The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin yesterday called for God's forgiveness of priests who have abused children.

It was the second time during Holy Week that he referred to the scale of the child abuse which is expected to rock the nation and diocese when it is revealed in a report next month.

At a Holy Thursday Mass, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said the shocking report by the Commission of Investigation into sex abuse by priests would reveal that thousands of children, perhaps as many as 30,000,  were abused by priests in the 30 years from 1975 to 2004.

Yesterday, Martin prayed that God would be merciful to those who had abused the authority and trust placed in them.

"Restore and heal all who have been abused or betrayed. Restore relationships of integrity and respect and truthfulness."

Martin also prayed for the 300,000-plus people who have lost their jobs and homes in the recession, and called for a renewal of Irish culture and society which would be rooted in "a spirit of solidarity and responsibility and care for others."