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Philippines: bishops' 'conscience is clear' on sweepstakes gifts

Catholic World News - July 06, 2011

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has issued a statement defending the bishops who received money and luxury cars from the government’s Charity Sweepstakes Office.

“Our conscience is clear,” the CBCP statement proclaimed. The bishops’ conference said that any funds contributed to bishops were used for charitable purposes, not for personal gain.

If some bishops violated the letter of the law by accepting contributions in their own name—even though the donations were earmarked for charitable purposes—then they may be held accountable, the CBCP said. Bishop Nereo Odchimar, the president of the episcopal conference, said: ““But if such government donations to religious organizations or bishops are not allowed, then the CBCP is willing to face the legal consequences.”

The CBCP added that if the Sweepstakes Office should be barred from making charitable donations to dioceses, then “by all means let us put an end to this longstanding practice.”

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