‘Pedophile pimp’ comment sparks controversy

After a leading New Hampshire politician referred to Manchester Bishop John McCormack as “a pedophile pimp,” Gov. John Lynch called for House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt to retract his comments.

The Union Leader has the story:

“These comments have no place in the public discourse, and the people of New Hampshire have a right to expect a higher level of civility and judgment from their elected officials,” Lynch said Saturday. “I would urge the majority leader to retract his comments.”

Bettencourt, a Salem Republican, posted comments late Thursday night about McCormack after he spoke at a rally earlier that day criticizing the House two-year budget proposal.

McCormack is the leader of New Hampshire’s 290,000 Catholics. He told a crowd estimated at between 4,000 and 5,000 people that the budget plan Republicans passed neglects society’s obligation to care for the poor and vulnerable.

Bettencourt Friday stood by his statement although other Republican leaders either disagreed with his statement or said he should have chosen his words more carefully.

Diocese of Manchester spokesman Kevin Donovan said Bettencourt’s remarks are false and defamatory, meant to distract people from the budget issues.

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About George P. Matysek Jr.

George P. Matysek Jr. is the assistant managing editor of The Catholic Review in Baltimore. View all posts by George P. Matysek Jr.

One response to “‘Pedophile pimp’ comment sparks controversy

  • Richard Baldwin Cook

    Bishop McCormack served as a top aide to Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston, where he was in charge of investigating sexual misconduct allegations.

    In 2002, McCormack avoided criminal charges against the New Hampshire diocese by agreeing formally, that the diocese had harmed children by moving abusive priests from parish to parish.

    Mr. Bettencourt is Catholic. His facebook comments included these statements:

    “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.”

    The Church ought to expect to lose its moral standing to make public statements about the excluded and the vulnerable, when priests who fail to protect abused children are given visibility through episcopal appointment.

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