Paris, France (CNN) -- French bishops wrote in a letter Friday that they "feel shame and regret for the abominable acts" perpetrated by some priests and religious figures in the Catholic church.
The bishops wrote the letter to Pope Benedict XVI as a "cordial message of support" amid the widening abuse scandal in the church. They said they supported the pope's strong words of support for victims of the abuse in Ireland, which the pontiff expressed in a letter to Irish Catholics on Sunday.
"Those who committed these acts disfigure our church, hurt Christian communities, and extend suspicion on all members of the clergy," the French bishops wrote.
Even if the actions are down to a small number of priests, they wrote, "it is already too much."