A former spokesman for the Archbishop of Westminster is suing The Catholic Herald for libel damages of £100,000.
Austen Ivereigh is suing over a story published in July, headlined: ‘Cardinal’s top aide forced out after abortion revelation”.
Ivereigh claims in the writ that the story, which also appeared on The Catholic Herald’s website, branded him a hypocrite who had publicly condemned abortion and women who have abortions, while privately, he had abandoned two pregnant ex-girlfriends and forced one to have an abortion.
The story claimed this made him unsuitable for the role of public affairs advisor to the archbishop, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, he says.
Ivereigh claims the story carried a meaning by innuendo, that he should be excommunicated for breaching Roman Catholic Canon Law. His reputation has been gravely damaged, and he has suffered embarrassment and distress because of the story, for which The Catholic Herald has refused to apologise, according to a High Court writ.
The story was a repetition of untrue and devastating allegations by a Catholic publication dear to his heart and faith, and he was not contacted before publication, he says.
Ivereigh is already suing the publishers of the Daily Mail over the story, which he says has ‘wreaked havoc and devastation’in his life.
He is deeply upset that The Catholic Herald is putting him through the trauma and stress of a second libel action, despite his offer to avoid legal proceedings if the newspaper agreed to publish an apology should his action against the Mail be successful, he says.
Ivereigh is claiming damages and aggravated damages for alleged libel, and an injunction banning repetition of the allegations at the centre of his claim.