Thursday, April 24, 2008


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."

My thanks to bro Deo Volente is who has taken up the arduous task correcting their misconceptions with humor and love.

So it's almost like rote: When questioned or faced with overwhelming evidence, they resort to repeat after me tactics,

"You veered...

"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....

Forgive debts...

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:

"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?"
Next we hear Boy Montelibano in ABS-CBN News Online. An excerpt:

"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
Doha- Qatar

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.


Anonymous said...

To all, just like CD said... keep it up. You’re all covered.

From FFL's ‘The Real Issue’:
They maligned those who had issues with them, especially Frank Padilla, about whom they spread many outright falsehoods.

IC’s answer:
It is strange that it is the IC that is being accused of all these things when there is no shred of proof that they were the ones responsible for “the false accusation” or for maligning Frank Padilla...

ah-men said...

comment on what ffl blogger said;
"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.

I think you need to know that as of Aug 2007, the IC has already removed the leaders who formed the ffl from CFC. Read IC statement dated aug 28, 2007. The leaders who are involved in the split and are now ffl- they are not cfc members anymore.

You say nobody can remove you?
I think you better read the statutes of CFC, which were submitted to the Vatican when Frank was still exec dir, likewise approved by the vatican. It definitley describes when why and how a member of CFC is stripped off his/her membership.

Yes, they have been removed. It is high time that a complete report should be made by the chapter leaders so that we will be able to know who are CFC and who are not CFC anymore.

However that doesn't mean you are not welcome to come back. Yes to re-unification, but you must follow the rules, di ba dapat mag CLP uli?

And to say that CFC is not visible in GK, just shows who is speaking. Kung wala kang gk experience, yan ang sasabihin mo. For us doing gk work we know.

For people like this ffl blogger- It is very much like the story called "The Emperor with new clothes".


Anonymous said...

Nobility versus hypocrisy
By Jose Ma. Montelibano
First Posted 01:16:00 04/25/2008
"If Satan appears to me and gives me money, I will accept the money and spend it all for the poor. It is not the practice of the Church to ask donors where their donations come from. Our duty is to make sure all donations go to the poor. The devil remains ... my enemy but I will use his resources to feed the poor." — Jaime Cardinal Sin, Oct. 25, 2000, defending the Catholic Church's acceptance of a total of P181 million in donations from the government casino firm Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) since 1998.
In an early-September 2005 column, Conrad de Quiros wrote that after criticisms about the Church receiving Pagcor funds, the then outgoing president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Bishop Fernando Capalla, said, "The principle of morality does not apply in this situation. There is nothing wrong with accepting money from gambling operations so long as the money goes directly to the poor."
Quoting Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Bishop Capalla then said, "I'd rather be criticized than let the poor die of sickness and hunger."
The three most senior and influential personalities of the Catholic Church hierarchy have been consistent in their pronouncements about the primacy of the work for the poor. It must be that their whole spiritual and pastoral experience grounds them to the very mission for which Christ was sent to earth by His Father, and the very criteria by which all human beings, most especially Christians, will be judged at the end of time.
All Catholics with interest in their faith know the guidance of the Church hierarchy through the public pronouncements of the late Cardinal Sin, the former president of the CBCP, Bishop Capalla, and the famous Bishop of Cebu, Cardinal Vidal. Thus, it makes it all the suspect that Bishop Gabriel Reyes as head of LAIKO in the Philippines will choose to forget the guidance of the major pastoral leaders of Filipinos and seek an opinion of Stanislaw Cardinal Rylko of the Vatican. Feigning ignorance or forgetfulness of a principle that all his colleagues collectively use to justify their receiving of funds from less than clean sources, Bishop Reyes finally gets Cardinal Rylko to state that Gawad Kalinga should not enter into a partnership with pharmaceutical firms who produce anti-life products.
In news reports that give as basis private communication between Cardinal Rylko, Bishop Reyes, and Couples for Christ executive director Joe Tale, who incidentally is also Gawad Kalinga board chairman, it was headlined that the Vatican admonishes and chastises Gawad Kalinga's "overemphasis on social work." The statement is not only shocking, but utterly absurd. It is, in fact, quite perverted because of the fact that it comes from the Catholic Church as orchestrated by a bishop from the Philippines.
The story of poverty and corruption in our homeland is not anymore fresh news, only the intermittent introduction of new faces in deep pain from the ranks of the poor, or the new ways by which those in power manipulate the siphoning of billions from the treasury to personal pockets. What is generally known but not so talked about is the participation, by commission or omission, of the Catholic Church in causing and perpetuating the situation of poverty and corruption. A few opinion writers like Conrad de Quiros do take occasional potshots at the hypocrisy of some bishops, but there are not many more.
Because of the same reluctance to taint the religious despite solid reasons for doing so, the Catholic Church in the United States finally was forced in several legal settlements to pay more than a billion dollars to victims of sexual abuse committed by priests and bishops. For a very long time, these sexual abuses were hidden from public knowledge, many of them denied, in fact, and the guilty ones were allowed to go unpunished and even promoted in some instances. But wrongdoing is more easily detected and exposed today, unfortunately not from the exercise of higher values or the practice of Catholicism but from the power of technology that is steadily forcing everything to be transparent.
The actuation of Bishop Gabriel Reyes is suspect because his name had already been reported in another controversy affecting Couples for Christ (CFC) last year. Seen clearly by the hundreds of thousands of CFC members as a partisan supporter of a breakaway splinter group, Bishop Reyes has done much to damage the image of the Church to these Catholics who do much more in living out their fate than most others who can claim membership only by name and by ritual. Mainstream CFC has remained quiet, matching what they see as duplicity of authority by an outer show of respect and obedience which is just as false. Leaders of organizations of the laity are quickly taught that honesty and courage can be dangerous while compromise and hypocrisy can get you there faster.
Gawad Kalinga, though, need not listen to Bishop Gabriel Reyes. Its own experience with this Bishop of Antipolo is another story in itself and reserved for another day. Gawad Kalinga is a secular organization, an independent juridical body, and is Catholic, not by law but by choice, because most of its officers, workers, volunteers and partners are Catholics who strive to be more authentic than their pastors. Gawad Kalinga is not a subsidiary of CFC or submitted to it by legal requirement. That Gawad Kalinga is identified with CFC is natural and beneficial because two independent bodies have become almost like one from a shared history and shared values. The law created them separately and treats them separately, but a common membership bonds the two entities powerfully.

It is an emerging reality, though, that Gawad Kalinga will expand well beyond CFC. Its nature is ecumenist, nonjudgmental, multi-sectoral, inclusive yet deeply anchored on faith in God, love of neighbor and sacrifice for country. Most know, but do not mind, that Gawad Kalinga is Catholic in its perspective—the Catholic who heeds calls from the Pope for ecumenism and rejects temptations towards fundamentalism and spiritual bigotry. In Gawad Kalinga, Catholicism is not preached, it is witnessed. Very soon, millions more will see, will understand, and will be part of Gawad Kalinga.

Pope Benedict XVI has just affirmed the Gawad Kalinga way by reaching out to the most anti-life nation and accepting the welcome of the most anti-life president, both anti-life by Catholic Church definition. The Pope affirmed the primacy of engagement over condemnation in fidelity to the footsteps of his Church's Divine Founder. With the Pope's courage and wisdom, there is hope that erring cardinals and bishops who have veered away will ultimately see the way, the truth and the light.

Anonymous said...

Tanong ko lang talaga ha, Kung wala sanang Ramon Magsaysay award na yan, meron ba kayang CFC - FFL Split? hehehehe :-D

CFC -> Christ for CFC
FFL -> Feed For Life

Anonymous said...

"Tanong ko lang talaga ha, Kung wala sanang Ramon Magsaysay award na yan, meron ba kayang CFC - FFL Split? hehehehe :-D"

Yan ang pinagumpisahan ng lahat ng gulo sa CFC. kasi sana binigyan na lang sila ng tig iisang Ramon Magasaysay award.

Anonymous said...

"kasi sana binigyan na lang sila ng tig iisang Ramon Magasaysay award."

There is still no guarantee with that. If they were to do that, they should make the extra one larger.

johnpaul said...

dalawa na nga yung recognition na tinanggap ah...

Balut said...

Naning Roxas said: "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."

Wow...I really can't understand why the straight out dishonesty of such a statement.

Are they just repeating something their head office leaders have said (Naning/Nonong?) or what?

And if they really think it's true, why don't they take a couple of hours to go to some GK villages to check? It would be easy to do that, to get the facts...

...unless they don't want them.

TruthShallSetYouFree said...

invite them to GK Sto. Nino or GK Pantranco or GK Roque ... all of CFC West C

i just witnessed a CLP Talk 9 at GK Pantranco, where the CLP team are all GK beneficiaries (from team head to facilitators to music ministry)

and i am awed to see 30 couples (even more) sitting as participant to a CLP conducted by the care taker team of GK Roque.

how about an SFC CLP at GK Sto. Nino, transforming the lives of the would be hoods...

I seldom dare but with this I am, dare to visit the GK sites at CFC West C!

Anonymous said...

Hindi lang yan! Sa CDO/MisOr., malaki ang percentage ng Tithes sa mga GK Villages, that means kahit maliit lang ang halaga pero halos lahat nagbibigay! Hindi ba ipekto sa evangelization yan? Mga Unit Heads sa Pasil taga GK na! Hinog na hinog na para mag Chapter Heads! Yong lumipat sa FFL na sabi nag veer away ang GK, umiwas lang kayo sa putik at init...May God bless us all!

Anonymous said...

Kahit dina lagyan ng pangalan ng Couples for Christ ang mga GK Villages, alam na ng buong Mindanao na ang GK ay Couples for Christ din, na pag nalaman nilang CFC member ka ang una nilang sabihin sa iyo, " Ang ganda ng GK ninyo ah!" Sa mga muslim area nga pag CFC ka igalang kana nila dahil sa GK! Pero yong isang kapatid natin na kahit siya pa yong nagshare sa amin sa nangyari sa driver at truck niya na pinakawalan ng nag chechpoint na mga MILF nong nalaman na CFC pala ang may ari ng truck at pati driver, lumipat pa rin sa FFL dahil may tampo! Yong pag attract ng tao wala sa pangalan yan, nasa kilos mo! Diba sabi ni JesuS," Who ever listens to these WORDS ( CLP) of mine and ACTS ( GK ) on them will be like a WISE MAN who built his house on ROCK!" Kaya mga kapatid wag na kayong mag reklamo tungkol sa pangalan ng CFC na hindi nailagay sa GK site o kaya ikaw na magpagawa at maglagay sa sign, tulong na lang! God bless us all!

Anonymous said...

You are wrong Naning Roxas, Light of Jesus of Bo Sanchez and Bukas Loob ng Diyos knew that GK is CFC... DCP

Anonymous said...

Naning Roxas.... I guess that you are not a contributor of GK.... Have you gone to GK site? Have time to visit them and you will be surprise to hear and see that they are members of CFC. DCP-