I have a couple of rules that I constantly abide by:
One, is to never fail to apologize. Whether it's to my wife for an unkind word said in anger or spite, or to a total stranger whose toes I've accidentally stepped on. I just feel that it is the decent thing to do, and decency is one of the things that separates us from animals. (Although I have to admit, I've caught my dog looking apologetic at times, for chewing up the morning paper.)
Another is to never question a man's faith. Oh, I'll question his motives, his background, his past actions, everything else...but never his faith. I believe that is between him and his God alone, and whatever reckoning he'll have at the pearly gates is his business, not mine. There are those who feel it is within their realm of expertise to do such things, I am just not one of them. And I will never be.
Several days ago, the now infamous "Macias letter" was forwarded to me, and it eventually found its way in our commentary, where it was systematically broken apart by our resident defenders. The funny thing was, I remember having a nagging thought in the back of my head about how the Easter Group will attempt to respond to TM's speech - especially since it obviously has nothing to do with them, and we all know how much they like to stick their noses in things they really have no business in.
So this Salvador Macias (who suspiciously sounds like someone whose initials are F.P.) who no one has ever heard of writes an email critical of Tony Meloto's Ateneo talk and sends it to the Easter Group, who then blasts it out to all who care to fish their emails out of their junkmail folder. Upon reading it, I thought to myself, "ah well there it is, at least we can now deal with it, IF it needs dealing." What I wasn't expecting was the supposed basis of this criticism: A confidential email from Caloy Palad to members of a private mailing list, which was forwarded to me soon after.
Now, we all have the freedom to disagree with anyone we choose to, much like I find myself disagreeing with Caloy's analysis of Meloto's speech. First, because I find it hard to judge a man on the basis of one speech. Second, well, because as I've stated above, I just don't believe I have any right to question a man's faith. We are all called to serve in our own capacity. If one feels that he best serves the Lord by being an authority on doctrinal issues, then so be it. I have not walked in Meloto's shoes nor have the power to look into his heart, I doubt anyone save those closest to him can. Until the day comes that I am able to, I will know the man by his works, and by his works I choose to respect him.
There is a well known story in the New Testament, where a woman poured expensive oils over Jesus' head. I think it is a fairly popular story that teaches us, among other things, to act with boldness, fervency and passion, instead of holding back or timidly going half way. I think this is the road that TM chose, and we've all seen its result.
I won't go into the Macias letter much, mostly because it's already been picked apart in the commentaries. I am quite surprised (or maybe not) at how calculated it was to evoke an emotional response, deftly mixing truth with lies. This entry will get too long if we went through each paragraph though, but I did compile the responses to make it easier for you all to get the gist of it.
Download the Salvador Macias letter and related comments HERE.
I did the same for Caloy's letter and the bloggers' responses to it.
Download Caloy Palad's email and related comments HERE.
However, I would like to state for the record that I have nothing against Caloy or his views. I know in my heart that he meant no harm to Tony, to GK, to CFC, and the IC. I am deeply saddened that his words were taken out of context and used maliciously by the Easter Group, who have shown a propensity for such behavior in the past. It seems they will jump at anything to further their causes, to hell with who they hurt along the way. That, my friends are not the actions of God fearing people, and that is the closest I've come to questioning anyone's faith.
I am requesting now for those who are doubting Caloy's loyalties to please stand down. He does not deserve it, and surely we are better Christians than that.
I am also taking the liberty of publishing his subsequent emails, condemning those who sought to sow discord among us through the unauthorized use of his words.
"Dear all:Highlight mine.
"It has come to my attention that my [critique of] the speech of Tony Meloto in Ateneo has been forwarded [from a confidential mailing list] to the CFC-FFL of Frank Padilla, which has mass e-mailed my post to their supporters as well as to CFC members in order to defame the CFC-International Council.
"Now, because of the indiscretion of that mailing list member, the CFC-FFL is gleefully using MY GOOD NAME and is hiding behind MY REPUTATION in order to bring down Tony Meloto and the CFC International Council.
"As I took pains to point out in my original posting, it was NOT my intention to bring down Tony Meloto. Yes, he does have some theological errors IMHO, but these do not erase his dedication to service and his love for the poor. In pointing out certain weaknesses in his speech it was never my intention to denigrate his service, nor cast aspersions on his good intentions.
"I am ready to stand by my words and to face like a man whatever controversy comes my way, but it grieves me that my words are now being used in favor of a group (the CFC-FFL) that I have not ceased to warn people against."
That letter was followed by this:
Dear All:An UPDATE:
These past few days have been especially painful for me. First, due to an indiscretion, my casual email regarding Tony Meloto has been transformed by Frank Padilla's minions into a weapon to unjustly tar, not just Tony Meloto, but also CFC-Global.
As I expected, this has caused an immense amount of anger, directed not at FFL, but personally at me. And the most unfair thing is, I have no way of defending myself. My mother has informed me that I have been personally denounced by members of Couples for Christ as an enemy and as a supporter of Frank Padilla. Nothing could be further from the truth! I am firmly convinced that this unjust and malicious action was done by FFL not only in order to discredit Tony Meloto, but also to discredit me, whom they have long known to be an uncompromising critic of Frank Padilla's cult following. Indeed, my mother had the humiliation of having to hear my email discussed in the highest council of the Handmaids of the Lord. God knows what other things have now been said behind my back. I feel that my back is against the wall, and I can expect no support now.
Dear All:I RETRACT the accusation that I had made against Jack Burgoyne, an accusation that I previously believed rested on strong evidence, but which, upon further reflection, was not sufficiently strong to warrant my public emails.I have also requested http://defendingcfc.blogspot.
comto erase the offending passage from my emails (which they had posted). And, for the benefit of those who may already have read the accusation, I have also added a comment to the said website enunciating the same retraction that I here publish.I ask forgiveness of all who may have been hurt by my reactions. My own pain (and that of my mother) cannot justify what I have done. And I would like to thank the CFC members who have assured me of their prayers, and of their love and support.I also ask you to pray for me. I am ashamed that my reaction to this Cross has not been Christian. I am sorry that I have not given good example in my reaction to calumny and the varied insults that came my family's way.I also ask you to continue praying for my health.Carlos
Brother Caloy, let it be known now that I am defending you and you have MY support. I know that your first email was posted here and commented on by the bloggers, yet I see that you have their respect, not only for the courage to state your opinions but for the backbone to stand by them. I am posting your responses here in the hopes that it reaches those who need to know the truth of the matter.
Speaking of which, that's something that our Easter Group brothers up to now have not been able to do. Need I remind them of their emails accusing our good bishops of "twiddling their thumbs" and "smoking pot", of which we haven't heard even a whisper of an apology to the clergy members in question?
Let me remind you all of an entry from back in February, where I quoted in full an email from Sis Norinna Palad, in which she prophetically corrected the FFL's Ado Paglinawan, who was planning another misuse of someone else's words:
In all of these, we have to remain vigilant especially when invoking the Holy Spirit, lest we grieve Him by making or passing on statements given by others, to which individuals are ASKED to commit or agree to, LEST they commit the "unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit".. This is plain and simple HERESY. We ALL have the power to call upon the Holy Spirit for guidance and discernment., in order to make wise and individual decisions. No person can say that he has the sole prerogative of speaking for the Holy Spirit. Not even the Pope makes that claim, and not even the Pope says that those who disagree with him can never be forgiven.Let us not doubt where the Palads stand in this battle, because it is VERY clear to me. Their plight now paints a grim picture of how low the Easter Group will stoop to further their causes. I also enjoin the bloggers to leave comments to show your support for Caloy and his family.
Let us all be guided by the Holy Spirit at all times.
Your sister in Christ,
Here are the two pages excerpted from the CPBP Monitor:
I've also taken the article text and pasted it into Word to make it easier to read, you may download that with the two pages from the CBCP Monitor HERE.
One last thing:
Over a week ago, when I first received Salvador Macias' (which I'm almost 99% sure is a nom de guerre, unless Mr. Macias cares to step forward to stand up for his work) and Caloy's emails, my first response was to either post it as an update to the Ploughshares entry or start a new one around them, to get the word out and have the defenders start responding. Somehow though, something told me there was more to it. Lo and behold, as things developed, a few days later we see Caloy's response. Then a couple of days after that, his second email. I don't know what might have happened if I'd followed my first impulse, but all I know is, something stopped me. The whole thing just felt wrong, and I knew that Caloy Palad would not let this pass without a good fight.
Sometimes, we've gotta learn to really listen to that little voice with a big message that seems to come from the back of your head but is really emanating from the heart. I've heard it said that when the Lord speaks, it's not with a megaphone (Although, I'd like to think Typhoon Frank and the Marikina fiasco is an exception).
Those who truly hear the Lord are those who choose to LISTEN.
May God bless us all, have a great weekend my friends.
I changed the template again (and added a new sidebar section called "Site News"), I'd really appreciate some feedback. Is it easier to read now? Colors ok?