A retired archbishop has told an inquiry he is "deeply ashamed" after allegations of abuse by nuns at Catholic children's homes were revealed.

Archbishop Mario Conti expressed his "pain and sorrow" to those who have suffered mistreatment.

And the former church leader asked for the forgiveness of survivors if "I was insensitive to their pain".

The 84-year-old clergyman appeared before the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry on Tuesday to give evidence.

Over the last eight weeks, the probe has been examining now-defunct children's homes which were run by the Catholic congregation the Sisters of Nazareth in Scotland.

The inquiry has previously been told of a catalogue of alleged abuses by nuns at those institutions decades ago.

Archbishop Conti, the former Bishop of Aberdeen and Archbishop of Glasgow, was giving evidence primarily on his knowledge of Nazareth House in Aberdeen, after taking up the post in the city in 1977, and his reaction to the allegations that have emerged.

The retired churchman was asked about a statement he was said to have made around 20 years ago, describing lawyers as dangling a "pot of gold" before alleged victims.

He told the probe he would not use that phrase on Tuesday.

The inquiry was shown a BBC documentary from 1998 focusing on the allegations of survivors who had been at Nazareth House institutions.

Archbishop Conti said he was "horrified" by some of the claims made.

Referring to a statement he has submitted to the probe, he told the inquiry: "I am deeply ashamed of what has been revealed and I express my pain and sorrow to those who were abused.

"Clearly all we are doing (in the inquiry) is an attempt to get to the truth and provide an opportunity for some redress at least in terms of saying sorry to those who have had bad experiences.

"I hope they will find it in their hearts to forgive their abusers and to forgive me if they feel I was insensitive to their pain."