Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has described the circumstances surrounding Cardinal Keith O'Brien's resignation as "very sad".
Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor said it was up to O'Brien's "own conscience" to step down.
He also highlighted that O'Brien has contested the allegations made against him.
Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor added, "There have been difficulties and scandals that must be addressed otherwise the image and message of the Church is affected".
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The Sherlock actor made the comment while he received an award for his humanitarian work.