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In Defense of the Church

On February 6, 2008 Archbishop Angel Lagdameo issued a circular putting to rest the reality of two CFC civil entities under the one "Couples for Christ " charism and lay association, namely Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life and Couples for Christ Global Mission Foundation. In the same document, the archbishop, who is also the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, firmly stated: "any declaration prohibiting any one of the two groups from using the common identity of CFC is contrary to tradition that has been respected and approved by the Church."

Earlier on November 26, 2007 Alfonso Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council of the Family, issued a clarification from the Vatican that "accepting donations from those who promote abortion and contraception will compromise the Gospel of the Family and of Life and will greatly harm our efforts to strengthen and defend the family and life..." as a response to an earlier inquiry whether groups promoting family and life may receive funds from pharmaceutical companies that produce contraceptives or abortifacient pills.

On March 11, 2008, Stanislaw Cardinal Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council of the Laity wrote Couples for Christ Global Mission Foundation, and urged it to spread in the newspapers in the Philippines and on its website an open apology announcing its decision to stop receiving this type of funding.

On April 7, 2008 Couples for Christ Global Mission Foundation partially complied with Archbishop Rylko's letter when it came out with an advertisement in the Philippine Star with an ad containing this message: "We sincerely apologize for any scandal that the Couples for Christ leadership, past or present, may have caused among the faithful with our previous partnerships."

It did not however specify that those "previous partnerships" were entered into by Couples for Christ Global Mission Foundation in connection with Gawad Kalinga, one of its ministries.

Following the Philstar ad, the Catholic Church, Bishop Gabriel Reyes, CFC spiritual director and chair of the Ecclesial Commission of Laity in the Philippines, and Archbishop Rylko, were attacked in media. As a result, Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life, has identified these attackers and their scandalous remarks, and has urged members of both CFCFFL and Couples for Christ Global Mission Foundation, to rise in defense of the Catholic Church.

We are reprinting the statement in toto:

May 6, 2008

Our commitment, as expressed in our statutes, is “to rise in defense of the Roman Catholic Church against the forces that seek to destroy or weaken it.”

In the past few weeks, the Church hierarchy has been subjected to unprecedented attacks.

Against bishops and the Church in general

“…. it is very easy for me to discern falsity, or hypocrisy, especially of the self-righteous who preach much more than they practice.” “And we must forgive those who were anointed to guide and protect us from the evil that has enslaved us for they probably know not what they do.” (Boy Montelibano, “A Mortal Blow to a Mortal Crime,” March 7, 2008)

“In the center of controversy ….. hypocrisy which is a constant presence in the halls of hierarchy ….” (Boy Montelibano, “Hate Campaign against Gawad Kalinga will not Succeed,” April 20, 2008)

“….. the Catholic Church seems determined to preach only the new theology that God wants to reward the wicked and punish the good.” “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.” “I do not claim to know the ways of heaven, but when St. Peter goes out one day to meet Meloto ….., 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.” (Conrado de Quiros, “There’s the Rub,” April 22, 2008)

“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.” “….. fundamentalism and spiritual bigotry. ….. there is hope that erring cardinals and bishops who have veered away will ultimately see the way, the truth and the light.” (Boy Montelibano, “Nobility versus Hypocrisy,” April 23, 2008)

“There are true Christians among Catholics, but there are also Catholics who are not even Christians at all. Sometimes, even the shepherds of Christ’s Church are themselves lost sheep.” “Sad to say, we have the same breed of confused clergy today mouthing condemnation and raising alarums of eternal damnation against members of the Catholic congregation who happen to outdo them in their avowed mission to win hearts and souls for Christ.” “The bishops preach that gambling is evil and yet bishops and cardinals are known to derive a big chunk of funds from gambling operations of PCSO and Pagcor. How can they provide spiritual inspiration to the faithful when they themselves are confused about their own perspectives?” (William Esposo, “How the New Pharisees Undermine the Roman Catholic Church,” April 29, 2008)

“The conflicting messages and actuation of the Church hierarchy among themselves and oftentimes in full view of the public contribute to the lessening of the credibility of this same hierarchy. Worse, the participation or intrusion of the Vatican in a controversy which it should keep away from can lessen its own credibility …..” “….. religious bigotry and fundamentalism.” (Boy Montelibano, “GK Enough or More …. Are we a Church of the Poor?”, April 17, 2008)

Against Bishop Gabriel Reyes

“Bishop Gabriel Reyes ….. wants like Pontius Pilate to appear uninvolved.” (Boy Montelibano, “Hate Campaign against Gawad Kalinga will not Succeed,” April 20, 2008)

“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 .” (Boy Montelibano, “Nobility versus Hypocrisy,” April 23, 2008)

“The actuation of Bishop Gabriel Reyes is suspect because his name had already been reported in another controversy affecting Couples for Christ 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 …..”

“A wide range of issues were raised by the new Pharisees.” “But this makes us wonder if all this hypocrisy that emulates nothing but the Pharisees is at bottom all about money.” (William Esposo, “How the New Pharisees Undermine the Roman Catholic Church,” April 29, 2008)

Against Bishop Reyes and Cardinal Rylko

“What we speak of here in the current brouhaha with the actions of the concerned Church personalities is a matter of Church protocol or even hypocrisy, not Church dogma. As Cardinal Rylko and bishop Gabriel Reyes smear, deliberately or consequently, the most noble work …..” “Cardinal Rylko and Bishop Reyes call it an ‘overemphasis’ on the social instead of the spiritual. That is not only a spiritual distortion, it is contrary to Church teachings. But in the case of Cardinal Rylko, I will call it only ignorance of the truth, or the human weakness of believing a source without sound basis.” “….. from fundamentalism and hypocrisy, from the clutches of the evil that lurks of those who claim to be spiritual and moral leaders.” (Boy Montelibano, “Hate Campaign against Gawad Kalinga will not Succeed,” April 20, 2008)

“Christ did warn us: ‘Beware the devil quoting scripture.’ The new Pharisees and their Vatican ally, Cardinal Rylko, cannot even be consistent with what Pope Benedict XVI has been pushing­social action.” (William Esposo, “How the New Pharisees Undermine the Roman Catholic Church,” April 29, 2008)

“Anyone who reads the letter of Cardinal Rylko can easily deduce that he had fallen for the position of the Pharisees, a position that was apparently espoused and presented by Bishop Reyes who heads the National Council of the Laity here.” (William Esposo, “Updates on the Pharisees, GK and CFC,” May 6, 2008)

Against Cardinal Rylko

“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.” (Conrado de Quiros, “There’s the Rub,” April 22, 2008)

Who are the attackers?

Boy Montelibano is the right-hand man of Tony Meloto, the head of Gawad Kalinga. William Esposo and Conrado de Quiros are associates of Montelibano in a political group that is looking to having Tony Meloto as a candidate for President in 2010.

We deplore the lies, disinformation, and rabble rousing in the writings of these three persons. We deplore the use of media to malign the Church and the hierarchy. We deplore the disrespect to our spiritual shepherds.

We also regret that the CFC International Council under Joe Tale, the members of which have authority over GK, have chosen not to correct or chastise Montelibano, a CFC member and a GK leader. By their silence they betray their concurrence, at the very least, with what has been written.

We declare that there is absolutely no truth to the allegations.

We ask our brethren to continue to engage in spiritual warfare, as the enemy continues to rage. New Age has infiltrated GK, and it is a characteristic of New Agers that they hate the Church. New Age coupled with a political agenda becomes even more diabolical.

We call on all CFC members, both CFC-GK-IC and CFC-FFL, to defend the integrity of the Church, and to reject those who for selfish reasons seek to destroy or weaken it.