By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

MANILA, April 21, 2008 ( – The Manila-based Catholic lay movement, Couples for Christ (CFC), has published in a local newspaper an apology for accepting funds from companies that produce contraceptives.

As reported last month by, a letter addressed to Philippines Bishop Gabriel Reyes from Alfonso Cardinal Lopez Trujilo, president of the Pontificium Consilium Pro Familia (Pontifical Council for the Family) said that accepting donations from those who promote abortion and contraception is contrary to the Gospel, and will greatly harm efforts to strengthen and defend life and the family.

Bishop Reyes said a recent “internal private letter” from Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, to CFC president Jose Tale gave further guidance with regard to the work done by this organization and an affiliated group called Gawad Kalinga (Give Care).

Bishop Reyes said he did not think that the letter from the Vatican referring to Gawad Kalinga was an admonition, but the Vatican had the authority and duty to remind and guide lay groups.

“It is more of a guidance, a correction. It is merely correcting the overemphasis on social work. It is correcting receiving funds from pharmaceutical companies who support or manufacture contraceptives. It is saying, stop acting like that,” he said.

The letter carried a quote from Pope Benedict XVI that said: “Whoever does not give God, gives too little.”

“Overemphasis on social work is not good when you are already neglecting your relationship with Christ,” the Bishop cautioned.

Reyes further said the CFC had always been against artificial family planning but that Gawad Kalinga had been receiving funds from companies manufacturing contraceptives.

“If you do that, you are forgetting Christian values. You can always work with everyone-Muslims, Buddhists-but still not forget Christian values. We can remain Christians. We should not forget our Christian values,” he said.

The public apology was published in the Philippine Star newspaper. It outlined the goals and mission of Couples for Christ and its four core values – pro-God, pro-family, pro-life, and pro-poor, but also wrote: “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 further stated, “We will continue to pursue the work for the poor through Gawad Kalinga and our social ministries. Gawad Kalinga is an integral part of our life and mission resulting from our spiritual growth and our commitment to God to love the poor. We will do our mission in full communion with the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and in observance of the statutes of Couples for Christ as a private international association of the faithful as approved by Pontifical Council for the laity. We will continue to defend, protect and promote life in accordance with the guidelines set by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.”

See previous coverage:

Vatican Advises Philippines Bishop Not to Accept Donations from Firms that Produce Contraceptives