The Philippines Bishops' Conference has admitted that allegations some bishops received gifts from a government agency have hurt the Church and Catholics, reports

"We are sorry for the pain and sadness these events have brought upon you," said conference president Bishop Nereo Odchimar of Tandag, in a statement at the end of a three-day plenary assembly of bishops in Manila.

The prelate admitted the Church has been "deeply wounded" by the controversy that saw several bishops accept cash donations and sport utility vehicles from the Charity Sweepstakes Office.

"We are saddened that many of you, especially the youth, the poor, our basic ecclesial communities, have been confused because of the apparent inconsistency of our actions with our pastoral preaching," Bishop Odchimar said.

COMMENT: I doubt that many lay Catholics will be confused. Certainly not the ones who have read the bits in the Bible about scribes and pharisees. But I am surprised that the bishops haven't claimed that it was just a return to traditional, Roman Catholic family values - the Borgia family, that is.

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