The Bishop of Down and Connor has apologised to all victims of child sex abuse by the Catholic church.
Dr Noel Treanor was speaking after a report last week said thousands had been abused over 60 years.
He said the report was "heartbreaking" and had recorded cruelty and abuses which were "criminal and sinful."
But Dr Treanor said the church was addressing the "evil", adding that the Down and Connor diocese now had robust child protection measures in place.
"I state my sorrow, shame and visceral pain in the face of these and all abuses inflicted on children and vulnerable adults, whenever they took place, wherever they are perpetrated," he told a congregation in Carryduff on Sunday.
"I apologise on behalf of the church to all who are victims of abuse on the part of those who professed to care for them, or minister to them, in the name of Christ.
"I apologise, too, for the failure of those in positions of leadership in the Church to deal with the abusers."
The victims of child abuse by religious orders were among 35,000 children who were placed in a network of reformatories, industrial schools and workhouses until the early 1990s.
More than 2,000 people told the Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse they suffered physical and sexual abuse as children in the institutions.