Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the most senior Catholic cleric in Britain until he resigned last month, has admitted that his "sexual conduct" had at times fallen below what was acceptable.
In a statement issued through the Catholic Church in Scotland last night, he apologised and asked for forgiveness from those he had "offended."
He also apologised to the church and to the people of Scotland.
Cardinal O'Brien, an outspoken critic of gay marriage and adoption, quit as the Archbishop of St Andrew's and Edinburgh last week after three priests and a former priest made allegations of improper behaviour against him.
The statement read: "In recent days certain allegations which have been made against me have become public. Initially, their anonymous and non-specific nature led me to contest them.
"However, I wish to take this opportunity to admit that there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal."