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Filipino lawmaker decries bishops' 'morally offensive' conduct

CWN - July 05, 2011

Filipino Catholic bishops who received funds from the government’s Charity Sweepstakes Office were guilty of “morally offensive” conduct even if they did not violate the law, a leading legislator has charged.

Some Catholic bishops, defending themselves against corruption charges, have explained that they received funding from the lottery office for genuine charitable projects. But Edcel Lagman, the minority leader in the lower house of the Filipino legislature, said that there is no excuse for Church leaders to accept government largesse. "The Catholic Church is way too rich to be a charity case and has more than sufficient resources to finance its charitable work without competing with countless indigent patients and legitimate charity beneficiaries," he argued.

Lagman has been at loggerheads with the Catholic hierarchy in the Philippines, because he is the chief sponsor of an aggressive family-planning bill that the bishops have strongly opposed. The public complaints over the bishops’ acceptance of lottery money threaten to undermine the ability of the bishops to speak credibly on other public issues.

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