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International Statutes of Couples for Christ
by the CFC Council (September 25, 2004)
and the Pontifical Council for the Laity (March 1, 2005)
  1. Nature and Purpose
    1. COUPLES FOR CHRIST (CFC) is a private international association of faithful of pontifical right recognized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity. It is committed to the work of global evangelization and renewal, with the goal of winning the world for Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
    2. COUPLES FOR CHRIST started in June 1981 in Manila, Philippines, which now functions as the center for its global work.
    3. COUPLES FOR CHRIST throughout the world is one unified work, with unity of vision and mission. It is one family, related through mutual love, respect and unity of heart and mind. It is one army, working tenaciously to establish and spread the Lord's dominion on earth.
    4. COUPLES FOR CHRIST is a missionary body, and the families throughout the world that make up COUPLES FOR CHRIST are to be families that will be instruments of the Holy Spirit in renewing the face of the earth.
  2. Vision and Mission
    1. COUPLES FOR CHRIST is called to rise in defense of the family which is God's work. It is called to bring families back to the plan of God. It is called to bring the Lord's strength and light to those who are struggling to be truly Christian families in the modern world.
    2. COUPLES FOR CHRIST works for Christian family renewal at various levels--the individual, the family, the larger community.
      1. Individual renewal. COUPLES FOR CHRIST takes the basic message of Christianity and proclaims it anew so that those who hear it can make a renewed commitment to God in a way that will allow them to receive a fuller experience of the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
      2. Family renewal. As couples renew their commitment to God, they also renew their commitment to one another and to their Christian family life. Gradually, the new life that they find in the Lord filters down to all their family relationships.
      3. Church renewal. As individual families are renewed, they form a network of committed Christian families that not only support one another but also strengthen the Church of which they are members.
        1. COUPLES FOR CHRIST is committed to work for Catholic re-evangelization first and foremost, but looks to the ideal of Christian unity and will also serve the other Christian Churches whenever possible, in full respect and in conformity with the Catholic identity of the association.
        2. COUPLES FOR CHRIST is committed to building up vibrant Christian communities in the parishes, dioceses and localities where its members congregate.
      4. Societal/national/global renewal. COUPLES FOR CHRIST, in raising up holy Christian men and women, likewise raises up responsible members of society and patriotic citizens of countries.
    3. COUPLES FOR CHRIST carries out its mission of renewal throughout the world by focusing on three basic areas—evangelization and Church renewal, family life renewal, and total Christian liberation.
      1. Evangelization and Church renewal. COUPLES FOR CHRIST is called to a work of evangelization that is rapid, massive and global.
        1. Every CFC member is to be an evangelizer and is to live an evangelistic lifestyle.
      2. Family life renewal. COUPLES FOR CHRIST's work of evangelization, formation and support is situated in the context of Christian family living.
        1. COUPLES FOR CHRIST is committed to the defense and strengthening of families and of Christian family values.
        2. COUPLES FOR CHRIST seeks to build a network of committed Christian couples and families throughout the world.
      3. Total Christian liberation. COUPLES FOR CHRIST is committed to work for the liberation of the human person, especially the poor, from whatever is not of God, from such evils as poverty, oppression, injustice.
  3. Membership
    1. Membership in COUPLES FOR CHRIST is open to any validly married Catholic couple, and to other individuals through its Family and Special Ministries.
      1. COUPLES FOR CHRIST draws its membership from all sectors of society--young and old, rich and poor, educated or illiterate, etc. COUPLES FOR CHRIST transcends all racial, cultural, economic, educational, social and other distinctions.
      2. Though a Catholic community, COUPLES FOR CHRIST is open to membership by non-Catholic Christians, who can join as associate members. Associate members can participate fully in the non-sacramental life and mission of COUPLES FOR CHRIST, and must recognize and defer to the Catholic nature of the community. Non-Catholic associates, though remaining faithful to their Church, have to accept, respect, and defer to the principles and teachings of the Catholic Church on marriage, human sexuality and the family.
    2. Those who want to join COUPLES FOR CHRIST go through a seminar called a Christian Life Program (CLP) for adults, or a Youth Camp for young adults. The CLP and Youth Camp are integrated courses leading into a renewed understanding of God's call to Christians, to a personal response of accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, and to receiving a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit on their lives.
      1. After the CLP or Youth Camp, those who finish are invited to join COUPLES FOR CHRIST or its Family or Special Ministries. by making their commitment by way of a covenant, and are then integrated into the body.
    3. Membership may be terminated by the leadership for any of the following reasons:
      • Serious unrepented wrongdoing.
      • Gross unfaithfulness to the covenant of CFC.
      • Public opposition to CFC teachings and culture, as well as official Church teachings.
      • Ongoing disruption of good order in the community.
      • Any other act that would seriously undermine the life and mission of CFC.
      1. Such termination of membership is decided and implemented by the Chapter Head. The member terminated has the right to appeal, in which case the decision on his/her termination will be deliberated on and decided by the succeeding higher levels of leadership, and if necessary, all the way up to the CFC International Council.
      2. Any member may voluntarily leave COUPLES FOR CHRIST at any time and for any reason.
  4. Corporate Life and Formation
    1. Those who join COUPLES FOR CHRIST are made part of a small cell group called a household. The household is composed of from 4 to 7 couples or individuals who meet weekly for mutual support and encouragement in the Christian life, under the direction of a Household Head.
      1. The household meetings are normally held in the homes of the group members, on rotation basis. A typical meeting would involve some time for prayers, a time for sharing or discussion, and finally some time for fellowship.
    2. All members undergo continuing formation both in the Christian life and also in the life and mission of CFC.
      1. The first-year formation program, mandatory for all couple-members, consists of the Christian Life Program, the Covenant Orientation, the Marriage Enrichment Retreat, and Evangelization Training. For individual members, they would have their corresponding formation program.
      2. Beyond the first year, there are other teachings and courses that are made available to the membership. Some are mandatory for various levels of leadership while others are optional.
    3. Members of COUPLES FOR CHRIST are related to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. As such, their relationship is not to be functional but should reflect the intimacy of Christian love, caring and sharing.
  5. Organization
    1. COUPLES FOR CHRIST in a particular territorial area is divided into sectors, clusters, chapters, units, and households.
      1. The household is the basic cell grouping in CFC. It is a working Basic Ecclesial Community. It is in the household where members share their lives more intimately and support one another in their spiritual growth.
        1. Every CFC member has to belong to a household, from which he/she is to draw personal life support.
        2. A lack of faithfulness to household meetings for no acceptable reason is ground for termination of one's membership in CFC.
        3. The composition of household groups is not permanent but is changed from time to time, to accommodate numerical and territorial growth, and for pastoral reasons.
      2. A unit is a grouping of from 3 to 7 households, and is led by a Unit Head.
      3. A chapter is a grouping of from 3 to 7 units, and is led by a Chapter Head. The chapter is the basic pastoral subdivision of the community that is COUPLES FOR CHRIST.
        1. Chapters are normally split from year to year, to accommodate growth through the creation of new chapters. A chapter is not to grow indefinitely in size, but is limited by the allowable number of units, which in turn is limited by the allowable number of households.
    2. When the number of chapters in a particular territorial area has grown, clusters may be established, led by Cluster Heads. Their task is to oversee the life and mission of the various chapters within their cluster.
    3. When the number of clusters in a particular territorial area has grown, sectors may be established, led by Sector Heads. Their task is to oversee the life and mission of the various clusters within their sector.
    4. All chapters within a territorial area are under the authority and supervision of an Area Council, whose task is to oversee the life and mission of CFC in that area.
      1. An Area Council may not be necessary during the initial stages in the growth of CFC in a particular area. It should be formed at the opportune time, as decided by the overall leadership.
      2. An area would normally conform to the political subdivisions of a particular country. These may be provinces, states or any other territorial subdivision of a country. Should any of these areas be too large, it is possible to further subdivide a particular area into two or more areas.
    5. At the opportune time, when it is deemed necessary, a National Council may be established. It is the task of the National Council to oversee and promote the life and mission of CFC in a particular country.
    6. Overseeing and promoting the life and mission of CFC throughout the world is the CFC International Council based in Manila.
    7. CFC groups in a particular country or area may establish COUPLES FOR CHRIST as a foundation or corporation or formal association, in accordance with local and/or national laws, for purposes of conducting transactions as a juridical entity.
      1. Such juridical personality however does not supersede the more basic reality that COUPLES FOR CHRIST is part of the body of Christ and is an international Christian community with its own organization, government and patterns of life.
  6. Leadership and Government
    1. There are many levels of leadership in COUPLES FOR CHRIST. Whatever the level, it is to be a servant leadership, in the example of Jesus.
      1. Except for the CFC International Council, leaders are appointed by those over them, done through prayerful discernment.
      2. Leaders are chosen on the basis of capability, pastoral experience and growth in holiness and discipleship. Leaders are not chosen merely on the basis of seniority in CFC membership, experience or leadership in other religious organizations, or leadership in secular organizations.
      3. Leaders may be removed if it becomes obvious that they are no longer able to carry out their responsibilities effectively.
    2. Household Heads are appointed by the Chapter Head in consultation with the Unit Heads and the CLP Team Leader. Unit Heads are appointed by the Chapter Head. Chapter Heads are appointed by the Area Council.
    3. Area Council members are appointed by the Area Head (provincial, state, etc.), in consultation with the elders of that particular area, and subject to the approval of the National Council (for areas within a country) or Country Coordinator (for the different countries).
      1. The Area Council has the following role and responsibilities:
        • To promote the vision and mission of CFC within its area.
        • To govern CFC in its area.
        • To ensure preservation of the CFC vision and culture.
      2. The Area Council is headed by an Area Director, who is appointed by the Area Head.
    4. National Council members are appointed by the Country Coordinator, in consultation with the elders of that particular country, and subject to the approval of the International Mission Director.
      1. The National Council has the following role and responsibilities:
        • To promote the vision and mission of CFC throughout the country.
        • To oversee and coordinate the work of CFC in the country.
        • To ensure preservation of the CFC vision and culture.
      2. The National Council is headed by a National Director, who is appointed by the Country Coordinator.
    5. The Country Coordinator is appointed by the CFC International Council upon the recommendation of the International Mission Director.
      1. The Country Coordinator has the following role and responsibilities:
        • To oversee the life and mission of CFC in a particular country.
        • To promote and support the CFC mission throughout the country.
        • To help integrate the CFC country group into the international CFC community.
    6. The members of the CFC International Council are selected by the Seniors Assembly from a list of nominees prepared by the incumbent Council and the Board of Seniors.
      1. The Seniors Assembly is composed of Sector Heads in Manila, Area Heads and Regional Heads for Philippine provinces, Regional Coordinators, Directors and Mission Directors in Manila, National Directors of major ministries, and members of the CFC International Council and the Board of Seniors, together with their respective spouses (if any).
      2. The CFC International Council has the following role and responsibilities:
        • To promote the establishment of CFC throughout the world.
        • To support and oversee the life and mission of CFC throughout the world.
        • To approve the establishment of CFC groups in new areas and accredit them as officially part of the worldwide CFC family.
        • To appoint Country Coordinators.
        • To act as guardian of the CFC vision and culture.
        • To act as final arbiter of all disputes within the international CFC community.
      3. The CFC International Council is the overall top governing body for the international CFC community. It is the overall policy-making body that determines major policies for the entire body.
        1. Policies of CFC groups in different areas throughout the world should always conform to policies set by the CFC International Council.
        2. In cases of different interpretations as to the meaning or application of these statutes, the interpretation of the CFC International Council will prevail.
      4. As a Catholic community, only Catholics may become members of the CFC Council.
      5. The CFC International Council is headed by a CFC Director, who is appointed by the CFC International Council.
    7. Other offices and positions of leadership may be set up and utilized from time to time as needed, to be determined by the CFC International Council.
  7. The International CFC Community
    1. The worldwide CFC family has the same basic mission throughout the world. Our task is to serve the Lord basically in three areas: evangelization, family life renewal, and total Christian liberation.
    2. The worldwide CFC family is guided by the following principles: unity and uniformity, interdependence, and accountability.
      1. 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.
      2. Uniformity. CFC groups throughout the world are to be distinguishable in any part of the world by any member. This is accomplished by uniformity in the most important elements that make a group a part of the worldwide CFC family.
        1. Concretely, CFC groups are expected to do the following:
          • Bear the name "Couples for Christ." A local translation of this name may also be used.
          • Adopt the same logo.
          • Adopt the same statements of mission and philosophy.
          • Adopt the same covenant of CFC.
          • Adopt the same initiations course into CFC, which is the Christian Life Program.
          • Adopt the same formation program for the first year of membership.
          • Place all members into households that meet weekly for mutual support and formation.
          • Adopt similar pastoral and leadership structures, which evolve as the CFC group grows.
          • Foster the same charismatic spirituality.
        2. COUPLES FOR CHRIST does recognize the need for local cultural adaptation in some cases, as long as such does not compromise the essentials of the CFC life, and as long as the same is approved by the CFC International Council.
      3. 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.
        1. A CFC group within a particular country will decide on its own specific plans and strategies with which to carry out the CFC mission, but always in line with CFC's global direction and thrusts.
        2. Being a global partnership, the work and well-being of every CFC group is a matter of concern for all others. All CFC groups should be open to extending support and cooperation to other CFC groups.
        3. Whenever possible, CFC groups should be open to sharing their resources with other CFC groups. This would include human pastoral resources, finances, teachings, effective programs and strategies, etc.
        4. The worldwide CFC family should form a network of prayer and intercession.
      4. Accountability. The different CFC groups throughout the world are accountable to the Lord for their life and service, and as a concrete and practical expression of this, are accountable to the CFC International Council for the conduct of their life and work, while preserving always the rights of the local Ordinary.
        1. CFC groups in the different countries should take initiative in pursuing the CFC vision and mission, and should work towards being self-sufficient, self-reliant and self-supporting as to the required human, financial and logistical resources.
        2. CFC Manila functions as the center for the work of COUPLES FOR CHRIST throughout the world. The CFC International Council (Manila) is tasked with overseeing the global work of CFC, strengthening the life and mission of CFC throughout the world, and preserving the unity of the worldwide family.
        3. The CFC International Council accredits CFC groups as officially part of the international CFC community, and may remove such accreditation for any valid reason or just cause.
        4. The CFC International Council acts as the ultimate arbiter for any unresolved conflicts or disputes within the international CFC community, while preserving always the dispositions given by the universal legislation of the Church.
  8. Finances
    1. The worldwide work of COUPLES FOR CHRIST is generally financed through the voluntary contributions of its members.
    2. The finances of the different CFC groups in different countries are handled separately from each other. However, there remains a moral accountability for all funds, with proper financial stewardship being under the oversight of the CFC International Council.
      1. Within a particular country, finances of different CFC groups may be handled separately for convenience or practicality, but the National Council ultimately takes responsibility for the proper handling and disposition of all CFC funds within the country.
    3. CFC members are encouraged to also contribute generously to the material and financial needs of their parish.
    4. For its work with the poor, COUPLES FOR CHRIST will seek partnerships with groups in the larger society, which then generate sponsorships and donations for the work.
    5. No CFC group will undertake any fundraising activity outside of the group itself in the name of COUPLES FOR CHRIST without first securing the approval of the National Council, or by the Area Council if so delegated by the National Council.
    6. COUPLES FOR CHRIST maintains an International Mission Fund (IMF) in Manila, which is used to establish COUPLES FOR CHRIST in new countries or areas. CFC members and area and country groups are encouraged to contribute to this fund as part of their participation in CFC's global work.
  9. CFC as a servant within the Catholic Church
    1. COUPLES FOR CHRIST is a Catholic community, though open to membership by non-Catholic Christians.
    2. COUPLES FOR CHRIST seeks to be a servant to and lay arm of the Catholic Church in the work of evangelization, family life renewal and total Christian liberation.
      1. In particular, COUPLES FOR CHRIST can serve the parishes in the following ways:
        • Pursuance of its basic mission of re-evangelization and family life renewal.
        • Promotion of its family ministries to reach non-couples within the parish.
        • Building communities among the poor within the territory of the parish.
        • Offering of special programs/courses for parishioners, such as the CFC Marriage Preparation Program or its program for Natural Family Planning.
        • Undertaking specific services, such as sponsorship of a weekly Mass.
        • Support for parishioners in irregular unions, according to the teaching of the Catholic Church.
        • General support of parish life and activities.
    3. COUPLES FOR CHRIST will live out its life and mission in communion with the bishops.
      1. COUPLES FOR CHRIST recognizes, defers to and actively submits to the authority of the bishop as shepherd of his particular diocese.
      2. COUPLES FOR CHRIST looks to having a Spiritual Adviser appointed by the bishop for the CFC group within his diocese. Such Spiritual Adviser may be the bishop himself, or at his option, a priest or religious appointed by him.
        1. The Spiritual Adviser's competence is in doctrinal and liturgical matters, and will not involve organizational matters.
        2. COUPLES FOR CHRIST is open to a visitation from the bishop at any CFC meeting or event, and to any special meeting to be called by the bishop for any purpose.
      3. On the national level, a Spiritual Adviser for COUPLES FOR CHRIST may be designated by the Catholic bishops' conference of that particular country.
      4. COUPLES FOR CHRIST is to ask the bishops, in their role as shepherds, to provide spiritual formation for its members.
        • Retreats and recollections for leaders and members.
        • Instruction on Catholic and theological doctrines.
        • Updates on the Church stand on various important issues.
        • Consultation on moral and theological issues that come up.
    4. COUPLES FOR CHRIST is committed to the renewal and strengthening of the Catholic Church.
      1. COUPLES FOR CHRIST is committed to rise in defense of the Catholic Church against the forces that seek to destroy or weaken it.
      2. COUPLES FOR CHRIST will conform to and support official and orthodox Church teachings and stands on issues.
      3. COUPLES FOR CHRIST is committed to the communication of the Catholic faith in all its integrity to its Catholic members.
    5. COUPLES FOR CHRIST is and will remain as a lay community with lay leadership, and with its particular vision, mission, culture and programs.
    6. COUPLES FOR CHRIST will be open to and will pursue ecumenical relationships in accordance with the posture of the local Church hierarchy.
      1. COUPLES FOR CHRIST will follow whatever guidelines on relationship with non-Catholics that the bishop may have for his diocese.
      2. COUPLES FOR CHRIST will not appoint a non-Catholic in leadership over Catholic members, unless such is cleared with and approved by the bishop or Spiritual Adviser or parish priest. Such leadership is in terms of personal care or service, but not governance involving the establishment of policies.
  10. CFC Family Ministries
    1. COUPLES FOR CHRIST has established direct ministries to non-couples in order that every member of the family and every member of the parish may have an opportunity to be part of a support environment of committed Christians.
      1. The CFC Family Ministries are an integral component of the Christian community that is COUPLES FOR CHRIST. They are not merely outreaches of COUPLES FOR CHRIST but rather are varied expressions of the one body and one work that is COUPLES FOR CHRIST.
      2. The CFC Family Ministries constitute COUPLES FOR CHRIST's work of Building the Church of the Home.
    2. CFC Kids for Christ (KFC). This is a children's formation program for children with ages from 4 to 12.
    3. CFC Youth for Christ (YFC). This is an evangelistic ministry to young people with ages from 12 to 21.
    4. CFC Singles for Christ (SFC). This is a ministry for single men and women with ages from 21 to the 40's.
    5. CFC Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD). This is for widows, older unmarried women, separated or divorced women, and women whose husbands are unable to join them.
    6. CFC Servants of the Lord (SOLD). This is the counterpart of the Handmaids for the men.
  11. CFC Social Ministries
    1. COUPLES FOR CHRIST has established various Social Ministries in order to work for total human liberation, and for justice and peace in the world.
      1. The CFC Social Ministries constitute COUPLES FOR CHRIST's work of Building the Church of the Poor.
    2. The various CFC Social Ministries are the following:
      1. Social Ministries may be added or deleted upon the decision of the CFC International Council.
    3. The social dimension of the work of COUPLES FOR CHRIST finds its ultimate manifestation in our work of building communities among the poor. This work is called GAWAD KALINGA (GK for short), which are Filipino words meaning "giving care."
      1. Gawad Kalinga is an integrated, holistic and sustainable approach to the work of poverty reduction. Its essential components are shelter, health, education, livelihood and community development.
  12. CFC Special Ministries
    1. COUPLES FOR CHRIST has established various Special Ministries in order to further integrate its work with the Catholic Church and enhance its mission, without disturbing its lay character.
    2. The various CFC Special Ministries are the following:
  13. Amendments
    1. Any National Council throughout the world can propose amendments to these statutes.
    2. Amendments may be adopted upon the affirmative vote of the members of the CFC International Council.

Amended by the CFC International Council September 25, 2004.
Amended per inputs of Pontifical Council for the Laity, March 1, 2005.

These Statutes, in their original form, are deposited in the Archives of this Dicastery.
From the Vatican, 25 April 2005

(sgd.)
Guzman Carriquiry
Under-Secretary

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