The child abuse committed within the Catholic church and concealment of it is "deeply shocking" and "totally unacceptable," the Catholic archbishop of Westminster wrote in a public letter Friday.
"I am ashamed of what has happened," Archbishop Vincent Nichols wrote in letter published on the Diocese of Westminster's Web site.
Nichols said he feels shame and anger that the church was more concerned with protecting its reputation than believing the allegations of victims.
But he also defended Pope Benedict XVI, pointing out that the pope previously headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in which he led many reforms of church law regarding abuse victims and offenders. "He is not an idle observer," Nichols wrote. "His actions speak as well as his words."