A French cardinal has confessed that in the 1980s while he was serving as a parish priest, he abused a 14-year-old girl.
Jean-Pierre Ricard, who since 2006 has been a cardinal, confessed to abusing the young girl in a letter on Monday, adding that he would be withdrawing from his functions.
He said: "Thirty-five years ago, when I was a parish priest, I behaved in a reprehensible way with a young girl aged 14.
"My behaviour has inevitably led to grave and lasting consequences for this person."
The disgraced cardinal asked for forgiveness and said he would be available to law enforcement or church authorities should they wish to speak to him.
Ricard was also a serving member of the Vatican Council for the Economy, which oversees all the financial activities of the Holy See.
This most recent confession is the latest in a string of sexual abuse cases that have rocked the Catholic Church over the last two decades, many of which have involved children.