updated 3/21/2010 9:37:30 AM ET 2010-03-21T13:37:30

A news magazine reports that the head of the German Bishops Conference admits the Roman Catholic church consciously covered up cases of sexual abuse by priests.

Weekly magazine Focus reported Sunday that Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg, who also heads the Bishops Conference, said that "sexual abuse was covered up for decades by society."

He said while most cases happened outside the church "assaults that took place in such numbers within our institutions shame and frighten me."

He says "every single case darkens the face of the entire church."

On Saturday, Zollitsch apologized personally for a sexual abuse cover-up that happened twenty years ago in a Black Forest community while he was in charge of human resources at the Freiburg diocese.

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