Here in New Hampshire, we’re having our own budget battles like most other states. Last week, a whole host of social liberals descended on the State House, demanding that proposed cuts in social spending be defeated.
A bit of history: in 2006, the Democrats took pretty much total control of NH. They took the governorship, majorities in both Houses of the legislatures, the majority of the Governor’s Council, and three of our four seats in Congress (Senator Judd Gregg survived by dint of not being up for election that year.) And the Democrats promptly did what Democrats always do: jacked up spending. The state budget went up by about 16% in the first year alone.
Then, in 2010, that was almost completely reversed. Republicans took back the majorities in the legislature and Council, and left Senator Jeanne Shaheen the only Democrat in Congress, again by dint of not being up for election. The Democrats kept the governorship, however.
Anyway, one of the leaders in the “keep spending all that money” crowd was Bishop John McCormack, the leader of New Hampshire’s Catholics, who said the Republican budget “neglects society’s obligation to care for the poor and vulnerable.”
The House Majority Leader, Rep. D. J. Bettencourt, promptly took to Facebook to lash back, calling McCormack a “pedophile pimp.” More specifically:
Bishop John McCormick (sic) of the Catholic Diocese of NH told the crowd, “It’s a moral concern (because) the vulnerable take priority in any society.” Would the Bishop like to discuss his history of protecting the “vulnerable”? 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.
Bettencourt, it should be noted, is a practicing Catholic.
I am not interested in re-hashing the whole “pedophile priest” scandal here, but what is not disputed is that one of the key figures in the coverup was Bernard Law, who oversaw the diocese of Boston at a time when several predatory priests were victimizing children. Law oversaw the coverups, the payoffs, and the quiet transfers of the pedophile priests to new parishes, where they found new victims. The Church chose to “discipline” Law by transferring him to the Vatican, where he oversees one of the most important churches there — and helped elect John Paul II’s successor.
And during that time, Law’s right-hand man, the Church official who held the hearings on accused priests, who decided which priests would be punished and which would be quietly transferred with instructions to “go forth and sin no more” after committing major felonies, was John McCormack.
And, as noted, McCormack was “punished” by being promoted to New Hampshire’s Bishop.
With that hanging over him, McCormack’s moral authority is — to put it kindly — challenged. And should he choose to engage in politics, he can fully expect to be reminded of his sins (I’d call them crimes and “aiding and abetting monstrosities”) when he tries to take on the role of “voice of morality.”
Representative Bettencourt’s remarks were crude, rude, tasteless, offensive, and entirely accurate. He spoke truth to power — more specifically, a major power player in New Hampshire, a state that has a nominally Catholic population that makes up about 25% of the populace.
That’s a lot of people for Bettancourt to risk alienating. But he’s sticking by his guns.