(originally released on April 12, 2009)
CFC-GK, under the International Council (IC), has filed court cases against CFC-FFL to contest the use by the latter of the Couples for Christ (CFC) name. These cases have been filed in the Philippines, in the USA, in Canada, and being threatened to be filed in Singapore.
Actions that are uncalled for
This action is ironic, because CFC-FFL has prior legal right to the CFC name by virtue of having the original CFC corporation, the Couples for Christ Foundation Inc. (CFCFI) established in 1984, in the Philippines, where CFC started in 1981. The CFC-GK corporation, Couples for Christ Global Mission Foundation Inc. (CFCGMFI) was established only in 1993. If anyone should oppose the use of the CFC name by another, it should be CFC-FFL opposing CFC-GK.
This action is unbiblical. When the apostles wanted to prevent another exorcist from driving out demons in Jesus’ name, Jesus told them not to prevent him (Mk 9:38-40). When some Corinthians were suing each other in pagan courts, Paul berated and shamed them (1 Cor 6:1-7).
This action is scandalous. The split in CFC is scandalous enough. But both CFCs can transcend this setback and continue to do its work for Christ. But the court cases deepen the disunity and elevate the scandal to a higher level.
This action is disobedience to the bishops and to the Holy See. Many bishops in the Philippines and other countries recognize CFC-FFL. The Holy See, through the Pontifical Council for the Laity, has directed both CFCs to refrain from deepening the disunity and strife between them, to avoid further actions that would heighten the public scandal, and to look to reconciliation and unity.
This action of CFC-GK weakens the witness of CFC in general, and adversely affects the work of the Church in and through CFC. It promotes the work of the evil one.
Not understanding God’s ways
The IC and others in CFC-GK do not understand certain basic spiritual principles.
First, we do not own the work, which is God’s work, of which we are mere instruments. We do not own the flock, which belongs not to us but to Jesus the Good Shepherd. We should simply rejoice if we are able to evangelize, no matter which CFC group (or any other spiritual group for that matter) people join. We do not own the name, as we all carry the name of Christ. This is why CFC-FFL is willing to co-exist with CFC-GK and allow it the use of the name CFC, despite its prior right.
Second, even though CFC-GK has considered us the enemy and acted accordingly, we have not responded in kind, because the real enemy, our common enemy, is the devil. But even if indeed they look on us as the enemy, Jesus tells us to love our enemies. We do not seek to destroy them, unlike what CFC-GK is doing. CFC-FFL has not only not responded in kind to all the attacks of CFC-GK, but we even consider CFC-GK members as brethren in Christ, despite their having veered away from the authentic charism of CFC and despite their antagonistic posture.
Third, our work is not secular but spiritual. We are not to use our minds according to the flesh, that is, being corporate, secular humanist, marketing-minded, or political. Rather, we are to put on the mind of Christ, that is, pastoral, biblical and Christian. The way of the world is the law, the way of Jesus is love. “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.” (1 Cor 15:56).
Finally, CFC-GK is fighting God and not men. They fail to heed the advice of Gamaliel to the Sanhedrin, when they wanted the apostles to stop preaching the name of Jesus. “So now I tell you, have nothing to do with these men, and let them go. For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:38-39).
What should we do?
Reluctantly, we have to defend ourselves from these unjust court suits. We just regret that people in general, including Church personalities, are unable to distinguish between one who instigates the court case and one who is just forced to defend himself.
We must pray for the IC and CFC-GK. They continue to veer away. They are disobedient to the Church hierarchy. They malign workers in the vineyard. They deepen public scandal. They do not help the cause of Christ.
We continue with our pro-active proposal to have one big CFC family but with two separate and distinct branches. This has a lot of precedents in the life of the different religious congregations. This helps pave the way to eventual reconciliation and unity, if that is what God wants.
We trust in Jesus and in his divine mercy.