Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Council Statement 4-18-08



Download in pdf format HERE or HERE.


Also, more articles in the Philstar about the recent issues, these by William Esposo:

Tony Meloto's Sanctification


and

How the new Pharisees undermine the Roman Catholic Church

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Best Laid Plans

The whole phrase, "'The best-laid plans of mice and men / Go oft awry", comes from a Robert Burns poem.

I got this email yesterday. I sat on it for a while, thinking of whether to let these "plans" come to fruition, or allow you all to make your own judgement on the motives behind it.



Hello all. We are entering, or have already entered, into a critical period in the life and mission of the authentic and restored CFC, in relation to the Vatican. The IC (Int'l Council) under Joe Tale has gone to the Vatican, as brokered by Archbp Arguelles, the brother of Joey who is an IC member. They were chastised (Rylko letter of March 11 to JT) but at the same time were given the opportunity to rectify things. This they have made a show of doing but have not really conformed to the directives of the Vatican.

What is the score? What are the plus factors for us? (1) The Vatican recognizes me as the founder of CFC. (2) They agree that the social should not overpower the spiritual. (3) They have the findings of our Philippine bishops under Bp Reyes, saying the IC veered away and were disobedient to the bishops. What are the plus factors for them? (1) They are considered the legal CFC (this is due to the legal validity of the election of the IC), and so they are the CFC recognized by the Vatican (though I maintain this does not necessarily exclude us). (2) The Vatican, I believe, wants to save face. The permanent recognition of CFC was just granted in 2005 and it really does not look good that in just two years it has split. This is probably why the Vatican will not recognize just us and not them, since that will take fancy legal/canonical footwork.

Complicating matters for us is the certainty that the IC has campaigned for its cause with the Vatican. They have a formidable propaganda machinery with political and secular minds running it. They have maligned me as they do everywhere. I was surprised when the monsignor in the Pontifical Council for the Laity (PCL) said that the problem was just between two persons (TM and me) and even implied that I was jealous of TM! This is exactly the line (and the lie) that the IC continues to tell.

In my visit to the PCL last April 7 (Cardinal Rylko was not around, just his two deputies), while recognizing me as the founder, they wanted unity and reconciliation. In their directive to JT, the PCL wanted unity and reconciliation, and hoped that the split would not affect CFC outside the Philippines. Bp Reyes visited the PCL just last April 21. He did this because Archbp Arguelles, without informing him, lawyered for the IC and brought them to the Vatican (we have good information that the PCL rebuffed JT's earlier request to meet Cardinal Rylko; but how can they refuse an archbishop?). I have not yet talked with Bp Reyes, but his initial report to Maribel is that the Vatican will allow two CFCs in the Philippines, but only one CFC in other countries. This is probably because the Philippines is already split and the bishops have recognized two CFCs, but they do not know that CFC in the world is also already split and so mistakenly hope that unity can be maintained (and thus the scandal localized). One importance of this, if this is so, is that indeed, given certain circumstances, the Vatican can allow two CFCs.

If what Bp Reyes reports is as I got it, then the status of the name of CFCs throughout the world that are not aligned with CFC Global will be in jeopardy. Thus, if you agree, I ask you to write the PCL/Vatican regarding your own communal situation. The IC did a lot of campaigning, and now, in this critical period, we probably need to do so too. Following are suggested inputs, though you of course should write out of your knowledge of the truth and out of your personal/communal conviction.

*** State your credentials (National Council, governance team, elder position, etc.).
*** Describe the situation in your country or area regarding the split. This clearly tells the Vatican that the split has already affected the CFC world. State what percentage of the CFC membership has gone with CFC-FFL. This says that we are not a small splinter group as the other side claims.
*** Speak about how you see the crisis/split. How the other side veered away. How they were disrespectful to the bishops. How you are for the restoration of our authentic charism. How CFC-GK will ultimately destroy CFC. How you can no longer follow the IC.
*** Make your appeal to the Vatican. To recognize that we are the true CFC. And whatever else.

*** If you have a CFC corporation, then say so. The PCL has to know that CFCGMFI, even with the IC legally elected, is not the true owner of the CFC name. It is all of us throughout the world, and in your case, even legally speaking.
*** If you have approval by your bishop, say so.

In addition, there can be personal testimonies.
*** Brethren who have really something significant to say.
*** Clergy who have journeyed with us and know well our situation (e.g., Spiritual Directors of South Africa).

Write as led by the Holy Spirit. The overall intent is to let the Vatican know what has already happened throughout the CFC world, and contrary to the disinformation of the IC. Our hope is that the Vatican will not suppress your use of the CFC name.

Please send your letters, immediately by fax and then followed by a hard copy, to:

His Eminence
Stanislaw Cardinal Rylko
President, Pontifical Council for the Laity
00120 Citta del Vaticano, Europe

FAX 06 698.87214
Tel 06 698.87322

Mostly I have been letting go and letting God, allowing God to fight for us, and normally not responding to the unfounded attacks of the other side. There have been so much maligning, slander and lies, and we do know that Satan is the father of lies. We are in intense spiritual warfare. So many people, our brethren as well as the Vatican, are confused and ask, "What is truth?" If it was just me, I can continue to be silent and rejoice in the persecution. But your own life and mission are now affected or could be affected even more, perhaps adversely depending on what the Vatican pronounces. So while we of course are indeed totally dependent upon God's mercy and grace, there are times when we need to more aggressively speak about what is right and true and just. This is such a time. Some would say it is even long overdue.

I attach for your info, if you have not seen this yet, a paper on "The Real Issue." God bless and protect us all.

frank

"For to me life is Christ, and death is gain." (Phil 1:21)

Once and For All

The title of the entry is a phrase borrowed from the following document. I was originally going to include the document in the previous entry, I will post it in its entirety here, because I think it really deserves to stand on its own. Some things need to be told in black and white to sink in. The doc tells its own tale, so no need for further introduction.

A RESPONSE TO FFL’S “THE REAL ISSUE”

The Foundation for Family and Life has been circulating a document entitled “The Real Issue” in the African continent. While it contains mostly rehashed issues, which have been addressed many times before, the Ugnayan Multimedia Center deemed it best to reply to these issues once and for all, in the interest of truth, and to finally lay these matters to rest.

For clarity’s sake, we are first reprinting in toto the FFL document. Our point-by-point response follows (in bold letters).

The Real Issue

The crisis in CFC is not about two factions not getting along with each other, but is about basic principles of morality, integrity and Church life and mission. As such, the solution is not merely to recognize two CFCs, but to assure that both CFCs are in line with Catholic morality. Therefore, the situation of CFC-GK under the IC (Int’l Council) cannot just be left as it is. They have veered away from the charism and mission of CFC. But it is not just CFC that is affected, but the whole Roman Catholic Church of which CFC is a part.

In fact, a recognition of two CFCs might just result in legitimizing the wrongs that have been committed and institutionalizing what ultimately will work against God’s intent.

What are the basic problems inherent in the mindset of CFC-GK leaders today?

(1) They do not understand Church authority and hierarchy. Or to put it less kindly, they reject such authority, while professing otherwise.

Ø They disrespected the bishops (Archbp Lagdameo, Bp Reyes, Bp Villegas).

Ø They kept the bishops’ directives from CFC members, a direct disobedience of Bp Reyes’ directive to disseminate his letters to all CFC members.

Ø They treated the bishops’ strong recommendations as just recommendations that they were free to accept or reject. This is true enough in the strictest sense, but pastorally, the bishops should have been followed.

Ø They kept misrepresenting the bishops’ words and actions, to the point of being formally corrected a few times by Bp Reyes.

Ø They did not correct young fulltimers who maligned the bishops in their blogs.

Ø They profess to submit to and follow the bishops but they do not do so. A case in point is Bp Reyes repeatedly saying that there can be two CFCs, but they have rejected this and even now are threatening to take legal action against CFC-FFL on the use of the name.

Ø They make promises to the bishops but do not carry them out. After over five months, they still have not cut their partnerships with pharmaceuticals producing or marketing contraceptives, as they promised they would.

(2) They do not understand the basic mission of the Church, which is to proclaim Christ.

Ø Their basic thrust is GK, with the goal of GK777. But in the work of GK, Christ has been marginalized or totally cut out. The work ought not to be the social without the spiritual, extolling heroism but not holiness, building a nation but not the kingdom of God. In other words, GK has become charity without Christ.

Ø They are missing out on the great potential of GK to become an evangelistic tool, as God intended for it to be.

(3) A lot of secular, humanist thinking has come in.

Ø The right-hand man of Tony Meloto is Boy Montelibano, who is a New Ager and an admirer of Freemasonry. He has been tasked to form the minds of the young GK workers.

Ø Joe Tale has resorted to legalities a number of times, to the frustration of Bp Reyes, and such legalism has actually been the cause of the split.

Ø Other IC members are very corporate and secular in their approaches.

Ø Tony Meloto of course is a marketing man. This is precisely why he has marginalized Christ and CFC in GK, to appeal to an even greater number of partners and funders who will only give to non-sectarian causes.

Ø Many are convinced that there is a political agenda, and GK is merely a tool to further the ambitions of some.

(4) IC elders have lost their integrity and pastoral sense.

Ø They conducted a witch hunt against Lachie Agana, using affidavits and a lawyer in the process, not informing Lachie what the charges were, and only to conclude, after three months, that there was no serious wrongdoing but there were only procedural lapses (even these Lachie disputes).

Ø They spread the false accusation that two top leaders were having an affair, and continued to spread this, even in the face of outright denials and having no proofs at all.

Ø They maligned those who had issues with them, especially Frank Padilla, about whom they spread many outright falsehoods.

Ø They undermined the win-win agreement about the elections that was approved by the bishops, which if carried out would have prevented the split.

Ø Joe Tale and Rouquel Ponte promised that they would not run for the IC if the win-win agreement was not carried out, but they did run.

Ø Joe Tale told Frank two days before the elections that he would not run for the IC, but on election day reneged on this and did run.

Ø They fired from their services brethren who had issues with them and who were working for restoration. They did most of this through email, or copy furnished by email, or just by text.

Ø They have not paid the retirement benefits of those who served faithfully so long, and even now are trying to find ways and means to avoid payment.

Ø They refuse to recognize CFC-FFL even when many bishops have already done so.


The effects of all these are:

(1) CFC members, especially the impressionable young, will continue to be misled.

(2) CFC-GK itself will do a lot of good for the poor but will not be building the kingdom of God, and may in fact be undermining it.

Ø Tony’s goal is for the Philippines to become First World. We all know what that means in terms of loss of morality and the move to secularism and even hedonism.

(3) Those that God would have planned for CFC to evangelize and pastorally care for will not be evangelized and pastorally supported.


ALL THESE ADVERSELY AFFECT THE VERY LIFE AND MISSION OF THE CHURCH.

(1) We will have a whole generation of heroes but not disciples of Christ.

(2) We will have the poor liberated from material need but not saved from sin.

(3) The CFC that God has raised will not be doing its work according to His will and plan.


(Jan 29, 2008)


CFC’S RESPONSE (in bold letters)

THE REAL ISSUE


The crisis in CFC is not about two factions not getting along with each other, but is about basic principles of morality, integrity and Church life and mission. As such, the solution is not merely to recognize two CFCs, but to assure that both CFCs are in line with Catholic morality. Therefore, the situation of CFC-GK under the IC (Int’l Council) cannot just be left as it is. They have veered away from the charism and mission of CFC. But it is not just CFC that is affected, but the whole Roman Catholic Church of which CFC is a part.

· The crisis was brought about by a simple fact – a leader resigned, then changed his mind, and when he could not get back into position, decided to break away from the community. All the issues (the veering away accusation, the “witch hunt” allegation, the alleged disobedience to the bishops) came after the fact of the resignation that went awry.

· There has been no affirmation of the “veering away” issues, even after almost a year, because CFC under the International Council has never deviated from its Vatican-approved Statutes nor the vision and mission that have shaped the community from the time of its inception.

· The only reason the Catholic Church is being affected is because of FFL’s insistence that CFC has disobeyed the bishops, an issue that is highly debatable and is now in fact a non-issue, given the dialogues that have been conducted between CFC leaders and the bishops concerned.


In fact, a recognition of two CFCs might just result in legitimizing the wrongs that have been committed and institutionalizing what ultimately will work against God’s intent.

· This is precisely our argument – that there can only be one CFC. We wholeheartedly agree with our FFL brethren on this point.

· There is actually a precedent in the history of Philippine lay private associations when the Church DID NOT sanction the recognition of two similarly-named groups. When a small group broke away from the Bukas Loob sa Diyos community, the Philippine clergy, specifically Jaime Cardinal Sin and some other bishops, intervened. They contended that they could not recognize two communities bearing the same name and therefore Cardinal Sin came up with a new name for the break-away group – Serviam.

· This is also precisely why the African cardinals and bishops, some bishops in the Middle East and in North America, have decided to recognize only one CFC, the CFC that is headed by Joe Tale and with Gawad Kalinga as one of its programs.


What are the basic problems inherent in the mindset of CFC-GK leaders today?

(5) They do not understand Church authority and hierarchy. Or to put it less kindly, they reject such authority, while professing otherwise.

· As far as understanding Church authority and hierarchy, CFC, for the past 20 years or so, has been following principles and guidelines relating to its relationship with the Church based on what Frank Padilla has been teaching. His book, “Friend of Foe,” outlines these guidelines very clearly.

Ø They disrespected the bishops (Archbp Lagdameo, Bp Reyes, Bp Villegas).

· The IC has repeated, ad nauseam, their contention that the elections pushed through not because of the IC’s disobedience to the bishops, but because of obedience to the Vatican Statutes and to the authority of the higher body – the Elders Assembly.

Ø They kept the bishops’ directives from CFC members, a direct disobedience of Bp Reyes’ directive to disseminate his letters to all CFC members.

· The International Council has never withheld from the members any of the bishops’ directives. They had plenty of help from Frank Padilla’s group in this matter. A case in point: The June 7 letter of the three bishops was hand-carried by Bishop Reyes and given to Maribel Descallar on that same day at the CFC Center. Ms. Descallar distributed the letter to the members of the Elders Assembly even before the International Council members received a copy.

· The internet domain of CFC was handled by someone who eventually joined the Frank Padilla group. Thus, all the bishops’ directives and Frank’s emails were regularly being blasted by this person to the worldwide CFC family.

· The IC had no direct control of this internet network. It would not be until September of 2007 that the IC would realize that the emails and other directives they were sending, such as Council Statements and replies to the break-away group’s emails, were not reaching the members because all the email addresses had been tampered with.

Ø They treated the bishops’ strong recommendations as just recommendations that they were free to accept or reject. This is true enough in the strictest sense, but pastorally, the bishops should have been followed.

· During the August 28 dialogue, Bishop Gabby Reyes acknowledged that their recommendation was simply that – a recommendation that the IC was indeed free to accept or reject. He affirmed that CFC is administratively under the direct supervision of the Vatican and that the CBCP only has recommendatory functions with regard to CFC, and only in cases of doctrine and morals. He stated at that dialogue that, at that point in time, even with the complaints filed by FFL, the CBCP saw no reason to write to the Vatican about these complaints.

· Thus, we agree that in the strictest sense, because they were couched as recommendations, the Elders Assembly (not the IC) were free to accept or reject them. Pastorally, however, the IC was obligated to follow the Vatican-approved statutes with regard to the conduct of the elections.

Ø They kept misrepresenting the bishops’ words and actions, to the point of being formally corrected a few times by Bp Reyes.

· Perhaps the FFL would do well to look into their own actions of blasting Bishop Reyes’ statements all over the world, such actions designed to misrepresent the IC as disobedient and veering away, when most of the bishops have already stated that CFC did not commit such actions.

Ø They did not correct young full-timers who maligned the bishops in their blogs.

· The IC has always stood by its admonition to the entire community to “Be Still” in the face of the attacks and relentless negative emails. It has no control over blogs (which are almost always contributed by anonymous persons). Many Council Statements were in fact issued that cautioned the members against unloving acts and enjoined them to relate to FFL members in Christian love.

Ø They profess to submit to and follow the bishops but they do not do so. A case in point is Bp Reyes repeatedly saying that there can be two CFCs, but they have rejected this and even now are threatening to take legal action against CFC-FFL on the use of the name.

· The CFC Statutes, which have been approved by the Vatican, serve as the International Council’s sacred guide in steering the community, particularly in times of confusion and disagreements. On the question of whether there can be two CFCs, the Statutes are clear: there is only one CFC and there can only be ONE CFC Worldwide. The following articles of the Statutes are pertinent to this issue:

· “ 7.21 Unity. COUPLES FOR CHRIST throughout the world is one body, one family, one army. It is to have one vision and one mission. It is one united work of the Holy Spirit. It is to live out one culture, the Christian culture that transcends national, racial and social differences.

· Interdependence. The worldwide CFC family is a global network of CFC groups in different countries, all acting within the framework of the overall CFC vision and mission.”

· Our dear Bishops recognize the statutes. Cardinal Rylko upholds this provision of having just one CFC in the world, as stated in his letter to the International Council dated April 3, 2008 wherein he clarified that no other association may use the name CFC.

· When CFC defends its use of the name, it is only following guidelines already enshrined in the Statutes.

Ø They make promises to the bishops but do not carry them out. After over five months, they still have not cut their partnerships with pharmaceuticals producing or marketing contraceptives, as they promised they would.

· The IC has complied with the Vatican’s (and some Philippine bishops’) directive with regard to these partnerships. The IC has never sanctioned any partnership for the distribution of contraceptives or condoms in the sites, contrary to rumors that were floated.

(6) They do not understand the basic mission of the Church, which is to proclaim Christ.

Ø Their basic thrust is GK, with the goal of GK777. But in the work of GK, Christ has been marginalized or totally cut out. The work ought not to be the social without the spiritual, extolling heroism but not holiness, building a nation but not the kingdom of God. In other words, GK has become charity without Christ.

Ø They are missing out on the great potential of GK to become an evangelistic tool, as God intended for it to be.

· We are sorry if our FFL brethren do not understand the vision and mission of CFC and its application to GK. We would like to remind them that the basic mission of CFC for at least the past ten years has been “bringing glad tidings to the poor” which was further refined to “Building the Church of the Home and Building the Church of the Poor,” and GK is the concrete expression of this mission.

· CFC is committed to following the Vatican Statutes that call for it to espouse Total Christian Liberation. The work with the poor has always stressed that transformation of their physical surroundings must be preceded by renewal of hearts. This is the basic reason why CFC members immerse themselves in the GK sites, not simply to build homes but to ensure that Christian values formation is carried out and Christian living is taught.

· GK caretaker teams are committed to GK because of their love of God and love of country.

· CFC believes that GK is not simply about nation building. It goes deeper than this because it is anchored on the very mission of Christ himself, the mission that he proclaimed when He began His public ministry: “The spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and new sight to the blind, to free the oppressed and announce the Lord’s year of mercy.” Luke 4:18-19

· CFC has indeed recognized GK’s great potential for evangelization. Before homes are even built, caretaker teams already conduct values formation programs, culminating in the Christian Life Program. Statistics show that 85% of beneficiaries in GK sites are now members of CFC. The increase in CFC membership can be directly attributed to the evangelization efforts in GK sites.

(7) A lot of secular, humanist thinking has come in.

Ø The right-hand man of Tony Meloto is Boy Montelibano, who is a New Ager and an admirer of Freemasonry. He has been tasked to form the minds of the young GK workers.

Ø Joe Tale has resorted to legalities a number of times, to the frustration of Bp Reyes, and such legalism has actually been the cause of the split.

Ø Other IC members are very corporate and secular in their approaches.

Ø Tony Meloto of course is a marketing man. This is precisely why he has marginalized Christ and CFC in GK, to appeal to an even greater number of partners and funders who will only give to non-sectarian causes.

Ø Many are convinced that there is a political agenda, and GK is merely a tool to further the ambitions of some.

· The allegations in the above items are spiteful and totally unchristian. As Christians, we are told never to judge anyone and it is painful to see brothers speaking ill of others. Many of us are not proud of the lives we led before we began to lead renewed lives in the Catholic faith and we are taught to forgive ourselves as well as others for our past deeds. What is important are the lives we are called to lead after renewal.

· Joe Tale may be a lawyer but, unknown to many, he has in fact refused, to date, to use legal means to address the attacks. The cause of the split has never been legalism but simply the consequence of failed leadership.

· Tony Meloto has done more for the poor than those who consistently attack him. His zeal for the mission is beyond doubt. It is more than can be said for those who attack GK. Tony has also repeatedly announced that he will never run for public office; the IC has no reason to doubt or to question anyone’s motives.

(8) IC elders have lost their integrity and pastoral sense.

Ø They conducted a witch hunt against Lachie Agana, using affidavits and a lawyer in the process, not informing Lachie what the charges were, and only to conclude, after three months, that there was no serious wrongdoing but there were only procedural lapses (even these Lachie disputes).

· This is totally false. There was no witch hunt because those who filed complaints voluntarily came forward with their evidences. The IC in fact tried to keep a lid on all of these but, in the interest of good order, was constrained to hear out the complaints.

· It is untrue that Lachie was not informed about the charges. Lachie was invited to a face-to-face meeting with his accusers on May 1, 2007 at the Club Filipino. In order not to unduly intimidate him, he was not asked to face all five accusers but to discuss the issues against him one-to-one. The conclusion of “procedural lapses” was the only Christian solution at that time. The IC felt that coming out publicly with the affidavits at that particular time would further exacerbate an already festering situation. They were protecting the community.

· There were two letters given to Lachie referring to the investigations. The public letter indeed used the word “procedural lapses.” The other letter was a private one, stating both procedural and pastoral issues. The IC did not feel that this particular letter should be broadcast because they wanted to maintain confidentiality. It would be Lachie’s decision whether he would want to make this letter public.

Ø They spread the false accusation that two top leaders were having an affair, and continued to spread this, even in the face of outright denials and having no proofs at all.

· This particular rumor began in Frank’s household many years back but was swept under the rug precisely because it was then only a rumor. But the rumor persisted over the years. Frank was supposed to investigate this but nothing came out of it.

· It has not been the IC that has been spreading this rumor. They have in fact refused to accept testimonies dealing with this rumor. Based on video records and on eyewitness accounts, Gerry Padilla herself was instrumental in spreading this when she mentioned this rumor during their visit to Europe and to the United States in 2007, scandalizing those who were not previously aware of such a rumor.

Ø They maligned those who had issues with them, especially Frank Padilla, about whom they spread many outright falsehoods.

· It is strange that it is the IC that is being accused of all these things when there is no shred of proof that they were the ones responsible for “the false accusation” or for maligning Frank Padilla. The accusations were all outlined in the affidavits and are backed up by documentary evidence. The IC hopes they will never see the light of day because the community would be severely affected by such a public disclosure.

Ø They undermined the win-win agreement about the elections that was approved by the bishops, which if carried out would have prevented the split.

· The so-called win-win agreement was subject to the approval of the Elders Assembly. But the IC was committed to exhaust all means to explain and present this proposal to the elders. There was a concerted campaign, not just by the IC, but by FFL and Bishop Reyes, to try to “sell” the proposal to the assembly but the Elders Assembly chose to abide by the Vatican-approved Statutes.

· It is highly debatable whether this would have “prevented the split” or to be more precise, prevented the formation of a new association by a minority of leaders who did not recognize the IC’s leadership. The minutes of the Easter Group meeting of June 3, weeks before the elections, show that there were premeditated moves toward the break away. The fact that FFL filed incorporation papers on August 2, again way before the scheduled dialogues of August 14 and August 28, are also indicators of this premeditation.

Ø Joe Tale and Rouquel Ponte promised that they would not run for the IC if the win-win agreement was not carried out, but they did run.

Ø Joe Tale told Frank two days before the elections that he would not run for the IC, but on election day reneged on this and did run.

· Indeed, Joe and Rouquel agreed with (not promised) Frank that they will not run. They even went one step further – during their private dialogue before the election, they agreed to resign as IC members. But the other two members of the IC, together with other elders, disagreed. They felt that resigning would upset the good order of leadership since there would only be two IC members left to govern. Four IC members were needed since this was the prescribed quorum. The leaders pointed out to Joe and Rouquel that it would be quite arrogant for them to declare not to run since they didn’t even know if the election would push through.

Joe and Rouquel told Frank of this decision even prior to the plebiscite and election. It was not a decision done after the Elders Assembly decided to go ahead with the election. as insinuated by the allegation. The two brothers simply followed and respected the process prescribed under the International Statutes.

· Frank was nominated by a member of the Board of Elders. He confronted and accused two IC leaders of not nominating him for the Council because he felt his nomination should have come from the IC. This was clear proof that, despite protestations to the contrary, he was indeed interested in getting back into the Council. Of 30 nominees coming from the Board of Elders, Frank came out number 29 and was therefore not included in the short list of 5 names.

Ø They fired from their services brethren who had issues with them and who were working for restoration. They did most of this through email, or copy furnished by email, or just by text.

Ø They have not paid the retirement benefits of those who served faithfully so long, and even now are trying to find ways and means to avoid payment.

· No one was fired, not even Frank Padilla, who resigned from fulltime work way back in October 1, 2006. It would only be in July 2007, after the elections, that he would be asked to resign as International Missions Director, a position he continued to hold in spite of the fact that this is properly a function given to a Council member. He ceased to be a Council member when he resigned on February 13, 2007. The IC in fact was lenient with him on this point.

· In fact, many FFL members remained employed at CFC even though it was clear that they were already in clear violation of even the simplest tenets of loyalty and commitment, precisely because they were in fact working for the Restoration Movement. This was a clear case of conflict of interest. One case in point is Mimi David, whose husband Oland is one of the incorporators of FFL. Mimi held on to her job, resigning only on January 15, 2008. Frank’s son, Xavy Padilla and his wife Des were also allowed to stay and given the freedom to choose when they would resign.

· CFC would have had every reason to indeed fire everyone whose loyalties were questionable and if it were a private corporation, there would have been no complaints. But in fact, CFC stood silent while FFL people were getting paid out of CFC funds when they were actually working for FFL’s interests.

· CFC could have invoked Art. 3.3 of the Vatican-approved Statutes and terminated their membership with CFC, and consequently their employment at the Home Office, but the International Council wanted to give them the opportunity to exercise the more honorable option of resigning. Art. 3.3 states: “ Membership may be terminated by the leadership for any of the following reasons:

1. Serious unrepented wrongdoing

2. Gross unfaithfulness to the covenant of CFC

3. Public opposition to CFC teachings and culture, as well as official Church teachings

4. Ongoing disruption of good order in the community

5. Any other act that would seriously undermine the life and mission of CFC.”

· The only one who got a text message was Nonong Contreras and this was because Lito Tayag assumed, because of their long friendship, that this would be taken in the proper context. Lito has apologized to Nonong for this particular lapse and Nonong has accepted the apology.

· The retirement benefits should have been funded by a retirement fund that was started during the watch of Frank Padilla. When he resigned, the IC discovered that the retirement fund was depleted, already diverted to other expenses. How could the IC pay retirement benefits when there was no fund available? The IC has never said they will not pay retirement; they have repeatedly stressed that they will do so when there are funds for it. The FFL has been clamoring that they be paid out of the funds generated to pay out the almost P20 million loans incurred during the period 2000-2006. But these funds were donated by the membership, in response to a worldwide campaign to eradicate the loans, all of which were incurred under Frank’s leadership. It would have been unfair for the members’ money, which was intended to pay for the bank loans, to be diverted to pay retirement benefits of those who incurred the loans in the first place.

Ø They refuse to recognize CFC-FFL even when many bishops have already done so.

· The IC is perfectly willing to recognize FFL but not CFC-FFL because their use of the CFC name is divisive, confusing and, in many cases, deliberately misleading. From the start, the IC has stated that the harvest is plentiful and many workers are needed. It is the unfair misappropriation of the CFC name that they object to. There are some bishops who have recognized FFL, but not many.


The effects of all these are:

(4) CFC members, especially the impressionable young, will continue to be misled.

(5) CFC-GK itself will do a lot of good for the poor but will not be building the kingdom of God, and may in fact be undermining it.

Ø Tony’s goal is for the Philippines to become First World. We all know what that means in terms of loss of morality and the move to secularism and even hedonism.

(6) Those that God would have planned for CFC to evangelize and pastorally care for will not be evangelized and pastorally supported.

· It can also be said that the effects of the continued attacks of FFL against the CFC and specifically against the IC, the continued unauthorized use of the CFC name, the continued deliberate misrepresentation of their assemblies as CFC assemblies, will mislead the impressionable young.

· To say that to become First World is to lose morality and to be secular and hedonist is too simplistic and does not take into consideration the Philippines’ inherent Christian Catholic values. Also, it is quite clear that Tony Meloto refers to being First World only in terms of economic benefits.

· GK is indeed doing a lot of good for the poor. The fact that not only homes have been built, but that lives have been transformed, is ample evidence of the fact that GK is also building the kingdom of God. The statistics bear this out. The recent increases in CFC membership (meaning those who graduate from the Christian Life Program) come mainly from GK sites. Eighty-five percent of GK beneficiaries are now members of CFC.

· The attacks on GK are rooted on a desire to attack Tony Meloto. Tony has voluntarily resigned from any position. It is also conveniently forgotten that GK is not run by only one man but by the GK Board. Frank was chairman of this Board when he was CFC Executive Director and was cognizant and approved many of the policies that are now being attacked.

· It should also be emphasized that GK is only one of the many facets of CFC’s evangelistic and mission work. The work of evangelization has never been sidelined because of any undue stress on GK and on “nation-building.”


ALL THESE ADVERSELY AFFECT THE VERY LIFE AND MISSION OF THE CHURCH.

(4) We will have a whole generation of heroes but not disciples of Christ.

(5) We will have the poor liberated from material need but not saved from sin.

(6) The CFC that God has raised will not be doing its work according to His will and plan.

· The IC contends that it has never deviated from its life and mission, and that these remain firmly rooted in the Catholic faith. The poor are being helped not just materially but also spiritually. God has indeed raised CFC and as such, He will not abandon it but rather continue to guide it to do its work according to His will and plan.


CONCLUSION


CFC under the International Council has moved on in its vision and mission. We urge our brethren in FFL to do the same. We believe we can both pursue our shared mission of spreading the gospel by simply pursuing our unique ways of evangelization.

It is now quite clear that there are indeed two associations – Couples for Christ and the Foundation for Family and Life. FFL has announced that they have their own charism, their own structure and organization, their own teaching track, their own work with the poor. Because we share the same goal – of spreading God’s Word to all the corners of the world – we are truly one in mission alongside with the other Christian groups. We reach out to you in love and respect and wish you all the best in the path you have chosen.

May the Lord continue to bless you.


THE UGNAYAN MULTIMEDIA CENTER

Download the PDF document HERE.

Direct link:

http://www.mediafire.com/?scxntmzmwcw

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Choices

We appear to be staring at the edge of a very high cliff. There are choices to be made in how we react and deal with the present situation. To use another (safer sounding) analogy, we are now at a crossroads. Do we take up the staff or do we become lambs once again and watch as the FFL attempt to claim the name and continue with their divisive plans.

In seeing comments from both CFC and FFL members, I'm starting to realize that no matter what kind of proof or facts are put forth, the other side will NOT want to look at it, because they already feel righteous about what they do. The same argument will get thrown back no matter how much evidence is put out that there were personal and selfish reasons for the split. (Yes, that's the bottom line.) To quote the FFL's Naning Roxas who is posting in the ABS-CBN Poll:

"Brother, you are being mislead by saying that we left Couples for Christ and joined new group of FFL. WE ARE STILL MEMBERS OF COUPLES FOR CHRIST and nobody can removed us from CFC. Only that we disagreed on how GK is being administered by the concerned leaders. We know for a fact that GK has flaws. FFL is added just to distiguish us from the other group who supports GK. THe commitment of CFC-FFL is continue the evangelization works left and mandated by Jesus Christ ledaing to therkingdom of God. CFC-Global is always telling that CFC and GK are unseparable. But in all GK villages, the name of COUPLES FOR CHRIST is not metioned at all; only GK and its respective partners have it. That's why it puzzled many CFC members considering GK is a product of CFC. Just asking because unseparable and yet one is only there.

Thanks and God Bless."

My thanks to bro Deo Volente is who has taken up the arduous task correcting their misconceptions with humor and love.

So it's almost like rote: When questioned or faced with overwhelming evidence, they resort to repeat after me tactics,

"You veered...

"You don't evangelize..

"You don't listen to the bishops...

"You don't accept your mistakes...

"You partnered with anti-life Pharmas...

It really doesn't matter if we're doing something about these issues, or whether they're even valid points. It seems their minds have been made up, and they will believe what they want to believe. They feel that two CFC's won't cause further confusion among the members, and that it will not be damaging to our reputation when one goes to a church to inquire about us and finds out that there are two organizations, seemingly warring factions who are either on the defensive or offensive against each other. How very Christian, right? It's sad really, and it was what I was afraid of from the start. That in trying to stay true to our beliefs, the worst of our traits gets shaken from the tree to fall to the ground for everyone to see.

It truly has been a purifying process.

Let's be careful how self righteous we become, lest we fall into that trap. Keep an open mind, and try ALWAYS to see things from the other perspective...I believe the term is empathy.

Remember that Jesus exhorted us to:

Forego vengeance...

Bear the burdens of others....

Forgive debts...

Share our goods with the poor....

Refrain from passing judgement on others for their sins...

And love our enemies.

This firestorm ignited by that first ABS-CBN article has elicited various reactions from people within and without our community. For archival purposes, and of course for our own perusal, I'll try and list them all down.

First was Conrado De Quiros' opinion article in the PDI. An excerpt:

"How in God's name is it possible for anyone to do too much social work in this country? That is like accusing a doctor of prescribing too much medicine to someone fighting for his life. At the very least that a lay organization like Couples should somehow betray the Christian spirit by moving heaven and earth to feed the hungry and house the homeless is batty. What, they get to be more Christian by spending their time attending Mass and avoiding de-coupling while living sad, sad lives?"
Next we hear Boy Montelibano in ABS-CBN News Online. An excerpt:

"The history of CFC includes the formal leadership through a 7-man Council which, in fact, was one man who could overrule the others - if they at all attempted to get in his way. Behind the formal leadership of one was the informal leadership of the spouse. It is not a strange situation in renewal communities and many painful transitions have occurred in communities when traditional leaderships begin to experience growing resistance to the absolute rule of one from the other members. Breaking away after being spurned by a community they had long ruled absolutely is part of a pattern, not an exception. History is full of failed leaders, and they are so many that we do not know of them anymore. History is kind only to the victors, or remembers the ones who went berserk and inflicted massive damage to others."
We also have a wonderful letter from Fr. Tomasito Veneracion of Doha, Qatar, with a message of courage and hope:

Dear Brothers and Sister of CFC Qatar,

I send to all of you warm greetings and felicitations!

I write as your Parish Priest and Spiritual Director with much concern about this letter of Cardinal Rylko and the propaganda it has caused. Reading the letter gave me the impression that the Vatican is very much concerned with your community just like a mother to her children which is contrary to some interpretations coming from the other sides. There is no room for doubt that Cardinal Rylko and the Church is looking after the growth of CFC.

Br. Joe Tale should be commended for admitting the past mistakes. I do not know him personally but I should express my admiration for a man who can do this. A good leader doesn't ran away from his responsibility and point an accusing finger to anybody and everybody. You have with you an admirable leader.

I pity those who use Rylko's letter as a propaganda to discredit CFC. If they think you will simply let go and leave CFC, please tell them what your heart says. Tell them you will not run away and abandon your community. Tell them you have the courage to face all the criticisms they accuse you of. Tell them you will not leave just because you had disagreements with one another. Tell them you have found a family in CFC. Tell them you want to obey and listen to the Church authorities. Tell them you are willing to change for the better. Tell them to leave you alone and instead do what they think they want to do. If they do not leave you alone, beg them or even kneel down before them so they may realize how much you love CFC.

Courage dear brothers and sisters! Today is the time to stand up and admit the mistakes of the past. Today is also the time to move forward and face the future with hope.

Sincerely,

TV

Tomasito Veneracion OFM Cap.
Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Rosary
PO Box 12230
Doha- Qatar



There are many, many others I'd like to point out, like the commentary by WillyJ, Deo Volente, Ernie S, Jonitanitayturin, SleeplessInNJ, and many others who have brought many different perspectives on the table and practiced the gift of gentle correction to our misinformed brethren. You guys who populate the comments make all this worthwhile.

Let it be said now that the REAL substance of this blog lies not in the entries, but in the comment sections. Please keep it up.