Bettencourt sends conciliatory message to Bishop

New Hampshire House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt send a letter to Bishop John McCormack of the Manchester Catholic Diocese on Saturday in which he appeared to dial back his rhetoric while at the same time underscoring his point of view that McCormack is unfit to serve in his role. Bettencourt made the letter available to NH Journal.

Last week Bettencourt called the Bishop a “pedophile pimp” because the Bishop spoke at a State House protest against the Republican state budget.

Below is a reprint of the letter:


Bishop McCormack,

I wanted to take a moment to write to you regarding my comments made yesterday that were directed at you.

Upon humble reflection, the characterization of my feelings towards your leadership as bishop was at best undiplomatic and a better choice of words was both warranted and appropriate. I pride myself on “calling it as I see it” and standing strong for the things that I believe in. But in this case my frank words detracted from my genuine sentiment, one which is shared by many Catholics in New Hampshire and across the country. All too often, we express the greatest degree of raw emotion when we are hurt, such was the case here.

My comments emanated from the deep hurt brought forward by the damage caused by the sex abuse scandal that engulfed our church, which has resulted in thousands turning their back on the church, particularly for those of my generation. Unfortunately, your role in that scandal has, in my opinion, hurt the Church in ways that will take decades to repair.

As a practicing Catholic myself, I cannot separate your involvement in what has been the darkest period in our Church’s recent history. While ultimately the Lord will judge each of us, many people judge our faith by our leaders and I feel that it why a large number have left the Church.

For many Catholics your presence as Bishop is an ongoing reminder of an evil that was perpetrated on those most vulnerable and innocent. I came of age in the faith during the height of the sexual abuse scandal and when many were walking away from the church, I remained. I stayed in the belief that the Christian faith and our Church were more than the few individuals who betrayed one of the greatest trusts a man can be given- that of a priest. Some have suggested that it is time to move on from that hurt but for many of us this is simply not quite so easy.

My comments were in no way were intended as an attack on the Catholic faith, the Church, or on the position which you hold. I remain a committed member of our church and am proud to be so. They also had nothing to do with your message of caring for those less fortunate than ourselves. My comments reflected my feeling toward someone who, in his position, played such a prominent role in a terribly dark chapter in the history of the Catholic Church.

I encourage all citizens who wish to come to the State House and have their voice be heard to do so, regardless of whether I agree or disagree with their message. But to be criticized for failing to protect those who are “vulnerable” by someone with your own history of protecting the vulnerable was more than I could stomach. It reignited all the feelings that I have worked to control in seeing that damage to the Church that this scandal created.

I have been dismayed by the criticisms that the House budget shows a disregard for the poor or disadvantaged when in reality the Finance Committee and many in the House of Representatives poured their hearts out to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society were not disproportionately hurt by our work to have the state live within its means.

The New Hampshire House of Representatives is essentially comprised of volunteers who care about the state and want to serve their neighbors and make society a better place. Any notion that we neglected the most vulnerable in society is simply without basis.

Ultimately we will all be judged by God and I’m sure there are areas where you have made our church stronger, but from my perspective it will be a much needed new chapter for New Hampshire Catholics when your retirement is accepted and we can bring new leadership to the church that is untainted by the past abuses. For many this will be a much needed step toward healing.

However, as I feel it is critical for you, as a leader of our Church to consider your role and history when speaking out on issues of the day, I bear the same responsibility for how I represent myself, the House of Representatives, the state and my faith. In this regard, I have fallen short of my own standards in my public comments. While I still feel considerable anger and hurt about the abuse scandal, you and certainly the public deserve better from me than colorful comments that are lacking in forethought.

Rest assured that I appreciate the flaws of my statement and I know that you are aware that we are all human and for those who are believers, sinners. You have my word that I will use this moment as an opportunity for personal growth and will thoughtfully consider the criticism I have received.


Rep. D.J. Bettencourt

Author: Patrick Hynes

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  • Anonymous

    Of Pedophiles and Pimps –
    How complete was my surprise when I discovered a politician beat me to punch-lining a truth. My biggest regret in all this tumult and turmoil was missing the opportunity to deliver the line directly to the good Bishop Lollypop while he was a preachin’ most earnestly to a captive flock gathered in front of a gilded dome, rather than post-facto to the news casting its glow from my t.v. Isn’t it funny, in that odd sort of sheople way, when shepherds do speak raw truth to power, the newly baptized sheepherder is immediately lambasted for exceeding the bounds of common decency and even more common animal husbandry. (Tsk, tsk Mr. Bettencourt for speakin’ a truth, especially in public)

    But there was no surprise that the good Bishop Lollypop should choose such a duplicitous road to perdition by seeking redemption from the very crowd that previously taunted him for cloaking the sins of others, and in so doing, forging and annealing his own sins. So lets disrobe this fraud in public once again for the sake of the memory impaired among us, and remind them the good Bishop does care deeply for something: institutional preservation in the highest – Catholic Church, Inc. first, and foremost – all else, expendable. And to this lofty end he bought silence and shuttled the sinners about to infect the flock further with their craven affection for the chil’ren. And now the good Bishop has the temerity to chide those who know how to keep their hands in their own pockets for not forcibly prying open the pockets of others in the name of the godforsaken sake of God’s chil’ren. I think someone’s dyin’ here – where are the bagpipes when we need them?

    Some crazy-@$$ church this Bishop Lollypop built, and even crazier protectors who have rushed to aid and abet the good Bishop. Sooo Bettencourt, PLEASE keep exceeding the bounds of this indecency, and blow a fresh wind into dead space under the domed tent. Maybe something like freedom will take root.
    – C. dog double checks scriptures for the sentencing of pedophiles and their naked pimps

  • Dick

    Bishop McCormack,
    How many lives have been changed forever by the pedophile priests, how many suicides, how many can not function in a normal relationship. These bad priests should not have been moved from place to place but should have been expelled from the priesthood.

    The New Republicans are trying to right the ship, The leadership in Concord in the past few years have been spending like fools (just like Washington) don’t you get it, tear up the credit cards.
    The days of spending like fools are over, the Democrats are denouncing the Republicans about the budget, well the Democrats had a full year to pass a budget. Too many vacations, too many fact finding trips.

    There is just so much water in the well and we have to work with what we have PERIOD.

    I am a Catholic and we had wonderful priests at the school i attended and I am sure there are wonderful priests all over the world. In Washington the money printing press is working 24/7
    eroding the value of the dollar, what does that do for the taxpayers that support this country.


    Richard St Cyr

  • Judy Block-Jones

    Bishop McCormack,

    -Many victims who have been sexually used and abused by clergy applauded a politician who was angry and had the guts to say it like it is.

    -So do many parents who have lost their child via suicide, because he/she could not handle the daily pain and trauma, or because they were dismissed by uncaring church officials who made them feel like they should just disappear.

    -Also, many brothers or sisters of victim of clergy sex abuse, who suffer and watch feeling helpless to do anything about their wounded family member who is still struggling with abuse of drugs, alcohol, not able to hold job, or broken marriages.

    –Many loyal parishioners are applauding the politician because they feel so betrayed that they struggle with ” have I been believing in a complete lie”?

    –Also many of the elderly, who have been life long catholics whospent their entire lives being “loyal” catholics.. to the extent of already having their cemetery plot and their funeral with a catholic mass planned, are crying and feeling lost because they now have doubts about what is truth.

    –Many supporters of victims are saying to each other… “YES, finally someone in the legislature is not being in denial and they are also angry at Bishop McCormick, or any priest or bishop they run into”.. ( because that is the first thing that comes to many folks minds.. Did he too cover up sex crimes against innocent children? Did he too, care more about his power and ego, than the protection of kids.?)

    _ I applaud the politician, because I dedicate my life to helping victims of priest abuse, and exposing the awful truth about these crimes of cover up, that are still going on today…( My brother and several of my relatives were sexually abused by our long time parish priest.)

    –We say thank you to this politician, even if we do not know or like him.. because he allowed his anger to show, because someone whom he had believed to be “truth” has become morally not credible and then dare to try to push his morals onto anyone else…..

    Thousands of victims will never forget that. Thank you,

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, 636-433-2511
    “Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests”

  • Jane

    This is an apology?? Look, Tea Party DJ is mad because someone reminded him of the church’s tennant to protect the vulnerable. Bishop McCormack failed —- but lets look at the issue — It was easy and poitically correct for Tea Party DJ to attack Bishop McCormack,,,,, I just wonder when any of them will utter a serious, meaningful word agaist that crackpot who calls himself a “Pastor” down in Florida…ask who funds him and dare anger the Evangelical vote.

    • Anonymous

      I’ll match your tennants at will, and raise you a founding principle: “Thou shalt not steal”. Show of hands? I won on both grammar, and higher orders of doctrine.
      – C. dog

  • Jane

    So I wonder does the Tea Party DJ understand he admitted his reasoning for the name calling – (I don’t for one minute condone McCormack, he should be out – and that’s what Tea Party DJ should have said) – but it was more PC to do the acceptable Name Calling. The Tea Party DJ is made because he didn’t want to be reminded by not just McCormack, but other church leaders also that his cuts effect the most vulnerable,,, yes, he’s hurt and Angry — Andgry because a Pedophile Pimp called him on his actions.

    Go Away DJ — Nothing speaks immaturity more than your pathetick excuse for whatever that letter says. — It will work well with you base, and rest assured that Catholic League’s Bill Donohue,,,,Shill for the Republicanparty who was to busy on the day of your “outrage” stalking the Kennedy’s and attacking the family for their not wanting “Camelot” to be on the History Channel—- will accept your apology as quickly as that of Hagee.

    That’s whats so unfortunate. Do whatever excites your base DJ, keep spinning that record..

  • the crustybastard

    So Catholic bishops who pay no taxes get to have a say in how tax monies are spent?

    When do I get to vote on how the Catholic church disburses its vast hoard of wealth?