Former spokesman for UK cardinal sues newspaper

Former spokesman for UK cardinal sues newspaper

Perhaps you recall the story from last summer of Austin Ivereigh, a spokesman for Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, archbishop of Westminster in England, who was accused of having children out of wedlock and forcing a former girlfriend to have an abortion and generally being a cad, with the clear implication that he (and the Church) were hypocrites on sexual morality and abortion. The cardinal came under pressure from his fellow bishops to fire Ivereigh, who maintained his innocence. Finally, a couple of weeks later, he resigned, still maintaining that he’d been unfairly maligned.

Now, in the latest development, Ivereigh is suing the newspaper publishers who originally printed the story, saying the articles were defamatory and libelous.

Ivereigh says the story caused his reputation grave damage and he also suffered embarrassment and distress.  After the story appeared, he was forced to resign from his job and has taken part-time work.

He says he has lost benefits, including the status of his previous position and has lost the chance of writing articles and commentary for the media. While the damage from the Daily Mail article continues, it will be impossible for him to recover his standing and find another appropriate position, he says.

Ivereigh says his losses amount to £46,000 a year from his job, additional occasional earnings of around £2,000 a year and loss of opportunity to progress to a more senior job within the church.

At the time of the original allegations, there was discussion in the comment threads about the allegations, including unsubstantiated claims from an anonymous person who I now have found out is/was an editor of an infamously heterodox British Catholic newspaper who apparently has an axe to grind. (Unfortunately a glitch in the blog several months ago resulted in quite a few comments in the archives being lost so the thread is now incomplete.)

If the stories were indeed untrue, I hope Ivereigh’s day in court gives him some justice. I also hope we can unmask those anti-Catholic elements—both within and outside the Church—seeking to bring her down.

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