Bishop Called a Pedophile Pimp

NH State Representative DJ Bettancourt has called Bishop John McCormack of Manchester a “pedophile pimp” in response to the Diocese of Manchester’s bishop advocating on behalf of legislation affecting the poor of the state. While name calling is never a tactic that promotes dialogue, the incident does reflect the general state of public reaction to Catholic Church officials, particularly bishops, who attempt to speak out on a social issue. The sexual abuse scandal has so eroded public confidence that the Church experiences these types of reactions.
The Catholic Church has lost its moral standing in the wider community precisely because it refuses to deal honestly and openly with the sexual abuse of children. McCormack, a top lieutenant of the disgraces Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston, faces criticism from many fronts any time he attempts to bring up a social or moral issue.
Whether you agree or not, bishops such as McCormack who are implicated in the priest abuse scandal can’t avoid such criticism. Prior to the latest storm that began in 2002, no one would have publicly dismissed a Catholic bishop as Rep. Bettancourt has done. It would have been unthinkable. Now, bishops are facing a crisis of confidence and an erosion of their own moral authority because of their refusal to do the right thing regarding the protection of children. Their refusal to do the right thing has led to public scorn and the instant dismissal of anything the bishops proclaim. The message has become inextricably linked to the messenger and his role in the abuse scandal.
At some point, I’d hope the bishops hear this message and reform their ways. Until that time, they’ll be dismissed like they were by Rep. Bettancourt. The issue won’t matter. However, the messenger will be held accountable in the court of public opinion.