Saturday, April 02, 2011

New Hampshire Representative D.J. Bettencourt views the Catholic Church in New Hampshire as being in a state of shame and dishonor

In these times of scandal it is critical to remember that the Church remains spotless even when Her members sin. There is absolutely no doubt that the human history of the Church, like all of human history, has its dark pages. But if anyone cares to take an objective look at this history, one must quickly acknowledge that the doctrine of the Church has always implicitly condemned abuses introduced by Her members. Dr. Dietrich Von Hildebrand explains: "There were sinners in the Church yesterday and there are sinners in the Church today. But the Church Herself, in her divine teaching, emerges gloriously unspotted in a history stained by human weaknesses, errors, imperfections, and sins."

D.J. Bettencourt has lost sight of this.  The Huffington Post is reporting that, "The Republican leader of the New Hampshire House on Friday called Roman Catholic Bishop John McCormack a 'pedophile pimp' who should have been led from the Statehouse in handcuffs after speaking at a rally criticizing a state budget proposal.

McCormack was among about a dozen speakers at Thursday's rally to protest deep cuts to social services included in the House's $10.2 billion budget. Rep. D.J. Bettencourt of Salem took issue Friday, writing on his Facebook page that McCormack had no business urging lawmakers to protect the vulnerable, given his role in the clergy sex abuse scandal in the last decade."  See here.

When asked later about his language, Rep. Bettencourt responded, "Yes, my language was colorful, but I stand by the sentiment in describing a man who has in my opinion brought shame and dishonor on my church here in New Hampshire...As a practicing Catholic it is truly disappointing that we would have a leader with a record of enabling such egregious and unacceptable behavior."

So D.J. Bettencourt views the Catholic Church in New Hampshire as being in a state of shame and dishonor because of the personal failures of Bishop John McCormack.  Good to know.  Perhaps this exlains his inability to muster the necessary fortitude required to oppose same-sex "marriage" within the Granite State.  See here.

Representative Bettencourt has failed to understand that Bishop John McCormack's shame and dishonor is his own, not that of the entire People of God in New Hampshire.  The great Cardinal Journet would have told him that, "All contradictions are eliminated as soon as we understand that the members of the Church do indeed sin, but they do so by their betraying the Church. The Church is thus not without sinners, but She is without sin. The Church as person is responsible for penance. She is not responsible for sins....The members of the Church themselves - laity, clerics, priests, Bishops, and Popes - who disobey the Church are responsible for their sins, but the Church as person is not responsible...It is forgotten that the Church as person is the Bride of Christ, 'Whom He has purchased with His own blood.'" (Acts 20:28).

So here's where we're at folks: D.J. Bettencourt believes that any debate on repealing same-sex "marriage" in New Hampshire should be put off until next year so that "full and undivided attention" may be focused on New Hampshire's "outstanding financial issues."  But he does have plenty of time to hurl stones at the Church.


Michael Cole said...

That's probably why he doesn't want to repeal "gay marriage." I think you're onto something here. Apparently Bettencourt believes that the Church doesn't have any moral authority or credibility to oppose "gay marriage."

Gerard S. said...

I'm not a fan of Bishop McCormack either. But Bettencourt's comments are highly inappropriate, especially for someone in public office. His comments would also indicate a certain level of immaturity. There was nothing "colorful" about his comments. They were just ugly. One can speak the truth with charity.

Ashley Pelletier said...

Bishop McCormack is no more representative of the Catholic Church and what she holds dear than the late Senator Ted Kennedy. The "lion of the senate" was known for living a sordid lifestyle which included "waitress sandwiches" and binge drinking.

Why would Bettencourt want to disparage the Church in general? Maybe because he secretly is supportive of the radical homosexual agenda?

Don't blame all Catholics or hold us all accountable for McCormack's sins Mr. Bettencourt. Or we will hold YOU accountable next election! Got it?

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

And what do we call legislators who refuse to deal with the far greater problem of child sexual abuse within the public schools? Are THEY pedophile pimps as well?


Jonathan said...

It's more fun for these anti-Catholic bigots to portray the sexual abuse of children as a "Catholic problem." They are simply intent on creating an atmosphere of anti-Catholic hostility. Politicians like Bettencourt are hypocritical. He should be attending to the problem of sexual abuse in the public schools. But he couldn't care less. What has Bettencourt done to address the problem in the public schools? Nothing!


Paul Anthony Melanson said...

The following is taken from the WNYC News Blog:

Archbishop Timothy Dolan defended comments he made on his blog that the rate of sexual abuse among New York City public school teachers is higher than that among priests.

In the post dated March 18, Dolan described an encounter with a man at a Denver airport who ripped into the Catholic Church for its history of sexual abuse.

Dolan, in the post, said he responded by telling the stranger that the "rate of sexual abuse among public school teachers is 10 times higher than that of priests."

When asked where the statistics Dolan cited were from, a spokeswoman for the New York Archdiocese cited a NYS Special Commissioner of Investigation report that substantiated 78 abuse cases by teachers in 2009, and 73 such cases last year.

Another 2009 study from John Jay on incidence of priest sexual abuse was also cited.

When asked to respond to the Archbishop's blog post, the Department of Education declined to comment, and the United Federation of Teachers did not respond to WNYC's request for comment.

Anonymous said...

The point is, there should be no abuse at ALL, not in the Church's ranks, not in public schools, not anywhere.

Saying "oh, our abuse rate is less than YOURS" doesn't make the problem go away.

Everyone has the right to be safe from sexual abuse at all times. Which is why it needs to eradicated instead of citing statistics and pointing fingers.

Stewart said...

Anonymous writes, "The point is, there should be no abuse at ALL, not in the Church's ranks, not in public schools, not anywhere.

Saying 'oh, our abuse rate is less than YOURS' doesn't make the problem go away.

Everyone has the right to be safe from sexual abuse at all times. Which is why it needs to eradicated instead of citing statistics and pointing fingers."

But it is D.J. Bettencourt who is pointing fingers and hurling the harsh rhetoric. Anonymous is obviously too ignorant to understand your point.

And that point is that there has been WAY LESS ABUSE in the Church than across society in general.

Another hypocrite.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

The Union Leader is reporting that Gov. John Lynch is calling on House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt to retract comments he made about Bishop John McCormack on Facebook calling him "a pedophile pimp."

"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."

I couldn't agree more.

Anonymous said...

I saw your comments at WMUR's Facebook page and I want to commend you for standing up to this bully. D.J. Bettencourt should resign his position immediately. He has demonstrated both immaturity and unprofessionalism. He has brought shame and dishonor to the New Hampshire House and the GOP in NH.

ShrewsburyCatholic said...

From the Catholic League, April 4, 2011:


New Hampshire House Majority Leader David J. Bettencourt is not backing away from his attack on Manchester Bishop John B. McCormack. After the bishop joined an interfaith rally last week protesting budget cuts and efforts to roll back labor union rights, Bettencourt, a Republican, called McCormack a "pedophile pimp who should have been led away from the State House in handcuffs with a raincoat over his head."

Catholic League president Bill Donohue addressed this issue today:

As president of the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization, I am contacting every member of the New Hampshire House calling for a Resolution of Censure. House Majority Leader David J. Bettencourt has had plenty of time to retract his vicious assault on Manchester Bishop John B. McCormack and refuses to do so. Therefore, it is only fitting that he be censured for his invective.

This kind of incivility has no legitimate role to play in public life. It is not just Catholics who feel bruised, it's Americans of every faith and political persuasion. Moreover, the insult extends way beyond the borders of New Hampshire.

Unknown said...

This notion of blaming man for all ills and a deity for all good doesn't withstand the scrutiny a house plant would give it.

But I will go ahead and blame man, at least most of them, for this ridiculously low standard he has for the acceptable behavior of a deity compared to his fellow humans. We do not accept as proper behavior a father watching his child being raped while he does and says nothing to stop it. That father would properly have his child taken from his care. We should not have a lower standard tolerating "father in heaven" who is purportedly a revealed, intervening, all knowing, all powerful, exists everywhere being who watches child rape occur and does NOTHING about it.

It's immoral behavior for a human father, it's immoral behavior for any being. Man is clearly not the only one who is making mistakes.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Mr. Murphy,

Free will is the power of the will to determine itself and to act of itself, without compulsion from within or coercion from without. It is the faculty of an intelligent being to act or not to act, to act this way or another way.

We believe that God has given each of us a free will. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "God created man as a rational being, conferring on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions" (No. 1730). With this free will, each of us makes the fundamental choice to love God or to reject Him.

Without free will, authentic love would be impossible.

Because of the scandal of evil, because some people freely choose
to commit horrific acts, it is easy to become discouraged and view God as an "absentee Father" who just doesn't care about the world he created.

But nothing could be further from the truth (John 3:16). Again, the Catechism tells us that, "We firmly believe that God is master of the world and of its history. But the ways of his providence are often unknown to us. Only at the end, when our partial knowledge ceases, when we see God 'face to face,' will we fully know the ways by which - even through the dramas of evil and sin - God has guided his creation to that definitive sabbath rest for which he created heaven and earth." (314).

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Of course there is the flip side to all of this. Ben Stein, in his last column - which may be found at this Blog - writes about a "real star, the kind who haunts my memory night and day...the U.S. soldier in Baghdad who saw a little girl playing with a piece of unexploded ordnance on a street near where he was guarding a station. He pushed her aside and threw himself on it just as it exploded. He left a family desolate in California and a little girl alive in Baghdad."

Free will.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Representative Bettencourt has apologized for his Facebook comments:

ManchesterParishioner said...

I want to thank you for your Blog and all the work you have done to counter the hateful commentary against Bishop McCormack and the Church in New Hampshire from Reps. Bettencourt and Vaillancourt.

Peace of Christ to you!

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