AN abuse survivor has criticised the most senior Catholic Archbishop in Scotland for delivering an apology to victims in the setting of a church mass.

Former nun Helen Holland said the apology would not reach victims of abuse because most have long since broken ties with the institution.

The 55-year-old, who was sexually abused in a children’s home run by nuns and priests in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, said she believed the apology that came after an inquiry into abuse in the Catholic Church in Scotland was a missed opportunity.

She said: "I am not sure who the Archbishop was apologising to because most survivors of abuse I know don't go back to the church.

"It is sad. I think a lot of survivors had expected more from it.

"I also think it is ironic that the Catholic Church needs to be told to apologise."

Scotland's most senior Catholic Archbishop, Philip Tartaglia, apologised to survivors of abuse within the church in Scotland following the publication of an independent review of its handling of allegations.

It comes after a commission led by the Very Rev Andrew McLellan called for the church to make an ''unmistakeable and unequivocal'' apology and said support for survivors of abuse must be its "absolute priority".

The commission was set up in November 2013 by the Bishops' Conference of Scotland in response to a series of scandals, including the resignation of disgraced cardinal Keith O'Brien and separately allegations of systematic abuse by staff at Fort Augustus Catholic boarding school.

The cardinal stepped down from the archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh in February 2013 after three priests and a former priest made allegations of inappropriate behaviour against him.

Archbishop Tartaglia, president of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland, issued the apology in his homily during a mass at St Andrew's Cathedral in Glasgow.

He said: "As the president of the Bishops' Conference, and on behalf of all the Bishops of Scotland, I want to offer a profound apology to all those who have been harmed and who have suffered in any way as a result of actions by anyone within the Catholic Church.

"Child abuse is a horrific crime.

"That this abuse should have been carried out within the Church, and by priests and religious, takes that abuse to another level.

"Such actions are inexcusable and intolerable.

"The harm the perpetrators of abuse have caused is first and foremost to their victims, but it extends far beyond them, to their families

The Archbishop said the actions of perpetrators of abuse were "criminal and sinful".

He added: "I would like to assure the survivors of abuse that the Catholic Bishops of Scotland are shamed and pained by what you have suffered.

"We say sorry. We ask forgiveness.

"We apologise also to those who have found the Church's response slow, unsympathetic or uncaring and reach out to them as we take up the recommendations of the McLellan Commission.

"We recognise the trauma and pain that victims and survivors of abuse have suffered and we are committed to providing for them both justice and healing."