Tuesday, April 8, 2008

On Origins, the Truth, and Civility

Note: I was originally writing this as a response to the exchange going on in the Origins Pt. II entry, but I thought it might be able to stand on its own.

I'm sharing pictures that were sent to me. Here are some of the key personalities in the 1993 split:

Fr. Herb presenting what transpired after the CFC broke off from LNP in a meeting with People of Hope and CFC New Jersey. People of Hope was the american counterpart of LNP.

The invitees in the meeting: People of Hope (left) and CFC - New Jersey (right).

Vic G and Company (un-dated picture)

Brothers and sisters, I'd like to thank you all for the feedback you are giving. Some comments especially by Ernie S have been very revealing as well as educational. I'd also like to applaud you all for keeping the discussion on the level and civil. It was what I was hoping for, a sane discussion on the issues we are facing today without hate and people calling for the wrath of God upon one another.

I must admit the history of CFC was previously an alien thing to me, considering it happened quite some time ago and frankly (excuse the blatant pun), I had little interest in it until this blog started up. I believed then as I still do now, that CFC's present actions are reflective enough of what it stands for and speaks for itself - and that was good enough for me. Now that I'm reading about it (for the first time like many of you folks), I am getting a better understanding and comprehension about the events going on in the present. As the poet Georges Santayana, said, "Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it."

While this saying has been corrupted several different ways, one version of which was the way I remembered it before Google saved the day, "Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it," - I believe the gist is the same. We should be paying attention to this, because it says a lot about what is going on now.

To Mickey (Sleepless in NJ) and akosikenn, thank you for the civil and respectful exchange. As usual, it's great to hear from someone in the FFL, as it allows us to see that we are all human here, hurting and confused about recent events. You have both strengthened my belief that there are good people in both the CFC and the FFL. No matter where our discernment has led us, it doesn't change the goodness in our hearts and our shared love for Jesus Christ. The respect and and restraint apparent in your discussion should be a shining example for all. I could say more about who should be following your example, but lets leave it at that. Let's remember that although this not-so-secret war of attrition might be going on, this isn't about any of us who were called serve in our own little way, but of human foibles & follies and the devil's own treachery. Let us pray that the light shines through soon, and people start realizing that the division being fostered is only making one entity happy, and it's not the one with the halo.

As for the topic of your discussion...well, that's a little tricky. I have to admit that I did share some of akosikenn's feelings - that Frank should be given a chance to air his side of things along with Vic Gutierrez, it would have been the fair, journalistic way to do it. Now that I think about it though, I'm convinced that Frank has his own version of history that may or may not be factual. What we have here in Vic Gutierrez is an honest testimony from someone who has no stake in the matter, and only wants history to be told RIGHT. It is funny that the FFL found a way to press the fact that he's retired and no longer an active member of LNP to discredit the story, when in reality that should be even more reason to believe the history of the LNP/CFC split as presented by one who was not only there, but was placed deeply in the heart of things as they unfolded. Not only that, but like one of the other commenters, I also believe that Frank had already been given years and years to tell his version of the truth. If he had purposely or mistakenly kept us in the dark about what really transpired then, whose fault is that? He sure had his chances in the countless books he's written, the thousands of talks, and his numerous emails blasted to all of us. Just the fact that his minions at the FFL's PR machine is struggling to make a square peg fit into a round hole is proof that the shoe doesn't fit well enough to be comfortable. The bottom line is this:

There are very few conclusions one can make when asking why he chose to tell us what he did, and for what purpose.

Now, I fear that this airing of bitter truths is not going to stop here, after all, there is an Origins III to look forward to. The truth, no matter how deeply hidden or horrible, has a way of cleansing one's soul after its revelation. I myself have had closely held secrets that I thought would never see the light of day, but once shared gave me the deepest sense of peace I've had in a long time. (Let that be a reminder to you all to line up outside the confessionals. Hehe. )

My point is, there are people privy to the truth now, who were there when this episode in our history was unfolding, and who I believe should be speaking up. Please don't let anybody else tell the story that you all should be telling. The first steps to healing is to treat the wound, and an untreated one festers. Let's not forget that a large part of us being Catholics and Christians in general is our ability to forgive, and what better example to follow than the one made by He who made the greatest sacrifice for all of us?

So, coming from someone on the ground...I humbly ask:

Talk, tell, and let the truth speak for itself.

Then let us all forgive, heal, move on, and IF there was a collective guilt, let us atone. Be that as it may, and seeing as the vast majority of the members of CFC had no idea about what went on, acknowledgment might be more important than atonement, and is actually long overdue.

That, is of course just my opinion.

May God lead the way for us all...


agree said...

agree ako with cd.thank you to the ugnayan writers for the 2 articles.agree ako with the other bloggers. may tanong din ako.why was the history of cfc changed? was it deliberate on the part of our leaders then? was it a conscious effort to discredit ligaya? sa palagay ko dapat buo ang kwento, ipahayag ang buong katotohanan. kung sino man ang leaders na yan, dapat magsalita na. ano ang ginawa nyo nuong araw? dapat interview ng ugnayan writers lahat ng involved kasama din si pareng frank.yes we want to know and as cfc family we will forgive, lahat tayo nagkakasala. kung tahimik lang kayo, isa lang ang ibig sabihin- mag clp kayo uli at makinig ng talk 4- repentance and faith!huwag na kayo magbigay ng talk sabi nga walk your talk, may tawag po sa mga ganyan- hypocrite. mas masakit sa tagalog- plastic.

agree sa misis said...

ay sorry po, pahabol lang po kasi title pala origins the truth and civility. sorry po sa salitang plastic at hypocrite. nagalit misis ko sa akin.

jonitanitayturin said...


CD, I agree it is a BIG IF. -- (Hi, Agree! With you, too, Brod and Missus!) -- You said:

“Talk, tell, and let the truth speak for itself.
Then let us all forgive, heal, move on, and IF there was a collective guilt, let us atone... as the vast majority…had no idea about what went on, acknowledgment might be more important than atonement.”

To me, Padilla’s (and his minions’) unceremonious yanking of CFC away from LNP is fraught with unspeakable truths. Whether that sinful act has infected our family renewal individually or collectively is a debatable philosophical and theological question that is perhaps better left to the appropriate ecclesiastical authorities and/or our own consciences. Nevertheless, let me personally reiterate this fearful ringing tone:

“We were a younger couple back then. Alas, we were ‘born’ (of) ...the original sin of the so-called ‘founder’ of CFC and his cohorts … I foresee the dying of zeal amid fraternal strife by that dogged and blighted flame, an ‘Adam’s Curse’… unless all CFC is freed and redeemed from it!”

Yep, up until the new revelations about CFC’s past, I and perhaps most of us just wanted to dwell in the PRESENT, to look at CFC’s actions NOW as, to quote CD, “...reflective enough of what it stands for and speaks for itself...” In fact, I feel it is this predisposition to focus on the here and now that has triggered an irritating response from a friend who would rather that the story of CFC's colorful past just stops with a general idea that Mr. Padilla unilaterally broke away, without any more delving into the details about the other “plotters”.

Well, it is certainly easier to “leave the past behind” if public acknowledgment or atonement exorcises the wrongful deeds of Padilla et al.

Calling the IC. Please, let you be engaged on this. Thank you.

“Come, O Holy Spirit, Fill the Hearts of Your Faithful...”


idonotagree said...

i do not agree that this is a fair article, this is just vic's side. i wonder what is cfc's purpose? -:) where's roquel, tony and frank's version? kung hindi man si frank, kahit si roquel at tony na lang. quiet ulit? bat si frank lang ang sinisisi sa split from lnp? PAMPA (pamparami) din lang ba sila tony, roquel atbpa noon? do you think cfc is as big as now kung under pa ng lnp? you wish but i don't think so. frank had years of telling his version? so cfc was frank for the whole time? people, i think you're more on justifying cfc actions than defending the truth. i think your cfc article creates more questions than answers, hurt than healing, biased than fair. well, i'm getting used to it, welcome to the new (real) cfc!

Ernie said...

Thank you for your kind words...

As my brother/son SleeplessinNJ says "I am confident that i am in a company of educated sharers. Why am i proud to say that... cuz they can identify a spin when they see one."

I was just blessed to be in the midst when those things happened. And I'm here today just as witness to the REALITY (TRUTH) that those things happened. So we can avoid it from happening again.

It's the reader's CHOICE to see the facts or the spin and I'm confident that they can see one from a mile.

I've been saying I'm closing the thread I've started way back Sept 2007, on the History of Couples for Christ. Yet I'm continiously being drawned to it as time goes by. I have a feeling it's not for me to close it since there is Part 3 coming up, but for the Lord to tell the story through all those who have first hand information. Collectively, we as community will learn from it and do it right the third (3rd) time around.

This time we will not put the LORD in vain (SHAME the LORD).

For "Fooled me once shame on you, fooled me twice shame on me, fooled me the third time, who are we going blame?


Sleepless in NJ said...

In one of my 1 on 1 with my dad, he was telling me that our iniquities will hunt us for 3 generations (scripture base). I didn’t believe him and thought that it was full of crap that I will inherit my fathers’ sins.

But he reminded me of my atonement on the cross. If I confess my sins and asked Jesus to renew me, I will find my grace in Christ. He continued to explain that my grace found in Christ will last for thousands of generations.

There is a debate being discussed among us whether we should “bring our past sins to light.” There is a fear to discuss such topic because it is taboo (to air dirty laundry). We are causing more problems… and it will not solve anything. I could only ask for your patience in hopes that you will understand that to some of us…. we need to confess our sins so we can find closure and healing. To some… we need to ask for forgiveness so we can be reconciled to our brothers and sisters… and to be reconcile to God.

I think it is just are culture to bury our guilt in our subconscious. But I would like to share that I find freedom in saying “I am sorry for my action (be specific).” I am not perfect that in my flaws I depend on Christ’s Grace to save me. In sharing our weakness and iniquities, we confess our sins and show the world the salvation found in Christ.

I commend those who aspire to find atonement and those who seek forgiveness (Kuya Jun, Ate Extracopy, carlos, dirtdriver, cd, IC, and many more). Instead of justifying your position (or blaming others), you had the courage to be accountable and ask for forgiveness. I am fortunate to learn from your humility and I pray that Christ will continue to teach me.

C.D. said...


You honor me with your presence here. I truly wish we could have met when you were in Manila.

Continue to fight the good fight and please know that my prayers are with you.

May you find peace in your heart and in the hearts of others,


akosikenn said...

thanks CD. by the way, Mickey (sleepless in nj) didn't mention that at the time you were posting this blog, we were on the phone for an hour discussing the same thing (and some). he is a brother in Christ and so our hearts, which remains focused on Him, remain undivided even when we chose different paths to further His kingdom.

one thing I will add to this discussion is with regards to the 2005 "peace" statement with LNP. I can't find it at the moment but how does that fit into the scheme of things? doesn't that count as CFC's atonement for what happened?

silverbook4sale said...

A Statement of Reconciliation, Unity and Brotherhood

We affirm our belief that God has raised Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon Community (LNP) and Couples for Christ (CFC) as His instruments for the work of evangelization and renewal.

We rejoice in God leading LNP to found CFC in June of 1981 and helping it grow in its early years.

We accept that God has led CFC to pursue its own mission and we rejoice in what God has done for CFC, establishing it in a global ministry officially recognized by the Holy See (Vatican).

We regret the hurts caused by the separation of LNP and CFC in 1993, and we mutually repent of whatever wrong we committed at that time, and have asked each other for forgiveness, which has been graciously extended without reservation.

We pray for healing for those who have been deeply hurt and ask the Lord to heal all wounds and in their place to plant seeds of fraternal love and renewed friendships.

We look to collaboration in activities in the future, including building communities among the poor.

But most of all, we once again embrace each other as brothers, and pray for the Lord’s outpouring of grace and blessings upon each other.

Done this 16th day of July, 2005, on the occasion of Ang Ligaya Ng Panginoon’s 30th Anniversary.

For the Body of Coordinators: For the CFC Council
By: By:

(Sgd) Tony Panajon (Sgd) Frank Padilla
Head Coordinator Director

Witnessed by:

(Sgd) Fr. Herb Schneider, S.J. (Sgd) Rouquel Ponte

(Sgd) Tony Meloto

Anonymous said...

comment on the-

A Statement of Reconciliation, Unity and Brotherhood

We rejoice in God leading LNP to found CFC in June of 1981 and helping it grow in its early years.

Fact established:
Ligaya founded CFC

We regret the hurts caused by the separation of LNP and CFC in 1993, and we mutually repent of whatever wrong we committed at that time, and have asked each other for forgiveness, which has been graciously extended without reservation.

Fact established:
Split was not mutual agreement, something wrong was committed.

Tony Panajon
Frank Padilla

Witnessed by:

Fr. Herb Schneider, S.J.
Rouquel Ponte
Tony Meloto
Why was Vic Gutierrez not included in this historical paper?

Can someone please answer...
Thank you

musang said...

When my wife and I attended the CLP in 1991, we were facilitated by a couple who were members of LNP. At that time, we asked them what was LNP doing at a CLP. I clearly remembered him saying that he and his wife were doing an outreach ministry to CFC. Anyway, noon hindi ko naiintindihan yun. Later in early 1993, they bid us goodbye since they have chosen LNP over CFC. But before the actual split, there were times when he would tell us during household meetings tiny bits and pieces of what was happening. I remember very well that he and Frank had some disagreements which almost led one suing the other. Household head pa nga yata niya si Frank P. noon. Yan lang ang natatandaan ko noon. Sayang hindi ko na siya matatanong dahil pumanaw na ang household head kong ito.

Ernie said...

To Anonymous

"comment on the-
A Statement of Reconciliation, Unity and Brotherhood

(Sgd) Tony Panajon
Head Coordinator
(Sgd) Frank Padilla

Witnessed by:

(Sgd) Fr. Herb Schneider, S.J.
(Sgd) Rouquel Ponte
(Sgd) Tony Meloto

Why was Vic Gutierrez not included in this historical paper?

Can someone please answer..."

This article was published in the Silver Book commemorating the 25th Anniversary of CFC.

That's circa 2005 and my contact said Vic Gutierez has long retired from active office and was just a regular member of Ligaya that time. Vic was informed though of the Agreement by Tony Panahon who was the signatory and Head Coordinator of Ligaya. All others who signed were active Officers of their organization.

I hope this answers your question.

Again those have access to those individual signatories may double check the validity of this information.

jonitanitayturin said...

Courage, the devil is dead! Arise!

The CFC “origins” in the UGNAYAN is one generation away, well within the top leaders’ lifetime. If I bring a page of it too close to my eyes, I will hardly read it; at a reasonable distance, I can!

The unfolding CFC story may be too recent for objective analysis, but if moved away by say, two or three generations (from 40 or 60 years, assuming a generational age of 20 years), we will not be confounded with “your word against mine” but dealing calmly with facts, nothing but facts.

Yes, there are paper trails, indeed. Having lived with, or been hooked in the spins of Padilla et al for 18 years, I feel great being librated and shepherded into a steady pool of cleaner, clearer water. I agree, journalistic fairness will require that Padilla’s side be heard again; but that may be passĂ© already, because there are basic things we have simply learned and accepted here, paper trails included: the sinner from the sin, the singer from the song, the dancer from the dance. In similar context, “Nurse” said it succinctly (“Origins Pt. 2”): “...the value is not in the details of the story but in the lessons we can learn from this story.”

Que sera, sera. Any contemporary Padilla “spin” may not escape the cold assessment of history, and most certainly of the God of Truth. I recall this trivia when teaching Philippine History then: A hero of the Philippine-American War, who later became a President of the Philippines, suggested that history be kinder to him, given his contentious role in the war for independence from Spain, as he told a reporter by his deathbed, “Anak, ikaw na ang bahala sa akin sa kasaysayan....(Son, please take care of me in history”).

In my book, by UGNAYAN’s reconstruction of CFC’s correct beginnings, evil is defeated. The truth has set me free!

May we be uplifted by by this quote from an English novel: "Courage, ami, le diable est mort!" "Take courage, friend, the devil is dead!”


(A Confession: YET, I AM STILL AFRAID... Now that I am free, where will I go? What can allay my (and of all others' who will know the story, particularly in the CFC group where I belong) queasy feeling of having to continue referring to “stained”, nay ”bloodied” CLP manuals and teaching guides? May our Spiritual Director conduct a general exorcism? What now? Where are my IC leaders? Why the silence?

CD et al: this is my whole point about a “DYING OF ZEAL BY THAT BLIGHTED FLAME” that was lighted by Padilla. While our minds appreciate and can argue for “historical objectivity”, our hearts hunger for something else... This warrior is a lost, or else an “illegitimate” child.

Can we have the IC and LNP heads together in a Mass for a fraternal agapĂ©, or something of the sort which can at least help coat, if not completely remove the blight and calm our hearts? I’m sorry, and please pardon this agitation, CD. I have already started feeling na... after all those years, gan’un na lang pala...and, if “Atlas shrugged”, the “Global” CFC may roll off the shoulders and start careening?! “Wait”, HE says, “be still…”

Brethren, I now firmly resolve with the help of God’s grace: Perish the thought!!! Be gone, Satan, in Jesus’ name!!! My soul, “Arise, shine out…the glory of Yahweh is rising…His glory appears. Arise!”)

malachi3/widows might said...

To Idonotagree,kapatid do you hear Tony and Roquel claim that they are the true bearers of the charism. It is only Frank Padilla and the FFL spreading lies,that Frank if the founder of CFC. All these didcussions point to the fact that he (frank) is not the founder of CFC.This article is part of the history of CFC and LNP,its what happened.Even if you say that this article is not fair common sense tells us that Frank is not the founder CFC because it was LNP who started CFC. How do you react to FFL's claim that they are 27 years in existence diba June of 2007 lang sila nag register sa SEC(is this the truth)as people of God we should stand for the truth. Let's not be lawyers(liars)and deal with technicalities and semantics. Its plain and simple FFL and Frank Padilla's claim that he is the founder of CFC is an untruth kahit san pang court dalhin.This is clearly the work of the evil one,who is the father of all lies. To idonotagree take a stand for truth.If your discernment of truth is in agreement with FFL then go to FFL,die for the truth with them. As for me I will die for the truth here in CFC and let God judge me of the last day