Page last updated at 15:32 GMT, Tuesday, 20 April 2010 16:32 UK

German Bishop Mixa issues apology after beatings claim

Bishop Walter Mixa
Bishop Mixa has admitted slapping children at the home

A German bishop accused of physically abusing children in his care has issued an apology and asked for forgiveness.

Bishop Walter Mixa said in a statement that he was "sorry for causing many people grief" without specifying exactly what he meant.

The Bishop of Augsburg has been accused of carrying out beatings at a Catholic children's home in the 1970s and 1980s.

The claims came as the Catholic Church is embroiled in allegations of child sex abuse by priests.

Last week, Pope Benedict called on Roman Catholics to "do penance" for their sins, in an apparent reference to the crisis.

The statement from Bishop Mixa followed a meeting between him and the priest council in his diocese in southern Germany.

"This pains my heart and I am sorry that I created grief for many people," he said.

"I ask for forgiveness."

The statement said the council "shares the concern of many about the credibility of our church".

Bishop Mixa initially said he had never used violence against children but later acknowledged he may have slapped them.

A special investigator has also said there were financial irregularities at a children's home under Bishop Mixa's responsibility.

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