Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults

RCIA Podcasts

These podcasts are taken from actual RCIA classes at Franciscan University of Steubenville during the 2006-2007 school year. The RCIA director was Professor Scott Sollom, professor of catechetics. Podcasts used by permission. To save to your computer right click on the link and choose "save link as".

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Tony Meloto’s sanctification
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
Sunday, April 27, 2008

Whenever Fr. Guido Mirti encountered someone who subjected him through an ordeal, he would gratefully say: “Thank you for being part of my sanctification.”

Fr. Guido, also known as Cengia, was the Catholic priest who led the team that established the Focolare Movement in the Philippines in 1966. He lived Christ’s commandment of love which extended even to those who can be regarded as enemies. Fr. Guido has since passed away and those who knew him have no doubt that he has received the sanctification he has aspired for in life.

Fr. Guido came to mind as I was mulling over the old issues being resurrected against Gawad Kalinga (GK). There is little doubt that the new Pharisees who have made it their business to torment GK and its moving spirit, Tony Meloto, are at it again.

Media had immediately seen through the motives of the new Pharisees when these issues were first circulated. These issues resulted in the breakaway of the former head of the Couples for Christ (CFC), Frank Padilla.

Despite the breakaway group’s attempts to discredit GK, the whole world continues to recognize GK as an outstanding phenomenon that addresses poverty through Christian-driven brotherly love and caring. Hardly any print or broadcast media had been ventilating the issues of the new Pharisees anymore while GK continues to enjoy credibility and, hence, media support.

The issues found resurrection when Stanislaw Cardinal Rylko, the head of the Vatican ’s Pontifical Council of the Laity issued a letter to the CFC that they should ensure the Catholic focus of GK. Here comes poor Cardinal Rylko from over 10,000 miles away reportedly asking CFC to apologize for non-existent issues. It reeked of scandal-mongering new Pharisees at work.

The original Pharisees were the self-righteous religious leaders who slyly engineered the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Trust the Pharisees to manage to mete a death penalty on the noblest of deeds. They do this while occupying center stage in the temple to demonstrate their hypocritical profession of piety and holiness.

In a September 20, 2007 posting on www.restorecfc.multiply.com (website of Frank Padilla’s breakaway group), Padilla admitted having sought and talked to Cardinal Rylko.

Padilla stated that he went “to speak with Archbishop Rylko and apprise him of the situation of CFC. That is my responsibility as the one who got our recognition and as the one whose name appears in our recognition.”

Now, do you think that Frank Padilla told Cardinal Rylko the whole unvarnished truth or did he try to sell to the Cardinal his slanted version of the controversy?

In singling out a pharmaceutical company as core issue, do you think Frank Padilla even bothered to put things in perspective by explaining that the company’s support to GK was given way before it acquired a company that produced contraceptives?

Did Frank Padilla bother to tell Cardinal Rylko that the donation had no strings attached?

Do you think that Frank Padilla told Cardinal Rylko that a top executive of that pharmaceutical company is a long-standing CFC member, a practicing Christian who sincerely believes in the CFC and GK mission?

Do you think that Frank Padilla told Cardinal Rylko that the issue that GK was allowing the Mormons to donate and preach their religion was also a non-issue because GK never allowed the donation under the unacceptable Mormon conditions?

Do you think that Frank Padilla told Cardinal Rylko that the issue being raised that GK funds are unaccounted for is pure rubbish because he knows very well that there is an auditing firm that accounts for all these?

Still on the issue of funds, do you think that Frank Padilla told Cardinal Rylko that it was during his watch in CFC when they received funds from the Arroyo regime to the tune of P50 million which has since become the source of controversy?

These were some of the issues that Padilla and his demolition gang were raising against Tony Meloto and GK. How fair and balanced was Padilla when he briefed Cardinal Rylko on these issues?

Do you think that Frank Padilla told Cardinal Rylko that even the few Bishops here, notably Bishops Gabby Reyes and Soc Villegas, who started to sympathize with his breakaway group have since taken the eventual CBCP stand of disallowing his breakaway group from grabbing and using the CFC name?

Do you think that Frank Padilla told Cardinal Rylko that the clear majority of CFC did not side with him or leave with his breakaway group?

Do you think that Frank Padilla told Cardinal Rylko that all this started from personal envy, from the jealous few who could not accept the success of GK and the role of Tony Meloto in steering GK as a highly effective Christian anti-poverty movement?

Frank Padilla justified his meeting with Cardinal Rylko as “my responsibility as the one who got our recognition and as the one whose name appears in our recognition.”

Is he aware that his statement smacks of the smug arrogance of one who regards CFC as a personal fiefdom? He was no longer CFC top honcho and yet he feels it is still his responsibility to brief the Cardinal about the recent CFC events.

Do you think it is right if Cory Aquino spoke before the UN to explain why Joseph Estrada was ousted as president in 2001 — just because she was the one who restored democracy in the Philippines in 1986?

Christ said: “Not he who says Lord, Lord loves me but he who follows my commandment.” And that commandment is essentially this: “Whatsoever you do to the least of your brethren, you do unto me.”

Do you think that Frank Padilla internalized at all the essence of the Christianity he professes to evangelize? Don’t you think that Tony Meloto and the GK movers are indeed the genuine Christians for what they are doing to the least of their brethren?

* * *

Chair Wrecker e-mail and website: macesposo@yahoo.com and www.chairwreck er.com


Nobility versus hypocrisy
By Jose Ma. Montelibano
First Posted 01:16:00 04/25/2008

"If Satan appears to me and gives me money, I will accept the money and spend it all for the poor. It is not the practice of the Church to ask donors where their donations come from. Our duty is to make sure all donations go to the poor. The devil remains ... my enemy but I will use his resources to feed the poor." — Jaime Cardinal Sin, Oct. 25, 2000, defending the Catholic Church's acceptance of a total of P181 million in donations from the government casino firm Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) since 1998.

In an early-September 2005 column, Conrad de Quiros wrote that after criticisms about the Church receiving Pagcor funds, the then outgoing president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Bishop Fernando Capalla, said, "The principle of morality does not apply in this situation. There is nothing wrong with accepting money from gambling operations so long as the money goes directly to the poor."

Quoting Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Bishop Capalla then said, "I'd rather be criticized than let the poor die of sickness and hunger."

The three most senior and influential personalities of the Catholic Church hierarchy have been consistent in their pronouncements about the primacy of the work for the poor. It must be that their whole spiritual and pastoral experience grounds them to the very mission for which Christ was sent to earth by His Father, and the very criteria by which all human beings, most especially Christians, will be judged at the end of time.

All Catholics with interest in their faith know the guidance of the Church hierarchy through the public pronouncements of the late Cardinal Sin, the former president of the CBCP, Bishop Capalla, and the famous Bishop of Cebu, Cardinal Vidal. Thus, it makes it all the suspect that Bishop Gabriel Reyes as head of LAIKO in the Philippines will choose to forget the guidance of the major pastoral leaders of Filipinos and seek an opinion of Stanislaw Cardinal Rylko of the Vatican. Feigning ignorance or forgetfulness of a principle that all his colleagues collectively use to justify their receiving of funds from less than clean sources, Bishop Reyes finally gets Cardinal Rylko to state that Gawad Kalinga should not enter into a partnership with pharmaceutical firms who produce anti-life products.

In news reports that give as basis private communication between Cardinal Rylko, Bishop Reyes, and Couples for Christ executive director Joe Tale, who incidentally is also Gawad Kalinga board chairman, it was headlined that the Vatican admonishes and chastises Gawad Kalinga's "overemphasis on social work." The statement is not only shocking, but utterly absurd. It is, in fact, quite perverted because of the fact that it comes from the Catholic Church as orchestrated by a bishop from the Philippines.

The story of poverty and corruption in our homeland is not anymore fresh news, only the intermittent introduction of new faces in deep pain from the ranks of the poor, or the new ways by which those in power manipulate the siphoning of billions from the treasury to personal pockets. What is generally known but not so talked about is the participation, by commission or omission, of the Catholic Church in causing and perpetuating the situation of poverty and corruption. A few opinion writers like Conrad de Quiros do take occasional potshots at the hypocrisy of some bishops, but there are not many more.

Because of the same reluctance to taint the religious despite solid reasons for doing so, the Catholic Church in the United States finally was forced in several legal settlements to pay more than a billion dollars to victims of sexual abuse committed by priests and bishops. For a very long time, these sexual abuses were hidden from public knowledge, many of them denied, in fact, and the guilty ones were allowed to go unpunished and even promoted in some instances. But wrongdoing is more easily detected and exposed today, unfortunately not from the exercise of higher values or the practice of Catholicism but from the power of technology that is steadily forcing everything to be transparent.

The actuation of Bishop Gabriel Reyes is suspect because his name had already been reported in another controversy affecting Couples for Christ (CFC) last year. Seen clearly by the hundreds of thousands of CFC members as a partisan supporter of a breakaway splinter group, Bishop Reyes has done much to damage the image of the Church to these Catholics who do much more in living out their fate than most others who can claim membership only by name and by ritual. Mainstream CFC has remained quiet, matching what they see as duplicity of authority by an outer show of respect and obedience which is just as false. Leaders of organizations of the laity are quickly taught that honesty and courage can be dangerous while compromise and hypocrisy can get you there faster.

Gawad Kalinga, though, need not listen to Bishop Gabriel Reyes. Its own experience with this Bishop of Antipolo is another story in itself and reserved for another day. Gawad Kalinga is a secular organization, an independent juridical body, and is Catholic, not by law but by choice, because most of its officers, workers, volunteers and partners are Catholics who strive to be more authentic than their pastors. Gawad Kalinga is not a subsidiary of CFC or submitted to it by legal requirement. That Gawad Kalinga is identified with CFC is natural and beneficial because two independent bodies have become almost like one from a shared history and shared values. The law created them separately and treats them separately, but a common membership bonds the two entities powerfully.

It is an emerging reality, though, that Gawad Kalinga will expand well beyond CFC. Its nature is ecumenist, nonjudgmental, multi-sectoral, inclusive yet deeply anchored on faith in God, love of neighbor and sacrifice for country. Most know, but do not mind, that Gawad Kalinga is Catholic in its perspective—the Catholic who heeds calls from the Pope for ecumenism and rejects temptations towards fundamentalism and spiritual bigotry. In Gawad Kalinga, Catholicism is not preached, it is witnessed. Very soon, millions more will see, will understand, and will be part of Gawad Kalinga.

Pope Benedict XVI has just affirmed the Gawad Kalinga way by reaching out to the most anti-life nation and accepting the welcome of the most anti-life president, both anti-life by Catholic Church definition. The Pope affirmed the primacy of engagement over condemnation in fidelity to the footsteps of his Church's Divine Founder. With the Pope's courage and wisdom, there is hope that erring cardinals and bishops who have veered away will ultimately see the way, the truth and the light.


Theres The Rub

By Conrado de Quiros
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:17:00 04/22/2008

The way they're going, I wouldn't be surprised if more Filipinos turned Buddhist or Islamic or downright atheist. The Catholic Church is giving them every reason to. Except for luminous exceptions like Pope John Paul II and, nearer home, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo and the Association of Major Religious Superiors, the Catholic Church seems determined to preach only the new theology that God wants to reward the wicked and punish the good.

The Church's latest disincentive to faith is the letter of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Laity to Couples for Christ seeking to "correct" what is wrong with it. What's wrong with it presumably is that it is devoting its energies to Gawad Kalinga (GK), Tony Meloto's brainchild. Still more specifically, what's wrong with it is that GK is overemphasizing social work and accepting donations from pharmaceutical companies manufacturing contraceptives.

I know Meloto, we were both scholars at the Ateneo de Manila University and worked as porters at night to pay for our room and board at the dorm. I'm convinced that if the ranks of Catholics in this country have not gotten paper-thin, it's because of people like him. He is living proof that God works in mysterious ways and prefers his tribe rather than those who claim to be "close kami ni God" [“God and I are close”] who are Vatican's lieutenants and many of this country's bishops, to convey his truth to the world. I haven't met a more resolutely Christian person. Hell, I haven't met a more resolutely sincere person.

What on earth, or heaven, is wrong with accepting donations from companies that produce contraceptives? I leave the question of abortion to the usual suspects, but contraceptives? It's not as if they are weapons of mass destruction or toxic elements that cause cancer, like cigarettes. Condoms merely prevent human substance from exploding in the wrong places. Bombs induce inhuman substance to explode in the very wrong places, like public markets and hospitals. Particularly these days when the specter of famine sweeps not just across a few lands but across the world, courtesy of a runaway population outstripping food production, you've got to wonder if the Rock, which was what Christ called the Church, hasn't become a pebble.

Why shouldn't Meloto accept money from those companies to feed and house the poor? Tony himself cries out eloquently, and not without a trace of sarcasm: "Should all Catholics who work with pharmaceuticals resign? Why is it OK for many Catholic organizations to receive money from them and not OK for GK to care for the poor...? If loving this country, serving the children, is anti-life, then I need to be enlightened again as a Catholic because I only desire to be faithful."

What I myself find galling is that the Vatican should worry about GK accepting money from companies that manufacture contraceptives and be smug about its clergy in the form of the Filipino bishops accepting money from a patently poisonous source. That poisonous source, or cholera-producing well, being Malacañang and its milking cows, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. The latter two directly engage in gambling, an activity that, completely unlike safe sex, has been known to spread disease, if of the mind. Meloto merely accepts money from pharmaceuticals that promote contraception, the bishops accept money from someone who promotes the abortion of democracy. Meloto merely accepts money from pharmaceuticals to do nothing more than feed and house the poor. The bishops accept money from a hypocritical to do everything in their power to keep her in power just so they could fatten and gladden themselves.

But the more mind-boggling thing is the charge that GK is overemphasizing social work. You would laugh, except that it hurts. Again Meloto cries out: "My pain as Catholic and as Filipino is seeing our people suffer from poverty and our country labeled as corrupt. We have not done enough for our poor countrymen. Poverty in the only Catholic country in Asia is a failure in discipleship and Christian stewardship. My dream is for the world to see that it is possible for a Catholic country to rise from poverty because we practice what we preach." That makes him more Christian than Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales. Hell, that makes him more Christian than the Pope.

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?

At the very most, that even a religious organization itself, which the clergy represents, should somehow betray its Christian teachings by plucking the hungry from the claws of hunger and the homeless from the lash of wind and rain is battier. Didn't Christ say what you do for the least of your brethren you do for him? Didn't Christ say not everyone who says, "Lord! Lord!" will enter the kingdom of God? And didn't Christ spend his time on the road with fishers and a well-known prostitute rather than in the temple with the Pharisees who were better-known prostitutes? I do not claim to know the ways of heaven, but when St. Peter goes out one day to meet Meloto who has praised his God silently by doing the most for the least of his brethren, and the bishops who have praised their God loudly by refusing to condemn the most corrupt of their "sisthren," I have a good idea whom he will send upstairs and downstairs.

Christ did say one other thing. It wasn't that the sick shall inherit the earth, it was that the meek would.



The fruit of silence is PRAYER.

The fruit of prayer is FAITH.

The fruit of faith is LOVE.

The fruit of love is SERVICE.

The fruit of service is PEACE.

An Indian admirer of Mother Teresa, a businessman, once had five lines printed for her on small yellow cards. These she called her "business cards" and she offered them freely to people because they clearly explained the direction of her work, her simple path. This path is one that she has distilled from her long experience of working for the love of God with her fellow human beings. It is composed of six essential steps:

  • Silence

  • Prayer

  • Faith

  • Love

  • Service

  • Peace

Familiarity with one will naturally lead on to another. If one surrenders to the nature of the process, life will inevitably run more smoothly, more joyfully, and more peacefully.

This quotation was taken from "A Simple Path", Compiled by Lucinda Vardey, Ballantine Books, NY

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Remember the Small Things

heart.jpg (5444 bytes)

Remember the Small Things
Some of my sisters work in Australia. On a reservation, among the Aborigines, there was an elderly man. I can assure you that you have never seen a situation as difficult as that poor old man's. He was completely ignored by everyone. His home was disordered and dirty.

I told him, "Please, let me clean your house, wash your clothes, and make your bed." He answered, "I'm okay like this. Let it be."

I said again, "You will be still better if you allow me to do it."

He finally agreed. So I was able to clean his house and wash his clothes. I discovered a beautiful lamp, covered with dust. Only God knows how many years had passed since he last lit it.

I said to him, "Don't you light your lamp? Don't you ever use it?"

He answered, "No. No one comes to see me. I have no need to light it. Who would I light it for?"

I asked, "Would you light it every night if the sisters came?"

He replied, "Of course."

From that day on the sisters committed themselves to visiting him every evening. We cleaned the lamp, and the sisters would light it every evening.

Two years passed. I had completely forgotten that man. He sent this message: "Tell my friend that the light she lit in my life continues to shine still."

I thought it was a very small thing. We often neglect small things.

Friday, April 25, 2008

CFC's RESPONSE: "The Real Truth!" to FFL's "The Real Issue"

Read more here: Once and For All

(Jan 29, 2008)

CFC’S RESPONSE (in blue bold letters)


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.”


(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.


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.


Download the PDF document HERE.