinga. The success of Gawad Kalinga, rightly or wrongly attributed to Meloto, upset the hierarchical apple cart. GK generated so much positive publicity that it created a bandwagon effect. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry wanted to be part of the ground-breaking phenomenon called GK. Meloto began to reap laurels from all quarters. Meloto basked in the limelight. Meloto felt heady with success. Can pride be far behind?

A significant event that catalysed the crisis was the Ramon Magsaysay Award given to Meloto, as an individual achievement. Significantly, the announcement of the award was met with less than cacophonous jubilation by the CFC. Many were wondering, “why Meloto, why not CFC?” There were unconfirmed but widely believed reports that there were attempts by some backroom boys (actually girls) to prevent Meloto from garnering the individual award. To make a long story short, Meloto and CFC, represented by Padilla, received individual and group awards, unprecedented in the history of Asia’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize. It was plain the backroom boys (girls) were able to strike a compromise.

But the arrow had been released, and CFC bled. Many felt that Meloto should have declined the honour as an individual achievement because it was not he but CFC which created, nurtured, and sustained GK. The fact that Meloto accepted the award meant he thought otherwise.

As Executive Director, Meloto controlled GK. Controlled, with a capital C. Meloto became the face of GK, a fact not all discouraged by the council. It turned out to be a big time blunder. The GK bandwagon rolled on but somewhere along the way, CFC’s evangelical wheel suffered a puncture. It was now becoming evident that GK, spearheaded by Meloto, was getting too big at the expense of CFC. CFC programmes were taking a backseat in favour of GK activities. CFC talks were being cancelled or postponed because of GK. On a personal note, the protege has now overshadowed his mentor. Not a good recipe for equanimity. When two brilliant, headstrong, and ambitious egos clash, a crisis inevitably erupts. Publicly, Meloto would say Padilla remains as his mentor. But Meloto was less than vociferous, let alone enthusiastic, in proclaiming CFC during his numerous public orations. Meloto’s star shone so brightly that some political commentators started to consider him as presidential timbre.

As GK Chair, Padilla was out of the media limelight. For the first time, people were talking more about the protege than the mentor. Padilla was quite supportive of GK from its inception up to as late as November 2006. Padilla has high regards for Meloto and the feeling is mutual. Both had developed a very close bond after being together so long in the council. That is why his trenchant defense of GK in his paper CFC-GK2 was no surprise.

But his paper CFC-GK3, released six months later, was a shocking surprise. In it, he spun 180 degrees from his former position on GK. In GK2, he was all for it; in GK3, he was against it, raising the spectre of a split between the original wholistic, global, Catholic CFC from the CFC-GK, which has turned, in Padilla’s opinion, into a mere social phenomenon. Padilla, in a brilliant anticipatory move, got the bishops involved. He knew that when push comes to shove, the bishops would be on his side. He was right, as subsequent events showed. The gambit worked like a charm.

Are You Pride? Come In

What drove Padilla, in just six months, to change his ideological suit from GK2 to GK3? In that six- month period, Padilla, Meloto, and Agana resigned from the Executive Council for reasons largely unexplained. It is not certain if their resignations were for good or for the meantime, with the elections coming in about four months. Speculations abound, from the sublime to the ridiculous. But their resignations had one stunning effect: they were out of the Executive Council, their power base for so long. Suddenly, they found themselves out looking in. A thoroughly unfamiliar position for the trio.

Padilla, whose creativity and energy require power and position, felt like fish out of water. The report, most likely true, that he was surprised and piqued that he was not re-nominated, speaks of his penchant to remain in control. Meloto, surprisingly (perhaps not really, for his protege, an obtrusive young chap, whose loyalty to him is second to none, took over as Executive Director of GK) coped better than Padilla in the aftermath of their resignations.

Psychologically, any man who publicly declares he has no need for power and position actually hungers for them. Padilla and Meloto are such men. Meloto does it more subtly, though. For Padilla, there has to be a stage to showcase his admittedly prodigious talents; one smart way to get back on track was to get back people’s attention. He got their attention indeed with his CFC-GK3 paper.

Read on its own, the CFC-GK3 paper is a bombshell. In measured tones and exquisite prose, he seemingly hit the bull’s eye. But read in tandem with his CFC-GK2 paper (something highly recommended) written barely six months earlier, one realizes that all his GK3 arguments are hollow and shallow, and a bellow from someone who is barely mellow.

For he could as well have rebutted the GK3 issues he raised by quoting his own defense in GK2. Call it semantic somersault. Call it erudite contradictions. Call it strange ruminations but this kind of thinking needs further observation. It is worrisome. He was the GK chair all those years the problems were incubating. His hands, one may argue, are also tainted.

Nevertheless, his moves rattled everyone. The Executive Council members, headed by the disenchantingly ineffective Joe Tale, did not know what hit them. Tale, who is really a nice chap, was not impressive in communicating the council’s defense and Padilla simply found him and the rest vulnerable. Meloto’s sepulchral silence did not help the council’s cause. And people wondered why. “Our house was on fire and he did not do anything,” noted an insightful member.

The Choices We Have to Make

Now, CFC is virtually rendered split into two factions: the original CFC (with GK) and the CFC (with Foundation for Family and Life or FFL). It might as well read “Meloto versus Padilla." Curiously, both deny a continuing desire for power or position. But both suffer from cognitive dissonance: what they say do not tally with what they do.

Consider these: Meloto’s influence in CFC-GK remains potent. The CFC Executive Council and the majority of the Board of Elders are loyal to him. His hold on GK is secure: lock, stock, and barrel. He remains the power behind GK. Padilla, who implored members to trust him, is now the President of the CFC-FFL and will surely be the leader of his group. He may act coy about it but a clamour for his leadership is too tempting to ignore.

Talk about not wanting power and position. That is cognitive dissonance.

The Crux Of The Crisis

The crisis is actually a crisis of two egos gone wrong. A case of an immovable object versus an irresistible force. Shall CFC suffer because of the conflicts of these ambitious men? A million members to be split between these two? Should it be allowed?

What needs to be done? Simple. Take away both the immovable object and irresistible force. How?

The Five Steps To CFC Crisis Resolution:

1. The current CFC Executive Council and the Board of Elders should step down. Just stand down. No two ways about it. A great sacrifice. But no individual or group should be greater than the CFC community. To raise legalese arguments will not wash. Their mandate has been declared null and void by at least one half of the community. And we are not talking about numbers here. Refusal would only mean they are in there for themselves.

2. The restoration CFC-FFL should still its trumpets and go back to CFC. Perish the thought. No more separatist adventurism. It is difficult to believe that God really wants CFC to disintegrate, which is likely if separation occurs. Refusal would likewise mean they are in there for themselves.

3. A new election of Executive Council members and of the Board of Elders. Past and current members of the council and the board should not run for any post, at any time; if nominated, they should decline. Terms to be fixed. No multiple positions. The slate has to be wiped clean. Very clean.

4. The work in GK should continue but with revisions in its priorities. Evangelization of families should be the main focus. CLPs and all CFC programmes must be offered to all housing beneficiaries. GK should have no human face. Its face, should there be one, is Christ’s. GK’s CFC provenance must be openly declared. And for CFC to welcome those who want to help but to be wary of “Greeks bearing gifts.”

5. In a general gathering of members, together with the cardinal and bishops, public apologies must be expressed by Padilla and Meloto, on behalf of their groups, followed by firm handshakes and warm embraces. Their wives should do the same. The cardinal and bishops will pray over our community

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain” (Rev. 21.4)
20 August 2007

redgancia said...

I say a big YES to Bro Vic Cabuquit's analysis of the situation, wether the protagonists want to admit it or not. There can never be two CFC,. We shoul not settle for anything less than coming up with one CFC united under God. If our elders could not unite the community, I think and I am so sorry to say that the most noble thing to do is to resign. If bro Frank insists on leaving the community, let him do so but for delikadesa sake do not allow him to use CFC and this will avoid confusion. In the parish where bro Frank wishes to conduct CLP or whatever term he wants to use as entry point to his new found group, the problem of convincing the parish priest is his and his new found group's problem as CFC is already firmly established in almost all parishes in the Phil and in almost 160 countries all over the world. I think thias will solve our problem although perhaps temporarily as everything will be dependent on the behaviour of the 2 groups with each other. God please help us. i MYSELF got so confused already

Anonymous said...

Discernment in Toronto...

Good morning brothers & sisters,

I have been consumed with our community's crisis over the past few days. Trusting that the Lord's hands are guiding us in this distress. I have also asked Him for wisdom and discernment for all of us. From a brother's advice, he said we should always turn to scripture. The Lord has brought me to wisest of His servants who have ever lived. Please kindly read the following reading...

Thanks and God bless,

1 Kings 3: 16-28

Solomon Wisely Judges

16 Then two women who were harlots came to the king and stood before him.
17 The one woman said, "Oh, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house; and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house.
18 "It happened on the third day after I gave birth, that this woman also gave birth to a child, and we were together. There was no stranger with us in the house, only the two of us in the house.
19 "This woman's son died in the night, because she lay on it.
20 "So she arose in the middle of the night and took my son from beside me while your maidservant slept, and laid him in her bosom, and laid her dead son in my bosom.
21 "When I rose in the morning to nurse my son, behold, he was dead; but when I looked at him carefully in the morning, behold, he was not my son, whom I had borne."
22 Then the other woman said, "No! For the living one is my son, and the dead one is your son." But the first woman said, "No! For the dead one is your son, and the living one is my son." Thus they spoke before the king.
23 Then the king said, "The one says, 'This is my son who is living, and your son is the dead one'; and the other says, 'No! For your son is the dead one, and my son is the living one.'"
24 The king said, "Get me a sword." So they brought a sword before the king.
25 The king said, "Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other."
26 Then the woman whose child was the living one spoke to the king, for she was deeply stirred over her son and said, "Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him." But the other said, "He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him!"
27 Then the king said, "Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him. She is his mother."
28 When all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had handed down, they feared the king, for hey saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.

My Reflection:

In our present situation in the CFC, we are Solomon (the Judge), and the baby (the innocent victim). We will not perish with this judgement but we must choose well nonetheless. I will not answer or judge for you. I could be wrong but perhaps we can see who wants you for themselves (and at what cost) or who wants you to go on living.

King Solomon's prayer:

Lord God, You have shown great lovingkindness to Your servant King David, King Solomon's father , We are but little children who do not know how to go out or come in. As your servants Lord, Give us Your understanding heart to judge and to discern. Only you will guide us to the right decision.

Jesus said...

Dear Bro,

Is there someone there who can draw up a timeline of the events as they took place beginning from when the rift developed to when the split took place. This should include all of the other events/activity/moves relative to the formation of the restoration group. I believe this will provide us with a clearer understanding of when, how and why they took place.

Hopefully it will help us discern the motives of the principal players in this crisis. Hopefully it will also help those who remain in limbo and are still undecided on how or where they will move on.

God bless.

kapatid said...

To Jesus who requests for a timeline of events...

Please visit It provides the timeline of events, plus good references (documents, audio and video).

Whoever created that website must really love CFC, just like CD and the rest of us. Salamt sa iyo, gerimie.

Anonymous said...

Dear CD,
Could we have a Glossary or Abbreviation listings ng mga CFC terminology sa Unofficial CFC Forum natin for the sake of new CLP graduates (like me)? Kasi para sa mga new CFC recruits, exposure to these Defending CFC blogspots ay parang "leap frogging" as far as learning the various the activities of CFC. Example terms: ILC, HOLD, SOLD, etc.
You make not post this one but I hope you get my point.
Thanks & God Bless...

kapatid said...

Said anonymous: "Could we have a Glossary or Abbreviation listings ng mga CFC terminology sa Unofficial CFC Forum natin for the sake of new CLP graduates (like me)? Kasi para sa mga new CFC recruits, exposure to these Defending CFC blogspots ay parang "leap frogging" as far as learning the various the activities of CFC. Example terms: ILC, HOLD, SOLD, etc."

-- ILC - International Leaders Conference - this is the annual major conference participated by local and foreign members/leaders of each of the family ministries. Each family ministry conducts its own ILC annually. Attendance in the ILCs is in the range of: HOLD - 4,000+; SFC - 6000+; YFC - 9,000+. It's usually a 3-day event.

-- HOLD - Handmaids of the Lord
-- SOLD - Servants of the Lord.
-- MCG - Mission Core Group, which comprise of the leaders( Chapter heads and higher)of CFC, HOLD, SFC, Soc Min (Social Ministry)heads.

Yung iba, iba naman ang magsabi.

Erik said...

I really find it funny and disappointing on how this situation has turned upside down. I guess [from members' point of view] elders should sit down and discuss the issues on hand and stop pointing fingers at each other. Simple right...

Do you know who get the last laugh, our enemies down there..... and they're rejoicing at this very moment....


Erik said...
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