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Thursday, June 26, 2008

"Uncoupled" CFC battle over name

This split-up within the CFC is very interesting, the major cause of which was Gawad Kalinga's acceptance of donations from companies promoting artificial contraception. The Vatican said they should focus more on evangelization, that is values-building rather than engaging in social work. WTF! What are those values for anyway?!


"Uncoupled" CFC battle over name

By Kristine L. Alave

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 07:34:00 06/25/2008

MANILA, Philippines—Two Catholic lay groups that sprang from a split in Couples for Christ last year are battling each other for the use of the CFC name.

The fight over the CFC brand between the CFC-Foundation for Family and Life (CFC-FFL), which is headed by Frank Padilla, and the CFC-International Council (CFC-IC), which works with Tony Meloto and Gawad Kalinga, came to a head early this month after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lifted the 2003 revocation order on the use of the name Couples for Christ Foundation Inc.

Meloto and Padilla, both founding members of the country’s biggest Catholic lay group, stepped down from the board of CFC last year over debates on the group’s direction.

The SEC issued the revocation order in 2003 after the CFC failed to comply with certain registration requirements.

Since the SEC order was issued early this month, the two organizations have issued strongly worded statements, both claiming the right to use the name on their websites.

Padilla, in a letter to CFC-FFL members, said they had the right to bear the CFC name—not CFC-IC—as CFC-FFL was the one recognized by the Catholic Church and the state.

“On June 5, the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission, on our petition, issued an order reviving the original CFC foundation established in 1984, the Couples for Christ Foundation Inc. (CFCFI). This means that we now have legal right to the name CFC and this is a prior right to that of CFC-GK-IC, with its corporation of CFCGMFI (Couples for Christ Global Mission Foundation Inc.) established in 1993,” Padilla said in his letter posted on the CFC-FFL website.

Recognized by the Church

Padilla added that many members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), including its president, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, and Commission on the Laity chair, Bishop Gabriel Reyes, recognize his group.

“Even from the moral and ethical standpoint, we can and should use the name CFC. The Church considers me the founder of CFC, and in the ecclesiology (the nature and organization of the Church) of new movements, the charism (grace given by God) resides on the founder. Where the founder is, there is the charism. Where the charism is, there is the authentic CFC,” Padilla said.

He added that the CFC-IC could use the CFC name “as long as they strive to not let go of what it means to be truly CFC.”

The CFC-IC, on the other hand, said it would continue using the name CFC “because we ARE Couples for Christ.”

The group, led by Jose Tale, stressed that it had been registered as Couples for Christ Global Mission Foundation Inc. since 1993 and thus, had every legal right to use the CFC name.

“We have not lost the name and we do not intend to lose it. We still retain Vatican and CBCP recognition as a private international association of the lay faithful. We are still mandated, by virtue of the Vatican statutes, to proceed confidently with our mission and to fulfill our role as evangelizers and missionaries,” the CFC-IC said on its website.

‘We’ll fight it’

The CFC-IC said the SEC decision was not final and executory and that it would fight for the right to use the CFC appellation.

“We have solid grounds to question the SEC decision. The CFC was not given the opportunity to be heard even if we had a continuing objection to the revival of this inactive foundation submitted to the SEC as early as July 2007. Also, the alleged bases for the petition for revival are highly questionable,” the CFC-IC said.

Tagbilaran Bishop Leonardo Medroso, chair of the Episcopal Commission on Canon Law, said it was a good thing the groups had sought legal clarification on the right to use the CFC name to settle the issue with finality.

Social work vs values

Padilla left the CFC to form his own breakaway group in August 2007 after voicing his opposition to Gawad Kalinga, a low-cost housing program which Meloto promoted.

Padilla reportedly did not approve of Gawad Kalinga’s policy of accepting donations from companies that market artificial family planning and other values opposed to CFC. He also called for more vigorous evangelization efforts from CFC members.

Meloto, on the other hand, said the CFC should be also involved in nation-building. He defended the Gawad Kalinga project, saying it has improved the lives of the poor.

In March 2008, the Vatican’s Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko stepped into the conflict and said the CFC would have to refocus its energies from social work to values-building.