Sometimes, one can get a bit frustrated at the far reaching effects of a well orchestrated misinformation campaign. Something that, sadly, the Easter Group is extremely competent at. We've just been asked by Tito Joe Tale to try and keep our emotions in check and to be careful about our defensive responses, so lets try and keep an open mind. I also don't want to give the Easter Group more issues to twist and have them say I'm now attacking a priest, which I'm not. In fact, I think the greater sin is not in inviting the clergy to a reasonable discourse, but in intentionally misleading them to achieve a questionable goal.
Sometime ago, I said that these rehashings of past issues by the Easter Group was not worth responding to anymore. I mean, they'll say it again, and we'll defend it again, and so on, ad infinitum, I GUESS. But in this latest "attack", I can't help but think that there is still much damage being done, much misinformation being spread, and that it is still hurting our brethen who are affected the most: Those on the ground spreading the good Word and the good work. So why should we not come to their aid? At some point, even our very own Multimedia Center felt the need to address the lies that are constantly being spun by the Easter Group in order to gain an audience and put down the organization they left.
An article by a Fr. Tulabing was published in the Negros Chronicle Sunday Edition and has been circulating in the commentaries for a while now, in fact eliciting several responses here, here, here, and finally here. It also seems the good father may have felt compelled to respond to our bloggers' reactions, esp. since one of them emailed the Negros Chronicle. There may have been just a single article planned, but an impromptu 2nd part was written by Fr. Tulabing and published last July 6, defending his views and claims. I say impromptu since, well, part 2 just seems....hurried.
You may download both parts HERE, but I'll be quoting and responding to some relevant portions.
Father Tulabing makes several claims in his article, specifically:
In part 1
"...Gawad-Kalinga has been over-emphasized, putting aside Family Evangelization, Spirituality, and Renewal."Need we go into this again? It is a rehash of Frank Padilla's GK-3 paper, and has already been covered, discussed, attended to, and finally DEALT WITH. Please Father, if you have further, recent proof of this claim (other than what your FFL advisers have told you), come forward so it can be addressed.
"...reluctant founder of Couples for Christ Frank Padilla..."First off, it's been proven that Frank Padilla is NOT the founder of CFC. That's a done deal and this article in the CBCP states it in no uncertain terms. Also, using the term "reluctant founder" shows clearly where you are getting your information, as these are the exact same words the FFL use to refer to Frank Padilla.
"CFC-FFL has all the rights to use the name Couples for Christ because Frank Padilla is its founder and FFL is consistent with the vision-mission of the true and genuine Couples for Christ which has never veered away from its original purpose while remaining faithful and loyal to the Catholic Church authorities"
Secondly, I hope you realize that your insinuation of "veering" are the words the FFL uses, if you are trying to make a case, then please show some tangible and documented proof. One can't just bring forward an FFL leader and say, "Here, take his word for it." I'd like to ask what you see that made you believe that CFC veered from its original charism? Do you also believe that all the CFC members in your parish are veering away now?
In part 2
Ironically the 2nd article starts with a quote from what I would guess is a CFC member, to which Fr. Tulabing responds,
"This kind of comment is surely missing the point."To which I would most respectfully respond, surely Father, you are missing the truth. Have you seen the emails in this blog? The documents? How about the Playboy Bunnies' meeting minutes?
Now I might be nitpicking, but how badly edited must this be, to not only fail to capitalize, but to come up with a brand new term for CFC: couples for Christ Global GK? This is why I said part 2 seemed a little hurried. And no Father, I'm not making a big deal out of this. I just thought you should tell your newspaper's editors to pay closer attention. Yet, frankly, we'd appreciate it if you didn't corrupt the name any further. Thank you.
"So how can some leaders and members of couples for Christ Global GK..."
"...they try to poison the minds of their members about my purported “panaot” of Couples For Christ. And by the way, the Church is not expected to serve the interest of Couples for Christ. It should be the other way around: Couples for Christ should serve the interests of the Church."Oho! Now we come to some strong words. Poison. I believe that is the gist of all our problems, tho not in the context in which you are using it. Also, yes, while Couples for Christ should be serving the interests of God, our priests have the moral responsibility to be well aware of what they are feeding their flock, lest they accidentally poison them.
"My intention really is to save Couples for Christ from utter destruction at the hands of the enemy."Father, I really do not see any destruction going on here, other than the tearing apart of CFC by the Easter Group's continued attacks.
I also take it you don't believe these good men are doing a good enough job of saving us:
"Priests need to exercise authority over Couples For Christ in their parishes, after all it is within the realm of the priests’ duties to govern."Agreed Father, it is also their job to show their flock the truth.
'The point is that there have been directives and guidelines, there have been dialogues and meetings to reconcile and check the errors, but the International Council of Couples For Christ-GK insisted on their mistakes."Speaking of directives, guidelines, and dialogues, I'd like to remind you of Bishop Reyes' statement, made after the dialogue between the FFL and CFC. I quote:
"...Frank Padilla “will form the Couples for Christ for Family and Life” and “should start as a diocesan association, “then later can apply for recognition as a national association if it has branches in other dioceses and even later as an international association.”
I don't believe anybody in the Easter Group even as much as gave that order a second glance.
To this, I heartily agree, and they should also all be made aware of what the FFL has been doing.
"All the members of CFC must be made aware of the existing problems within CFC."
"The members should even protest about what their International Council is doing (disobeying the bishops).."Actually Father, if you want to be more specific, it was the Elders Assembly who as a group discerned and decided not to follow the Bishops' recommendation. Must we define recommendation once again? Does this mean that since the FFL did not follow the orders of the Bishops after the dialogue, you believe the FFL members should protest as well?
"...the donations that they still receive from Pharmaceuticals manufacturing and distributing contraceptives. The Church still considers contraceptives anti-life, and Couples For Christ is supposed to be Pro-life."A picture to refresh our memories:
"I like and I commend CFC-Foundation for Family and Life headed by Frank Padilla because they work very hard for the RESTORATION and the REFORMATION of Couples for Christ. May the other members follow your example."Heaven forbid. I don't think the Supreme Court has enough space in their building for all the landscam cases that will arise from that. Ok, I'm joking, but seriously, if the examples being set by Frank and Co. in document forgery, accusing the Vatican of trying to save face, accusing Bishops of "twiddling their thumbs and smoking pot", were to be used as guideposts, I would be quite afraid of what would become of the FFL's members.
In all seriousness Fr. Tulabing, I think your words say it all: You "like" the FFL. What this is based on I don't know, but it comes across as unobjective. You like them, therefore you are pushing for them. Isn't that a tad unfair? In liking them, did you then overlook the questionable actions of the Easter Group? The documents, emails, the honest depiction of the events that led to the fateful split are all here for you to see and peruse. They've been made public for exactly that reason; so you can be fair to both sides. That's all we are asking. Give CFC a chance to make its case, a chance you've obviously given the FFL. Give us a chance to present proof, to show that we are sincere in our efforts to better ourselves. If we've somehow made a mistake in your eyes, then show us forgiveness by example. Your obvious bias for the FFL and your trumpeting their cause's repetitive and oft rehashed chants of veering and disobedience hurt people who care about you and what you say.
That is all.
Just for the record, and to finally set things right, the CBCP has acknowledged LNP's role (through Vic G and Fr. Schneider) as the founder of CFC. Here's the article in full, it's also linked in the Archived Documents section on the right column.
CFC-International Council to reinforce tie with RP bishops
MANILA, July 6, 2008--Couples for Christ-International Council (CFC-IC), has been seeking the support of Philippine Bishops to strengthen cooperation between them.
“CFC-IC has designed suggestions and recommendations on how to improve and strengthen the relationship between our shepherds [bishops] and CFC-IC so that together, we can fulfill our shared mission of spreading God’s will to all,” said Joe Tale, executive director of CFC-IC International Council, in a letter addressed to all the bishops of country, dated June 4.
Tale also said that CFC-IC is gearing up for a new springtime of its evangelization and values formation mission.
“We have lined up Christian life and community values programs for 62,000 settlers along the railroad tracks now recoated in Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Taguig, and take care of OFW’s and their families left behind in the Philippines,” Tale said.
CFC-IC also asked the bishops to pray for CFC-IC that its resolution of the conflict that has embroiled CFC-IC community may grow in positive manner.
CFC is a lay Catholic group established in 1981 by Fr. Herb Schneider, SJ and Vic Gutierrez. CFC got split from its original group “Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon Community” in 1993.
Last year, CFC got split further into two--CFC-Foundation for Family and Life (CFC-FFL), which is headed by Frank Padilla, and the CFC-International Council (CFC-IC), which works with Tony Meloto and Gawad Kalinga, the social arm of CFC-IC that builds low-cost houses for the poor across the country.
Last month, both the groups were battling each other for the use of the CFC name after the Securities and Exchange Commission lifted the 2003 revocation order on the use of the name Couples for Christ Foundation Inc.
Meloto and Padilla, both founding members of one of the country’s biggest Catholic lay group, stepped down from the board of CFC last year over debates on the group’s direction.
CFC-FFL and CFC-IC are trying to win the support of Philippine bishops and trying to show their allegiance to Church hierarchy in the country. (Santosh Digal)
I apologize about the typos and other errors, I've edited what I found. As you may have noticed, this was a late night entry because I was trying to make the Feedburner blast at 9am, so coffee and lack of sleep is not good for spelling and getting some facts straight, hehe. If you catch anymore please do let me know.