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Philippine church apologizes for donation scandal

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Roman Catholic Bishop Nereo Odchimar, left, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, and Monsignor Pedro Quitorio, emerge from the conference hall after reading a pastoral statement at the conclusion of their three-day assembly to discuss various issues involving the Church Monday July 11, 2011 in Manila, Philippines. In their pastoral statement Monday, Philippine Roman Catholic church leaders have apologized to their flock for a scandal involving alleged illegal donations received by some bishops friendly to ex-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo from the government's lottery operator, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

MANILA » Roman Catholic Church leaders in the Philippines apologized to their followers Monday for a scandal involving allegedly illegal donations to bishops.

The government’s lotto operator is accused of making donations from the government’s charity funds in exchange for political favors from bishops friendly to ex-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has said the controversy deeply wounded the church and the bishops are sorry for the pain and sadness caused to church members.

A pastoral letter issued Monday assured that bishops concerned are ready to face consequences if their actions are proven illegal.

Philippine lawmakers began investigating the allegations last week.

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