Sunday, July 23, 2006

Cardinal's Aide Quits

Cardinal's aide quits over affairs and abortion slur

A SENIOR aide to the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, resigned yesterday after a series of allegations in the media about his private life, including a report about a girlfriend who had had an abortion.

Austen Ivereigh, who is single and was, until yesterday, the Cardinal’s director for public affairs, has never denied that a girlfriend had an abortion while he was a student at Oxford. He was not a practising Catholic at the time, and the episode is understood to have prompted his return to the faith. After a relationship with a more recent girlfriend ended, it was reported that she had been pregnant, but had miscarried twins.

Dr Ivereigh, 40, who has often spoken in support of the Catholic Church’s stance against abortion, is taking legal action over some of the reporting. He was educated at Worth Abbey, a public school in West Sussex, run by Benedictine monks. He rebelled as a teenager but, after rediscovering his faith, became such a committed Catholic that he considered becoming a monk. He worked in a senior post at the Catholic publication The Tablet, before joining the cardinal’s staff.