New Hampshire House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt (R) has apologized for calling a Catholic bishop a “pedophile pimp” after the bishop said the proposed House budget would hurt some of the neediest citizens of the state.
During a rally at the New Hampshire Statehouse, Bishop John McCormack said he was concerned about “drastic impacts on the poor and most vulnerable in our state, those who are least able to cope with cuts in our State budget,” as well as the “restriction of the collective bargaining rights of public employees.”
“Would the bishop like to discuss his history of protecting the ‘vulnerable?’” Bettencourt, a practicing Roman Catholic, wrote on his Facebook page. “This man is a pedophile pimp who should have been led away from the State House in handcuffs with a raincoat over his head in disgrace. He has absolutely no moral credibility to lecture anyone.”
McCormack was responsible for the handling of sex-abuse cases in the Boston area before being named bishop of Manchester in 1998.
Bettencourt said he made the “at best undiplomatic” remark because he could not stomach being criticized for failing to protect those who are ‘vulnerable’ by someone with the bishop’s history.
McCormack was part of a settlement in 2002 in which the diocese acknowledged it had protected abusive priests. The agreement halted a criminal investigation.
Bettencourt later apologized for his remark.
“My remarks and my characterization were unbecoming of proper political discourse in New Hampshire,” he said. He plans to meet privately with Bishop McCormack on Thursday.
The Nashua Telegraph reported that after Bettencourt apologized, Republican Rep. Timothy Comerford said McCormack was a “corrupt scumbag” in comments posted at the New Hampshire Union Leader website.
“This is one of those instances where no apology is necessary in my opinion,” he added.
“Why should we kowtow to a corrupt hack of a Bishop?? I am usually very deferential and get along with people well, but the TRUTH is the TRUTH!! I don’t understand why any good Catholic would stand behind such a disgraceful man.”
Eric W. Dolan
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