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Bishop a “Pedophile Pimp”

April 7, 2011

It’s telling that some self-described practicing Catholic conservative legislators in New Hampshire began trashing their bishop with gutter language only after he made public statements about how their proposed budget would harm the poor.  When Bishop John McCormack suggested that the proposed New Hampshire budget “[neglected] the poor and vulnerable,” Rep. D.J. Bettencourt, the House majority leader, immediately deflected his Bishop’s statement by making ad hominem attacks against McCormack for his prior service as an aide to Cardinal Law.  It makes me think that being a “Catholic conservative” is not at all the same thing as being a “conservative Catholic.”

  1. Dale Price permalink
    April 7, 2011 11:38 am

    Can I dislike them both? “Pedophile pimp” is over the line, and slashing benefits to the poor in an economy with a real unemployment rate approaching 16% is vicious. But there’s no dispute that McCormack was a clerical enabler of abuse of the worst sort–arguably the worst of the Boston nightmare. If you shuffled rapists around, you probably ought to steer clear of phrases like “protection of the vulnerable.”

  2. Mark DeFrancisis permalink*
    April 7, 2011 12:02 pm

    It’s disheartening whenever a Catholic politician of any political persuasion unfairly trashes his bishop in public like in this instance.

  3. Phillip permalink
    April 7, 2011 12:57 pm

    Lots of political mudslinging around this issue. Here’s where a conservative Catholic was smeared by a liberal:

    • Pentimento permalink
      April 7, 2011 1:10 pm

      Thanks for pointing this out. We don’t know if Prosser is a conservative Catholic, i.e. whether he takes a conservative approach to understanding and living out his faith. It’s more accurate, based on what we know of his politics, to call him a Catholic conservative.

      What puts the bishop-bashing Republicans in the New Hampshire legislature over the top is their blithe use of foul terminology to describe their bishop, who is no longer just the leader of their church (though he’s been in that position since 1998), but is now also a pedophile pimp (I’m not sure if that’s intended to mean that McCormack is a pedophile himself), a scumbag, and, perhaps most importantly, the political enemy of certain members of his flock.

      • Kurt permalink
        April 8, 2011 8:45 am


        I appreciate your post, but fool or not, he is the House Majority Leader.

    • M.Z. permalink
      April 7, 2011 1:32 pm

      The Yahoo content gets some basic things wrong. (The link wasn’t to an AP story on Yahoo or anything like that.)

      A better source:

  4. Phillip permalink
    April 7, 2011 1:14 pm

    I agree the language is poor, though as Dale points out above, McCormick was involved in the scandal in a disgusting way. My point was that the abuse crisis is used by both sides. In Prosser’s case, the allegation was completely without substantiation (in other words, an outright lie.)

  5. Phillip permalink
    April 7, 2011 1:32 pm

    I think this from another blog points out the pain of the vulnerable in the clergy abuse scandal. That and the frustration and anger at those power structures and those in power at the time:

    “I don’t know if McCormack deserves it. However he was a prelate who handled the abuse situation exceptionally poorly. Lived in NH during the explosion of the crisis there. Our local parish was undergoing an expansion project for the Church. Masses were full and needed more room for the congregation. Those plans stopped as Church attendance (and contributions) dropped significantly as the abuse allegations came out.

    The low point for our parish was when the young (and very good) assistant pastor read a letter from the diocese. A priest who had been pastor at our parish several years past had come to visit the current pastor. He died suddenly at the rectory right after arriving. The letter went on to say that the police investigation noted that the priest had on underwear of a sexual nature.

    Don’t know if the current pastor was involved and how McCormack could have made things different. The pastor did stay. More people left the parish (and the Church?) and McCormack went on to sign a deal with the DA to avoid criminal charges:

    “‘McCormack was believed to be the first Catholic leader to sign a criminal plea deal, when in 2002, on behalf of the diocese, he reached an agreement with the state attorney general. The diocese avoided possible criminal prosecution by admitting it had endangered children by keeping sexually abusive priests in ministry.
    The attorney general’s investigation involved more than 50 priests and 100 victims, and stretched back to the 1960s. But the statute of limitations expired on most of the cases, and the potential charges would have involved only about five or six priests and 30 victims.
    As part of the plea deal, the diocese agreed to five audits of its sexual abuse policy by prosecutors, marking a rare venture between church and state. The two sides landed in court at one point, with the attorney general’s office accusing the diocese of dragging its feet in implementing protective measures. But the state ultimately found the diocese compliant.'”

    Again, I don’t know how much McCormack was involved in all that as well as what went on in our parish. He certainly had more of a hand in it when in Boston. Just point all this out to show how angry many were with what happend in NH.”

  6. April 7, 2011 3:27 pm

    Of course, did any of these NH Republicans express concern (in no matter what kind of language) about a pedophile-protecting bishop before he crossed them politically?

    • April 8, 2011 10:10 am

      And this seems to be the implicit “bargain” both political sides have struck with the hierarchy — you keep your mouths shut, and we’ll keep quiet about the abuse scandal.

      Because, as we know, being a “hypocrite” is much worse than supporting the killing of innocents or forsaking the poor.

  7. April 7, 2011 5:38 pm

    That was my question, Bruce!

  8. Ronald King permalink
    April 8, 2011 9:54 am

    Pentimento, I like your distinction between being a conserative Catholic and a Catholic conservative(which, if I understand correctly is really a liberal individualist). Therefore, I would consider myself a conservative Catholic. From that perspective, I think that the representatives response reveals anger and aggression because the bishop did not totally agree with his political and social strategy of problem-solving. The response from the Bishop’s office seems avoidant to me and in my opinion the Bishop should be the one who responds directly and publicly to Bettencourt’s attack. If the attack, regardless of the language, has merit then Bishop McCormack needs to publicly address the issue to set an example of transparency and humility as a way of creating healing between the Church authorities, the victims, the laity and society in general.

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