We appear to be staring at the edge of a very high cliff. There are choices to be made in how we react and deal with the present situation. To use another (safer sounding) analogy, we are now at a crossroads. Do we take up the staff or do we become lambs once again and watch as the FFL attempt to claim the name and continue with their divisive plans.
In seeing comments from both CFC and FFL members, I'm starting to realize that no matter what kind of proof or facts are put forth, the other side will NOT want to look at it, because they already feel righteous about what they do. The same argument will get thrown back no matter how much evidence is put out that there were personal and selfish reasons for the split. (Yes, that's the bottom line.) To quote the FFL's Naning Roxas who is posting in the ABS-CBN Poll:
"Brother, you are being mislead by saying that we left Couples for Christ and joined new group of FFL. WE ARE STILL MEMBERS OF COUPLES FOR CHRIST and nobody can removed us from CFC. Only that we disagreed on how GK is being administered by the concerned leaders. We know for a fact that GK has flaws. FFL is added just to distiguish us from the other group who supports GK. THe commitment of CFC-FFL is continue the evangelization works left and mandated by Jesus Christ ledaing to therkingdom of God. CFC-Global is always telling that CFC and GK are unseparable. But in all GK villages, the name of COUPLES FOR CHRIST is not metioned at all; only GK and its respective partners have it. That's why it puzzled many CFC members considering GK is a product of CFC. Just asking because unseparable and yet one is only there.
Thanks and God Bless."
So it's almost like rote: When questioned or faced with overwhelming evidence, they resort to repeat after me tactics,
"You don't evangelize..
"You don't listen to the bishops...
"You don't accept your mistakes...
"You partnered with anti-life Pharmas...
It really doesn't matter if we're doing something about these issues, or whether they're even valid points. It seems their minds have been made up, and they will believe what they want to believe. They feel that two CFC's won't cause further confusion among the members, and that it will not be damaging to our reputation when one goes to a church to inquire about us and finds out that there are two organizations, seemingly warring factions who are either on the defensive or offensive against each other. How very Christian, right? It's sad really, and it was what I was afraid of from the start. That in trying to stay true to our beliefs, the worst of our traits gets shaken from the tree to fall to the ground for everyone to see.
It truly has been a purifying process.
Let's be careful how self righteous we become, lest we fall into that trap. Keep an open mind, and try ALWAYS to see things from the other perspective...I believe the term is empathy.
Remember that Jesus exhorted us to:Forego vengeance...
Bear the burdens of others....
Share our goods with the poor....
Refrain from passing judgement on others for their sins...
And love our enemies.
This firestorm ignited by that first ABS-CBN article has elicited various reactions from people within and without our community. For archival purposes, and of course for our own perusal, I'll try and list them all down.
First was Conrado De Quiros' opinion article in the PDI. An excerpt:
Next we hear Boy Montelibano in ABS-CBN News Online. An excerpt:
"How in God's name is it possible for anyone to do too much social work in this country? That is like accusing a doctor of prescribing too much medicine to someone fighting for his life. At the very least that a lay organization like Couples should somehow betray the Christian spirit by moving heaven and earth to feed the hungry and house the homeless is batty. What, they get to be more Christian by spending their time attending Mass and avoiding de-coupling while living sad, sad lives?"
"The history of CFC includes the formal leadership through a 7-man Council which, in fact, was one man who could overrule the others - if they at all attempted to get in his way. Behind the formal leadership of one was the informal leadership of the spouse. It is not a strange situation in renewal communities and many painful transitions have occurred in communities when traditional leaderships begin to experience growing resistance to the absolute rule of one from the other members. Breaking away after being spurned by a community they had long ruled absolutely is part of a pattern, not an exception. History is full of failed leaders, and they are so many that we do not know of them anymore. History is kind only to the victors, or remembers the ones who went berserk and inflicted massive damage to others."We also have a wonderful letter from Fr. Tomasito Veneracion of Doha, Qatar, with a message of courage and hope:
Dear Brothers and Sister of CFC Qatar,
I send to all of you warm greetings and felicitations!
I write as your Parish Priest and Spiritual Director with much concern about this letter of Cardinal Rylko and the propaganda it has caused. Reading the letter gave me the impression that the Vatican is very much concerned with your community just like a mother to her children which is contrary to some interpretations coming from the other sides. There is no room for doubt that Cardinal Rylko and the Church is looking after the growth of CFC.
Br. Joe Tale should be commended for admitting the past mistakes. I do not know him personally but I should express my admiration for a man who can do this. A good leader doesn't ran away from his responsibility and point an accusing finger to anybody and everybody. You have with you an admirable leader.
I pity those who use Rylko's letter as a propaganda to discredit CFC. If they think you will simply let go and leave CFC, please tell them what your heart says. Tell them you will not run away and abandon your community. Tell them you have the courage to face all the criticisms they accuse you of. Tell them you will not leave just because you had disagreements with one another. Tell them you have found a family in CFC. Tell them you want to obey and listen to the Church authorities. Tell them you are willing to change for the better. Tell them to leave you alone and instead do what they think they want to do. If they do not leave you alone, beg them or even kneel down before them so they may realize how much you love CFC.
Courage dear brothers and sisters! Today is the time to stand up and admit the mistakes of the past. Today is also the time to move forward and face the future with hope.
Tomasito Veneracion OFM Cap.
Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Rosary
PO Box 12230
There are many, many others I'd like to point out, like the commentary by WillyJ, Deo Volente, Ernie S, Jonitanitayturin, SleeplessInNJ, and many others who have brought many different perspectives on the table and practiced the gift of gentle correction to our misinformed brethren. You guys who populate the comments make all this worthwhile.
Let it be said now that the REAL substance of this blog lies not in the entries, but in the comment sections. Please keep it up.