To be, or not to be: that is the question:Whether 'tis nobler in the mindTo suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,And by opposing end them?To die: to sleep; No more;- Shakespeare’s Hamlet
This one was in response to the the CfC Council's first statement dated August 28, 2007. In it, the FFL questions the retention of the Vatican Decree as that was mentioned in the CfC Council's first statement.
"Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 17:50:28 +0800
Subject: CFC-FFL Statement
It comes as a surprise that the Council of CFC has chosen to come out with an official announcement regarding the results of the August 28 dialogue with the bishops without waiting for the official communique coming from the investigative body tasked with looking into the 'veering away of GK from the life and mission of CFC.' It would have been good if the Council statement is an accurate and factual reportage of the events. However, it has chosen to infer value judgement during the conduct of the deliberations. Thus, we are representing below, in the full text, what was officially reported in the CBCP News Website on August 28 if only to qualify some conclusions made by the Council regarding the event.
As can be clearly gleaned from the news article featured on the CBCP News Website, nothing is said about the continuing recognition by the CBCP and the
regarding CFC Global Foundation (as represented by the International Council). As such, neither the CFC Foundation for Family and Life nor the IC can lay claim to both recognitions as presently residing in any communities represented in the August 28 meeting. Vatican
However, it remains a fact that spouses Frank and Gerry Padilla continue to sit in the Pontifical Council for the Family at the
. Despite this fact, the CFC-FFL has chosen to be prudent in claiming any recognition and would rather wait for the official communique forthcoming from the investigative body of the Bishops. Vatican
We urge all brethren to exercise utmost restraint and prudence in providing credence to announcements which may unduly give rise to false expectations.
The peace and love of Christ and the loving care of Mother Mary, our Mediatrix, be with you all.
CFC Foundations for Family and Life"
The retention of the Vatican Decree by the CfC was told by the Bishops to the representatives of both the FFL and the CfC Council, as reported by Mon De Leon (a CfC BOE member) in an email circulating the CfC (and obviously the FFL's) ranks. I'll post it here in its entirety because it also leads into the 2nd FFL reaction letter:
"Almost the whole day yesterday( 28 August), the Bishops met with the two groups. Present were Bishops Lagdameo, Gabby Reyes, Pacana, Villena, and Afable. The Bishops met with FFL group first (10:30 to past noon), after lunch it was the turn of the International Council group. Thereafter at about 4PM, the two groups were called.
The Bishops asked the FFL Easter Group what their complaints were and it centered on the following: a) GK Veering away from the doctrines of the Catholic Church (e.g, latter day saints wanting to put up a GK site and seeking free evangelization), (b) witchunting of resigned home office officials pertaining to alleged financial indiscretion. (c) disobedience of the Council of the bishops' wishes to postpose election and follow their suggested formula.
When the turn of the CFC group came, they were asked by the bishops if CFC group had a complaint against the FFL, and the CFC council said there was none. The bishops then proceeded to ask about the issues pertaining to Gawad Kalinga, especially the coming in of the Mormons in GK villages, accepting donations from Corporations who has products that sell condoms and pills. The response was, "there was never a MOA nor funds received from Latter Day Saints and to date, there is no such village - unfortunately, no one can stop their evangelizers(who come in pairs) to visit GK families in their homes for that would be illegal". At best, we invite catholics and nominal christian GK beneficires to our CLPs and there are many. On the Acceptance of donations from Corporations that sell anti-catholic products, that can be corrected by a simple policy issue (which Brother Frank should have done years ago as the GK Chairman ordering Tony Meloto, his Executive Director).
As to the accusation of witchunting (by Gerry Padilla): Lito Tayag (council member) responded "who are being accused, kindly name them", he further said that "up to now, no one among those who resigned from the CFC office and joined the FFL has been charged with any case of malversation and similar cases. How can CFC Council (lito in particular) be accused of witchunting?" If ever, that should be the result of the audit by reputable Audit Firms like that of SGV or Lipana. For now, policies are being reviewed to minimize expenses in view of the greatly reduced tithing brought about by the division. Lito asked the FFL group about what to do with the Loans left and the unfunded retirement liabilities over the years that Frank was the leader, there was no response from their group. The bishops said "kayo-kayo na ang mag resolve niyan".
As to the accusation of Disobedience to the wishes of the Bishops, it was explained to the Bishops that the Council did not disobey but rather it was made clear to the Bishops that the 230-man Electoral Assembly, which is an electorate higher than the 7-man council, simply followed its own mandate - electing the 7-man council after considering everything, including the proposed joint formula which was noted by the Bishops. It was then that the Bishops understood that it cannot "dictate" on the electoral body much like the college of cardinals that elect the Pope. Somehow the Bishops now realize that their lamentation about CFC not following their electoral recommendation is now beng used by the FFL to entice innocent members from joining the FFL, causing further division.
In the end, the bishops assured that they will continue to recognize Couples for Christ in their respective areas. They have also assured that they will not work to remove the
Vaticanrecognition that CFC has as well as that of the CBCP itself. It is up to the respective Bishops (in their respective areas of assignment anywhere in the world) whether they would like to recognize the new group FFL or not, that is for FFL to work on in their respective Dioceses. (the SEC has disapproved the use of the word Couples for Christ by FFL group). In the case of the Archdiocese of Lipa, the Bishop (Arguelles) issued a circular to his diocese that he "will recognize only one group and that is Couples for Christ and all the seven pillars including Gawad Kalinga."
The statement of the CFC Council received in cellphone text is ..."We Thank God for our Bishops (reyes, pacana, villena, lagdameo, afable) who affirmed that the Vatican Recognition and the CBCP recognition are with the CFC International Council who were elected by the CFC Elders Assembly last June 22 --- let us respect the decision of Bro Frank's group to serve God in their new ministry called FFL while leaving the door open to those who wish to return and keeping the openness to serve together at the right time. Let us close our ranks and build a stronger and more vibrant CFC that will renew the face of the earth".
The Bishops further recognized the continuing mission of Couples for Christ and its Seven Pillars including Gawad Kalinga (which will need closer watch and correction along the way), "Families in the Holy Spirit Renewing the Face of the Earth and its Work for the Poor program thru Gawad Kalinga".
May God Bless our work. -- Kuya MON de
"Date: Sun, 02 Sep 2007 09:34:12 +0800
From: "Easter Group"
Subject: Rejoinder to Mon de Leon's account of Dialogue with Bishops, Aug. 28, 2007
There was no categorical mention from the Bishops allegedly retaining both the CBCP and Vatican recognitions. What the Council has done could be a great disservice to the Bishops who still have to come up with an official communique' on the events which transpired on Aug. 28. The act of preempting the body of Bishops is indeed regretful.
The reportage ostensibly done by Kuya Mon could be a view from the balcony and perhaps from notes or remarks culled by a person who was actually in the proceedings. I flew in at 4:30 am Aug. 28 but was asked to proceed to the Laiko building to be an actual participant in the proceedings and perhaps, we can offer you a better context of what really transpired and compare this with the 2nd hand accounts.
1. The context of reporting on the Mormons could be captured very well if you download the GK website, unless Gk has taken pains to remove this item. We presented documents to justify this claim. It is reported that in at least one GK village, the Mormons have indeed installed a complete water system. Even in the GK expo at the Mall of Asia, the Mormons were very prominent in displaying their water system model.
The whole rationale beyond accepting all parties with good intentions should be qualified in the context of protecting our Christian values and being circumspect in refusing any undue influence that could pose a threat to these. This is very much in line with Vatican teachings, just like the Pontifical Commission for the Family where any form of collaboration with pharma companies selling pro-choice devices is followed to the letter. In this aspect, even if these companies do not attach any conditions to the donations they offer, any wiggling on our part constitutes a violation of the very core beliefs we adhere to in our pro life program. A simple refusal with a thorough explanation of the reasons why can gain us more respect rather than sticking to plain legalities. Who can indeed bring us to court for sticking to our beliefs and unfurling our Christian banner? In this connection, we also presented equally documented cases where CFC stickers displayed on doorposts of CFC beneficiaries in Gk sites are ordered to be taken out, including testimonies that wearing CFC t-shirts in GK gatherings are not allowed for fear of ostracizing partners. We could have cited more cases except that limitations of time prevented us from doing so.
2. This brings us to the point of passing the mantle of responsibility to Bro. Frank who should have ordered Bro. Tony from desisting in such acts. I have worked with both up close as a former member of the Council and it is a bit unfair to comment that Frank did not practice pastoral correction over Tony regarding the one and many indiscretions committed in favor of romanticizing the work because while he corrects, a lot of the activities reported to us were either after the fact, already in progress and too late to wiggle away from or just plain stubbornness. Perhaps, that is why Frank had just to accept part of the collective responsibility owing to his lack of oversight and lamented. We cannot perceive the same behaviour from the other party whose absence and silence after the resignations have been noticeable but whose influence in pursuing the "veering away" course remains palpable up to this point in time. This has prompted the Bishops to exhort the Council to investigate further and more deeply these reported cases, which the Council would make us believe are "isolated."
.3. Let us dwell on the veracity of the witchhunt. Both Lito and Mon should know better and recall that it was the continued vigilance of the Board of Elders (all 3 of us were members) that prevented the witchhunts from proceeding because we called the attention of the Council on the non-pastoral way it was conducting the investigations, complete from the taking down of statements and the preparation of notarized affidavits. The Council apologized to us in one of our meetings for its "procedural lapse", trivializing and dismissing in a cavalier fashion the anguish and agony these have caused the families of those involved. The fact remains that there have been no findings enough for the Council to build a case.
3. The matters of loans and the unfunded retirement plan are items of obligation the Council now has to bear, particularly since tithes have reportedly dwindled to all time lows these past few months. Does our brother intend to pass on these liabilities to a separate juridical body and escape the responsibility due its creditors and the would-be retirees? Hasn't the Council claimed that is it now the annointed body tasked with the administration of CFC affairs since it was legally elected under the by-laws? Has it not chosen, together with the Elders, Assembly not to heed the strong call of the Bishops to postpone the elections?
4. It could be a great disservice to Bisops Lagdameo, Villegas and Reyes and their wisdom and intelligence for us to hear that the Council has washed its hands off the responsibility of pushing thru with our win-win formula. Again, it seems Bro. Mon can wish away the heart and core of agreements arrived at thru negotiations and dialogue---that both parties who enter into them are bound by the agreement. Those who break away from negotiated settlements violate trust and confidence supposedly reposed by both parties on each other, if not the probity and sincerity of those who choose to enter into them tongue-in-cheek. The fact remains we had an agreement to resolve the crisis which was watered down by the Council and Joe Tale to a mere "proposal" to make it appear that the Elders' Assembly had every right to proceed with the election of the 7 instead of sticking to the agreement. To top it all, Bro.Lito, one of those who participated in the dialogue and brokered the agreement stood up before the elections to make a public pronouncement that "he was prepared to change his mind" regarding honoring the agreement. Of course, it was merely incidental that he was a candidate for a council position.
5. Again, the danger of not being a participant nor an eyewitness is seen on how the wisdom of the Bishops can be slanted to favor the other side. A reading of the official statement coming from the CBCP website does not contain any mention of what party retains or loses recognition whether at the CBCP or Vatican levels. It only says both parties should work for their respective recognitions depending on the wishes of the Bishop. In fact, in preempting an official communique coming from the 5-man investigation body, the Council runs the risk of being corrected again by the Bishops for inaccurate reporting and preempting their moves. The case of Bishop Arguelles was cited, conveniently missing the good Bishop's preamble that he was "one of those who first decried the veering away of GK from the life and mission of CFC."
It is our ardent hope that the next time reportage on important events is resorted to, we should focus and verify the facts before we release these reports. In all these events happening in the community, we should show equanimity and be more circumspect in reporting what are the ones true, precise and accurate.
Please pass this on in the interest of fairness. God bless.
I think this rejoinder is best rejoined by commentary in the 2nd Council Statement and When entries, but I'll bring up a couple of things:
1. Nonong Contreras was reported to have not been present in the late afternoon joint meeting with the Bishops, as he had left earlier in the day. In that case, There may have been things discussed that he was not personally privy to.
2. His passing of responsiblity for past financial issues committed during their tenure to the newly elected Council is......well, I don't know, you all can try to come up with the term.
Anyway, what follows then is the latest statement from Frank Padilla, dated Sept. 1, 2007:
"My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,Speaking of anomalies, I wonder how Frank Padilla can reconcile being identified with but not be a part of the legal entity that is Couples for Christ. Is this because their application to the SEC to use the CfC name for his new corporation was not approved? It is also quite interesting that he's taken it upon himself to bestow a new name to CfC: CFC-GK.
Peace be with you!
The meeting of the Int’l Council, Tony Meloto, Lachie Agana and myself last August 14 resulted in both sides accepting that the only way left to go was to separate. Last August 28, CFC-GK represented by the Int’l Council and CFC-FFL affirmed their decision to go separate ways, and this was accepted by the bishops. As one of the bishops said, CFC has been held in bondage by GK, and so now each one, CFC and GK, should be given freedom.
As we separate, know the following:
(1) We in CFC-FFL remain as “Couples for Christ.” We have not left CFC, which is the global spiritual body distinct from the Philippine corporation. What we have left is the legal entity of “Couples for Christ Global Mission Foundation Inc.” We in CFC-FFL have as much right, if not more, to remain as CFC than those who have veered away from our original charism. Bp Gabriel Reyes said it was acceptable to have two CFCs.
(2) We in CFC-FFL, contrary to pronouncements and threats from the other side, can and will make use of all teachings, formation programs, materials, the CLP, songs, etc. of CFC. CFC-GK does not have exclusive rights to these materials. CFC-FFL has the right to make use of these CFC materials for the work of the Lord. Later we will also make revisions as needed.
(3) In the
, it is time for all who are for CFC-FFL to remove themselves from the official CFC-GK structure. You no longer have to attend CFC-GK activities. We will integrate you in our own structure, and we will have our own activities. For CFC in other countries, you can try to insulate yourself from the conflict in Philippines and wait until the dust settles, and in the meantime just go on with your own life and mission. You may however work internally for the restoration of CFC in your country, for as long as that is possible. Manila
(4) Try to remain peaceful with those who opt to stay with CFC-GK. Maintain your friendships and remain as brethren, though now separated.
I had proposed to the Int’l Council in the presence of the bishops that we can maintain some sort of unity within CFC, by having one CFC but with two independent branches. Each branch, CFC-GK and CFC-FFL, can pursue its own particular charism. Each can bless the other. Both can have joint activities during the year. Though the Int’l Council did not accept this, I continue to leave this proposal on the table.
Let those of us in CFC-FFL now move on. There is much to be done.
In the service of Christ,
Also, many rights are written about, but are these rights legally conferred or just imagined?
"Try to remain peaceful with those who opt to stay with CFC-GK. Maintain your friendships and remain as brethren, though now separated." - Now this is what I'd really like to see put into practice, maybe for starters by Nonong Contreras, to lead by example of course.
"Let those of us in CFC-FFL now move on." One wonders if "moving on" means they'll leave the current CfC members in the Philippines and Worldwide alone and start recruiting legitimately.
Lastly, this statement is what I have a problem with:
"For CFC in other countries, you can try to insulate yourself from the conflict in
FP claims that international members should just "go on with their life and mission..." yet he is even at the present actively campaigning for them to join the FFL fold, as evidenced by this flyer (actually more like a resume) for his appearance at a "CfC" event in the USA:
"Catch the Authentic Vision!To whoever sent this flyer/email to me, my thanks and gratitude goes out to you.
A lot have been said about this man of God, a prophet for our times.
Pray and worship with him. Hear and ask him yourself.
One of the original 16 couples who started Couples for Christ in 1981 Former Executive Director of Couples for Christ for the past 26 years Sole Signatory and Proponent to the CFC Vatican Recognition, The Driving Force to the Establishment of CFC in 160 Countries Worldwide Chairman and Founder of Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life, and Author of the following Christian books: Bringing Glad Tidings to the Poor, Facing the Future, Families in the Holy Spirit, Females are Fabulous, Fishers of Men, Focused on Christ, Freeing the Captives, Fulfilling the Mandate, Renewing the Face of the Earth, Witnesses to the Ends of the Earth, Forty Days with the Poor, Friend and Foe and more at the First Regional Assembly and Open Forum CFCUSA Mid-Atlantic Region CFC Washington DC and Missions, CFC Maryland, CFC Virginia, CFC Delaware, CFC West Virginia and CFC North Carolina
(Free Admissions – No Charge for Registration)
on Saturday, September 8, 2007
(the birthday of Mother Mary)
at the St. Aloysius Gonzaga Church
600 North Capitol St. NW Washington DC 20001
Arrival at 12:30 pm for the Assembly
and 4:30 Anticipated Sunday Mass
Reception follows at 6:00 pm
to honor Bro. Frank, his party and out-of-town CFCs and guests
at the Taylor residence."
Nonong Contreras throws about words like trust, sincerity, and confidence like they are light as feathers. Does this also apply to the underground recruitment of CfC members worldwide?
To complete the title phrase (a quote from Newton's Third Law of Motion):
"For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."
What should the reaction be to FFL's actions?
Coming later....the bunny minutes and closure to past posts...