Page last updated at 23:31 GMT, Saturday, 3 April 2010 00:31 UK

Cardinal vows to protect children

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Cardinal makes abuse apology

The Roman Catholic Church in Scotland is doing "everything it possibly can" to safeguard children from sexual abuse by priests, its leader has said.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien made the reassurances after the Catholic Church was accused of systematically covering up allegations in other countries.

He told BBC Scotland he did not believe Scotland to have had as many cases as other countries.

"But even one is an abhorrent thing to have taken place," he added.

He said: "Consequently we have got to do everything we possibly can, and I think in Scotland we have done everything we possibly can, with our safeguarding rules and regulations, the way people are checked now.

"People are tested psychologically before entering the priesthood to ensure that children are safe wherever they are."

'Demoralised and confused'

The cardinal said representatives of the Catholic Church guilty of molesting children should, as in Jesus' teachings, "be cast away with millstones round their necks".

Meanwhile, in his Easter Sunday homily at St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh, the cardinal spoke of the "shame" the abuse scandal had brought to the members of the Church.

Victims have come forward in Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and the United States.

Last month, the Pope sent a letter to Ireland to apologise after 16 years of clerical cover-ups.

Cardinal O'Brien apologised to those who had suffered any abuse by representatives of the church.

He said Catholics were "demoralised and confused" by the "many evils" perpetrated by paedophile priests.

The Investigation will be broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland on Monday 5 April at 0845 BST.



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