What do you call a Catholic Bishop who dares to publicly speak out against deep cuts to social services? If you’re New Hampshire’s Republican House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt, you call him a “pedophile pimp” who should be led from the Statehouse in handcuffs. Bettencourt’s incendiary insults came after Roman Catholic Bishop John McCormack, one of about a dozen dissenting speakers, criticized parts of the House’s $10.2 billion budget, ones that affect the poorest of New Hampshire
Republican leader of the New Hampshire House D.J. Bettencourt of Salem on Friday suggested Bishop McCormack had a role in Boston’s decade-old clergy sex abuse scandal. He did so on his Facebook page. Bettencort’s allegations are unsubstantiated.
Bishop McCormack once served Boston’s infamous Cardinal Bernard Law as a key aide. Law resigned as a result of a sensational, blistering scandal over cover-ups of clergy sexual misconduct/pedophilia. While not himself accused of sexual abuse, Law, who in fact maintained detailed records of the crimes, aided and abetted the pervs by maintaining silence and overseeing their reassignment. Although not specifically implicated, apparently due to McCormack’s former status under Law, Herr Bettencourt and others assume guilt by association.
Would the Bishop like to discuss his history of protecting the ‘vulnerable?'” Bettencourt wrote. “This man is a pedophile pimp who should have been led away from the State House in handcuffs with a rain coat over his head in disgrace. He has absolutely no moral credibility to lecture anyone.”
Speaking for McCormack, the diocese, said that Bettencourt’s comments are false, defamatory and distract from the real issue, treatment of New Hampshire’s poor.
Bishop McCormack’s message to the people of New Hampshire yesterday was the simple message of the gospels: The church and our broader society have a fundamental obligation to care for the poor,” Kevin Donovan said.
Bettencourt stands by his comments.
Yes, my language was colorful, but I stand by the sentiment in describing a man who has in my opinion brought shame and dishonor on my church here in New Hampshire,” he said in a statement. “As a practicing Catholic it is truly disappointing that we would have a leader with a record of enabling such egregious and unacceptable behavior.”
As a practicing Catholic, I excoriate Mr. Bettencourt for his disgraceful attempt to change focus by intentionally exploiting and churning up convenient negative public sentiment regarding a tragic scandal to assassinate the character of an opponent–hardly behavior one can accurately describe as Christ-like. See you in church, Davie?
Despite the flap, the House passed the budget proposal. It awaits Senate consideration.