The National Catholic Review

If you've been wondering how badly the sex abuse crisis has hurt the bishops ability to speak on any moral/ethical challenges in modern civic life, listen to the rhetorical bombs being dropped in New Hampshire (I know, a state that doesn't exactly spring to the fore when contemplating overheated politics). After N.H. Bishop John McCormack joined an inter-religious gathering at the N.H. statehouse on March 31, protesting that the state budget passed by N.H. Republican-leaning House neglected the state's obligation to the elderly, disabled, poor and the vulnerable, he was attacked in a Facebook posting as a "pedophile pimp" by N.H. House Republican Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt. At the demonstration, McCormack criticized the budget and called caring for the poor “the fundamental requirement of our religious heritage.”

Mocking the bishop's comment that the budget was a moral concern because "the vulnerable take priority in any society," Bettencourt, a Catholic, wrote, "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.”

McCormack, bishop of the Manchester since 1998, has been criticized for his handling of sexually abusive clerics while he served as secretary of ministerial personnel in the mid-1980s in the Boston archdiocese under Cardinal Bernard F. Law. A spokesperson for the diocese said that Bettencourt's remarks were false, defamatory and detracted from the real issue—the state's obligation to the poor.

After resisting pressure to apologize through the weekend, by Saturday, the young representative had a change of heart and said he would meet with Bishop McCormack to offer a personal apology for his comments, which he allowed, were undiplomatic. His letter to the bishop didn't sound altogether apologetic, however. Bettencourt seemed most remorseful with the tone, rather than the content of his post, and he could not resist adding, that for many Catholics, McCormack's "presence as bishop is an ongoing reminder of an evil that was perpetrated on those most vulnerable and innocent."

He wrote: "My comments reflected my feelings toward someone who, in his position, played such a prominent role in a terribly dark chapter in the history of the Catholic Church." He added, "Unfortunately, your role in that scandal has, in my opinion, hurt the Church in ways that will take decades to repair . . . 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." Bettencourt also defended his reaction to McCormack's criticism of the House budget. He said House budget writers "poured their hearts" into protecting N.H.'s most vulnerable.

It will probably come as no surprise that Bettencourt's "apology" has hardly satisfied Catholic League bulldog Bill Donohue, who had been calling for the speaker's official censure.

"I just read Bettencourt's letter, and this guy has an uncanny ability to dig himself in even deeper," Donohue told the N.H. UnionLeader newspaper. "All he had to do was to issue a one-sentence or a one-paragraph statement saying that he regrets the regrets the vicious accusation that he made against the bishop, and the issue would have been over," Donohue said, "but instead, there's no apology . . . there is a long-winded attempt to divert attention from why he is on the hot seat," he said. "Therefore the Catholic League hopes that his colleagues move to censure him.

"This kind of incivility has no legitimate role to play in public life," Donohue said.

While Bettencourt prepares for his appointment with the bishop, he has elected to suspend his Facebook page. He might by now be wishing he had made that decision a few posts ago. Bishop McCormack for his part may want to consider that comments on the story at the UnionLeader website appear to be running strongly in Bettencourt's favor . . . 

 

Comments

PATRICK DARCY | 4/6/2011 - 1:20pm
Yes, I believe that the representative is apologetic for the tone of his criticism of the bishop rather than the content.  Unfortunately, his comments reflect the anger many Catholic feel towards bishops for the way they responded to the abuse scandal.  Betancourt’s point is well-taken.  As one of Cardinal Law’s top aides, Bishop McCormack covered up for predator priests and showed no compassion for the children who were abused.  There are many of us who feel like Betancourt.  Where were the bishops when their predator priests were abusing the most vulnerable in our society?  They deliberately chose to protect the reputation of the church and the predator priests, giving no thought to how sexual abuse would affect these children.  Although I believe that the bishops should speak up for the weak and vulnerable, it is understandable why Betancourt and so many of us feel the bishop’s comments are hypocritical, given his track record of dealing with those innocent children and their parents. 
Molly Roach | 4/5/2011 - 10:04pm
The tide of the bishop's past behavior is what is running strongly against them.
Juan Lino | 4/5/2011 - 3:54pm
Anne,

Perhaps it’s because we are not actually sitting in front of each other that we seem to be talking past each other.
 
Let me try again, working backwards from your last comment.  I agree “that the bishops collectively, and especially some bishops individually - McCormack's record is particularly horrendous - have lost so much credibility, have lost so much respect.”  However, what I am questioning is the following: it is really prudent and wise to not listen to anything they say?  I realize that few care to listen to anything they have to say (including me sometimes) and that they have been written off by many because of their actions.  But my point is, is it is prudent, wise and reasonable, as a criterion for judgment, to not listen to anything they say simply because they are hypocrites? 
 
Well, it seems that we agree on this point because you wrote “I would support the bishop's position on this issue, based on what little I have read…”  
 
Regarding playing Scriptural tennis, yes, it is most often a waste of time and I don’t like to engage in it but I will if necessary, especially if I will learn something new, especially a new twist in the argument. 
 
I can’t speak for other Catholics – conservative or liberal (terms which I can’t stand!) - but speaking for myself, I believe that the Living Resurrected Christ is the head of His body and that His teachings are mediated to me through Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium and so my understanding of “authority” is derived from those three sources and not solely on the Bible alone. And it's for that reason that I beleive that when one says "I can follow Christ without the Church" that are swimming in dangerous waters.
 
If you are interested, what I believe about the Church is best summed up in the Compendium and the book Why the Church? by Luigi Giussani.
 
Perhaps what disturbs me most is that you are implying that I am advocating for “blind obedience” and that I am advocating that we must turn a blind eye to what the Bishops did and continue to do – I am not.  But let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water!
Anne Chapman | 4/5/2011 - 3:05pm
Juan,

You misunderstood - I wanted to know why so many conservative Catholics serve up one particular quote from Matthew to support them in their opinion that all Catholics must obey the hierarchy and give assent to all that they teach, regardless of how clearly they have shown that they lack moral discernment, judgment, and do not hesitate to lie and equivicate and play games with the judicial system when it suits them.  Many perfectly rational people would not consider it prudent to put so much trust in those who have repeatedly shown themselves to be unworthy of trust.

It seems that there should be more than one brief passage of scripture to support that view, but the conservatives as a group use that particular one, over and over again.  There are a few others that are used frequently by conservatives.  The pattern of using the same handful of catch-phrases that I have observed over the last few years has made me wonder about where conservatives get these often-repeated one-liners - perhaps EWTN, or maybe First Things, or National Catholic Register. 

I have no interest in playing scripture games.  I don't read scripture literally, but metaphorically primarily, and believe that taking isolated passages out of context as an attempt to ''prove'' a position is meaningless.  Even those of us who are not scripture scholars know that the NT wasn't written until long after Jesus' death, that Paul (nominalloy the author of about 2/3 of the NT I believe) was not around when Jesus was living and preaching, that even Paul's letters were not all written by Paul, that the entirety of the gospels themselves were not written by those who knew Jesus, and that many parts of the bible and the NT have different emphases (according to the community that the writer was addressing) and often contradict one another.

So, no, I have no wish to play gotcha games with biblical texts. That's why I was surprised that you chose to do that - it doesn't seem like your usual approach to discussion.

Secondly, while you are right that an individual's immoral decision to protect sexual predators does not mean one can't read a budget, you miss the point. Personally, I would support the bishop's position on this issue, based on what little I have read, but could not say without really digging into it.  Since I do not live in NH, I will not take the time.

The point is that the bishops collectively, and especially some bishops individually - McCormack's record is particularly horrendous - have lost so much credibility, have lost so much respect, that few care to listen to anything they have to say.  They have been written off by many,  and that reality is their own doing.

Juan Lino | 4/5/2011 - 2:30pm
I have no idea what happened with my clipboard and so I am posting this again
*************

I posit 1) that a person’s ability to critique a document is not in any way diminished by the fact that they are a [blank] (fill in the blank with the word of your choice: hypocrite, man, woman, Hispanic, inferior, etc.); 2) that a person always has the right to share their observations with others; and 3) to have their critique / observations judged on their own merits. Additionally to refute an argument by saying: “who are you to criticize [blank], you’re a [blank] (fill in the blank with your favorite ad hominem phrase/word) is nothing more than an attempt to link the validity of a premise/criticism to a characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise/criticism. (This is a paraphrase of Wiki’s definition of Ad Hominem) If we, as a culture, and especially as a Church, now believe that this is a valid way to respond then we are really in trouble!

Others, however, seem to be arguing that when someone is accused or convicted of a crime that that somehow takes away 1) their ability to analyze a budget and see the good and bad points in it; and 2) that whatever that person says should be disregarded because they are a hypocrite then I think we should start investigating everyone who writes and comments on this blog to see if they are worthy enough to do so. (Yes, I am exaggerating for a point!)

Anne – you don’t know me and I don’t know you, so you have no idea what I have seen or lived through. If you are asking a sincere question, then my answer is I comprehend very well.

Regarding your aside – if you want to play Scriptural tennis, I’m game. If not, then don’t start accusing me of an ideological reading of Scripture, I can certainly accuse you of the same thing. I have played with fantastic anti-Catholic Bible-only Christians (who read the bible literally and who are members of my immediate family) and so I am well versed in what they commonly do and their playbook. Since you may be more creative than they were, I’m interested in playing a few rounds with you. If you are game, you have my e-mail, go for it.

In any event, I have never advocated not will I ever advocate giving any person convicted of a crime a "wash" - that would be unreasonable.
Juan Lino | 4/5/2011 - 2:29pm
I posit 1) that a person’s ability to critique a document is not in any way diminished by the fact that they are a [blank] (fill in the blank with the word of your choice: hypocrite, man, woman, Hispanic, inferior, etc.); 2) that a person always has the right to share their observations with others; and 3) to have their critique / observations judged on their own merits. Additionally to refute an argument by saying: “who are you to criticize [blank], you’re a [blank] (fill in the blank with your favorite ad hominem phrase/word) is nothing more than an attempt to link the validity of a premise/criticism to a characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise/criticism. (This is a paraphrase of Wiki’s definition of Ad Hominem) If we, as a culture, and especially as a Church, now believe that this is a valid way to respond then
I posit 1) that a person’s ability to critique a document is not in any way diminished by the fact that they are a [blank] (fill in the blank with the word of your choice: hypocrite, man, woman, Hispanic, inferior, etc.); 2) that a person always has the right to share their observations with others; and 3) to have their critique / observations judged on their own merits. Additionally to refute an argument by saying: “who are you to criticize [blank], you’re a [blank] (fill in the blank with your favorite ad hominem phrase/word) is nothing more than an attempt to link the validity of a premise/criticism to a characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise/criticism. (This is a paraphrase of Wiki’s definition of Ad Hominem) If we, as a culture, and especially as a Church, now believe that this is a valid way to respond then we are really in trouble!

Others, however, seem to be arguing that when someone is accused or convicted of a crime that that somehow takes away 1) their ability to analyze a budget and see the good and bad points in it; and 2) that whatever that person says should be disregarded because they are a hypocrite then I think we should start investigating everyone who writes and comments on this blog to see if they are worthy enough to do so. (Yes, I am exaggerating for a point!)

Anne – you don’t know me and I don’t know you, so you have no idea what I have seen or lived through. If you are asking a sincere question, then my answer is I comprehend very well.

Regarding your aside – if you want to play Scriptural tennis, I’m game. If not, then don’t start accusing me of an ideological reading of Scripture, I can certainly accuse you of the same thing. I have played with fantastic anti-Catholic Bible-only Christians (who read the bible literally and who are members of my immediate family) and so I am well versed in what they commonly do and their playbook. Since you may be more creative than they were, I’m interested in playing a few rounds with you. If you are game, you have my e-mail, go for it.

In any event, I have never advocated not will I ever advocate giving any person convicted of a crime a "wash" - that would be unreasonable.
we are really in trouble!

Others, however, seem to be arguing that when someone is accused or convicted of a crime that that somehow takes away 1) their ability to analyze a budget and see the good and bad points in it; and 2) that whatever that person says should be disregarded because they are a hypocrite then I think we should start investigating everyone who writes and comments on this blog to see if they are worthy enough to do so. (Yes, I am exaggerating for a point!)

Anne – you don’t know me and I don’t know you, so you have no idea what I have seen or lived through. If you are asking a sincere question, then my answer is I comprehend very well.

Regarding your aside – if you want to play Scriptural tennis, I’m game. If not, then don’t start accusing me of an ideological reading of Scripture, I can certainly accuse you of the same thing. I have played with fantastic anti-Catholic Bible-only Christians (who read the bible literally and who are members of my immediate family) and so I am well versed in what they commonly do and their playbook. Since you may be more creative than they were, I’m interested in playing a few rounds with you. If you are game, you have my e-mail, go for it.

In any evert, I have never advocted not will I ever advocate giving any person convicted of a crime a "wash" - that would be unreasonable.
Ginger Jones | 4/5/2011 - 1:15pm
Is anybody surprised that contemptible behavior brings about public contempt?  I agree with the comment that a man who has behaved as a common street criminal and has a history of knowingly transferring sexual deviants to parishes where more children were raped by them is not exactly the kind of person I look to for moral guidance.  The church has nobody to thank but itself for the astounding loss of moral authority and credibility.  People are not stupid-when a man such as McCormack is rewarded with his own bishopric for his part in facilitating the child abuse scandal, the injustuce and offensiveness of it have an affect on the public.  Behavior has consequences. 

And McCormack had his chance for his day in court and instead did a quick dance around it and made an agreement with the state to avoid criminal investigation, if I am not mistaken.  I am sure Carolyn knows the details better than I, but the audit was part of that agreement McCormack made so that the criminal investigation would be stopped.

It's about time people started calling a spade a spade.  Bettencourt may not have chosen the wisest words, but his statement reminds me of the children pointing out, ''He's naked!'' in the tale of the Emperor's New Clothes.  He just stated what we all know to be true: McCormack facilitated the sexual molestation of children for many years and instead of being held accountable for it was rewarded with a cush position in the Church.  It's an inconvenient truth that the Church wishes would stay comfortably under the carpet.

Anybody who wishes to educate themselves on McCormack's shameful behavior should go to bishopaccountability.org and read the legal papers.  It's a real eye-opener. 
Ed Kardas | 4/5/2011 - 10:01am
Due to the manner in which the Church has mishandled, and continues to mishandle the child sexual abuse scandal, She has greatly diminished Her credibility and clout regarding all moral issues.  Any moral positions taken by the Church carry less credibility as time goes on, moving toward becoming irrelevant in our society.

To the above problem, add The Catholic League's Bill Donohue.  I know that he is an educated man, but when he attempts to defend the Church he comes across as a buffoon, doing more damage, that damage control.

The Church will of course survive; but as a pillar of moral guidance, She is a shadow of Her former-self, and that shadow becomes lighter and lighter each day.
Anne Chapman | 4/4/2011 - 11:57pm
Juan,

Do you at least comprehend, given McCormack's record, which is  especially horrifying, why he has no credibility?  Why he has lost the respect of countless Catholics? Many are wise enough to not automatically trust the moral judgment of a man who has repeatedly demonstrated that he lacks moral judgment, compassion, and any remorse whatsoever for the suffering his actions caused to innocent young people.

Is it wise to turn one's conscience over to be formed by those who have repeatedly protected criminals, dissembled,  lied (calling it ''mental reservation'' - also immoral - not even willing to be honest about being dishonest), and have failed to demonstrate that they themselves have any mature sense of right and wrong?

I would no more trust some of these bishops to provide sound moral guidance than I would trust the counsel of a common street criminal who spends all of his time trying to justify his criminal behaviour.

An aside - is there some kind of conservative Catholic Web site that dishes up all of the little selected verses of scripture that so many of the "conservative" Catholics come up with in different places?  If I have seen the quote about Jesus and the Pharisees once from a conservative defending the (indefensible) acts of the hierarchy, I've seen it several dozen times. 

Remember - Jesus himself frequently acted and spoke against the teachings and rules of the Pharisees.  That's one reason he got into so much trouble with his own religious leadership, which eventually led to his death.  By his life he taught us that we must stand up and speak the truth, even when it means disobeying the religious leadership, and he taught also that we may pay a price for doing this. Today, few risk their lives for speaking up against false or corrupt religious leaders. The worst they can do is excommunicate someone.   These ''teachers'' (Pharisees of the ancient era and those of today) were often far more concerned with control and power over their people than with truth, justice, compassion, mercy and love.  Jesus taught us that they were wrong - we were to follow him, and not everything that the religious establishment leadership taught.
Tom Maher | 4/4/2011 - 11:46pm
McCormack critics are savage in their attacks.  The laws of the jungle are being applied by the savabge attacks on Bishiop McCormack.  These attacks on McCormack go way to far and show a deplorable lack of civility by public figures.  

'First of all Bishop McCormack as an American citizen has basic Constitutional rights that need to be respected lkie anyone else. 

McCormack has a right to speak his mi.  nd in public about the New Hampshire budget.  Petitioning the New Hamnpshire legislature  is a most basic action in our democracy and ought ot be recognized and respected.  Attacking the Bishop personally for his remarks is barbaric.  

Bishop McCormack also has the right of due proces like anyone else.  He can and should have a defense in court and should not agree to every or any demand a plainitiff makes.   

Most importatnly the legal norms of our society makes any person innocent until proven guilty.  Reference to the past should not accuse him of any crime becasue he has not been convicted of any crime.  Allegations are not proof and they have not been found to be so by a court and therefore allegation are not proof of anything. 

Bishop Mc Cormack has ?n?e?v?e?r? ?b?e?e?n? ?i?n?d?i?c?t?e?d? ?f?o?r? ?a?n?y? ?c?r?i?m?e??.  He is due the respect of any other American citizen?.??? ??
Juan Lino | 4/4/2011 - 11:24pm
Leo - having had more than my share of interactions with narcissistic and arrogant people in the Church, I hear where you are coming from and I agree that much reform is badly needed.

While Jesus did rail against the hypocrites of his day, let’s not forget that He also said: "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you — but not what they do.  For they preach, but do not practice.  

That’s why I often wonder: was Jesus actually railing against their impenetrability, first and foremost, and not that they weren’t legitimate teachers?  

In any event, I am very skeptical of politician’s and can’t help but see this as nothing other than another politician’s trick to deflect any criticisms of his or her policies.  
Carolyn Disco | 4/4/2011 - 10:53pm
McCormack’s record in NH reflects the attitudes of his record in MA, of which few are aware.
 
1) He assigned a priest to ministry in New Hampshire with years of compulsive sexual encounters. When questioned about it, McCormack said, ''I didn't read the file. I didn't know about his history. I relied on others to make recommendations.'' He mimicked Cardinal Law's response in Boston about McCormack, trying to have it both ways. Exonerate yourself, whether you are an aide with no power to appoint priests or a bishop who depends on aides to read files. How can someone rationalize like this?
 
2) He obstructed the state AG’s audits of the Diocese 65% of the time they were in progress, beginning with a bogus First Amendment court challenge, happily rejected by the judge. The state audits were part of a non-prosecution agreement for criminal child endangerment and perjury. The court delay meant only four instead of five annual audits could be completed in time.
 
3)McCormack threatened non-cooperation with the fourth annual audit, after the state found an obstructive ''tone at the top,'' with his chief aide playing “word games”; responded only when the AG threatened court action.


4) McCormack’s characterizations of audit results were dishonest in the extreme.
 
AG report:
''… there are still some critical gaps and issues which need to be rectified…An improvement in the program’s senior leadership’s demonstrable tone is warranted…the Diocese is still not in full compliance”
 http://doj.nh.gov/publications/nreleases/pdf/050407KPMG_Diocese_report.pdf p. 6-7
 
McCormack’s version:
The report confirms that the Diocese of Manchester has complied with the letter and spirit of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, all articles of the Agreement with the State of New Hampshire, and the diocesan sexual misconduct policy.
http://www.catholicnh.org/child-safAuditety/reports-and-updates/response-to-kpmg-assessment-dated-011707/  (2nd sentence)
 
Carolyn Disco | 4/4/2011 - 8:39pm
I commented a few days ago on NH TV that Bettencourt’s remark, while unhelpful at the very least, brings into focus McCormack’s staggering loss of credibility and moral authority.


Indeed, just read the comments under today’s lead article quoting a pastor and his parishioners feeling Bettencourt insulted Catholics in general. A great majority write there was no insult at all: http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Parishioners%3A+Remark+'a+slap+in+the+face+to+Catholics'&articleId=04090883-ec5f-4320-a8e2-be8e217faeab


I was in front of McCormack’s office at a press conference today. He is callously intimidating a survivor who sued as a John Doe to publicly identify himself. Anonymous trials are prohibited by court rules, but most defendants don’t force the issue in early pre-trial.
The  Diocese, the Court and the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, another defendant, already know the survivor’s name and address.
The Oblates do not object to the survivor proceeding now as a John Doe because they “have no desire to cause the Plaintiff (survivor) more pain” by forcing him to disclose his identity publicly in the text of the lawsuit. “Counsel for the two parties (Oblates and survivor) have agreed to revisit the issue at a later date, should it appear this case will proceed to trial.” Sometimes a settlement may be negotiated in the interim, in which case confidentiality is preserved.

“The same arrangement was repeatedly offered to the Diocese, hoping McCormack likewise would have “no desire to cause more pain.” Instead, the bishop flat out rejected that approach, and filed a motion to dismiss.


Incredibly, the motion includes forcing the survivor to pay the Diocese’s legal bills as well.” (Quotes from the survivor’s objection to McCormack’s motion to dismiss. See all documents and history at http://www.bishop-accountability.org/legal/Manchester/St_Jean/John_Doe_v_Manchester_Diocese_and_Oblates/
McCormack’s action is unconscionable.
Leo Zanchettin | 4/4/2011 - 7:41pm
Juan and Chris: I don't think that framing this as a we're-all-sinners-so-let's-ignore-the-bigger-issues approach really gets to the heart of Mr. Bettencourt's complaint. The real problem, it seems, is the perception of audacity on the part of Bishop McCormack. Of course we are all sinners. Of course it's a bishop's duty to preach the gospel and stand up for the marginalized. No one is debating that.

The problem is that many view Bishop McCormack and others as unrepentant and unwilling to acknowledge even the slightest role in allowing the abuse of innocent children to continue. As a result, they have no credibility when they try to lecture others about protecting the vulnerable. 

Maybe it's helpful to think about the Pharisees who dogged Jesus during his public ministry. They too taught the law of the Lord and urged others to uphold the law. They considered those who didn't live according to their teachings to be sinners worthy of their rebuke, while they considered themselves beyond reproach themselves. It's that kind of hypocrisy that Bettencourt perceived and-very inelegantly-railed against.

Of course, I can't speak for Mr. Bettencourt, and I don't know Bishop McCormack at all. So I'm not really qualified to render judgment. But I do see where Bettencourt is coming from, and I think the analogy with the Pharisees fits into the way he seems to be thinking.
Dale Rodrigue | 4/4/2011 - 7:09pm
''This kind of incivility has no legitimate role to play in public life,'' Donohue said.

LOL!

Donohue just illegitimized himself!
Anonymous | 4/4/2011 - 6:50pm
I have a few comments.


I have relatives in Exeter and have been to St. Michaels there several times.  They have the best choir of any parish I have ever been to so if anyone is in the area go to the 11AM mass.


Second, I became aware of Bishop McCormack reading Philip Lawler's book, The Faithful Departed  and it seems that this is a man who is not without blame.  I wonder how all the people here who trash the hierarchy will chip in to support representative Bettencourt as he takes on someone not blameless in the sex abuse scandal.  I personally think that Mr. Bettencourt is way off in his criticism since the two issues are not related.


Given that, here is an example, where liberal largesse has bitten the poor.  To a person here most of the liberals support the public employees in their fight with state governments but it the generous salaries of public employees that are preventing money from reaching the poor and not the state representatives.  Bishop McCormack is after the wrong people and should be after state and municipal employees to give back some of their salaries to help the poor.  How about 10% which is what Jerry Brown has suggested in California.  That would employee a lot more people and ease the burden on the poor.
Chris Sullivan | 4/4/2011 - 6:25pm
Interesting in the light of the recent Sunday gospel passage where Jesus sends the Samaritan women, a known public sinner, back to evangelise her entire village.

If we are not going to listen to our pope, bishops, and priests just because they they are all sinners like the rest of us, then what we're really doing is allowing human sinfulness to keep us from hearing Christ.

God Bless
Juan Lino | 4/4/2011 - 5:00pm
What a mess.  First, in this case, I think Donohue is right. Bettencourt did not issue an apology (whether he should or should not is not an issue I am addressing).
 
Second, since we believe in the preferential option for the poor, the Bishop has a duty to speak out on their behalf.
 
Lastly, imagine that a convicted thief told me that stealing was wrong, should I ignore him just because he is not sinless?  And yet, it seems to me that this is exactly what more and more people are doing precisely so they can justify their behavior and choices. 
 
Whatever happened to reasonableness?
John Barbieri | 4/6/2011 - 2:54pm
Bettancourt's comments were certainly uncivil and ungentlemanly.
In terms of protection of the poor, McCormack could generously be termed "a bad advocate for a good cause." New Hampshire will be better off when McCormack leaves.
Jack Barry | 4/5/2011 - 10:55am
The massive record of McCormack's performance over years show that he took the money and assigned the bodies as pimps do.  The one distinguishing feature of his long-term activity was the secrecy of him and his confreres about certain criminal inclinations known to them about some he assigned.  Every effort was made to ensure that those who paid and were then subjected to the clerical sexual abuse threat were not informed about the hazards involved.   Amidst all the documentation since 2001, his own pre-trial testimony is revealing:   http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/stories4/010903_mccormack.htm   
 
The NH Union Leader reminds us today that they, among others, first called for McCormack's resignation nine years ago for strong reasons.  
 
A total of three Catholics, hardly all, are at the heart of this matter  -  McCormack and the two Popes who have left him in a position of honor and authority in spite of his thoroughly documented actions while with Law.   See the Boston Phoenix, Boston Globe, and bishop-accountability.org for some of the 2001-2003 history and documents:      
http://www.bishop-accountability.org/NH-Manchester/McCormack.html   
http://www.bostonphoenix.com/pages/cardinal.htm   
http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/  
 
Bettencourt may have spoken harshly but certainly not inaccurately.  McCormack's moral authority has been long gone.
ROBERT NUNZ MR | 4/5/2011 - 10:50am
1)Betancourt will meet personally with the Bishop to "bury the hatchet."
2))See the fron t page editorial of the Union Leader -Betancourt stepped over the line but the Abp.'s record on abuse is awful. Right on the money! If his defender's best defense is "he was never indicted," that speaks volumes about how shabby the record on the Church handling of sex abuse in Boston or elsewhere continues to be.
3)And speaking of objectivity, Bill Donahue is a far cry (as we know) from that in many of his pronouncememnts.