It seems the FFL is seeking to keep up its righteous streak of statements...
OF RUDE AWAKENINGS AND LATE REALIZATIONS: A STUDY IN CONTRASTS AND CONTRADICTIONS
At this point in the conflict, some of those who have sided with the Council are making statements that the Restoration Movement (CFC-FFL) and the present CFC are the same. They are purporting that the intent and direction that the Council’s leadership has taken is everything that the CFC-FFL claims itself to be. The subtle message is these people (CFC-FFL) just want to be in power and they are peddling you something that is already in existence.
It goes without saying that very recently, the Council has made almost a complete 180 degree turn in practices which it never paid attention to from the time its attention was called after the Feb. 20 resignations. Now, it has come out openly for being diocesan and parish-based, of following the Bishops, of abandoning questionable practices of GK which were overtly not Christian, of following a balance between family life and service, of suddenly being behind the pro-life program of the Church although it has not rescinded its agreements with GK donors which manufacture artificial contraceptives. Why the sudden rude awakenings and late realizations?
It is an interesting exercise to unmask the hidden agenda of individuals. All you have to do is to answer questions straightforwardly and base your reply from actual data or experience. One must remember therefore the status of the community prior to the resignations of the three Council members on February 13, 2007 until the here-and-now.
What are some of the important qualities of the CFC-FFL they claim are the same with how they want to direct the community?
In this Truth Series, these qualities are presented in five parts.
I. “FAMILIES IN THE HOLY SPIRIT RENEWING THE FACE OF THE EARTH”
The feedback from the ground has been that the community has reached a saturation point in its activities that already prevent people from having quality time with their families and doing other things that are likewise important to establishing relationships in community.
Evidence: Dwindling attendance in gatherings and poor tithing; complaints from members on the lack of spiritual nourishment; lackluster worship; unprecedented leadership conflicts.
Practice: Functional relationships in households, service agenda are taken up instead of growth topics; weekdays and weekends are fully blocked off for community activities; leaders are maximized through multi-tasking.Attitude of top leaders: drop-all-you-are-doing-we-have-something-important-to-do
At the beginning of this year, Frank Padilla announced a one-service policy to put a balance to an already worsening appropriation of time and resources in community. When Frank and the two other Council members resigned, the remaining 4-man Council never followed through with the initiative. Instead the 4-man Council in the persons of Joe Tale, Ernie Maipid, Rouquel Ponte and Joe Yamamoto decided to change the line functions of the top leadership perpetuating the multi-task orientation that precisely the community was diverting from, with themselves at the helm.
This same leadership now claims that they are the same as CFC-FFL in that vision when from the very start they never advocated or promoted such a direction.
Both groups have actually been quoting scripture and praying to the high heavens for peace and love in community. The Council has been proclaiming a new spirituality known as the GK spirituality, evidence of which could be seen from the revised Chapter Leaders Training where Ernie Maipid amended the outlines to include this particular orientation. If GK owns such a spirituality, then the GK Conference last June 21, 2007 at Araneta is a good example of what it advocates. People noticed an absence of worship and overt prayer. There was a song of St. Francis which very few recognized and an ecumenical prayer which the community members could not relate with. Yet, it was in community where we learned to at least make the sign of the cross (a prayer should follow) in a restaurant no matter how others may see us. Some of the brethren have also put crosses over their necks, pins on their collars, and even tattoos on their bodies to show that they are Catholic and CFC wherever they go, office, social, or community functions.
Evidence: The pronouncements of the Council regarding the GK spirituality; the changes made in the pastoral formation manuals; documented evidences of taking out CFC stickers from the doorposts of GK beneficiaries who are CFC members; the prohibiting the wearing of CFC T-Shirts, pins, etc. in GK assemblies, etc.
Practice: Do not show that you are overtly Christian or Catholic in the spirit of “ecumenism.”
Attitude of leaders: Evangelization need not have Christ shown in public.
Our basic teaching specifies that our posture should always be to respect the beliefs of others. However, the practice and principle have always been never to deny who we are. Restoration (CFC-FFL) means emphasizing this orientation and not compromising our identity like the way the Council has allowed things to happen. In this instance, it was even Habitat for Humanity which came out in the papers openly proclaiming that it is a Christian organization while CFC/GK has been quite coy about unfurling proudly its Christian banner.
Although it has been an ongoing process of misinformation that the Easter Group, now part of CFC-FFL, solicited the help of the bishops, the Council insists in this idea that the bishops did not act on their own accord but were persuaded to issue letters against the CFC leadership. However, granting that their allegation is true (which it is not), it has always been taught in community that when you have an issue with your household head and you are unable to settle it amicably, then you appeal to the next higher rank – the unit head. In that same token, if it is the Council you have a disagreement with and they tend to use their power and position to further their agenda, then whom do you go to, the Elders Assembly? Yes, but it is difficult to assemble 200 people much less discuss issues with them. The recourse is the bishops, of course, who in our statutes safeguard our spirituality.
Evidence: The Council and the Elders Assembly did not follow the strong recommendation of Bishop Gabby Reyes, Bishop Soc Villegas, and Archbishop Angel Lagdameo stated in their letter dated June 7, 2007. Again, both bodies did not heed the strong admonition of Bishop Reyes on June 21, 2007 (“not to take the Bishops’ strong recommendations lightly.”) The intent and letters of Bishop Gabby have been twisted out of context several times which drew the rebuke of the Spiritual Adviser of CFC (his letters dated July 12 and August 6, 2007).
Practice: Whenever it is convenient, the Council visits the bishops but never follows their instructions. They concur during their meetings with the prelates but never keep their part of the agreement. The Bishops had to issue 3 clarifications to 3 International Council statements correcting the Council’s misimpressions of some statements coming from the Bishops.The Council was virtually handed a canonical warning when the Bishops hinted they were almost prompted to write the Vatican about the reported and documented cases of GK veering away fro the life and mission of CFC.
Attitude of leaders: The bishops have no authority over the internal affairs of the community and so should not interfere.
The Restoration Movement (CFC-FFL) has always consulted and followed the directions of the bishops. It has submitted to supporting the Church particularly its programs in the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC). Frank Padilla continues to be the recognized leader of Couples for Christ and the keeper of the charism. In fact, he went to the Vatican to explain the crisis in the community.
By its actions alone, the Council sets a very poor claim on being Pro-Church.
If building houses was the only criterion for being Pro-Poor, the Council in its desire to support the GK spirituality may have the edge. However, what was the real context of Pro-Poor in the statutes of CFC? Was it really to provide shelter and livelihood for the materially poor? Or, was it to build Christian communities that will support the life and mission of people who will help themselves out of their poverty because they see themselves as a people of value and worth through their relationship with Jesus Christ?
Evidence: Can any of the GK workers confidently identify GK areas that are truly small Christian communities? Beneficiaries join the CLPs only to leave the organization as soon as they receive their houses. Even if GK identifies itself to be holistic in approach, what does it really have to show by way of a visible comprehensive health program, a working livelihood and job generation activity in GK communities except the Bayanihan program recently lifted from the Tekton livelihood program. Why did GK build up parallel structures when it was supposed to synergize and integrate with the social ministries which were deliberately set up to support GK?
Practice: The pursuit of building houses is given priority over the establishment of authentic Christian communities.
Attitude of leaders: Owning a house changes the attitude and outlook of a GK beneficiary.
The CFC-FFL intends to focus on the framework of establishing Christian communities rather than providing shelter. It will back up the spiritual side with programs that will address the temporal concerns of the people in due course. The focus on the social mission will not be imposed with quotas the way GK did.
V. OTHER ASPECTS
Pro-Life: In its desire to achieve its goals in GK777, the Council through GK has accepted benefactors who are clearly pro-choice advocates in the arena of contraception, abortion, population control, and environmentally hazardous industries. Which group has actually bent its mission and core values by acceding to pro-choice forces in order to achieve the goals they have set? Who among its leaders are clear of their pro-life principles and values and why are they sending the GK Executive Director to the conference of the Clinton Foundation, a known advocate of pro-choice and has Masonic inclinations?
Tradition: Which group adheres to tradition as a form of legalism much like the Pharisees and the Scribes? Which advocates radical changes in spirituality without consulting its constituents? Which is saying that it is adhering to its charismatic spirituality and not some mountain-generated forces that border on a different kind of idolatry? Which among its leaders are adhering to Catholic doctrine by submitting to the doctors of the Church all its teachings and programs?
Leadership: Who among the groups’ leaders rose to their present position with so many doubts cast on the process and their reputations tainted? Which group still has the “bearer of the charism” as part of the organization though he may not be in governance anymore? Which leaders are demanding obedience? Which are advocating consultation and unity of spirit? Which group trusted in a win-win agreement to be able to obey the Bishops? And which one defied the strong admonitions of the Bishops? Which group in the then Board of Elders insisted on having running dialogues with the Council and GK leaders to arrest the worsening rift between CFC and GK and which group preferred to table the issue? Which group brokered the failed August 14 dialogue?
If your are unable to distinguish the two groups by these questions, then the lessons of Lamentations and the experiences of the on-going conflict in the community may not have not yet impacted upon you.
However, it is your responsibility as Christian to know, and to make an informed choice. It is also important to know yourself, on what you believe, and what you tend to be biased on. At the end of the day, it is not which group you choose but the process by which you arrived at that choice. For all you know, you are making a mistake. No discernment is a perfect discernment. But God will always bless a choice made for Him, a choice that in honesty sees what is best for oneself, and for those whom one will serve.
Now, IF the FFL is intent on keeping up the slew of accusations, comparisons, and tit-for-tat attacks, then it is really up to their conscience on whether they want to build a membership based on that. Remember that a structure is only as solid as its foundation.
Let me quote their own Statement of Philosophy:
CFC-FFL adheres to a set of beliefs and ideals from which flow its Christian attitudes, values and behavior, as well as its programs, teachings and approaches to Christian renewal within the context of family relationships.Highlights mine.
So, tell me this: What do they hope to accomplish by these constant accusations at the CfC? It seems they are paying more attention to what the Council is doing than on what should be most important to them: Hmm...like evangelizing? Unless of course, the downfall of CfC IS what is important to them. That is a scary thought....isn't it?
Then again, if this is their idea of evangelizing, I'd be afraid to see their version of GK. =)
I quote this sentence...
At this point in the conflict, some of those who have sided with the Council are making statements that the Restoration Movement (CFC-FFL) and the present CFC are the same....and I wonder who they are referring to as "some of those" and "making statements". Could it be that the FFL is now frantically responding to rumors and innuendos, while we here in the blog are citing actual emails and documents?
All I've seen so far from the FFL is a looooong string of accusatory statements, emails, plots, twisted stories, and efforts to bring down a community that Frank once led with pride. Not once did I see the IC issue as much as an accusation towards the FFL. Wasn't that what the Bishops' wanted? Peace between brothers? Who is disobeying them now?
To brother Frank, I ask, is this really how you want trace the FFL's roots? After all, all this will be for the greater glory of YOUR name, I assume?
As it is, I'm done responding to these constant statements rehashing the same old issues that have been addressed over and over again. The answers to them are all in this blog, anyone with a mouse, keyboard, and an internet connection can find the truth in the archives IF they want to find it. AND, I am still waiting for the FFL's official statements on the issues we've brought up here.
I won't hold my breath though....
Oh and one last thing, about this:
"The Council has been proclaiming a new spirituality known as the GK spirituality"
What exactly is a "GK spirituality"? Is that another term coined by the FFL that is meant to be misleading?