Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Ploughshares or Hammers?

Update:
Pic and Video added.

Update July 3, 2008:
Long version of talk added for downloading in PDF format.



Last week's relative silence in this blog was dedicated to the incredible 27th Anniversary celebration we had at Luneta. It was my hope that the manner in which God spoke to us then would be received in similar fashion by the FFL leadership, I believe you all know what I mean.

There were several statements released by Frank aka Servant General since then, and I will get to those. You can visit their Multiply site if you can't wait to read them, but now I believe Mr. Tony Meloto's piece from the Philstar deserves our full attention. He will get no praise from me since he already gets it in heaps from everybody else. What he gets is something I do not give easily, and that is, my RESPECT. And that friends, is something no psuedo-militaristic titles can ever force, or deserve.



By Antonio Meloto

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Theology Class Public Lecture

Ateneo de Manila University

July 1, 2008

There is a time to speak and a time to be silent. Tonight is the first time that I will speak publicly about the upheaval that rocked Couples for Christ.

For over a year, I chose to keep quiet out of respect for long cherished friendships and refrained from adding fuel to the fire while emotions were high. What was an internal leadership transition within an organization I felt should not have been made into a public issue and prudence should have been taken not to drag the Catholic Church into the conflict. I must admit that it was tempting at times for me to speak out and defend myself but I listened to the voice within my heart that kept telling me “keep still, I will defend those who defend the poor.”

Now I understand how God shielded me by making me computer illiterate. The fight for control over CFC was being waged in the internet, while the struggle to ease human suffering was happening in the GK communities. During the most difficult moments, I went to the poor for consolation. It became clear to me that the poor are oftentimes the victim when there is conflict among leaders. When politicians fight, it is the poor who suffer. Ironically, when religious leaders fight it is also the poor who suffer, just like the CFC controversy where Gawad Kalinga became the central issue. My stand on this is clear; I will always be on the side of the poor. As a Christian, I believe that this is also the stand of Jesus. I have remained with CFC that is building the church of the poor.


As I turn the page to start a new chapter in my life, I want to make one thing clear. Contrary to allegations, I have not veered away from the Catholic Church and set aside my faith for social work. I have put my social work inside my faith.


It is my personal conviction that I am not a good Catholic if I do not love my country or if I allow my countrymen to remain poor even if I live a devout and decent life. Within our context, where 85 percent of our population profess to be Catholic, faith and patriotism must go together to address the twin sisters of underdevelopment — poverty and corruption.


Bishop Francisco Claver, SJ., comments on the reluctance before of the Church to address this issue in his new book The Making of a Local Church. “Economics, so the charge went, is outside of the Church’s competence. Not so much now. It is readily seen that if, faithful to Christ’s concern for the least of his brothers and sisters, we must feed the hungry, teach the ignorant, heal the sick, we can and must do something about the causes, not just the symptoms, of their hunger, their ignorance, their sicknesses.” When addressing corruption, which is a moral issue, the Church is also being accused by the powerful and those with vested interests, “of meddling in politics.”


Central to my being Catholic is Jesus’ love for the poor. He saw the world through their eyes. His world-view was from the bottom up. His value system was always skewed in their favor — the last shall be first, the lowest shall be raised to the highest. The challenge for me is to care for them in a manner that will help them rise to their highest potential. My piety and pity alone will not save them; the squatters need land, not alms… justice, not dole-out. Without land, they cannot build homes or produce food. Without decent homes, they have no dreams. Without dreams, they have no desire to study or work. It is terribly unchristian for Filipinos to be squatters in a country where there is so much land in the possession of a few.


One interesting issue raised about me was that I was talking too much about nation-building when I should be preaching about Kingdom-building. For me, there is no dualism: nation-building is Kingdom-building. We need to make every Filipino passionate nation builders. Our country needs more builders, not just more preachers. The Jesus of history that I know, before he became the transcendent Christ to us, was a carpenter and the builder of both a physical and a spiritual kingdom. His disciples followed his example and built the early Christian communities where believers shared their resources with one another and no one was in need. This was the inspiration to start the first Gawad Kalinga village in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City. Building sustainable GK communities is about values as well as economics. It is also about politics. It is our antidote to corruption by promoting servant leadership. Our slogan for leaders is “Una sa serbisyo, huli sa benepisyo” (First to serve, last to benefit! ).


What happened to us?


At the heart of Christianity is social justice anchored on Jesus’ love for the oppressed and the spirit of democracy is equality for all but looking at the vast social inequity in wealth and opportunity in our country clearly shows that we have been unfaithful to our core values and belief systems.


God is not about structures and rituals but about caring. Nation is not about politics but patriotism. Politics is competition for power; patriotism is giving up our lust for power, sharing our wealth and making heroic sacrifices for the weak to build our collective strength as a people.


We have not invested enough in building the church of the poor. We missed Jesus’ point of view and wisdom when he spoke about leaving family as a condition for discipleship. The poor not only deserve our attention but investing in them will catalyze economic activities, create opportunities, and build a safer environment for our children. Our greatest asset, our biggest market — the poor — are just waiting to be mentored, empowered, and harnessed as our engine for growth. The stones that were rejected will become the cornerstone for nation-building.


Knowing this, how do we face the future as Catholics in a country of immense potential but mired in poverty of spirit and body?

My personal response is simple: Gawad Kalinga — the Filipino expression of integral evangelization that seeks to build good citizenship on earth as it is in heaven. Being Catholic is my choice that demands conviction and action from me.

1. This is my anchor: faith in God, love for family, and pride in being Filipino.

2. This is my compass: Christ as the core of my conscience, my model of citizenship, and the source of commonsense. He is my navigator through controversy and conflict, the mirror to my soul, my companion and consolation.

3. I go to Church for mass and communion every Sunday but I strive daily to be in communion with the masses and those who want to see their lives improve. To many, going to church is an end. For me, being Catholic begins the moment I step out of the church.


4. To build solidarity, I am guided by Pope Benedict’s spirit of ecumenism in this country divided by religious intolerance and partisan politics. For me, Catholic fundamentalism is just as bad as fundamentalism that we deplore in other religion. Hypocrisy and bigotry in any language and form are unacceptable to me as a Catholic as they were to Jesus.


5. With all our imperfections, I am proud to be Catholic and I want to bring passion in the Church to serve God by serving the poor.
There are rumors that I am doing all of these because I will run for public office. To set the record straight, this is not my desire or calling. I value the freedom to serve more than the authority to rule. To gain freedom, I will not seek political power or personal profit from business. Real power is in not wanting it. True wealth is in not loving money but sharing it with those deprived of a dignified life due to lack of it. To be free is not to put a price tag to one’s soul. To end, let me share with you my wish before I die. I want to see the Philippines as the first Catholic nation in Asia that will rise from third-world poverty and corruption. I will not rest until we put Fr. Damaso and Dona Victorina finally to rest.


Bishop Claver's response:


video


Download the longer version of this talk HERE.

* * *

And that, is how you affect lives, empower people, and inspire change.

Also, here's something interesting from the PCIJ blog, circa August 2006.

78 comments:

CFC Ostrich said...

CD,

For the information of everyone, the above piece was delivered by TM ( a faithful CFC member & Gawad Kalinga Champion ) for The Theology Department School of Humanities, Ateneo de Manila University on July 1, 2008, in Loyola Heights, Quezon City. It was held at the Ricardo and Dr.Rosita Leong Hall Auditorium.

We were there and the event can only be best described as Standing Room Only ! Tony has spoken his mind, opened his heart and saw the truth. Yes ! we all want to be a good CATHOLIC

t2mc said...

"What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Can this kind of faith save him?" - James 2:14

I agree with Tony that we can better show our faith through the works we do and not by how much we pray or preach. This is the real gauge of what being a Christian in general and being Catholic in particular is all about.

It is already disheartening to see poverty, injustice & prejudice prevail in our country. This situation has been going on for so long a time. As long as Philippine history itself. Something must be done and someone must show the way how to do it.

We in CFC through GK have already shown that it is possible to alleviate poverty in the way a Christian or Catholic should do it. GK has developed several viable programs that not only help the poor materially but spiritually as well. This is CFC's mission and CFC has been true to its mission.

Even the U.S. has been looking through this kind of solving poverty in their country. Given its stature economically, they still are looking for the best programs a faith based organization can do for their poor. Just read Sen. Obama's speech Barack Speaks About Faith Based Programs for the poor and you can understand that faith based programs really works. And one of the strengths of these programs are the people behind its implementations and the faith and commitment that these people has. Why? Because these people as much as we in CFC believe is we do our work for God.

Ivory & Ebony said...

True, Mr. Meloto is not looking for Praise.

I think Mr Meloto is looking for more and more Filipinos, in and out of CFC; in and out of GK, in and out of the Philippines -- "to honor their birthright AND honor their Catholic faith' -- by helping the poor gain dignity and respectability.

Much of those in CFC who believe in the Spirit that guides and inspires GK readily see that deeds made to help the poor (or nation-building) do not run contrary to the instructions (kingdom building) Jesus left to His disciples and to all of us, his supposed followers.

There was a time in CFC when we did not have to argue about this.

Then a former leader had to write the GK-3 Paper, resigned his post as IC member (as a knee jerk reaction to TM’s prior resignation), tried and failed in his come-back bid to power in CFC, criticized the elected IC and demanded that they too resign, worked for a following for his new community from the members of CFC by making false claims of ‘veering away from charism’ etc, etc.

Some say it is a need for power and to stay in power. Some say it is envy. Some say it is protecting interest of family (re: donated Alpadi land, perhaps?). Some say it is a revelation of a personality we did not know because the real person hid behind the given authority all through the time he was ‘boss’ at IC.

So we are in this situation.
Behind every curse is a blessing. Where sin is present, the protection of God abounds.

It is a checkerboard life – ivory and ebony.

So Keep Right!

I like Bishop Claver said...

At the Auditorium of the Leung Building (Ateneo Campus, QC) a public lecture to Tehology students and to GK supporters was given by TMeloto.

I am happy I attended.

Bishop Claver was there and he made a very beautiful and inspiring response after the talk of TMeloto.

How I wish the other Bishops get to know of both TM's talk and Bishop Claver's response.

As to the Bishop of Antipolo, I will not really care if he does not want to know about Bishop Claver's talk.

The Bishop of Antipolo is, after all, only a Bishop for a group that claims he is theirs; that despite his 'thumb twiddling', etc.

Will somebody please make that short comment available here?

Thank you.

CFCSeekingTruth said...

God bless Bro. Tony Meloto!

He is one of the many inspirations that keep our community, CFC, dynamic and unique.

More power to you, Bro. Tony!

brodkaster43 said...

i was at the leong hall of the ateneo last night when tony meloto spoke and inspired the students (and also the old ones)with his talk and i could not help but clasp my hands in awe and wonderment of how he eloquently expressed his love of God as a good catholic and his preferential concern for the poor.

truly, he is an epitome of an authentic catholic.

my highest respect to the man!

thanks and God bless.

a northb1 leader and gk caretaker team members

chess said...

I was there
I listened when Tony said,

"As I turn the page to start a new chapter in my life, I want to make one thing clear. Contrary to allegations, I have not veered away from the Catholic Church and set aside my faith for social work. I have put my social work inside my faith."

Comment:
I believe Tony was refering to this accusation:

"Mr. Tony Meloto is the real leader in Gawad Kalinga. It is but proper to tell him that his mind-set regarding the mission of Gawad Kalinga is veering away from the vision and mission that Couples for Christ has given to Gawad Kalinga. CFC’s Gawad Kalinga is helping the poor because of love for Christ. It should never happen that GK will abandon the values of Christ because of its wanting to help the poor."
Bishop Gabriel Reyes
PDI
June 11, 2008
Paid Ad
Comment:
Tony stands accused. He has denied. Next move, Bishop!!

CFC Ostrich said...

We were there, too together with my spouse and we can only best described the venue as Standing Room Only.
We were moved by Tony's speech tremendously and we don't believe it can fail to move anyone.TM has spoken his mind,opened his heart and shared his insights from the heart - without pretense.

Anonymous said...

Ang galing naman ng taga North B GK leader na ng post dito!

sayang lang ang personal logo niya eh, pang amerikano!

gawa ka na lang nang ibang i.d. Bro, baka sabihin ng FFL hindi talaga tayo gumagamit ng CFC logo and i.d.

They Will Follow Him Blindly said...

Masaya akong nakinig kay Tony Meloto.

Ang galing ng mensahe niya.

At ang pinakamagaling na sinabi niya: Hindi niya calling ang maging politiko!

He said he would rather serve than RULE.

May isang lider na nag-resign na ang gusto lang mag-RULE, at gusto pa mag-RULE doon sa CFC na iniwan na niya!

Kasi siya daw may-ari ng charismo at founder talaga.

But the wonder of it all is his supposedly intelligent followers seem to have lost their wisdom and continue to follow him.

Won't Listen to BGR said...

Bakit kaya yung mga Jesuits tulad ni Bishop FRank ClAver, Father Ben Niebres, Father Bernas at karamihan ng kanilang mga students, faculty and administrative people are supportive of GK?

What did they see in GK along with GK's many other school supporters see that Frank Padilla (wasn't he an Atenean too?) fail to see?

Bishop Frank Claver says it is alright to attend to the material needs of the suffering poor first before "preaching" to him.

Bishop Gabby Reyes, die-hard follower of Frank Padilla says otherwise.

Two Bishops, two opinions!

So if we rest our faith in Bishops we get to be a confused lot of Catholics.

From the very first time I heard Bishop Reyes at the Elders Assembly in that emergency meeting called after the we listened to a Priest named Fr. Sobrejuanite, I already saw that the previously ignored (by the FPadilla led IC of CFC) Bishop Gabby was in the pocket of Frank / FFL group!

And to this day that belief on where Bishop Gabby stands is proven!

Kawawa naman si Bishop Gabby, kung kelan tumanda doon pa nag pakita ng ka....

Oops..'huwag na lang baka mag-kasala na ako.

Bagong Champion ng Masa - Totoo Pa! said...

Tony Meloto is on his way to becoming a great Filipino hero - a living champion for the poor!

Too bad his former co-worker in the mission field, Frank Padilla (may bagong title na Servant General pa! Pagbigyan na, huwag na kayong tumawa!) has made his world smaller by making false accusations few people believe.

Tony Meloto, this poor boy from Bacolod has stood better in the eyes of his fellow Filipinos, far better than the intelligent Harvard educated and scion of a rich family from Antipolo, FAPadilla, MBA(totoo!), SG(Kuno!).

Its a lesson for all of us. Stand humbly while you follow the footsteps of Jesus, communing with the poor and people will know upon whom they will confer their love and support.

Stay humble Tony Meloto, faithful to the work God tells you to do in serving / attending to the poor and the people of CFC who love GK will be with you.

The Benedict is coming! said...

Did I hear it right that Tony Meloto announced that he has invited the Pope to come to the Philippines for the Pope to apologize to the failure of this country's Catholic majority to do social justice by its neglect of the poor?

Better we should put that on record, else along the Pope's way to Manila (assuming he agrees to come) he might get hijacked by Bishop Gabby and his gang and then they will claim they are the ones who caused the Pope's visit and therefore they are recognized by Vatican!

Alam ninyo naman may photo lang na nag di-deliver ng libro, eh big deal na, di ba?

Anonymous said...

CD,

Pwede kaya ulitin ni Bro tony Meloto yung kanyang talk sa mga GK and CFC members who missed the said lecture?

Anonymous said...

Pwede kong pwede! Kaya lang matagal maikot ang buong Pilipinas,
maghingi na lang tayo ng DVD para pati sa Household mapapanood at mapakinggan yong pinakamagandang mensahi ni TM..It was him that inspired me to work full-time in GK! May God give him more strenght! God Bless GK! God Bless CFC! God Bless the Philippines! God bless us all!

Kim Lopez said...

"For over a year, I chose to keep quiet out of respect for long cherished friendships and refrained from adding fuel to the fire while emotions were high. What was an internal leadership transition within an organization I felt should not have been made into a public issue and prudence should have been taken not to drag the Catholic Church into the conflict. I must admit that it was tempting at times for me to speak out and defend myself but I listened to the voice within my heart that kept telling me “keep still, I will defend those who defend the poor.” - TM

My Comment:
I so love this paragraph! He chose to love his friends and cherish the friendship they had, instead of going at them. What a man! kung ako kasi yun, hirap akong magpigil ng damdamin eh...

"My stand on this is clear; I will always be on the side of the poor. As a Christian, I believe that this is also the stand of Jesus. I have remained with CFC that is building the church of the poor" - TM

My Comment:
This is entirely true. Jesus will always side with the poor. Bec just like he said in the Bible, "Tho ones who need a doctor are the sick" (Sorry, hindi ko kabisado and I forgot what bible verse was it). Kahit madaming maling nagawa ang mga kapatid nating mahihirap, lalo na ang mga nasa bilangguan, hindi nangangahulugan that we should condemn them. They need our understanding, help and above all love.

"I am not a good Catholic if I do not love my country or if I allow my countrymen to remain poor even if I live a devout and decent life. Within our context, where 85 percent of our population profess to be Catholic, faith and patriotism must go together to address the twin sisters of underdevelopment — poverty and corruption. - TM

My Comment:
Most people i know does have faith, lots of faith actually. No matter what religion they belong, they have faith in what they believe in. However, sad but true, what we are missing is patriotism part. Ultimo pagtawid sa tamang tawiran at pagtapon ng maliit na plastic ng kendi or ng ticket sa bus, sa tamang lalagyan hindi pa natin magawa! Parang isang malaking dumpsite ang bayan!
This country will be doomed to failure if we allow ourselves to see it that way. I'm just wondering what would Gat Jose Rizal would say upon seeing what we've become? Baka sabihin nya, "sana di na namin pinaglaban kalayaan natin..." (just an opinion)

"One interesting issue raised about me was that I was talking too much about nation-building when I should be preaching about Kingdom-building. For me, there is no dualism: nation-building is Kingdom-building. We need to make every Filipino passionate nation builders. Our country needs more builders, not just more preachers. The Jesus of history that I know, before he became the transcendent Christ to us, was a carpenter and the builder of both a physical and a spiritual kingdom. His disciples followed his example and built the early Christian communities where believers shared their resources with one another and no one was in need. - TM

My Comment:
I just hope and pray that people would really understand this. Within or outside our community.
"Nation-building is Kingdom building" God placed us in this country to live for several reasons. One of them is to be Steward of this country. It would be shameful to face God in the end and telling Him, "namuhay lng po ako sa Pilipinas ng wala akong ginawa para makatulong sa bayan ko"!

For TM, I won't praise you alot coz you already have proven yourself as a True Servant-Leader. However, i'd like to thank you for all you've done. Just like CD, you got my RESPECT and LOVE!

for t2mc - thank you for sharing the link about Obama's speach. If i was an American, I would definitely vote for him. :)

God bless us all!

Kim Lopez
SFC WestA-1D

Anonymous said...

CD,

We shared Bro Tony’s speech with our GK Community and friends (including FFL) in this “Show Me State of Missouri, USA” with the following intro:


“Forwarding to you an article worth discerning for us >> Filipinos. Yes, we are Filipinos wherever we go and yes, majority of us know the abject poverty that is prevalent in our motherland. Yes, most of us asked at one time or is now asking, "What can I do?" Going back to the "Teachings of Jesus Christ" is a start. Let not our individual differences stop each of us to start and extend our helping hands to the poorest of poor, thereby ushering a new beginning in our motherland. Each day brings new hope; grab it, spread it and act on it. God bless!”


Here’s one response from Kansas City that touched us because majority of us here are in the same wavelength:


“One word - - WOW!
I am so touched, convinced and made whole by what Mr. Meloto wrote.


Indeed, the Catholic that I am is one of inclusiveness, rather than exclusivity. And if God should ever punish me for trying to love all and trying to see Him in every man, woman and child, then I truly misunderstood Him and His command to love another as He has loved us. Some of the Catholic Church's stand on temporal matters HAVE changed through history but as Tony points out, the constant is the Church is for the lowly, the oppressed, the unfulfilled, all those mentioned in the Beatitudes and more.


My heart, mind and spirit reach out to GK as GK reaches out to me! Now, I just pray for enough resources to allow me not just to follow but to lead.”


May God bless us all! Thanks for this blog, CD!

“Show Me”

Dante said...

Ivory & ebony,

100% ako'ng agree to everything you said! Dati talaga hindi pinagtatalunan and ating gawain for the poor until may nagselos dahil Tony gets invited to give commencement speeches at binigyan pa ng awards! Kaya may nagselos. Yun lang naman ang dahilan ng pagkakahiwalay natin, eh. May nagselos! Human pa rin tayo talaga kahit leader ka na.

Tony's message was well received by a SRO audience at the Ateneo kaya kaming naroroon ay proud na nakikinig sa kaniya. Di ko makita, for the life of e, kung bakit ayaw ni Frank (hindi yung typhoon) kay Tony and GK when Frank (not the typhoon) was instrumental in Tony's spiritual journey at sa GK's growth and development.

Pride took over ciguro at natukso and iba!

Jonny said...

To echo what TM has described here, volunteers will be working to show the poor and dispossessed that God's children care for them - and will give care for them when their world is devastated:

GK launches Kalinga Panay to help victims of Typhoon Frank

Typhoon Frank (international codename: Fengshen) ravaged through the Philippines, causing massive loss of lives and leaving thousands homeless, helpless and without any means to rebuild their lives.

GK, in partnership with the local government units affected will once again be in the forefront as we begin the work of rehabilitation. This week. GK leaders will be meeting with key partners to draft ouraction plan.

Through Kalinga Panay, we will help rebuild the lives and rekindle the hopes of the victims of Typhoon Frank. Just like Kalinga Luzon, let us rally together and focus our resources to transform this tragedy into an opportunity to be heroes to one another, the bayanihan way. Sa GK, walang iwanan!

For donations, you may deposit to:

Gawad Kalinga Community Dev. Foundation, Inc.
Bank of Philippine Islands
Greenhills/Edsa Branch
Current Account 3101-0973-22

For partners from the US and Canada, please contact your local ANCOP representative.

Please send us via email or fax (+632.726.7405) copy/s of deposit slips so that we can duly acknowledge your donations. Thank you and God bless!

Pride of RMagsaysay Foundation said...

The Ramon Magsaysay Foundation that gave an Award to Mr. Tony Meloto should be proud of its decision to give it to him.

That it gave a similar award to CFC was also an outstanding gesture, albeit, the person who accepted the award in behalf of CFC is no longer outstanding in the eyes of CFC members.

He remains to be a General in the eyes of FFL, confirmed & affirmed by a Bishop he could turn on at his bidding! Seconded by his relatives and at least 20 couples and their relatives!

Out of Comfort and Into the Slums said...

The beauty of what GK continues to do is that it is raising a national consciousness for the sad and dreary plight of the poor ... and getting people out of their comfort to help.

If one (Tony Meloto) and the many (GK advocates, doers, supporters, donors, caretaker teams, pro-GK CFC, etc) are able to lend a hand and give a true spirit to tell the poor there is HOPE IN WORKING TOGETHER, then the spirit of PENTECOST must be alive and well in that effort.

God must be truly happy that GK brings the message of Christ to the slum dweller. The beauty of this is that the poor man is not simply being told to pray. He is being sent that message, at the same time, while GK caretaker people stay near him to help him build a better environment around himself and to make him realize that there must really be a God who loves him too.

The Ramon Magsaysay Award is a simple icing on the cake, it is not GK's reason for being.

May Bagong Buhay Na! said...

Ang ganda talaga ng gawaing GK!

Ang kwento ni Aweng (shwon on video during TM's talk at Atenoe)na isang misguided and troubled youth, a former resident of a squatter's house along the railroad tracks, is a classic example of how a act of kindness bestowed on his family changed his life for the better.

He now lives in the GK SITE of Pandi Bulacan and now he tells a different tale of a happy and a reasonably hopeful life.

Aweng is not aware of the split of CFC and FFL and does not need to know it. It is enough for him to know that GK is the one that helps him put sense in his own and in his family's life.

And if Aweng was at the Luneta Park that wonderful June 21 day, then one could not take away from him that joy of being one with the right community, the one that builds the church of the poor!

Welcome to our world Aweng!

Karpintero ng Bayan said...

Kahit na ano pa ang sabihin ng taga-FFL na ang GK ay ang dahilan kung bakit ng-'veer away from original charism of CFC', eh, at least GK is doing something for the country.

Guilty daw ang CFC ng over-emphasis on nation-building. Ayaw nila paniwalaan na ang kingdom building ay hindi pwedeng humiwalay sa nation--building.

Jesus Christ himself worked on his carpentry skills first under the tutorship of his carpenter dad, before he started his public ministry. Not written in scripture but implied.

rocknroll said...

Recently, some the former leaders who transferred to FFL visited the former GK site where they were serving. There was a group of kids playing pool. The wife leader asked one of them if they are betting money and the kids replied with a yes. Upon hearing this, she spoke to her husband and said, "see, nothing will change these people."

She then continue to talk to the other KB members justifying their move to FFL. That with FFL, you are directly serving God.

Of course the KB did not say a word. She may be right but something tells them otherwise. Deep down inside they feel pity for these leaders who left them and suddenly came back to visit them only to look down on them.

It saddens me that my former colleagues suddenly had a change of heart (or was it mind they were using all along before?). They used to serve in GK and I can pretty much say that they have given everything to our poor brothers and sisters there.

If not to add insult to the spirits of our KB, they plan some merienda for the people there. I am not to judge these matters but I believe they can help in other ways and not just offer this one time celebration wherein they will be glorified by our hungry members. They themselves have conducted talks on how to uplift the moral statutes of our brethren but what values are they teaching now?

Then suddenly, as if they were hypnotized, they are now singing a different tune. Everything that they have embraced before is now easy to let go. When they were promoting FFL to the chapter I myself was attacked for informing others that we should also know CFC's stand.

While we all have our own stories to tell, I believe healing is still a long process. But what adds to the wounds are these instances where they could have just given their peace and blessings to the people whom they have served before. That they could have just said a little hello or hi to a former brother and sister and not raise a brow when bumping on each other.

I can only hope and pray that God gives us His wisdom to learn more of His ways. That we'd not be like the Pharisees who only know how to preach but fails to lift a finger to redeem our souls. And that we'd be trusting and humble enough to do His will even if it means sacrifice.

Let us hope and pray that in God's time and through His infinite love and mercy, we can all be enlightened about what it really means to be Christian. May the good Lord guide us and bless us always.

Blue Star said...

Our Catholic Church has a very poor image among its flock!

Consider for instance the theme of Ms. Ma Ceres Doyo's 'Human Face' column in today's Phil Daily Inquirer which she headlined:"Faint Church Presence in Sea Tragedy".

She wrote: "Again I say, please convince me that the Church response was not lukewarm!"

If you particularly think that this opinion only applies today because of that sinking of a big boat off the coast of Romblon, then I'd like to do a re-cast of Ma Ceres Doyo's headline (hopefully with her pardon for my copying it!) with this:
"Faint Church Presence in the Filipino Poor Man's Tragedy!", would you agree that indeed this Church is failing at social justice and failing greatly?

Naisip Lang Kung Muslim Ako said...

Kung ako po ay isang Muslim na tumanggap ng makulay na bahay na gawa ng GK dito sa Bikidnon, gusto ninyo po ba na paniwalaan ko na ang mga Katolikong taong GK na nagpunta dito at tumulong para sa kami ay mga Katolikong hindi sumunod kay Hesus Kristo na Diyos ninyo, dahil dito hindi sila naglagay ng karatulang CFC, hindi sila ng-sign ng kruz sa nu-o, labi and dibdib nila, hindi sabi ng aba ginoong Marya?

Kasi sa akin pa maliwanang na kaya lang naman nandito sila eh dahil gusto nila tumulong sa mahirap na Muslim na Plipino din, kahit nga po karamihan sa inyong Katoliko takot sa amin!

Siguro utos sa kanila ni Hesus Kristo ito.

Buti na lang sumunod sila at hindi natakot pumunta sa Mindanao!

Totoo na nga ba ito o katha lang ng isip ko?

Anonymous said...

I was there, with my wife and 11-year old son.

It was my first time to return to Ateneo College after 20 years. So delighted I was-- having realized that I have never left Ateneo pala. My Ateneo education simply continued… through Couples for Christ, and Gawad Kalinga.

To be a man for others -- this was what the Jesuits were instilling in us back then; the same theme being bannered at the Ateneo now. What the Jesuits have been teaching, Couples for Christ, through Gawad Kalinga, was paving the way to put in practice-- concretely, incredibly and enjoyably.

I was happiest in noting that while our Philosophy (of Society) classes back then were focused on studying the works of Paul Ricouer and Emmanuel Levinas (both French, non-Catholic philosophers), today, the philosophy and theology classes comprise too, of a look, even a deeper scrutiny of this wonderful work CFC has been doing --Gawad Kalinga, the Filipino Catholics’ contribution to the world and to the Church.

I too want to be a good Catholic. And I thank CFC and GK for rekindling that passion in me, and in my family.

Bro. Mero :-) said...

Hi ROCKNROLL:

I can also relate to your story since I am a GK volunteer too.

What i see is that "TALAGANG INGGIT" lang sila.

As what you were saying, your former leades just visit the former GK site para lang pintasan ang mga pagkukulang.

talagang manang mana nga sa ugali ng lider nila. After extolling GK to the highest platform, saka naman hihilain pabagsak!

I am sure you are familiar with the story of Jesus, His triumphant entry to Jerusalem, people were shouting HOSANNA to the son of David and then in the Friday, the same people were shouting CRUCIFY HIM!

I am not judging anyone, but how i see with this kind of people, i can say that they are people without principle. walang paninindigan, balimbing, at walang palabra de aunor! Baka nora aunor lng..meron.

but bro/sis, rejoice! Because if before, "naghalo ang balat sa tinalupan, now the Lord is starting to separate the goat from the sheep. The Lord is trying to purge CFC and its GK.

Whenever I see and hear negative reports about GK or CFC, the more I feel convicted that I am in the right community. The Lord has to expose all that need to be exposed. Sometimes even if it has a negative impact on both CFC and GK, God allowed it to happen, because He wants us all who remained to be strong! To be convicted! To live out and proclaim what we claim!

We do not leave, just because someone say this and that, but we rather stayed because we all know that we joined here because of God.

I look at out situation now as purgation from hypocrites, from those who do not have any conviction or poor conviction.

If the reason of some why they joined FFL is because they know this is where they are called, I SALUTE THEM! but if they left CFC and joined FFL because of the errors of our leaders and believing in the issue of veering away, disobedience and etc., nahhhh! these are the people I am referring to as hypocrites and with poor conviction!

I a not attacking them but that is how they define themselves to me. A man na "sunod-sunuran" and alingawngaw ni FP.

But I praise God that he purified CFC from all these kind, truly we were restored! God has restored CFC, because it was filled with hypocrisy and bigotry.

Like a vine, God cuts off those who no longer bear fruit. Ang wala ng pakinabang sa CFC o sa GK, nililipat na lng ni Lord sa ibang tumana.

And bro/sis rocknroll, come to think of it. FFL claims they are at peace, how come that when they meet us they raise their eyebrow.

next time you tell them, "Sister/ Brother, hwag itaas ang kilay, pagnahanginan yan baka matuluyan"!

To all of my brethren in CFC, Tony have spoken, let us take it by heart and even when he will be silent again for the next 6 months, what he says is enough for me to say "Thank God i stayed!"

God bless CFC, mabuhay ang Gawad kalinga, mabuhay ang mahirap na Pilipino!

bro. Mero:-)

Church not Totally Silent said...

I agree with Blue Star. Church responds but faintly.

I guess clergy always has a reason why they cannot always attend in a big way to the needs of the poor.

Maybe some of the reasons are:
1. They are busy celebrating the Holy Eucharist
2. They are busy giving out sacraments
3. They already have responded with a church initiated collection of funds, used clothes and whatever could be sent to the victims.
4. Perhaps part of ‘Pondong Pinoy’ could be given to the poor after a series of deliberations in a series of meetings by various committees which will recommend to the Cardinals who will have to pray and discern the actual amount to be released.

So I think they also have some form of help to victims.

Meantime their funnyman Bishop Oscar Cruz tries to elicit some humor out of the dire situation by stating on nationwide TV that Sulpicio Lines should also engage itself in the business of mortuary.

So the church may have a faint response but not totally silent about the matter.

So the church is not totally silent, specially if you listen to Bishop Cruz.

Round-Eyed Toddler said...

My sincerest SALUTES to Tony Meloto! You said it well. This is indeed a clash between Catholic fundamentalism and Catholic action. We choose action, not talk.

The Round-Eyed Toddler

hammerhead said...

from eastergroup message "BEATING OUR SWORDS INTO PLOWSHARES":

"...But now that CFC Global has veered away from the life and mission it was supposed to pursue, CFCFI now has every right to restore the eroded anchors of the life and mission and revive the original spirit which guided the community to put up, by virtue of 'prior right,' CFCFI. .."

Haayy naku...paulit-ulit na lang na "veered away, veered away...",
ano ba yan.
Tapos sinasabi ni Frank: "I extend my hand of peace to my brethren in CFC-GK."?!?. Frank, papano mo sasabihin yan tapos at the same time sasabihin mo "veered away...eroded the anchors of the life and mission"?? What "anchors" are you talking about? How is it any different from what TM said in this latest speech that his anchor is "faith in God, love for family, and pride in being Filipino"? How can you sincerely offer your hand of peace at the same time you relentlessly attack CFC with the endless and tiresome charge of "veering away"? Everyone is open to reconciliation, but you turn your swords into plowshares only to hammer us again and again on the head with it.

For the last time, CFC is and CONTINUES to be an international private association of the faithful living out its Vatican statutes. CFC to date is also a national private association of the faithful which retains CBCP recognition. Frank, it is not YOUR private association, despite your claims of "founder, keeper of the charism.." and you do not have ANY authority to judge CFC as veering away. CFC is not under your spell. CFC is God's gift to the Church, being so, let the proper Church authorities decide, and the Vatican already did - by retaining its official recognition of CFC. Very, very simple. Unless of course,
you can prove that what you say is superior to Lumen Gentium of Vatican II, which says that "judgment as to the genuineness and proper use [of charisms] belongs to the Church...to test all things and hold fast to what is good". Judgment belongs to the ordinary Church authority, Frank, not to you. The ordinary Church authority in CFC's case is the Vatican thru the PCL, and it has already decided. Please drill this into your head, brother. Only then will you begin to make sense.

Anonymous said...

To Tito Tony M.,

When ANCOP was launched here in Germany in 2003 I was just the guy in the technical booth making sure your slides were projected without a hitch. But even then none of us realized how far your work would go. Your words humble us and push us to ponder how much we could do. They also convict us because they made us realize how much we could have done.

Tito, do you know that all of your detractors put together could not even begin to match half of what you have achieved? You have done more for the poor than all of us, put together, could expect to do in a lifetime. And you say that you want to be a good catholic. Tito, you ARE a good catholic.

Many accuse you of veering away. I, for one, have never believed them. They have never given any evidence of note to support their accusations. I believe in results and the results of your work is a glaring trove of evidence of your faith. Tito, you are a good and heroic catholic.

Many accuse you of leading GK away from the real work it is supposed to do. I was brought up to believe that in order to justify casting the first stone, one must be sinless. Your accusers are not sinless. They continue to cause disharmony and pain in the community and practice deception instead of doing the work they are supposed to be doing. I treat their statements as the meaningless projections of disturbed souls. And you patiently kept silent, respecting them though they revile you, honoring Christ's command to love your enemies. Though they treated you as their enemy, you did not look upon them as such. So Tito, you are a good catholic, a good, heroic and obedient catholic.

Many accuse GK of forsaking evangelization for social action. How shall we believe such statements? They obviously believe that evangelization and social action are exclusive of each other and cannot mix. I can see that they have missed the mission of GK. They don't understand it at all. They cannot see that, in GK, evangelization and social action are inherent components in the work towards total human liberation. Both cannot be separated from the other. Without one the other fails. If it were not so, should St. Francis not have given his clothes to the beggars? Was the work of Mother Teresa for naught? Should Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador have just kept silent? Yet they make such accusations, appointing themselves righteous judges of what they couldn't understand. But you do understand, don't you, Tito? Because that's part of being a good catholic, a good, heroic, obedient and perserving catholic.

Still, you said you're not a good catholic. I do not take these words as a statement of humility. I understand you to mean, that, even though you have done much and suffered much, it is still way too little in comparison to what needs to be done. It is still not enough. I understand that this is your way of raising the bar, of saying that we cannot afford to pause, that the work is not yet done, that we can all be better catholics. I understand that you are calling on all of us to take up the yoke and give our utmost in commitment. That makes you, Tito, a good catholic, a good, heroic, obedient, perserving and yes, a visionary catholic.

Tito Tony, we will answer your call.

- TE-Germany

Anonymous said...

i was introduced to gk when i was still starting again to serve in yfc, this time in campus based...never ko narinig ung gk sa amin..sa palawan..salamat sa yf..nalaman ko kung ano ang gk..then naging socio pol ako sa skul ko..hanep...dun ko naranasan mag gk..sarap ng feeling na ung mga batang makukulit sa baseco ay kukulitin ka..then pag aalis ka na..tatanungin ka kelan balik mo..hehehe...matagal na din ako di nakak visit sa gk site...sana dis month..masimulan ko ulet ang mag serve dun...go tito tony...

God bless GK!
God bless cfc!

ace r.

Anonymous said...

Frank Padilla, again have another tactics to get the attention of the priests. On July 8, at the Rembrant Banguet Hall here in Toronto, Canada, he gave an order to Francis Berroya to send e-mails to the priest and inviting them to attend the meeting with Frank Padilla. WOW!!! another tactics again.... Talaga Servant General ..... Talo mo si Marcos...

Dating Volunteer sa Elections said...

Now it is a public statement from the man himself.

Tony Meloto is not interested to run for public office.

Where goes one of FFL people's (I personally know of one. He told me back in 2007 that TM is so eager to do GK is because TM wants to use it as propaganda machine for his presidential ambitions!)storyline on the various reasons why they left CFC?

But objectively speaking, what's wrong if TM runs for a public office?

Sa FFL kaya meron ba doong mga 'potential presidentiables'?
Or Barangay Captain?

Si Servant General? Ummmmm....!!??

rock n roll said...

hello bro mero,

thank you for your reply to my comment. the way i see it they really want to justify where they are now or why they joined the frank for life group. or maybe, nakokonsiyensiya sila kaya namasyal dun pero yun pride chicken nila ang namayani.

sorry po for the comment, nakakainis kasi eh. at least dito ko lang nilalabas, pinagtatanggol ko pa din sila dun in the hopes of them waking up one day and realize what they are missing.

Anonymous said...

Dear CFC Brethren,

All of us believe in the power of prayers. It works!!!

But can we just simply pray when we see people especially children dying of hunger due to abject poverty? Can our spirits be uplifted when people in calamity areas start questioning if God really exists because nobody dares to extend their caring hand? JESUS CHRIST did NOT only proclaim the GOSPEL but He showed us how to love & serve the least among us. He even said, "I came NOT to be served but to serve".

How can we, therefore, accuse our GK advocates & volunteers of "veering away"? The irony of it all is that, all these accusations came from those who benefited from the "glamor" when GK was first launched. What a shame!!! It's a pity!!!

St. Francis of Assisi once said, "Go & preach the gospel to all the world. Use words if necessary".

MABUHAY ANG GAWAD KALINGA!!!

God bless,
DBC

Anonymous said...

to bro frank's credit, i think he was relatively successful in getting so many in cfc to be in the defensive specially during the early days of the conflict whenever he talks against Gk. i believe frank's comments made many of us to "review" our position. in a way he was able to delay or caused Gk to slow down.he was able to effectively discredit Gk in the eyes of some Bishops and the clergies. should these things persist? must we remain indifferent? can we still turn it around? i ask because i believe these days we're not only being ask to make a stand but more so for us to be faithful to our stand.

Anonymous said...

any FFL member or full-time worker insights to all the revelations and happenings for the past month?

we'd like to hear from you, FFL brothers and sisters.

we all would like to be a good catholic.

GBU

p.s. tito tony! praise God for you!

Anonymous said...

"The fight for control over CFC was being waged in the internet, while the struggle to ease human suffering was happening in the GK communities."

How true! FFL email-blasts convey a message that they are "many", they are "strong", they are "the holiest".... well, like divine intervention, "Frank", in all irony, unveiled the truth during the weekend of June 21 and 22.

we had everything last June21. we had the sun, the rain, the moon. and love.

even in their supposedly anniversary, FFL can (again) only send an email-blast on "Ploughshares...", so peppered with hatred and self-righteousness. well, if that's their joy in Christ, how sad it is.

momoy said...

dear all,

i read this from one of my yahoogroups, and what this man wrote made me appreciate our work with the poor more and more. i would like to share it with you, in the hope that it would encourage those who haven't gotten their hands dirty in GK to not just embrace our work with the poor, but live it as well.

God bless everyone!

= = = = = =

"Hello:

There have been many heretical movements throughout Church history, known by
various names, such as Gnostics, Cathars, and such. What these heresies have
in common is separating the physical and the spiritual Jesus, accepting only
the spiritual Jesus, denying the physical Jesus or that Jesus died on the
cross, attributing the physical creation as the work of the devil, and
subsequently regarding the physical creation as inherently bad. The Roman
Catholic Church considers these views as heretical because they go against
the reality of Jesus Christ, the Word Made Flesh. It was not only Jesus'
spirit that rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, as these heresies
teach, it is also the physical body of Jesus that rose from the dead and
ascended into heaven. During the consecration, in the Mass, the bread and
wine is transformed. Into the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. In
Genesis, it is God who created the physical environment, not the devil. God
declared that what God created is good. The physical creation is inherently
good. We have forgotten that creation history and salvation history are one
and the same, for Jesus came to heal and restore humanity's broken
relationships with God, with their fellow humans and with the physical
environment (the Promised Land of Sacred Scriptures ). The separation of the
physical and the spirit in Jesus, which is against Roman Catholic Church
teaching, may be the root cause why the Philippines, the only country in
Asia with the majority of its population Roman Catholic, is drowning in
poverty and corruption, why Filipinos can easily go to Sunday Mass and at
the same time just as easily ignore the poverty and hunger of their fellow
Filipinos, even Filipino babies and children. Filipinos are more concerned
with their "spiritual" salvation. How easily we forget the judgment scene in
Matthew. Whatever you did to the least, you did unto our Lord Jesus Christ.
Tony Meloto's talk brings back true orthodox Roman Catholic teaching, i.e.,
don't separate Jesus in two, the physical and the spirit. May be then and
only then, when we see our Lord Jesus Christ as both physical and spirit,
can we understand that the salvation, which our Lord Jesus Christ brings, is
a salvation of both the physical body and the spirit, and not separate the
two. Perhaps then and only then can we, faithful to the salvation that our
Lord Jesus Christ brings, finally and once and for all eradicate physical
poverty, physical hunger and corruption from our fellow human beings, from
our fellow Filipinos, from our Philippine lands, from God's Promised Land.

Thank you,

Victor Ibabao"

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

for christ alone cebuano said...

I cannot help but really reflect on my life and what have i done to uplift the dignity and the plight of the poor in our country. and i can summarize it in few words...I HAVE FAILED!

i look at my life now, professing to be catholic, renewed to be exact, yet i cannot keep myself from looking distastefully whenever a poor person, be it a child, adult or old, approaches or touches me to ask for alms as it would stain clothes i am wearing for work.i cannot even keep a level eye and see them differently..

How can i call myself a catholic, yet looks distastefully at every poor person i encounter everyday..i cannot help but cry with shame after reading the transcripts of tito tony...

all the more that God affirmed our decision to stay with CFC..truly, home is where my heart is, and there is no place like home...

God Bless!!!!

Anonymous said...

just wantta share a forwarded email re tony's talk at the ateneo and i suppose, the guy is not from cfc.

here it is:

"Hello:

There have been many heretical movements throughout Church history, known by various names, such as Gnostics, Cathars, and uch. What these heresies have in common is separating the physical and the spiritual Jesus, accepting only the spiritual Jesus, denying the physical Jesus or that Jesus died on the cross, attributing the physical creation as the work of the devil, and subsequently regarding the physical creation as inherently bad. The Roman Catholic Church considers these views as heretical because they go against
the reality of Jesus Christ, the Word Made Flesh. It was not only Jesus' spirit that rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, as these heresies teach, it is also the physical body of Jesus that rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. During the consecration, in the Mass, the bread and wine is transformed. Into the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Genesis, it is God who created the physical environment, not the devil. God declared that what God created is good. The physical creation is inherently good. We have forgotten that creation history and salvation history are one and the same, for Jesus came to heal and restore humanity's broken relationships with God, with their fellow humans and with the physical environment (the Promised Land of Sacred Scriptures ). The separation of the
physical and the spirit in Jesus, which is against Roman Catholic Church teaching, may be the root cause why the Philippines, the only country in Asia with the majority of its population Roman Catholic, is drowning in poverty and corruption, why Filipinos can easily go to Sunday Mass and at
the same time just as easily ignore the poverty and hunger of their fellow Filipinos, even Filipino babies and children. Filipinos are more concerned with their "spiritual" salvation. How easily we forget the judgment scene in
Matthew. Whatever you did to the least, you did unto our Lord Jesus Christ. Tony Meloto's talk brings back true orthodox Roman Catholic teaching, i.e., don't separate Jesus in two, the physical and the spirit. May be then and only then, when we see our Lord Jesus Christ as both physical and spirit, can we understand that the salvation, which our Lord Jesus Christ brings, is a salvation of both the physical body and the spirit, and not separate the two. Perhaps then and only then can we, faithful to the salvation that our Lord Jesus Christ brings, finally and once and for all eradicate physical poverty, physical hunger and corruption from our fellow human beings, from our fellow Filipinos, from our Philippine lands, from God's Promised Land.

Thank you,

Victor Ibabao

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile"

thanks and God bless.

Anonymous said...

The complete (or long version) of the lecture is a real gem. I'm not given to commendations, but this one deserves it. Like CD, the man has earned my respect.

They Could Not Live with TM said...

For every man who "respects" Tony Meloto, there are several ex-brothers in FFL who hate his guts.

And the very reason they are in FFL is: Tony Meloto is in CFC!

So you think hey went to FFL for Evangelization sans GK?

Go tell that to the Marines!

NO vote for Gabby said...

Billy Esposo wrote an article in Sunday's (July 06 08) Issue of Philippine Star.

He asks, Who is more Christian; Tony Meloto or Bishop Gabriel Reyes?

For the poor man in the GK areas, TM and his team of caretakers gave them hope of a better life. It started with a house and then moved on to other non-material benefits given to their family.

A former slum dweller now living a changed life has better chance of renewing his faith in Christ after receiving friendship and care, CFC membership, health care, education for his kids and a beautiful GK house with GK oriented neighbors rather than a a person who still resides with his family under a Metro Manila bridge.

All these because of a Vision called GK, which ironically even the Servant General embraced and espoused some years ago. SG had to detach himself from GK, attack it with false charges after the RM Award was given.

Far as Billy's question is concerned, I think in the eyes of FFL and to those in the Antipolo Diocese who are still clueless about the Bishop's biased position for Frank, then the Bishop will still be the better Christian. For them innocence is bliss.

Maybe when Bishop Reyes retires, he will be considered the head of FFL's SOLD or SINGLES.

Obvious na di ba? said...

I can't understand why Billy Esposo even bothered to ask that question in his article.

BGR is FFL said...

Will somebody please e-mail the Bishop of Antipolo (honorary member of FFL and first Bishop to publicly disobey Cardinal Rylko publicly!)the talk of Tony Meloto and the response of Bishop Claver at Ateneo.

If you bother to read it, Bishop Gabby Reyes, we will be anticipating your 1/2 page paid advertisement at Philippine Star or Daily Inquirer.

Once it was a Baby's Face said...

It is really better for a Bishop to read his Scriptures or Vatican's Encyclicals, memos from Cardinals and do fasting penance and prayer rather than meddling into a renewal community's life, attacking its GK program even if he does not have in-depth knowledge or even a day's experience walking with or talking to the poor man in their GK sites.

This Bishop Gabby Reyes swallowed hook, line, and sinker all the propaganda against GK as was told to him by the ladies in FFL.

I do not know if his dalliance with the Servant General's group has brought him happiness. I do not know if he is not yet affected by the 'ravages of the storm' being on that side of the fence.

Only he can tell, so let's watch his eyes and his face. It normally shows there.

Anonymous said...

Who is the real Christian — Bishop Gabby Reyes or GK’s Tony Meloto?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2008-07-06


Except for the fact that Bishop Gabby Reyes of Antipolo happens to be head of the CBCP Council of the Laity, he could not have undermined the Couples for Christ (CfC) and Gawad Kalinga (GK).

Hardly anybody believed the issues that Bishop Reyes raised against the CfC and GK. Many of his fellow Bishops in the CBCP did not even believe these issues and continued to support CfC and GK. Most Filipinos also saw through Bishop Reyes and his bias for the CfC breakaway group of Frank Padilla.

Bishop Reyes recently bought advertising space in the Inquirer in order to ventilate his rehash of the same issues that GK has veered away from its “evangelization” mission and was focused more on “nation-building” and social work. Buying an ad is normally resorted to by those who cannot get the support of media to publish or air their views — when media do not think that what a person has to say deserves precious space or airtime.

Finally, GK’s Tony Meloto decided to end his silence on these issues and clarified his position during a lecture (titled “I Want to be a Good Catholic”) he delivered at the Ateneo de Manila University last July 1st. Let me quote relevant portions of Tony’s lecture as it addresses the issues raised by the Pharisees.

The CfC-GK fight vs. the Pharisees: “When politicians fight, it is the poor who suffer. Ironically, when religious leaders fight it is also the poor who suffer, just like the CFC controversy where Gawad Kalinga became the central issue. My stand on this is clear; I will always be on the side of the poor. As a Christian, I believe that this is also the stand of Jesus. I have remained with CFC that is building the church of the poor.”  

The issue of Tony’s Catholicism: “As I turn the page to start a new chapter in my life, I want to make one thing clear. Contrary to allegations, I have not veered away from the Catholic Church and set aside my faith for social work. I have put my social work inside my faith. 

Christ, the Church and economics: “Central to my being Catholic is Jesus’ love for the poor. He saw the world through their eyes. His world-view was from the bottom up. His value system was always skewed in their favor – the last shall be first, the lowest shall be raised to the highest. The challenge for me is to care for them in a manner that will help them rise to their highest potential.

“When a country like Vietnam, deemed godless by us, is able to reduce poverty from 60% to 15% in 20 years and produce surplus rice with technology coming from the Philippines and export to us, what message are we giving to the world? That we love the poor so much that we want them to remain poor and to produce more of their own kind? True love for the poor is redemptive and transformative, not condescending or patronizing or accepting that poverty is their destiny. 

“One interesting issue raised about me was that I was talking too much about nation-building when I should be preaching about Kingdom-building. For me, there is no dualism: nation-building is Kingdom-building. We need to make every Filipino passionate nation builders. Our country needs more builders, not just more preachers. The Jesus of history that I know, before he became the transcendent Christ to us, was a carpenter and the builder of both a physical and a spiritual kingdom.”

A Christian nation compared to a non-Christian nation: “Since our independence from America, we have become more mendicant and mercenary as a people while our biggest Asian neighbor, China, is hitting 11% growth and on its way to improving their quality of human life and reducing corruption. This is another case of a godless society practicing the values that we preach as Christians; seeking the collective good and protecting the interest of the many from the exploitation of the few. I do not approve of some of their means to attain their end — imposing abortion to achieve their one-child policy and curtailing human rights in particular — but I do admire their success in curbing human greed which is our greatest failure in our version of Christianity and democracy.”  

Spirituality of patriotism: “Another concern raised about our spirituality for nation-building is our emphasis on heroism when the focus should be on holiness. I do not see how you can separate one from the other. To be holy in the Philippines is to be a hero for the poor. Given the influence of religion on us, we need a faith-based model as a blueprint for sustainable development. We find the feeding of 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fishes as the gospel’s version of the Bayanihan spirit, the Sermon on the Mount as the best template in building a just and caring society, and Jesus’ passion on the cross as the ultimate act of self-giving and the best model for heroism to build a nation.”

Essential Christ: “Love, not condemnation, softens the heart, opens the pocket, spreads abundance, restores trust, and builds peace. 

“Pope Benedict showed us authentic Christian witnessing on his recent trip to the United States. He came to the biggest producer and distributor of contraceptives in the world not to condemn but to love. And America loved him back. He did not arrive in glory as the supreme leader of the most powerful church in the world but in humility to ask forgiveness for the sex abuses of the clergy. This simple act of humility had greater impact on me than all the sermons that I have heard in recent times. Despite the embarrassing nature of his visit, I’ve never been prouder to be Catholic.” 

No conflict with Church teachings: “Let me set this straight before I am taken out of context. There is nothing wrong with the social teachings of the church; there is only our failure to practice them, clergy and laity alike. I cannot speak for the clergy; they have their own accountability to their vows as I have mine to my oaths as a citizen and as a believer. Admittedly, I feel trivialized and embarrassed when people joke about the clergy. While the public demands the highest level of morality and witnessing from our moral icons, the most that I can say oftentimes to defend their lifestyle or to explain their indiscretion is that ‘they are also human.’ I know that it is hard for them as it is for me.” 

Home and Church building: “Nation-building is about character-building. 

Oftentimes we are not conscious that the higher collective good is sacrificed for self and kin. Family is the common and most acceptable excuse for greed in a society that prides and thrives on strong familial ties. Family demands the highest value because it is an extension of the self. The poor is not seen from the perspective of a relationship, either as family or friend, but as an object of charity or as a servant. So we give them alms and orders — not respect or affection that are only bestowed on those we love or people we consider important. Doña Victorina was outwardly religious, pious, and devout but she was also a matapobre according to Dr. Jose Rizal. 

This is the heart of our problem as a Christian nation. We have not invested enough in building the church of the poor. We missed Jesus’ point of view and wisdom when he spoke about leaving family as a condition for discipleship. The poor not only deserve our attention but investing in them will catalyze economic activities, create opportunities, and build a safer environment for our children. Our greatest asset, our biggest market — the poor — is just waiting to be mentored, empowered, and harnessed as our engine for growth. The stones that were rejected will become the cornerstone for nation-building.” 

Now tell me, who do you think is the real Christian — is it Bishop Reyes or Tony Meloto? 

garnet said...

A number of bloggers have referred to frank as servant general..Is that really how they call him? I am asking because my husband told me that among the Jesuits, the Servant general holds that position until he dies...

Anonymous said...

Garnet!

If that is the case, then Frank wants to hold that position in FFL until he dies! I believe Frank knows that because he reads a lot! Good wala na siya sa CFC! God bless us all!

Sour Grapes said...

the easter group is sending out e-mails by someone who dissected the talk of tony meloto and found statements that are not palatable to him.

one thing he said was that the IC was the one who released the supposed internal document titled "GK3" to the wrong parties including the media.

now i think this statement is in error for wasn't it xavy padilla who was supposed to have distributed the gk 3 paper - an intended confidential paper written by his father francisco - on the web? and wasn't geraldine padilla also seen distributing the paper in an airport while waiting for a flight; distributing it to her 'friends'?

and all along i am positive that father francisco padilla apologized to the group of Mindanao leaders for the release of such gk3 document publicly by his son xavy, because he said such document was really written for the internal use of cfc leaders.

so this writer commenting on tmeloto's talk has one fundamental assumption wrong.

this is getting to be regular. when ffl defends itself, it uses erroneous feed on their 'facts', like that error of abs-cbn writer who used a tampered document.

or is it really that the ffl document handlers do not know how to care for their tactical notes.

proof are: bishop villegas missive that was supposed to go to gerry padilla ended up with gerry bacarro. the secret document of the easter bunnies & playboys (minutes of meeting) ended up with the IC and now the GK 3 paper, and the mother of all their indiscretion as to documents is the tampered copy of the personal letter of cardinal rylko to joe tale that abs-cbn used.

beware of wolves in sheep's clothing said...

When an action by CFC creates great impact and is appreciated by many, the Friends of Frank & Lachie (FFL) gets agitated and goes to panic mode. They bristle and chafe and get mad and they write a commentary, a SPECIFICALLY negative one.

Read their latest, via their Eastergroup e-mail.

They just could not let go that the Tony Meoloto talk was attended by close to 500 persons.

They could not let go that it was POSITIVELY commented on by Bishop FRANcisco Claver, the same bishop who sees nothing wrong in helping the poor man first in his physical need before giving him a talk on spirituality.

They consider the talk propaganda so they try to minimize its good effects and good inspiration by putting 'supposed erroneous implications'.

They see what is not there; and they refuse to acknowledge the good that is really there.

Anyway, it is really obvious - the reason the group called 'For Frank's Ladies' (FFL) exists is to destroy COUPLES FOR CHRIST.

brother Ryan said...

Let's not let the breakaway group steal the focus from God.. even the grassroots here are hearing about tito Tony's talk, praise God!

Anonymous said...

yo no intenccion, pero las letras "SG" por lo 'Sour Grapes' es complemento letras de para una strangero "Servant General"

Anonymous said...

Pa post po copy of Easter Groups email?

Anonymous said...

Hello Brethren,

Like you, I also received the latest Easter Group message attacking TM's recent speech at the Ateneo.

While many appreciated TM's inspiring message to uplift the plight of our poor brethren, here goes another Pharisee-like commentary.

It's really sickening to read it because the comments, supposedly from a Salvador Macias, reflects the writing style of a disgruntled former leader. Hmmm...I smell an Easter Playboy and Bunny just reading between their comments.

Will the real Salvador Macias please stand up and acknowledge his piece of negative commentary?

Exactly my point.

Another Mr. Lorenzo like strategy sent via the untraceable e-mail thread.

I guess the Easter Group has now learned a valuable lesson in delivering attacks - use a pen name.

By the way, my name is Salvador Macias, Sr. and I swear I never fathered a Salvador jr.

Federico Franco Lablanca said...

In this war of Padilla versus Meloto or CFC vs FFL if you like, there will be alignment of forces as we clearly see.

This FFL writer on the TM talk at Ateneo states that when TM resigned he had to “drag others into resigning as well”.

So this writer is saying his ex-Playboy friend Francisco Padilla could be dragged! He did not research enough, because on the night of TM’s resignation at a household meeting of the IC then, TM really did not care whether Francisco Padilla will resign or not.

Truth of the matter like a real an should, he was speaking for himself, stating a resignation, one that is irrevocable, one that passed through days or weeks of discernment.

But Francisco misread the move and not wanting to be out staged (in his mind), reacted swiftly and resigned too. That’s the real story.

TM did not drag Francisco Padilla into resigning. By now you should know that your ex-Playboy friend, now known as Servant General (laughter withheld), could not be dragged by anyone, save for one he shares life with.

As to Lachie Agana, he too could not be dragged. Not in his macho image! But then again if its was Francisco Padilla was the one telling him to resign, he meekly obeyed. Obedience to an order to do is the operative description for Lachie’s action in resigning.

Then he continued to state that:”The Catholic Church was conscripted into the fray only when the CFC International Council released worldwide Frank Padilla's CFC/GK 3 paper enumerating how GK veered away from the life and mission of CFC”.

Again that is not a totally correct statement. The Catholic Church was actually long conscripted (Definition: to force into service) early in the game, but the conscription was done by Padilla and Company long before they officially broke off or splintered into a minor bellyaching group, FFL.

So the part of getting the Catholic Church into FFL’s battle plan and purpose is true as this cannot be denied by all the subsequent and continuing partisan behavior of Bishops Gabby Reyes (monicker withheld), Bishop Angel Lagdameo and Bishop Socrates (wasn’t he a wise man?) Villegas, in their favor.

The Catholic Church was part of their “armory” so to speak, as FFL’s lady warriors were already having audiences with the good Bishops in Iloilo for Bishop Lagdameo and in Bataan for Bishop Villegas.

The FFL writer’s commentary versus the Meloto talk just had to be written and circulated, even forcibly to unwilling recipients.

They just did not want to lose by default, so they have to make a move no matter how feeble.


It all adds up to the wisdom of their sage number 2, Nonong Contreras, who says it all: “…lets all be content doing it silently and incrementally”

SGD)FFLablanca
De Madrid en Manila ahora por lo tiempo vacacion (Perdon, I still need Spanish lessons)

Anonymous said...

Some people are believed because they are doers before they are talkers, and their deeds are visible, tangible, and beneficial.

Some people gripe but nobody listens. So they create a mutual griping club and get off from their own ill will.

Mail like this should not get anyone to hypertension. They should get you amused. Who cares, Brothers, who cares?

Go to work. Make others happy. Don't allow losers to steal your joy.

Anonymous said...

The best way to counter the negative write ups GK detractors do is to tell them about the developments as GK continues to work on its charism of helping poor people rise up from poverty.

The following article I quote verbatim is one shining example.




"UPON THIS ROCK

Saint Michael's College is Iligan City's oldest Catholic Institution for Higher Learning. Celebrating its 94th year, SMC is taking a big leap of positioning itself to become the City's first University in the next two years.

As an institution, it has produced graduates that has helped shaped Iligan to be where it is today:

The Industrial City of the South. In fact, there are national leaders across society who considers SMC their home, aka, "the school we love!"

President Gloria Macapagal - Arroyo, Couples For Christ Director Joe Tale, Former Gov. Angging Quibranza - Dimaporo and Iligan City Vice Mayor Henry Dy are just but among the few who have been in SMC at some point in their growing up years.

Strategically located at the heart of the City, SMC is positioning itself to actively involve itself not just to the academic pursuit of its students but also providing the opportunity to concretize its vision of being the catalyst for social transformation and nation - building.

Gawad Kalinga has become its platform to realize its vision.

In short, the time is ripe for SMC not just to stand to what it believes in but also to move and move even faster.

Under the leadership of S. Ma. Yolanda C. Reyes, RVM and her dynamic academic and administrative leaders, initial steps taken where the unveiling of its new theme: Bawat Michaelite, Lakas Ng Pagbabago. The theme bannered all the unified efforts being planned and implemented for GK.

The following milestones have been achieved:

One, hired two fulltime personnel for Gawad Kalinga in SMC, absorbed a GK volunteer who was out of school for sometime as a scholar of the College of Hotel and Restaurant management and at the same time function as student assistant for GK. Added to that, the Community Relations Conference Room doubles as the SMC Gawad Kalinga Office.

Two, established the Gawad Kalinga Builders Institute and has already been operating after the successful Trainors Training conducted to select administrators, faculty and student leaders.

Three, all four major areas of the institution: Research, Instruction, Policy and Extension is geared towards Gawad Kalinga. Initial policy declaration of both the Administrative and Academice Councils was that every student, faculty, staff, administrator and even the parents and the alumni is encouraged to volunteer four hours a month in GK communities. All Action research undertakings from the Basic Education to Higher Education even the Graduate Education Deparments will be on Gawad Kalinga. The NSTP students from both ROTC and CWTS will be deployed in GK via GK1MB. All Department Extension programs will be realigned to GK according to its expertise. Social Science, Religious Studies and even the Islamic Studies Classes will be on Gawad Kalinga. Not only that, all classes of all disciplines will include Gawad Kalinga in its syllabus.

Four, GK Orientation and GK1MB Empowerment Sessions has been or will be given to the whole Michaelite Community. The Basic Education Department General Assembly and the Higher Education Parents - Teachers General Assembly were already conducted. Set to happen next is the SMC Student Leadership Training where in Gawad Kalinga is now included as a module this weekend (July 11 - 13, 2008)

five, the adoption of all Sibol Schools of GK communities in Iligan as regular Saint Michael's College Kindergarten School using its curriculum and technology. S. Ma. Yolanda C. Reyes, RVM herself committed to supervise the operation of all Sibol Schools.

six, Saint Michael's College has committed to be the hub of the GK Designers Village Project in partnership with ILigan City Mayor Lawrence Cruz and Bro. Carlos D. Subang of CFC. S. Ma. Yolanda C. Reyes, RVM, in her capacity as Chairwoman, convened the GK Board of Consultors. Present in the meeting were Mayor Lawrence Cruz, City Councilor Voltaire Rovira, City Planning and Development Officer Architect Gil Balondo, City Housing and Resettlement Officer Rey Roque, SMC Vice President for Administration Dr. Romero C. Hermosilla, SMC Gawad Kalinga Builders Institute Coordinator Butch Antolin S. Alcudia III, GK leaders Caloy Subang, Jun Yape, Nonoy Haim and Keith Salise. She has modestly committed P 100,000 as seed fund of the project.

"We wanted to give the best not just to our students but to the City of Iligan and now to our nation as well. We will not only produce professionals but patriots as well. Kaya mula ngayon, our diploma will bear not only the logo of SMC and PAASCU, kasama na ngayon ang logo ng Gawad Kalinga. Tayo ang pagbabago! Iliganon, Lihok Na, Mag GK Ta! " - S. Ma. Yolanda C. Reyes, RVM

The faith of SMC is true to the charisma to the foundress of the RVM Congregation, Mother Ignacia Del Espiritu Santo, a Filipina who is on her to Sainthood. Gawad Kalinga is a gift to SMC. With its full integration into its system, every Michaelite is envisioned to be the catalyst of social transformation. Every Michaelite then will be the gift of SMC to our nation and to the world.

For upon this rock (faith), SMC will realize its dream of becoming a University, a perfect gift in its preparation for the 2014 GRAND CENTENNIAL CELEBRATIONS.


--
Butch Antolin S. Alcudia III
Coordinator
Mother Ignacia Center for Social Responsibility
Gawad Kalinga Builders Institute
National Service Training Program Office
Saint Michael's College
Iligan City"
==========

Dante said...

In reaction to FFL's comments sa speech ni TM sa Ateneo, I agree with Federico Franco Lablanca (what a name!) that:
1.T. Meloto could not have dragged FAP and LA to resign with him in 2007. In fact ang pagkaka-alam ng lahat ay parang nabigla si FAP sa resignation ni TM sa kanilang household meeting ng Feb. 13, 2007. TM resigned dahil sa pagninira kay TM and his family ng tao close to FAP, according to TM. Kaya out of delicadeza o dahil napahiya si FAP, ciguro, biglang nag-offer din mag-resign si FAP at sinabit pa niya si LA. Yun ang totoong story of the resignation at hindi ang spin na naman ng mga Bunnies that TM dragged FAP to resign!
2. At si Xavy, ang anak ni FAP, ang nag-broadcast ng GK-3 paper.

Ano ba, Bunnies? Di nyo ba chini-check ang mga data ninyo bago kayo mag-commentary? O, talagang you mean to obfuscate or put a smoke screen sa guilt feelings ninyo after reading TM's revelations sa Ateneo at na-realize ninyo na tama nga pala ang CFC at ang GK at hindi pala nag-veer ang mga ito?

Nasapawan lang si FAP (in his mind) ni TM (sa media recognition at sa awards)kaya nga nagselos and "people close to FAP". Pride crept into the picture. Jealousy was there, too. Remember yung attempt ng mga kakampi ni FAP na gawin si FAP na "face of CFC"? That was the night ng H. Yorac award k TM at birthday ni FAP sa Meralco theatre. Tinangay bigla si FAP ng mga minions niya at sa isang function room sa isang hotel ay nag-celebrate sila ng b-day ni FAP na dala ang face-mask depicting the face of FAP! At sinabi nila nu kung si TM ang face of GK, si FAP naman ang "face ng CFC"! Wow, nabigla ako ng nabalitaan namin yang pangyayari na yan. Kaya na-convonce kami after that na talagang selos at "pride chicken" ang dahilan kung bakit ginulo ng Servant General and mahal niya (dati) at ang mahal nating CFC. Everything has to be sacrificed to serve the purposes of FAP and his loved one(s).

Sorry, but yan ang totoong dahilan kung bakit ayaw ng FFL kay TM. I will patiently wait for the next spin ni SG at ng Bunnies niya. I find their regular spins very creative and must be given "A" at last for effort to obfuscate.

Abangan ang next spin ng S(pin) General!

TruthShallSetYouFree said...

Salvador Macias

Spanish to English translation

Savior Large Hammer


Portuguese to English translation

Savior Soft

Balut said...

Garnet said: A number of bloggers have referred to frank as servant general..Is that really how they call him? I am asking because my husband told me that among the Jesuits, the Servant general holds that position until he dies...

Anonymous said: If that is the case, then Frank wants to hold that position in FFL until he dies! I believe Frank knows that because he reads a lot!

All this after Frank last year proclaimed that he would not be taking power in FFL?

Paperback Writer said...

To the FFL writer on had a negative observation on the TMeloto talk per his e-mail on the eastergroup suppressed recipients list, here's my comment for you and your friends:

UPDATES on GK

We have this invitation to adopt, guide, develop and empower 40,000 families formerly from Metro Manila's railroad matrix, the "homes along the riles." These 40,000 families are spread around four provinces and the first that we have accepted to tend are two communities in Trece Martires in Cavite, a total of 3,800 families. Breaking them down to optimum sizes would mean building almost 80 GK villages. If we are able to accept all, we have to prepare 800 caretaker teams.

Mayor Freddie Tinga has asked us to take the lead in developing a long stretch of C-5 and join the city in building communities for about 10,000 families.

The new partnership we have entered into with the Phil. Transport Workers Federation challenges our imagination, and our capacity to engage this sector with about 500,000 members, almost all of whom are heads of their own households.

When we take on the challenge of lending ourselves, our community building formula, our networking capabilities, it is anticipated that many more LGUs and many more organizations comprised mostly of poor Filipinos will naturally seek us out. Even now, colleges and universities beyond Metro Manila are engaging GK,which is really a boon because our need for volunteers has suddenly intensified. And some of these educational institutions are very aggressive in pushing themselves and their students towards the common vision of building a nation. Earlier, I read here a sterling example of a Catholic school's (from Iligan) response to the challenge of helping the poor and loving the motherland. Many others have their own programs developed from their own initiatives, but the one of St. Michael's thus far is clearly outstanding.

To varying degrees, we were all bothered last year by the conflict of the community, more because friendships were involved rather than the loss of numbers which are insignificant anyway. But in return for all the negatives hurled our way by those with an unusual amount of ill-will, the blessings have been awesome, and include these hundreds of thousands of new families waiting for us to shepherd them to a new life. These blessings are also great challenges, pushing us to deepen our faith, intensify our efforts to bring glad tidings to the poor, and inspire a whole nation to rise above its weaknesses and seize its noble birthright.

I thought it best to fill the Internet with more positive news to uplift the spirit of the poor.

Anonymous said...

I was also in Ateneo to listen to TM. Perhaps we should interview the students who piled up into that venue. According to one of the students, this is the first time they experienced a jam packed Theology teaching. Generally, the students were happy and inspired by TM's talk even the children of some FFL members.

Negative comments about TM's talk will only come from SG(sour grapes)or (servant of gerry).

Anonymous said...

With the miracles that happened during CFC 27th anniversary celebration,God shows His power is unlimited, it is like a marvellous well, whose water-level never goes down, however much is drawn from it.God is powerful enough to produce good from evil, success from failure, victory from defeat.
By His power we come to know who our true friends are.
We defend the Real CFC from the hands of our enemies..and we will continue to do so, by all means...

Athrun Atreides said...

Anybody care to comment?

1. http://www.bulatlat.com/news/6-47/6-47-up.htm

Meanwhile, the government, in cooperation with Jimmy Carter’s Habitat for Humanity project and Gawad Kalinga, built 3,000 20 sq. m. housing units for the families in Baseco.

Elmer Balondo, 45, was awarded a unit by the Gawad Kalinga in 2005 and transferred there in January, 2006. “Ang binigay lang sa amin ay susi at ID, walang titulo,” (They gave us keys and IDs, but no land titles) he said.

It was only on Dec. 20 that project organizers started to connect electricity in the houses. Meantime, almost all houses have illegal connections for their electricity for which residents pay more than P2, 000 ($40.65) a month for the “service.”

Water is scarce. Pipelines have not yet been set up as well.

Project coordinators, Balondo said, told them they are allowed to stay there for only five years. “Pagkatapos ng limang taon hindi na namin alam kung saan kami pupunta” (After five years, we don’t know where to go), Balondo said.

2. http://www.bulatlat.com/news/6-46/6-46-photoweek.html

Five Christmases – and Then, What?

For this Christmas and for four more Christmases to come, they are sure of a good roof above their heads. They sprang from the slums and are beneficiaries of a Gawad Kalinga housing project in Tondo, Manila. They were told that they are to stay in these housing units for five years. What happens to them after the five years, however, is uncertain – as there is no written or even verbal agreement on what will become of them then.


IS THERE ANY TRUTH IN THIS?

garnet said...

Frank may not be in their council but is still recognized as their leader - as he travels all over including the Women's correctional to organize the different areas.
Anyway, among the Jesuits, the Servant General is based in Vatican.They have a president that heads the Jesuit community.and the president of the University is also another Jesuit.

I am happy to read about St Michael's of Iligan taking on the Sibol under its wings.Being a Catholic school, I am sure its curriculum will not veer away from a Christian education.This is what we need.GK can partner with schools like St Michaels. As for our education component, we can act as coordinator and service those areas where GK has no partnerships.With the rich resource CFC has, it can also tap the education people to do the training. God's work can continue!!!! EFI through Mimi David can have EFI.All we ask is that FFL return the money that they withrew from the bank through dubious means. That belongs to CFC.

Anonymous said...

I want to be a good Catholic too. And I will do so by struggling to be a good CFC, serving still in GK, in any capacity I will be of use.

Of late, I was being used as a lawyer, representing the family of a CFC sister that is being kicked out of “CFC International Village”, a GK village that was (or is still being) transformed into a “Restoration Village”.

After the hearing in that case last July 4, 2008, while on my way to my office, I was led to pass by the Diocese of Cubao’s Bookshop. There I purchased the book “A Heart for the Poor—The Thought and Spirituality of Msgr. Aloysius Schwartz” by Rev. Msgr. Jesus-Romulo C. Ranada.

Msgr. Aloysius Schwartz was the 1983 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for International Understanding, and two-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. He was the founder of Boystown and Girlstowns in three different countries and the Sisters of Mary, a community of women in Pusan, Korea. His name has been included in the list of the “Servants of God”, an official recognition by the Church of the holiness of his life. His beatification and canonization process continues.

The book caught my attention because of the Foreword of Bishop Socrates B. Villegas, written on October 21, 2005, as follows --


“….The great problem of poverty in the world is not the poverty of the stomach or the pocket. The bigger poverty of the world is the great lack of heroes and saints who can be role models for the Christians of today. The saints and heroes of faith show forth the best in us. They evoke nobility in us. They inspire us to keep our ideals clear and pursue our vision of a new world with vigor and hope.

The Servant of God Aloysius Schwartz is one such hero of faith worth emulating. His simplicity of life, his life of prayer and ascetism, his passion for the children and the poor, and his indomitable spirit are gifts from God so that we may become such servants of God ourselves.

Fr. Al is our HERO!

In this year of grace dedicated to the Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin Mary, we call upon all of you to heed the challenge of renewed evangelization and recommitment to the call of holiness. Fr. Al is a good model to follow. Evangelization, according to Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, is ‘Jesus in my heart reaching out to your heart’, The call of holiness is also a call to keep Jesus in our hearts and to share his love with all we meet. May people see us and see no longer us but Jesus shining through us.

The call of the times is a call to be a HERO! May we truly be a nation of heroes and a Church of saints.

This is the will of God for us! Let us pursue it! Let us make the vision come true!

Mabuhay!”


To me, the foregoing immediately shoots down the fallacies in the advocacies of a certain “Salvador Macias”, released by the Easter Group, a week after Bro. Tony Meloto’s speech.

But what most definitely debunks the “Macias doctrine” is the spirituality of Msgr. Schwartz, reflected in his writings, as follows --

1. ‘He writes: ‘Christ intended to train his apostles to serve and save all men, but especially the poor. The best way to learn is to be among the people whom you are being trained to help and to heal.’” (p.3)

2. “Msgr. Al says that when Jesus did speak, ‘His words were always words of life.’ This means that ‘they were always a call to action,’ that is, an admonition, an invitation, a challenge to practice, to carry out, to imitate what his listeners or disciples had seen and heard.”

3. “Msgr. Al’s emphasis on action or practice, as opposed to talk or discussion, extends to his similar repugnance against ‘learning for learning’s sake, and study for study’s sake’” (p.5)

4. Msgr. Al’s own aversion against the intellect was borne out from experience where the intellect, which is supposed to be ‘man’s most precious talent’, ends up frequently ‘misused and so very easily leads to pride, self-exaltation and self-aggrandizement.’ (p.6)”


5. “It was not by his brilliant intellect that Paul came to the knowledge of the truth and the light who is Jesus, but rather by way of grace and self-abasement.’ … It was apparently the sense of moral superiority born out of the belief that one possesses knowledge that later made Paul ‘ very cautious, dubious, and suspicious in this regard’. Msgr. Al therefore understood well the words of Paul when he says at one point: ‘Knowledge makes one proud. It is charity which makes one perfect.’…Msgr. Al agrees with what Paul declares in his letter to the Corinthians that ‘Charity is the most precious and desirable of charisms. It is the most excellent way.’” (p.6)

6. “In his life, Fr. Al did not waver in pointing out and reminding the Church that it has not always been faithful to its Lord. He has correctly observed that through the ages, the Church has often grown slack and has moved away from its original identity as Church of the Poor Christ. That is why, he says, the Church has lost much of its élan. The remedy for this is for the Church to go back to its origins, to retrace its steps. But this does not mean simply moving backwards historically and theologically. Rather, it means more importantly that the Church has to move forward both pastorally and personally. In short, it must try to become poor again.” (p. 338)

7. “Action, he insists, is what we need.”


Forgive me brethren if I sound “intellectually arrogant.” But if the Macias doctrine is what is being taught to our brethren in FFL, then FFL must be restored.

I look forward to the day when in an MCG Teaching, Rev. Msgr. Jesus-Romulo C. Ranada will speak to us about “A Heart for the Poor—The Thought and Spirituality of Msgr. Aloysius Schwartz”, and be affirmed that one of our brethren, Bro. Tony Meloto, is indeed trying to be a good Catholic.

May God bless us all.


Arnel M. Santos
CFC WB3
July 11, 2008
8:01 AM

WillyJ said...

Arnel: "But if the Macias doctrine is what is being taught to our brethren in FFL, then FFL must be restored.

The Macias doctrine, in case you didn't notice, is just a paraphrase
of Contrerian doctrine, which was articulated in that famous half-page Philstar ad. Look at the references to "feed my lambs", the story of Martha and Mary, forging partnerships with pharmaceutical companies that promote contraception and abortion, and finally, the killing of "millions of unborn children". That last one is a favorite. It's the classic definition of "veering away", just repeated over and over again with slight variations here and there.
Expect more of these to come out everytime GK is mentioned in a favorable light in public. Is it taught to our FFL brethren? I think its part of some standard FFL formation track, the way we keep hearing it over and over and over again.

Round-Eyed Toddler said...

Faith in action. That's the thing. The blog has been very much alive the past months and it pains me that with the hectic things I do at work, I can only browse through most of the entries to get their gist.

Tonight I'm able to actually read through some. My wife and kids are waiting for me at home and I miss them. But you're family to me too. I'm saying this to demonstrate to at least some of the readers that I'm making entries here not out of extra time, but out of time I have to create, most often painfully, just to let my sentiments out.

I downloaded Tony Meloto's speech and my salutes to a man worth emulating.

Somewhere I read about one's passionate complaint about not knowing that Aguinaldo ordered the execution of Andres Bonifacio. He lamented about not being told about it in all of his ten years in elementary and high school. Was he sleeping in his history classes all those years, and graduated salutatorian just the same? Or was it never taught at all? He suspected the latter. The deed was shameful. It was due to an unresolved conflict between leaders, which was a factor of the downfall of the Katipunan.

Why am I sharing this? It is because in our desire to conceal our shame we are often guilty of concealing the truth.

What is the truth? We are a Christian nation, but we're not acting like one. Tony Meloto's vision of a country consecrated to God, led out of poverty and unto prosperity with the help of Gawad Kalinga, is a God-given vision. All we have to do is to look at its fruits.

What is the truth? CFC's vision is "Families in the Holy Spirit renewing the face of the earth." Are we true to such vision? Look at our fruits.

Many would want to argue about the fruits and try to shoot them down as fast as these fruits come out in the open. That's the fate of those who do the work of God---purification.

We had Lamentations last year. This year, it's purification, manifested no less than by our theme--"Love one another."

What can be purer than that?

Dog will bark. But the army of God marches on.

The Round-Eyed Toddler

garnet said...

I would like to make corrections re some things I posted. The head of all the Jesuits worldwide is called Father general, not servant general. he is elected for life, but may resign with the approval of the Pope. He is based in the Vatican. The head of the Philippine Jesuits is called Father Provincial, and the head of each university is the president.Sorry,I got all things mixed up.

Malachi3/widow's might said...

The comments of Arnel re Monsignor Al are indeed very much welome and refreshing.Please also note that FR.Al was persecuted by some members of the Korean Catholic Clergy for his preferntial treatment of the poor. It may be a coincidence but it was also a Bishop who persecuted Fr. Al.It was the late Cardinal Sin who invited Fr. Al to establish the Sisters of Mary here in the Philippines. If the good prophet Cardinal would be alive today this problem of FFL splinter group would have been addressed by Cardinal Sin with God's wisdom. The good Cardinal Sin did not allow a splinter group of Bukas Loob sa Diyos to use the name of the parent organization,that splinter group is now named Serviam in obedienc to the late Cardinal. To FFL's dismay please take note that there is a Cardinal Sin GK Village in Sta. Ana Manila. There is also a picture of Bishop Soc Villegas leading the work in that village.Maybe we can post that picture and include his comments.
I challenge Frank Padilla to have a homecomming lecture on Veering away of the CFC Charism in Ateneo who has an institute devoted to GK. Which brings us to the question of his being an alumnus of Ateneo.He can take a second alternative,though Frank Padilla may also feel awkward in giving a lecture rebutting GK in U.P. since there is also an institution under the College of Public Administration devoted to GK.
St Michael College GK thrusts is a great testament to GK and CFC, I'm glad that the work that former Mayor Franklin Quijano supported and paid for dearly(he lost the elections because of his being a practicing Catholic) has taken root and is about to become a tree.
If you have a copy of FP's book 40 Days with the poor please read his dedication to Issa Cuevas and Luis Ocquinena its hair raising brothers and sisters in other words kikilabutan kayo.
"If God is with us who can be against us"

WillyJ said...

"...For us to experience salvation, we need to minister to the needs of the poor!

We sometimes think of salvation as a spiritual thing. And so we think in terms of prayer and the Bible and active involvement in the Christian community. But according to Jesus, salvation also necessitates the living out of the social dimension of the gospel, that is, helping the poor and meeting their needs. And if we do not, we endanger our very salvation.

As committed Christians, we stand ready to serve Jesus. But Jesus himself points us to the poor.
When we serve the poor, we serve him. And when we do not serve the poor, we fail to serve him."


(excerpted from the book: 40 days with the Poor, p. 59)

Anonymous said...

Re: “A Heart for the Poor—The Thought and Spirituality of Msgr. Aloysius Schwartz” by Rev. Msgr. Jesus-Romulo C. Ranada.

it's ironic that the good Bishop Soc wrote the Foreword. ironic because he allegedly proposed the CFC and GK branch-out. obviously, the good bishop was misinformed by the other side.

Re: FAP's 40 days with the Poor.

What happened to this guy FAP?

Anonymous said...

To malachi3/widows might- You said of FAP- "He can take a second alternative,though Frank Padilla may also feel awkward in giving a lecture rebutting GK in U.P. since there is also an institution under the College of Public Administration devoted to GK."

Kapatid, hwag mo na'ng i-link unnecessarily ang UP Nating Mahal kay Frank. Even if you assume that Frank may want to give a lecture at UP (hindi CLS, ha), may mag-invite kaya?

Remember that even before CFC started going to the slums and depressed areas for GK, ang mga taga-UP nagse-serve the people na -- sa slums, sa bundok, sa factories - in many fronts to uplift the conditions of the nation's poor. Ang dami na ngang namatay at nag-disappear na UP students & faculty because of their heart for the poor and the oppressed. In short, kahit noong wala pang CFC, may pusong mala-GK na ang mga taga-UP. Noon at ngayon. Given this, it is hard to imagine a situation where, for the purpose of rebutting GK, as you imply, Frank may be invited to give a lecture at UP.

Russell Angeles said...

I was informed that Tito Tony Meloto will give that same talk tonight (July 19) at the MMLA of SFC at Guadalupe Minor Seminary, 7pm.