Cardinal appoints Morley as interim PR aide

The Roman Catholic Church is launching a PR offensive to help tackle the Archbishop of Westminster's tarnished reputation following last year's paedophile priest scandal.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has seconded the Church's press chief Mark Morley to act as his inaugural press secretary on an interim basis.

The appointment follows media accusations last year that the Cardinal covered up the activities of paedophile priest Michael Hill.

The BBC made the initial accusations two years ago when Hill was released from prison after serving three years of a five-year sentence.

Murphy-O'Connor denies the BBC's accusations.

The scandal resurfaced last year when Hill was sentenced to a further five years on additional charges of indecent assault against three boys.

Morley, director of communications for the Catholic Communications Service, said he will work to reverse the negative public opinion of the Cardinal.

'It's about opening up, being more accessible and admitting our mistakes,' he added.

'The Cardinal's not all that comfortable dealing with the media, but he's very open and friendly and it's a side of him we will be showing.'

As part of the campaign, the Cardinal will address earlier criticism over his lack of media interview appearances.

It is expected Morley's secondment will lead to a permanent full-time press secretary role later in the year.

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