Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who is scheduled to celebrate mass at St. Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh, calls the scandal "a great public humiliation" of the church, The Daily Telegraph reported. An advance text of his homily was released Friday.
O'Brien, archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, is the most senior Catholic cleric in Britain.
"Crimes against children have indeed been committed and any Catholics who were aware of such crimes and did not act to report them, brings shame on us all," O'Brien's text reads. "We can take no comfort from the fact that only a small percentage of priests committed such crimes -- the impact of their sinful acts is very large -- their actions, harmed the lives of their victims, caused great hatred to be directed at their innocent brother priests and left ordinary Catholics demoralized and confused."
The sexual abuse scandal has spread from the United States to Europe. In Ireland, two government reports documented physical and sexual abuse, while there have been recent reports of past abuse in Germany.