Friday, May 9, 2008

Origins Pt 3

Here is the 3rd and last installment of the Origins series. I'll reprint for easy reading here, but you may also download it as a pdf file HERE. The whole series is available on the right side bar as well.

Part 1 is HERE.

Part 2 is HERE.

I share with you all now,

THE ORIGINS OF COUPLES FOR CHRIST Pt 3

This will be the last in the series about the early origins of Couples for Christ.
When we began this story, the intention was not to pit one side against the other or generate even more contentious issues than our community already faces. We simply wanted to tell the truth. In the interest of fairness, we wanted to hear from those who, for 15 long years, had stood silently by while only one perspective of our early history was told. This series has allowed the other side to be heard now, at a crucial time in our community life.

Is it by God's design? We will never know. What we do know is this: In the pursuit of truth, we discovered a great story. This is it! We tell it now, to the best of our abilities.

If this series had raised more questions than it tries to answer, we sincerely apologize. History, after all, is only a series of perspectives that only attains clarity when seen from the vantage point of distance and time. Perhaps those questions will be answered in time, perhaps not. Perhaps we are all simply being asked to look at the facts and to relate those facts to our own lives. They are not meant to confuse or disorient us, but to lead us to a more committed life with the one who we say we are FOR… Christ.

In the pursuit of historical research, there is a tendency to get swamped in the minute details. We found ourselves wading through reams of materials, most of them unsolicited. But the ones that mattered, the facts that we eventually published, were those that we actively solicited because Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon Community (LNP), the only true source of the facts, was not initially inclined to provide them. They only relented when we urged that Couples for Christ needed to hear their side.

Even after 15 years, the people we spoke to, clearly still felt the pain caused by the events of 1993. But the telling of the truth and the catharsis of finally being able to speak out, appear to be pointing the way to true healing and reconciliation.

In the last meeting that the authors had with Vic Gutierrez, together with Joe and Babylou Tale, what shone through was the spirit of genuine reconciliation. Joe was led to declare that this is the start of healing for both communities. He predicted a closer relationship between CFC and LNP based on the shared mission of renewal and of reaching out to others.

The unraveling of the story…

January 1991, after almost 10 years of serving as the head of CFC, Vic yielded the overall leadership to Fr Herb Schneider. He was very busy serving in several areas as a leader in Ligaya. Frank Padilla was then the executive director of CFC and also served as the Coordinator of the North District. The rest of the CFC council were; Tony Meloto, Bobby Pilar, Rouquel Ponte, and Arben Visenio. CFC membership was about 7,000 couples; larger than LNP and all its ministries combined.

There were many requests from various parishes for CFC to conduct a Christian Life Program. CFC could only accede to a few due to a lack of trained leaders. It had to 'borrow' leaders from Ligaya to accommodate these requests. Problems started to crop up, as Ligaya members had difficulty in balancing their schedule between service in CFC and Ligaya activities. CFC members were still in the so-called 'underway' phase undergoing leadership training.

Towards the end of 1991, Frank met with Vic to discuss CFC concerns and a proposal to establish CFC as an independent community. It would entail the spinning off the East district so that the entire group could concentrate fully on CFC. Vic, as his pastoral leader, advised him to put his proposal in writing and submit it to Fr Herb. However Fr Herb and the ExCom took a while before acting on the proposal.

By 1992, the atmosphere in the community was rife with rumors and news about CFC's plan to separate. This was the backdrop of a major upheaval that led to the separation of CFC from LNP in 1993.

Ominous days…

February 1993, Fr Herb met in a series of meetings with Frank and some members of the CFC council. After the meetings, on March 11, he wrote a memo to Frank Padilla and the CFC Council explaining the response of the Overall Leadership Team (OLT). The following are excerpts from this memo:

“Couples for Christ is an outreach of Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon Community and a partner in mission with LNP and the other outreach organizations that were formed by the community. As such CFC leadership needs to acknowledge openly its accountability to the authority of the community over its outreaches as this is exercised by the Partners in Mission Council (in which CFC participates) and by the Overall Leadership Team.
The Executive Director of CFC, like all other executive directors of Ligaya outreaches, needs to be a covenanted member of LNP. This has been a long-standing policy. As a coordinator of the community, Frank was involved in establishing this policy. …This means that Frank needs to live out his Ligaya commitments under the direction of his district coordinator, if he wishes to continue to serve as Executive Director of Couples for Christ.”


Fr. Herb had this to say about 'who owns CFC':
“I believe with all my heart that the Lord inspired leaders of the Ligaya to start Couples for Christ. I believe that He guided these same leaders and others whom they raised up to develop CFC into the effective outreach for family renewal that it has become over the years. …I believe Couples for Christ is what it is today because of the selfless cooperation in mission of many, many couples in CFC and in Ligaya. The leadership of community members on many levels made invaluable contributions especially in the earlier years of CFC. All of the above being true, in no way denies the authority of the community over Couples for Christ.”

Making a stand, Fr. Herb declared: “If he (Frank) feels called to leave Ligaya, he resigns as executive director of CFC. One can be fully involved in the mission of CFC and give all one's time and energy to it without being an executive director.”

He also appealed to the CFC Council to “… postpone the decision on appointing new members to the CFC Council until we can finish our organizational and structural decisions at the Partners in Mission Council. Furthermore, may I have the opportunity to communicate and explain the above to the Elders of CFC at their next assembly.”

The Game Plan…

While consultations and meetings were ongoing among Ligaya leaders and some members of the CFC Council, the articles of incorporation of a 'new' CFC were already being worked out by a select few CFC leaders. It is now evident that just a small number of CFC leaders were privy to the round table discussions with Fr. Herb. Certain compromises were apparently made because of their love for CFC, their loyalty to Frank their leader, and belief in his ideals.

The greater majority of CFC members did not know the complete picture. They believed what they were told and knew only one thing - that the growth of CFC was hampered by LNP, whose training of leaders was limited and whose vision for evangelization was 'inward looking' not 'outward looking.' A lot of the leaders thought that the idea to separate was a blessing from heaven, that it was God's answer to their prayers.

Meantime, Frank requested for a week of prayer and discernment, but the die was cast and the separation was in the pipeline. The split would occur in days.

The Final Stages…

On March 19 during the Elder's Assembly, before the agreed date to dialogue with Fr. Herb, Frank dissolved the council, held elections and declared the establishment of the 'new' Couples For Christ Global Mission Foundation Inc. The next day he wrote a letter to Fr Herb, informing him that the assembly of the previous night had elected a new Council and that CFC was no longer willing to be under the authority and direction of LNP.

On the issue regarding ownership he wrote, “There is no question that God owns CFC, and it is distasteful for any human person or organization to claim ownership of what belongs only to God. You will agree with this and thus there is no need to address this, it is the practical consequences of so- called “ownership” that need to be addressed, and these are mandate and accountability.”

On mandate he wrote, "You claim that you placed us in our positions and that you have authority over us, our position is that its simply not right for a few men, who are not directly involved in the life of CFC and whose priorities lie elsewhere, to have this control and authority, over the lives of 45,000 people. Those who are in CFC should be the ones to determine their own leadership and how their lives are going to be lived.

Thus we have elected a new Council, by an overwhelming majority vote of CFC elders during our Elders Assembly yesterday. This new CFC Council now has its mandate and authority directly from its own members, through the elders themselves and as representatives of all other CFC members in this country.”

On accountability he wrote, “You maintain that; CFC must be accountable to LNP and/or to the OLT and/or to the Partners-in-Mission Council. We steadfastly believe in accountability and pastoral cover. But it can no longer be to LNP/OLT, because we are no longer confident in your ability to care for CFC and to look to its best interests. Furthermore, LNP itself has no pastoral cover or accountability to speak of, aside from within itself or within the SOS.
Thus we have decided to voluntarily submit ourselves to the pastoral care of the Catholic Church and to be accountable to her shepherds, our bishops. Thus we have asked the following bishops to be our Spiritual Directors over regional CFC groups, to wit:

Bishop Teodoro Bacani - CFC Metro Manila
Bishop Ruben Profugo - CFC Luzon
Bishop Jesus Varela - CFC Bicol
Bishop Angel Lagdameo - CFC Visayas
Bishop Carmelo Morelos - CFC Mindanao

All the above is to say that CFC, in accordance with what we believe is God's will, will determine its own life and mission, independent of and from LNP. We ask that you accept the will of the great majority of CFC leaders and members, and no longer try to impose anything on us. We ask you this, knowing fully well your disagreements, for the sake of CFC and the good of the overwhelming number of its members.”

Aftermath…

Frank and his wife Gerry, together with about 30 LNP leaders resigned from LNP. Bobby Pilar and Arben Visenio opted to stay with Ligaya. Some LNP members chose only to take a leave of absence from LNP, unwilling to leave behind the evangelization work that they had already started in CFC. Frank did not run for any position and it was Rouquel Ponte who became executive director of CFC for the next six years.

It was a period of pain and anguish, of losing friends, of broken relationships. It was time for prayer and discernment for leaders who were torn between love and loyalty to LNP and dedication to work and service in CFC. The crisis eventually became global as the rest of the leaders and members of CFC communities abroad had to make difficult decisions: Whether to stay or to go.

The Proposal…

But, there was no need for all the pain and resentment, unknown to Frank and the CFC council, Fr. Herb drafted a proposal as a response to the issues that beset CFC.

One significant paragraph in this proposal stands out:

“LNP is genuinely concerned for the sound development of CFC. We want it to be long-range effective for Church and family renewal. Let me propose the following approach, let us give Couples For Christ its independence from us and also let us not insist that the executive director be a LNP member.”

Conclusion…

It is useless now to speculate whether or not Fr. Herb's proposal would have made a difference. The split pushed through because the major players in CFC were convinced that it was by God's design. It has now been 15 years since that painful period in CFC's life. Both communities have gone their separate but parallel ways, sharing a common vision to be instruments by which people can draw closer to God.

It is perhaps a fitting end to this story that on the eve of his departure for a new life abroad with his wife, Vic wrote the following letter to the CFC International Council. Eschewing any pretensions to be “founder,” Vic says he wrote the letter as an exercise of the “grace of paternity,” as a father to children he once nurtured.

Letter to the CFC International Council

Dear Brothers,

I graciously agreed to speak with your Ugnayan staff though with much hesitation when you asked me to comment on the CFC origins and the 1993 CFC-LNP split.

I understood your quest. It is normal for any organization to try to authenticate its early beginnings and directions. The results of the interviews have now been published in the CBCP Monitor and many are happy about them. I am pleased to have been of help.

But I must have been naïve to think that my recollections of the past would be appreciated by all who are and were part of the CFC. Even with documents backing up my points of view, there arose dissenting views. My credibility was assailed, my version doubted and I am made to appear a peddler of untruths.

I do not mind that. For 15 years, some of you in the CFC have looked at me with very low regard because of accusations thrown against me by some of your leaders. I do not wish to make any attempt to vindicate myself now. It is not important to me.

I have concerns though. My version of the CFC origins seems to have fanned the flames of hostility further between your group and the FFL. I do not wish it upon you all.

The grace of paternity that St. John of the Cross spoke about impels me to desire nothing but peace and unity between the Global and the FFL servants of the Lord. Like a father, I pray that you may have peace, love and justice among all of you in the CFC. Let there be no more 'Global' or 'FFL' among you; only humble servants of God.

When the CFC split from the LNP in 1993, my ten-year old son said that the Lord had three words for me. He and I had just come out of a one-hour visit to the Blessed Sacrament. He said the words were: Love. Hope. Peace.

He explained to me what the words meant. Love the brothers and sisters in CFC. Hope for a better relationship. Pray for peace to rule the hearts of the leaders of both LNP and CFC so that they can do God's work effectively. Quite mature for a ten-year old, I took him seriously and I shared those words of wisdom with the brothers and sisters in LNP who were affected by the CFC-LNP split. Compliance with those words protected and nourished us in the LNP in the past 15 years.

Now I share the same words with you. Love. Hope. Peace. They can help you in your current situation.

The FFL group is asking the Ugnayan to be fair. Get the side of Frank Padilla, they say. But some of you say that Frank had 15 years to promote his side of the story. You know the situation better than I do. However, maybe the FFL is right to demand that their side be heard.

Why not put the taped speech of Frank of March 19, 1993 on your website? Make it also available for audio listening at your office for anybody who wants to listen to his arguments and decisions on why CFC broke away from LNP. That was an event that Frank is very proud of, I was told. Then, publish the letter of Fr. Herb Schneider of March 11, 1993 which Frank denounces as a clear admission that Ligaya wanted nothing but to control CFC. And publish the reply of Frank dated March 20, 1993.

Everyone's side will then have a chance to be heard for one final time. After that, close the matter and never speak about it again for the sake of peace. What can be fairer than that?

“Some say I still hold a grudge against CFC? Evidence? That I was not a signatory to the statement of reconciliation between CFC and LNP in 2005. Please understand that I had already retired from leadership at that time. Let me reprint here a part of my letter to the LNP Senior Head Coordinator in 2005 which should explain everything.
“First, I think it is alright that you meet with the top leaders of the CFC as proposed. You are the incumbent SHC of the Ligaya and thus you are empowered to represent the Ligaya in matters like these. It is also right for Fr. Herb to come with you because he is Ligaya's spiritual director. Together, the two of you can have a meaningful dialogue with Frank Padilla and his leaders. But I do not have to join you for I hold no leadership position in the community and I am comfortable with where I am right now.”
I have nothing to settle with Frank and his friends personally. They did what they have done and they know what they did. If they think it is not wrong, I do not have a mission to tell them that what they did was wrong. They are big boys now.

On the other hand, if they think they did wrong to Ligaya, then they should ask forgiveness for that wrongdoing and you should accept the apology on behalf of Ligaya. No big deal. On a personal level, if Frank and his friends want to meet with me for anything, we do not need a third party, a go-between, to facilitate the meeting. Frank knows where to reach me. And we are on speaking terms.

Have I been telling you the truth? Yes. But if anyone doubts me, I can only borrow the wit of Abraham Lincoln, “…ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.” It makes no difference now whether some of you in the CFC or in FFL believe my account or not. There is nothing we can do about the past except to look back at it maturely and profit from it.

What do I gain from all these? Nothing. I also ask for nothing. How about you? Coming to me is an exercise in humility on your part. You came asking me, whose word had been meaningless to you in the past, to ask for my account of what happened from your founding in 1981 and the CFC-LNP split in 1993. You published my account even if it hurt some of you. I commend you.

Where do you go from here?

The task of evangelizing the world can continue without any of us. In a moment, God used us for the task. In another instant, we are put aside. When we say that only God owns CFC, we should examine what claims we make about the task and the organization, the positions and the corporate functions. I know I sound like I am preaching to the choir, but even leaders like ourselves need to be reminded of the most basic truths about the service we do in the Kingdom of God.

As for me, I will continue to exercise the grace of paternity. I will pray for your eventual healing and unity. I will pray that you will be restored to the fuller understanding of the mind of Christ about the work we do and the relationships we must maintain with our fellow servants

God bless us all.

In Jesus,

Vic B. Gutierrez
April 15, 2008

24 comments:

estelito.iii said...

Reading bro. Vic's letter, i somehow felt peace. specially when he mentioned the three words: Love. Hope. Peace.

So will there be any chance we'll be seeing these things in the next couple of days?


Why not put the taped speech of Frank of March 19, 1993 on your website? Make it also available for audio listening at your office for anybody who wants to listen to his arguments and decisions on why CFC broke away from LNP. That was an event that Frank is very proud of, I was told. Then, publish the letter of Fr. Herb Schneider of March 11, 1993 which Frank denounces as a clear admission that Ligaya wanted nothing but to control CFC. And publish the reply of Frank dated March 20, 1993.



.. although i'm still at a dilemma if putting these things for public consumption online do any good or will just continue fuel the fire.

whatchathink titos and titas?

Jiggs said...

Two Lines:

Enough Said.

Loud and Clear.


God bless brethren.

Anonymous said...

INTRIGUING: PRAYER AS A FORM OF DEFLECTION

“Meantime, Frank requested for a week of prayer and discernment, but the die was cast and the separation was in the pipeline. The split would occur in days.”

On the above-quoted lines about those fateful days when Padilla delivered the unkindest blow to LNP and Father Schneider:

1. Was it last week that Padilla also asked his FFL members for a period of prayer (just a few days after urging them to write Vatican to stress FFL's "worldwide" presence).

2. Is there something ominous about that, too?

3. Maybe it's the other way around: Vatican may have already planned to pull / or better (worse?) still, may have already pulled the rug under his feet in the matter of his membership in the Pontifical Council of the Laity. And FP expects his fall to be cushioned.

4. Or is there something for Bishop Gabby in the offing? Father Schneider is a clergy of lower rank...

CD, as an input to a "HH meeting" on the matter of CFC history, I trust this will be "free-wheeling". My proposed theme is actually about how evil can lurk even in our prayers, especially if these are not so sincere. Also, it helps that while we strive to be loving, we also wise up to the ways of the serpent. Thank you.

Bro. Waray said...

estelito.iii said

".. although i'm still at a dilemma if putting these things for public consumption online do any good or will just continue fuel the fire.

whatchathink titos and titas?"

I think it will not cause much trouble even from our brothers in FFL if indeed Bro. Frank is very proud of it. In fact it may give us much clearer picture of this 3-part series on Origins.

CFConly said...

CD, Please Upload the AUDIO and publish the letters. I like to know all of these Once and For ALL then close the ISSUE.

Thanks,

CFC only

Athrun Atreides said...

Personally, I think the "Hello Padi" tape and the Schneider-Padilla letters should not come out, at least not at this time.

For one, the tape needs to be restored first, if it hasn't been lost to obscurity. I'm assuming that it's either a cassette tape or a Betamax video tape (VHS would still be expensive in 1993, unless LNP/CFC could afford it then). 15 years has passed; a lot of degradation would have set in. If our Titos and Titas at the top decide to release it, it would have to be restored first (most probably under the observation of the Easter Group, just in case the accusation of "dinuktor yan ah!" arises).

Having said that, I don't think it should come out yet because it could further damage our perception of Tito Frank. For all the wrong he's done to us, he was still a leader we relied on. For example, his books shaped the CFC way of life. We need to wrap up the Crisis first (which, despite my optimism following the Cardinal Rylko ads, still appears to be unabated) before addressing our origins.

We have to understand that this matter could be similar to what was described as scandalous files that should not see the light of the day (from the "Real Issue" response).

I earnestly implore that the "Hello Padi" tape and the accompanying letters should not be released yet. We should wait a year or two.

Bro. Mero :-) said...

To: Estellito who said:
".. although i'm still at a dilemma if putting these things for public consumption online do any good or will just continue fuel the fire.

whatchathink titos and titas?"


My Own Opinion:
It would be better to ut this in the blog, for the public to hear and know. Anyway, we have come this far already. As what Bro. Vic have mentioned in his letter to the IC, why not bring this things out into the open once and for all and then after that CLOSE THE BOOK AND NEVER TALK ABOUT IT AGAIN.

Moreover, I do hope too that in the next 25 years of CFC or in the 50th, none from these young geneation will ever do what Frank and the rest of his group did.

I do hope that everyone will go back to Vatican-Approved Statutes, Follow the bishops and submission to the leadership, when conflict and disagreements arise.

Lesson to learn (especially for leaders):

In moments of conflicts and when deciding how to resolve, always consider the 3 factors that evolves around the CFC life.

1. The recommendations of the Bishops and the heirarchy; (which should match with the #2)

2. The observance of the Vatican-approved Statutes; (and finally match with the #3)

3. The voice and wisdom of the highest legislative body of the organization/association (in the case of CFC: the Elders Assembly)

Unless these three coincides, we cannot come up with a good resolution to our conflict.

So. Bro estellito, if you have the taped speech of Frank in 1993 and if you think it is beneficial, they way i see it is better put it here regardless if for others it will fuel the fire.

I just challenged every bloggers here, to face the REAL TRUTH with courage, humility, LOVE, maturity and peace.

I am a CFC and i am proud that our coummunity is undergoing its dark ages right now. All of us must face this darkest hour to see the real light.

I believe that after all the exposition, after all the humiliation, embarassments and the insults, whoever remained with CFC, are the REAL MEMBERS WHO LOVED CFC VERY WELL.

While it is true that it is hard to evangelize and bring people to join CFC because of what happened to us. Many are mocking us by saying, "ayusin niyo muna mga sarili niyo bago kami sumama sa inyo". What i see is that evangelizing people is not anymore because of the good name that our association have gained throughout the past 25 years, but this time, it is by the kind of life that we live.

It is something like, when we invite people do not join because of what they hear about your association but becuase of what they see in the kind of life that you live.

Mga kapatid, nalagay man sa kahihiyan ang CFC community natin dahil sa crisis na ito, but not the quality of spiritual life that we live.

We have done much, pero kulang pa. We have loved much, pero kulang pa, we have given much, pero kulang pa rin. But amidst all of these, malayu-layo na rin ang narating natin. Ngayun pa ba tayu titigil ang maglipatan sa kabila? Ngayun pa ba tayu magsabing mali ang GK? Ngayun pa ba nating sabihing nag-veer away tayu? Ngayun pa, kung kelan nareveal na ni Lord ang mission natin, and 7 pillars and vision natin. Ngayun pa ba tayo aatras at magla-lie low, dahil sa eskandalong ito? nagyun pa ba tayu malilito?

If Frank is saying that God owns CFC, therefore God controls CFC. dba? And if that is so, why be afraid of the veering away and put up another group?

frank is saying that CFC under JT is no longer the CFC that God intends it to be because of the failures of the leader and that is why he formed FFL. Is that so? I do not believe in the promise that if the leaders fail that the community will also fall out of God's care.

because if the FFL insist so, then they are saying that the protestant religion is correct and the catholic is wrong.

No offense to other Christian denomination, but isn't it the reason why many protested against the Catholic Church and have left becuase of the scandals of the Church. We have Martin Luther, Gregorio Aglipay and many others.

But what do our Catholic teachers teach? That God is faithful, that God remains.

Bro./ Sis. God is faithful, he is always there. Leaders may come and go in CFC but God remains with CFC.

God bless:

Bro. Mero ;-)

EB-3C said...

Dear Brethren,

there seems to a pattern exercised by a sleuth planner beginning with 1993 split and then the 2007 split; - that while there was an on-going mediation, a group discreetly doing the paper works (a la registration?), then the planner wrote letters that... (you know what i mean)at meron ding SD involved, di ko na lang pahabain itong aking comment, baka magkamali pa.

Amen

EB-3C said...

Dear Brethren,

rejoinder lang sa comment ko, kc sa part 3 na banggit na galing sa east ang mga plotters sa 1993 split at i dagdag ko na sa East B pa rin galing ang 2007 split. What is so mysterious about East B? answer - this is the enemy comes from (place the "B" before the "east"). Kaya mahirap guluhin ang East B

Amen

icannotbesilentanymore said...

Yes bro
Yes to LOVE. HOPE. PEACE.
But the other group wants their side be heard. So I think it will only be fair that the tape of FP's speech be made available for everyone and also the letters be shown.
Then with everybodys side heard and the truth revealed let us have peace, hope and pray that LOVE will strengthen our community.
The Peace of Christ be with you all brothers and sisters in CFC.
I love you all!!!

for christ alone cebuano said...

i think the message for all of us, now that we are still in the most difficult and challenged time of our community life is these three words...LOVE...HOPE....PEACE...

LOVE,being the universal language of God teaches us that for love to be real, then it must not have conditions.we are taught by our community to love unconditionally just as God has loved us unconditionally.and in all humility, we must extend this love to our brothers and sisters in the FFL.We are all hurt by all these things, but we must remember the reason why we are hurt, it is because we have loved.We have loved our brothers and sisters who are now with FFL, then there is no reason for us to love them less now.We must learn to forgive and in time forget not only them but also ourselves for hurting each other, for accusing each other and for doubting each other. Now is the time to move on, and for us to move on, we must learn to let love reign in our hearts once more so that we will once again experience the fullness of God.

HOPE, being the fruit of the Holy Spirit, teaches us that at the end of darkness, we can find light, that at the end of the tunnel, glory will shine for God, whom we are all serving. Our community always teaches us to hope for good things that come from God, the bearer and giver of all that is good and worthy. Then, there is no reason for us not to hope that someday, we will be reconciled with our brothers and sisters in the FFL. Not now yet for the wounds are still fresh, but someday when we have mastered our emotions and again learn to relate with love that comes from GOD. We are still in a period of mourning and longing for the lost relationship, let our hearts heal completely so that we can relate with love in the near future. Hope also that we will now each move on and continue to win the world for Christ. Be you FFL of CFC, it does not matter.What matters is that we heed the call of God to be the bearers of His good news and win the world for Him. Hope also that the animosity between us will be replaced with love, pure love, that is one of the manifestations when we fully submit ourselves and humble ourselves before God..

PEACE, the most powerful expression of God's love. We can only only achieve peace when we are truly in union with God. Our community teaches us to be always in union with God so that we will all exude peace not only during gatherings but every minute of our lives. We are taught that to be peaceful, we need to be in union with God and the Holy Spirit.What is happening to us now is truly a manifestation that we are not in complete union with God anymore. Maybe because of we have lost site of the Lord of service. We were always taught by our leaders and elders in the community, that in all things we do, we must not lose focus on the Lord if service, or else, we will crumble..and that's what we are experiencing now. For peace to reign once more in our beloved community, we must learn to focus once again to the Lord of service, God and Jesus. Yes, we have a lot of things to do....evangelization,GK,social min,to name a few..but brothers and sisters,we must remember that we cannot do any of these if we do not have God by our side.If we let these become burdens in our spiritual growth, then clearly we will have problems...and these we are experiencing now..Once again, we are called by God to bow down before Him and worship Him in His holy throne. We are called by God to come back to Him and to fully submit ourselves to Him so that we will once again be in union with Him.

Brothers and sisters, i hope and pray that we will once again discern what really God wants to tell us amidst all these trials we are experiencing now. That it is time to stop all these bickering between us and focus on what He wants us to do.The harvest are many but the laborers are few..worst, few as we are, yet we are quarreling on who among us is the greatest. Remember that it is only God who is great because He is the author of all these. Let the past find peace with the present and look to the future with hope. We must not forget our past, but let not our past be the cause why we failed in the present and in the future for the message of God is clear.." I am your God and you are my people..walk with faith and i will reveal my glory not just to you but for all those who heed my call.." We are not just the ones heeding God's call,we are not just the ones called by God to win the world for Him, yet we are not at odds with the other groups, so why must we be at odds with FFL? We are just but God's lowly servant, and nothing from us will be called great because God is the greatest among us..

Peace to us all!!!

Anonymous said...

my opinion,
YES this matter should be put to rest, what the origins started it should finish. i ask for the IC to make known all these, or this will haunt us to no end. publish the letters, let us hear the soundbytes, who is afraid of the truth?

are there other things that have been kept from us? we are members of couples for chrits, it those are part of our history let it be known, we ought to know.

i call on the IC to be transparent, just as they said they would be. they brought us to this point, dapat ilantad na lahat? this are historical documents and historical tapes.si marcos lang ang nag-alter ng history di ba?

I say bring it on and then put a lid on it, ng matapos na. kung hindi parang may tinatago pa rin.

is this the truth, the whole truth and no more truth in the hiding?

calling the writers...

Deo Volente said...

I agree with Brother Vic Gutierrez that maybe we should publish the audio, the letter of Fr. Herb and Frank's reply.

Their existence is a "truth". The fact that those 3 documents contain words that were once spoken is a "truth". Whether those words reflect or align with the "truth" can be left as an exercise of judgment and discernment by the listeners/readers.

The downside is that it may fuel the fire. But we are already in a fire. Better to continue the fire and let it burn out than let the fire stop but there is still fuel in there that may start the fire later. Tayong nasa panahon ngayon, sanay na tayo sa init, ano ba naman ang kunting init pa.

The other downside is that the action of releasing it can be mis-interpreted as an attack on the personality of other people. Maybe, to prevent this impression, it can be released without any additional comment or speculation (of course, a brief introduction is necessary). We as Christians have been taught to tame our tongue so if everyone does that, there's no need to worry about how other people might perceive our character. In other words, people perceive our character in the way we talk, present our thoughts and our actions. If their impression is bad, then the only one we can blame is ourselves.

This is just my humble opinion though, and I will not impose my wishes on others. I fully trust in the wisdom and discernment of the International Council whether they will decide to make this pubic or not.

May God be with them in this discernment.

malachi3/widows might said...

Christ should always the center of our very existence as a community. Please don't let this controversy be our center. The Household prayer meetings should be Christ centered as well. The topics for discussion should be about Christ alone. We have many formation topics but is not being discussed in our household meetings. In my household, our leader does not take up formation topics and this is in the Family Ministry sector level. Honoring and chismis is more in the center than the topic. I have made suggestions to bring back formation tracks as topics for discussion but was subjected to persecusion by the leader, inspite of this we still continue to serve our ministry. Most of the time food is the center,fellowship is more emphasized.The balance taught(Prayer,Study,Service,Fellowship, Sacraments) in CLP Talk 10 Growing in the spirit is lost,barkadahan nalang ang household( having fun is more important than study). These conflicts(split) come from not being Christ centered in our Household prayer meetings. I heard that the prayer meetings of our elders before the split had become business oriented, it became more about service it became mostly service meetings. There is a fine thread that binds the elders who have remained faithful to CFC's core values, 7 Pillars, it is their being faithful to the formation track of CFC. I honor brother Ernie Maipid for his being an example of faithfulness to formation. Woe to those who have veered away,those who have given importance to fellowship in household meetings and have stopped giving due attention to study,those who say we have already taken this up ,we already know all the formation in CFC.

Anonymous said...

yes i agree that all the documents and the audio should be open for us who want to know the truth.
yes just show the articles and let the readers read and learn from them.
let the letters speak, let the sounds be heard

wow said...

wow, thank you brother vic gutierrez. i am in awe at Gods presence in your letter.thank you for all you have done, and thank you for telling your story. it must have been an agonizing 15 years to have to live through it with the thought that cfc (for those who were part of it then) looked at you with disdain.
what can i say, i did know any of this and yet i have been with cfc for 17 years now.
wow...

wow said...

i meant-
i did not know any of this... and i have been a member for 17 years now!

Anonymous said...

This phrase hit me and suddenly I felt the pain of a father.

"I have nothing to settle with Frank and his friends personally. They did what they have done and they know what they did. If they think it is not wrong, I do not have a mission to tell them that what they did was wrong. They are big boys now."

...such grace can only come from God, to be able to forgive and forget. May I also have the same grace to forgive and forget the scandal that Frank has brought upon my community - couples for Christ.

Anonymous said...

"The greater majority of CFC members did not know the complete picture. They believed what they were told and knew only one thing - that the growth of CFC was hampered by LNP, whose training of leaders was limited and whose vision for evangelization was 'inward looking' not 'outward looking.' A lot of the leaders thought that the idea to separate was a blessing from heaven, that it was God's answer to their prayers."

comment: i was one of those who did not know, who rallied behind frank because i believed in him. napasahero kaming lahat sa chapter namin

Anonymous said...

The Game Plan…

While consultations and meetings were ongoing among Ligaya leaders and some members of the CFC Council, the articles of incorporation of a 'new' CFC were already being worked out by a select few CFC leaders. It is now evident that just a small number of CFC leaders were privy to the round table discussions with Fr. Herb. Certain compromises were apparently made because of their love for CFC, their loyalty to Frank their leader, and belief in his ideals.

this was in 1993? or was it in 2007?
game plan
sec papers of a new cfc
small number of cfc leaders privy to discussions
compromises
belief in frank

did i read it correctly?
i must be cross-eyed

household head said...

question lang-where do we ask for copies of the letters mentioned here?
can we take this up with our members in our household meeting?
for that matter shouldn't be a must read for all... down to the ordinary members?

Anonymous said...

July 23, 1992 when my husband and I finished our CLP in Christ the King, Greenmeadows, Q.C. We still have our old ID's signed by Roquel Ponte... Then when we came here in Canada and joined the CFC in 1996, we were given ID's signed by Frank..So,it was clear that Roquel Ponte was the first Eecutive director then followed by Frank. Now we have ID's signed by Joe Tale. Moreover, Vic Guttierez implied that the founder was not Frank Padilla. DCP

Anonymous said...

Vic G said:
"What do I gain from all these? Nothing. I also ask for nothing. How about you? Coming to me is an exercise in humility on your part. You came asking me, whose word had been meaningless to you in the past, to ask for my account of what happened from your founding in 1981 and the CFC-LNP split in 1993. You published my account even if it hurt some of you. I commend you."
Thank you brother for telling your story, i am reminded of a filipino film which was even song by gary v i think...

Hindi natutulog ang Diyos!

Danny, West B said...

Bro Vic,

When I attended the CLP in 1991, I was only absent for one (1) talk because I had to attend the graduation of a brother-in-law.

You were the speaker then... sayang talaga... It would have been a pleasure to shake your hand... for truly, you are a mang of God!

God Bless you Bro!

Danny
West B